When I get depressed, I find that I merely have to force myself to “step back”, and generally look at a bigger piece of the picture, and the feeling dissipates. Basically, I find that, my depression is usually from focusing in too hard on one (generally bad or sad) part of my life all at once.
For example, Laura noticed recently that I get frustrated or angry after I pay bills. It’s not that I don’t have enough money, or that I’m feeling particularly screwed by the man or anything like that. It’s usually just that I’m so focused on an aspect of life that i find thoroughly unenjoyable — money — that it affects my entire emotional outlook.
I have always found that thinking about space and the universe, especially the smallness of our tiny corner of it, to be particularly relaxing and satisfying. It wasn’t until high school that I stumbled upon, or realized, the power of those cosmic thoughts to calm my then often-intruding depression. I was learning to meditate (probably the only time in my life when I did so regularly). One of my favorite techniques as taught to me by my favorite writing teacher was to imagine myself as a galaxy or spinning ball of bright lights or stars. The point was to picture the state of these lights reflecting the state of my emotions, and then to calm the spinning of the lights until they were still, or at least calm.
Another meditation or calming technique I have also used for a long time involves thinking of an image of myself, then my immediate surroundings, then backing away until I saw the planet earth dwindle to a tiny speck. I like to try and imagine the other planets in relation to earth, and how large they are, and then the sun. All the while still backing away from the infinitely small image that is myself. As the sun shrinks away, I imagine exiting the solar system and then our galaxy, and so on and so on… This is particularly useful when I can’t sleep at night. (As an aside, I’ve always loved the last 20 seconds or so of the first Men In Black movie because it does something similar to this.)
Perhaps it is partly due to this stellar affinity that I have become (in one viewing) completely enamored with Carl Sagan’s first episode of Cosmos. Nate purchased the DVD box set, and I’m excited to see them all.
I’m probably not saying any of this very well, but I made an update to one of my blog posts that prompted this entry. (BTW, props to xomina for thinking of the word minisculity. I had already titled my entry by the time he came up with it, but I like it so much that I tacked it on anyway. *grin*)