Ghosts, Demons, and Depression
Many of us are obsessed with the unseen. What can our
ears, eyes, and nose, can tell us? What lurks beyond? These questions have inspired tales of ghosts and demons, ethereal beings that wreak havoc on the lives of unsuspecting individuals.
Ghosts and Demons are popular topics for stories. Odysseys encountered specters of dead relatives in the underworld and Lovecraft wrote of ancient, sleeping gods. For some reason, we consume these types of stories, even when they may be detrimental. Who doesn’t remember staying up later than they should, watching a scary movie, and then being unable to fall to sleep again?
In reality there is no solid evidence for ghosts or demons. Static on TVs, bumps in the night, and animals acting nervous are not sufficient causes to believe in the supernatural.
Depression, however, is the closest thing to proof of unseen beings. Depression is like an invader that possesses the body and weights down the soul. Like a ghost or a demon, depression comes out of nowhere, it makes you feel like somebody else, and it can be cast away with certain rituals.
In ghost stories everything seems perfectly fine and normal, until suddenly its not. This is how depression feels. One day you are on top of the world, a world full of potential and joy. The next morning, you can barely pull yourself out of bed, and you might as well forget about brushing your teeth. Why does this happen? It could be that something went wrong with the neurotransmitters in your brain, a chemical imbalance that prevents the recognition of happy things and impedes any attempts at ambition.
But it doesn’t feel like something random. It feels almost deliberate. As if some one or some thing has crawled inside the computer that is our mind and started pulling wires and making new connections.
In stories, when ghosts and demons aren’t throwing objects around and making a mess, they get inside someone and cause them to throw things around and make a mess. Depression isn’t usually this dramatic, but when you are down it can sometimes feel like you are somebody else.
Things you usually like inspire hatred and disgust. You don’t feel like being with your friends or pursuing your hobbies. Its just like another person has attached strings to your limbs and is directing your body. This puppeteer is not interested in entertainment or fun times. All it wants to do is make its puppet sleep for days at a time. It is the least entertaining show ever.
And then, after a few days, weeks, or months of this torment, the feeling vanishes into the same place it came from. It goes back into nothingness and nowhere, lurking there until it makes its next appearance. Usually at the worst possible time.
Just when you need to feel motivated, the depression ghost latches on and makes you lazy. Just when you need to feel brave, the depression ghost shows up to turn you into a sniveling coward.
The truth is, it probably is just brain chemistry. Something that can be mitigated with proper diet and a few prescription miracles. But somehow, believing that depression is caused by a ghost, or a demon, makes it seem not so bad. At least then you don’t feel like it’s your own fault.
Of course, everyone knows what to do when being bothered by a ghost. The first step is to pick up the nearest copy of the white pages and give the local exorcist a ring. Business is slow since the Enlightenment, and he would surely appreciate the call. If there are no exorcists in your area, there is surely a shaman or medicine man practicing nearby.
No matter whom you bring in, they are likely to approach the problem in similar ways. They might say some incantations, or burn some plants, or dance around in a psychotic craze, or maybe all of the above. The best way to scare away a ghost, or be rid of a pesky demon, is through rituals.
Depression can be handled the same way, and you don’t even have to call in an expert. Exorcism isn’t cheap, after all.
A ritual is merely a specific set of activities performed in a prescribed order. Rituals are just habits, like making a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, doing things you know you’ll enjoy even if you don’t feel like it, and spending time with people you care about.
Practice good habits, and do your best to stay away from bad ones, and the depression ghost will be cast away. Hopefully
Ghosts are not real, and if they are, the probably can’t physically hurt us. But there are more kinds of hurt than bruises and broken bones. While the realms of supernatural research are quaint at best, and flat-out irrational at worst, it doesn’t mean those studies are worthless.
By learning about things that aren’t real we can help ourselves deal with things that are. Learning about ghosts and demons, what makes them tick, and how to make them go away, can help us handle the specters of our own minds.
However, there are limits to this application. It is not recommended that horse trainers invest time in learning the dietary habits of unicorns.