Become a Patient                         Dr Hedaya’s Recent Publication

Control, Helplessness, Spirituality

I want to briefly address control, helplessness and spirituality.
Depression is thought of as a state of ‘Learned Helplessness’ (Martin Seligman).  Generally speaking, we strive to have control over the things that we deem are essential to our self-esteem: power, achievement, money etc.

When we perceive that we have lost hope of controlling these things—i.e., we are helpless in controlling them, most of us slide towards depression. The issue, which is not often addressed by professionals, is the fact that there is an embedded assumption here.  It is an assumption fostered by our culture and the psychological field.  The hidden assumption is that we can/do/should have control over these things, when in reality, these things are in significant measure dictated by many circumstances and situations outside of our control.

If you just think about it-did you get to where you are in life without parents, friends, natural endowment? Isn’t your ability to maintain your function contingent on all the people around you functioning in a reasonably consistent and reliable manner?  Even the most successful of us can lose our status overnight and, the most fit can lose their health in an instant.  The only thing under our control ultimately is our attitude and the choices we make.

Gratitude—a great attitude—is essential. If I could wish for one thing for everyone, it would be a great attitude. With that, you can adapt to nearly anything in life.  A great attitude is far better than a fat bank account.  Engage in whatever it takes for you to develop the skill of maintaining a great attitude.  Do what is meaningful to you; what you “lose” yourself in.  Affiliate with people who have great attitudes and characteristics you wish to cultivate.  It is in community, not in isolation, that you get to know our true nature, and more quickly heal psychologically and physiologically.  And, lastly, accept what you cannot change, but do change the what you can.