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Depression is best understood through the basic definition of the word.

To depress something means to push down, weaken, and revitalize. If we are feeling depressed, it begs the question, "What are we pushing down?" and how is that contributing to our devitalized feelings?

There are a few things that we push down that manifest itself in our depression.

(1) We are pushing down emotional pain and trauma that needs to be released.

(2) We are pushing down our authentic selves, desires, and needs, which must be fulfilled.

The symptoms we know as depression are the body and mind's way of expressing that it can no longer push down what it has been holding below the surface.

Understanding this further disarms the medicalized definition of depression as a neurochemical imbalance. It is not.

So, to free ourselves of our depression, we must do two things:

(1) Find a way to release the emotional pain and trauma we've tamped down under years of coping mechanisms and protective adaptations.

(2) Find a way to reconnect with who we are and live authentically.

Often, the two go hand in hand. Trauma or persistent conditioning will remove us from ourselves, and lead to adaptations that bury the pain under various forms of coping and numbing. To heal one often leads to the healing of both simultaneously.

And this explains why depression becomes more common in highly industrialized countries where we sacrifice our individuality to be accepted and woven into the cogs of the greater societal machine. Our needs at the level of the individual are unmet.

It's not that industrial societies are fundamentally evil and we should eliminate it. That is an unwise overreaction. Instead, our next leap in awareness is to find a way to realize the benefits of industrialization without sacrificing our individuality along with it.

That's the path toward minimized suffering through the riches that industrialization can provide (food, medicine, shelter) and minimizing suffering through the subjugation of our individual expression at the hands of broad-scale conformity.

Your depression is not a life sentence. It is a response to you pushing things down for too long. An SSRI may bridge the gap during acute periods of suffering. But the solution is not a pill. It is to release your pain and release yourself to be who you truly are.