Purpose in life & depression

by Lloyd
(Perth, Australia)

Hi Merri Ellen,

I have been suffering from depression for several years doctors have prescribed it as a social phobia, I have recently started to use natural medications via a naturopath, well have to wait and see what happens.

My real question is I'm really struggling to find my purpose in life as it has been so long since I have enjoyed myself or undertaken any work that has been rewarding, is there a direct correlation to feeling unsatisfied with life whilst depressed.

Any insights would be gratefully received.

All the best


Hi Lloyd,

Thanks for your email. I would have to say that for me, my big bout of depression was exactly because the purpose I had in my life (my job) was taken from me. I had incorrectly put my purpose in my job. I had to learn that my value is not found in what I do. I always gifts and skills and it is doing those things to help others whether I am employed or volunteering is what gives me a sense of purpose.

I absolutely love it when I hear 90 year olds who still volunteer because they find joy in helping others even if it is just listening to others. I know of seniors who could be retired but they counsel others via the internet on powertochange.com because they care more about putting others first. They have adopted this as their purpose.

Finding purpose does indeed help to cure depression. How do you find your purpose? You can start by remembering what you loved to do when you were a kid. Then ask yourself if that can be applied to volunteering somewhere to try it out. You may be surprised!

For example, a few years ago I began volunteering leading kids in games at a kids club because I have always been an athlete and love to run and play. I love the laughter from the kids when they're playing and it rubs off on me!

So take some time to write down a list of things you have loved doing in the past and start there.

But, it doesn't stop there. One author writes...

"Self-help books usually offer the same predictable steps to finding your life’s purpose: Consider your dreams. Figure out what you are good at. Clarify your values. Set some goals. Aim high. Believe you can achieve it. Be disciplined. Never give up.

Of course, these recommendations are all good and often lead to great success. You can usually succeed in reaching a goal if you put your mind to it. But being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same issue! You could reach all your personal goals, becoming a raving success by the world’s standard, and still miss the purposes for which God created you. You need more than self-help advice."

Here's the full report (Right click and save to your desktop).


Merri Ellen

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