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Intelligent and depressed

You’ve got it all. Brains, IQ, a degree (or two). You’re sorted. It looks great from the outside.
But inside is a different story. You’re depressed. You feel empty, or sad, or lonely. Bored, or in the grips of an existential crisis: “do I even exist?”, “What’s the point?”

This is not what you might think of as a natural consequence of an intelligent mind.

But strangely enough, depression and intelligence often go hand in hand. It’s the head/heart divide.

The head is clever, in charge, knows what’s logical and rational. Rationally, you shouldn’t be depressed. Logically it makes no sense. Your thoughts about how you feel merely serve to compound the despondency, sadness and hollowness. Trying to think your way out of depression can be as helpful as drinking your way out of a drink problem.

What’s you need is a way to manage the thoughts – and also a way to bring the heart alive again. The role of the heart is crucial. The heart is what makes us feel alive. It’s what motivates us. It’s what responds to inspiration and beauty. If the thoughts are managed but the heart is unheard, eventually the scales tip towards the pit of gloom again.

Unfortunately, when the head is in charge for too long, it thinks that the heart (and its relatives, the emotions) is silly, irrelevant, and definitely not logical, certainly not rational. In thinking this way, the head maintains its cool, detached grip and thinks that it’s the boss, whilst actually driving you down and further away from joy.

When you’re intelligent, the head is so very often in charge. It’s what gets you your A grades, your college or university education, your scholarship. When it’s in charge too much, at the expense of the heart, the head can only make rational decisions. It can’t take into account the opinions of the heart that it has silenced.

And when it’s the heart that brings us joy, love, and connection, the head is misguidedly blocking out so much delight in life. This absence of joy, love and connection are so typical of depression. The despondency, the anger, hate or boredom, the loneliness.

But all is not lost. Through re-educating the head so that the heart can finally be heard, the joy, love and connection flow back in, bringing colour to the greyed-out landscape, and you celebrate your moving on.

How do you listen to your heart?

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