Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: I have been reading your articles, and what you write really hits home with me. I have been trying to change my thought process to reflect more of me and positive thoughts. Negative thoughts do come, but I want to push them aside and not pay them any mind. I want to live in the moment, listen to what my body and feelings are telling me. Realizing that I am my own happiness—I create that—it is within me. I am doing okay, but I have a problem at times dealing with moments of depression. I am not on medication and don't want to be. But I know I can push through the insecurities and loneliness and make my own reality. What is a good first step to change my doubts and remove them? How do I know I am really going to be okay? Thank you for any advice or help you can give me. Also thank you for what you are doing—your writings and advice reach out and help so many of us who want to help ourselves.
— Jean F., Chesapeake, Virginia
When someone says, "I'm depressed," usually a reason follows, but your letter is quite guarded. You only reveal that you struggle with negative thoughts and want reassurance that you will be okay—this implies a state of insecurity, self-doubt and feeling unsafe. Why do you fear you won't be okay?
The answer to that lies within you, so the first step is to look at yourself closely in the mirror and find an answer you can trust. For example:
I'm stuck in a bad situation.
Someone else is controlling me.
I feel powerless to change my circumstances.
I feel like a victim.
I feel that I will never succeed.
I am in drastic lack.
I have had mood difficulties for a long time but can't seem to figure out why.
These aren't ready-made answers. I don't want you to suddenly apply them to yourself. But if any do apply, they indicate a way out.
Bad circumstances and situations that make you feel trapped can be changed. If you have to, you should walk away until you land somewhere safer.
If someone else is controlling your life, you need to reclaim it for yourself.
If you feel like a failure or hopeless, you need to address issues of self-esteem.
If your moods turn negative for no reason you can find, a doctor's care is indicated.
The tendency with depression, because it makes you feel helpless and hopeless, is to cloud the truth, which is that a way out exists. I am not so sure you are depressed. My sense is that you feel insecure and controlled for reasons you haven't disclosed. Perhaps you don't feel secure enough even to divulge the problem in a letter?