Working with Depression: Finding the Yielding Point

Rob pulsates with overwhelm. He is having depression symptoms: sleep is skewed, low energy, negative thinking patterns. He mind is spinning as he flails to find a way to work with it all.

“If I got back to the gym…but there’s no time…I keep getting further behind at work…
it’s helpful when I eat more healthily but I haven’t been able to get myself to the grocery store.”

And on it goes. Rob drags himself through his days and collapses when he gets home at night. All the while berating himself for not “getting it together.”

As we sit together, I ask him to breathe and suggest that together we look for a Yielding Point.

Yielding point is an investigation. Here is this rather unwieldy mass of depression. We work from the assumption that everything cannot be addressed at one time. Trying to do so invites further paralysis and despair. We acknowledge the rant of “should, should, should” and for the moment set it aside.

We are in search of a kernel of warmth, light aliveness. We give this search a container of awareness that the path forward is in small movements. The Yielding Point is the small thread that begins to unravel the knotted ball of depression.

Let me note that sometimes the Yielding Point is a Yielding consultation with your physician or psychiatrist. Seasonal or significant life changes can require an adjustment of medication.

Yielding point can also simply be the awareness of: “I didn’t fully realize it, but I am depressed!” Odd as it may seem, depression can be very insidious. Many people may attribute their increasing symptoms to other factors until there is a jolt of awareness that they are in the midst of a depressive episode.

Yielding point answers the question “Where can I begin kindly?” “Where is there an ember of energy to work with, not because I should, but because there is softness?”

Examples of Yielding Point

For Rob, the Yielding Point was ending computer time by 7pm. He was still on the computer for more hours than he liked, but it felt doable. Rob felt this was an experiment that he could try. We emphasized the word experiment: it was a trial and we would see what happen and move accordingly.

For Stella the Yielding Point was walking in nature. Stella’s first thought was that she had to get back to the gym to do spinning classes and lifting. But the intensity of the environment with noise and people was too much. The thought of being outdoors and moving brought her solace. Getting herself to do it was another story. She had a friend who walked her dog regularly in the mornings for a half hour. She asked the friend if she could join them.

For Carlos, his Yielding Point was inviting a friend to his home. Carlos’ isolation felt like a thick membrane he could not break through. He had a movie buddy. They would occasionally get together to watch a movie together. Carlos had his friend to his home and it began to break the thick grip of isolation.

Summary of Yielding Point

Most depressed people can recite a long list of shoulds that have been supplied by themselves and others. Rather than being helpful, these lists can be overwhelming.
Yielding Point is a gentle approach to the question of where to begin.

Yielding Point:

*temporarily suspends the mind of “should”
*is in the spirit of investigation and experimenting rather than success or failure
*is searching for an ember of warmth, longing or aliveness
*begins to answer the question of where can I begin kindly, right where I am
*feels doable rather than forced; our bodies know what we can say yes to
*is a shift from outer focus to one’s own wisdom about healing