In his book, The Wisdom of Depression: A Guide to Understanding and Curing Depression Using Natural Medicine, Jonathan Zuess, M.D., writes:
"Depression is a quest for vision; its essence is transformation. Depression wells up and encompasses us for a time in a state of painful, dream-saturated formlessness, but its true purpose is to provide the opportunity for healing insight, renewal, and reintegration..."
"Depression is one of the basic responses of human beings, produced when we encounter a difficult emotional challenge...it is a natural and healthy response, and is actually specifically designed to help us deal with problems. It only becomes an illness if something goes badly wrong."
I must admit that when I first read this book, I was in a severe depression and there wasn't one thing this doctor recommended that "helped" me get out of it. However, after all these years, philosophically I believe there is a reason for--and "value" of--depressive episodes.
For myself, I know that they aren't caused by my "biochemistry" but by triggers. If I can't resolve them, a depression will take hold. Once it does, it becomes "biochemical" and then I'm forced take medication until it ends. However, if I can stop it before it takes hold, I can stave off a depressive episode.
In 2003, I resolved the original "triggering event" of my first depressive episode. This was a huge breakthrough for me. In the last few years, I've become much more knowledgeable about situational triggers as well.
Now that I've figured this out, the duration and intensity of my depressive episodes have lessened. My goal is to become depression-free. I'm saying this publicly because traditionally September is not a good month of me. So, I'm implementing all of the "tips and tricks" I've learned to see if I can get through it without a depressive episode.