The Life model and its four characteristics

All living creatures have four essential characteristics. These four are:

  1. Identity
  2. Autonomy
  3. Competency
  4. Interconnectedness with all other living beings

But when we are depressed we gradually begin to feel that we really have no identity. We believe that there is nothing about me that is good. I feel worthless, unacceptable to myself and others. I think of myself as a depressive. I am always depressed. That its my identity. But much like the alcoholic, overeater, we are more than our label as a depressive. We have confined ourselves into a corner feeling that I have nothing to give. So many of us depended on our roles in life, the job that we went to every day, a parent now left with an empty nest. All these changes created a formidable challenge and vacuum in our lives. All losses in our lives have a great impact on who we are as living creatures.

Because of depressive thinking, our behavior and thinking has caused us to isolate, to feel abandoned. Because of continually trying to figure out why we are depressed, (paralysis of analysis) this faulty thinking has sapped us of our energy, so that we are no longer able to get out of bed in the morning… go to work, meet with friends or family. We no longer have the motivation to act on our own behalf. We know that our autonomy is what enables us to do one thing or the other. We are individuals at the same time part of the human community. Our own autonomy is now so frozen and lacking any motivation that we are even feeling unable to make any sort of decision.

Our level of feeling and having a competency is gone. We feel useless and weak. We are purposeless and find no meaning in our lives. What once used to keep us alive and motivated–such experiences as losing a job, a divorce, a death of a loved one, retirement and other lost roles and relationships gradually diminish our ability to function with a hope for a brighter future.

And finally interconnectedness is life. All life on this earth interconnected. Our life support system is other living creatures. We are a veritable web of living organisms. What keeps all of us alive is this relationship with each other, and the mutuality and synergism of the whole tribe, clan, family, all alive because of those members who make up each dynamic group.

Finally, from a depressed person’s perspective, all these characteristics provided for us by the Life Model also serve as areas of concern when we begin to look more closely at our own lives.

We see how we have gradually lost our identity, no longer able to get motivated because of lack or a real or perceived loss of having any competencies or meaningful roles to play in our communities and families. Because of the growing inability to make any decisions which stymies any desire or motivation to act in our own behalf, sabotages our efforts to be self directing and autonomous.

Because of our isolation and feelings of meaningless for where we are now, our sense of being part of any purposeful relationships, is nil. The more we cut off our interconnectedness with others, not only do our social skills begin to wither, but the meaning that life provides by its connectedness becomes less and less available.

So, what can you and I do if depressed, as most, if not all of these life situations can be a positive for us if we begin to look for a community which can give us support, fellowship and acceptance. It’s my sincere belief that a 12 step Support group for any of us can give us the direction and the hope that each of us are looking for as members of the human community.

What do you think?

Hugh

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