Depressed? Break out of Auto-Perception
This weekend I went on a hike with some good friends and during the hike we kept hearing sounds of frogs, ‘croak, croak.’ We looked in the water, on the ground and all around us, but we could not find these frogs. They sounded like they were right next to us. For a few moments we slowed down and I chose to close my eyes, open my ears and just listen. As I began to feel more present and let go of the expectation that the frogs needed to be in a certain place, I opened my eyes again and was able to shift my perspective and see the frogs, they were camouflaged against the rocks. It was amazing. All along they were there but my mind and eyes were stuck and couldn’t perceive them. It made me think: How many things in this world are we literally not able to sense because our minds get stuck in automatic patterns of perceiving or auto-perception? How might this auto-pilot of perception contribute to our depression and anxiety, day to day?
Certainly, when a person is experiencing depression, the mind is often stuck in a cycle of rumination that not only interprets things from a negative lens, but expects negative things to happen and literally zeros in on the negative things that are there. Because of these prejudices and preconceptions about how things are, we can literally feel stuck in a box, unaware of new options that might support our mental health during this time. Doubts and self judgments about getting better run rampant, leading to the inevitable trifecta of depression “this is never going to get better, no one can help me, and I can’t help myself.”
Read the rest of Dr. Goldstein's post.