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Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: After an emotionally abusive childhood, I am still trying to find happiness. I have been diagnosed with dysthymia. I call it a low-grade depression. I do not find anything enjoyable, other than eating, lying in bed, watching TV and sleeping. When I look back on my childhood, these are the only things I found comfort in then as well. How do I break that cycle? I have tried other things for fun, but nothing feels as good as eating, lying in bed or sleeping. I have tried many different antidepressants and therapy. Please give me some insight as to how I can change. I am not a "whiner" and usually just go with the flow, but this is getting very old, and I don't have forever to get some enjoyment from this life.
— Gloria D., Louisville, Kentucky
Thank you for writing such a candid letter. I can assure you that most readers disapprove. They don't see you as a whiner but as a layabout who enjoys a life of total leisure. I half suspect that you see yourself that way, but it doesn't matter. The relevant part of your letter is the sentence where you say your current way of life is "getting old." This implies you are entertaining the idea of exchanging passivity for action.
At the moment, you are comfortable with your diagnosis. Being abused and depressed fits who you are right now. If you want to move on, you must become different from who you are at this point. Realize you are much more than a collection of disorders and diagnoses. You are an open book, and anything can be written on the next page. But a great obstacle stands in your way: habit, reinforced by inertia. You have spent your whole life inside a small cage bounded by eating, sleeping and watching television.
To break out of this cage, obviously you have to do new things. Here's what I advise.
Every week, Deepak will be answering questions from readers just like you—ask your question now!
Deepak Chopra is the author of more than 50 books on health, success, relationships and spirituality, including his current best-seller, Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul, and The Ultimate Happiness Prescription, which are available now. You can listen to his show on Saturdays every week on SiriusXM Channels 102 and 155.
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Published on June 02, 2010