Dr. Ardeshir Mehran

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DEPRESSION IS NOT A DISEASE. IT’S FUEL.

Recently, I was a guest speaker at the METAL Men Global Community. Members are leading entrepreneurs, founders, celebrities, innovators, and leaders in various industries. The following is a recap of my talk, written by Written by Adam Gilad.

 

Dr. Ardeshir Mehran is fighting to replace antidepressants with these 7 practices.

“We are not depressed,” says groundbreaking psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Ardeshir Mehran. “We are unfinished! We are simply unfinished with respect to our emotional ne

eds and personal fulfillment.”

In fact, he insists, the common culture has it backwards. We don’t suffer from a lack of fulfillment in our lives because we are anxious or depressed, we are depressed because we are not exer

cising and strengthening our “fulfillment muscle.”

“Once you reverse the causality,” he explains, “feeling down or nervous becomes the best fuel to motivate us to build that muscle.”

Depression, then, is the symptom, not the cause. After 35 years of clinical practice and work at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, he realized that depressed people — doctors and psychologists included – “literally tell a different story. If you listen to the stories, it’s not the story of illness, but the story of a lost soul, a broken heart.”

To cultivate genuine fulfillment and break the downward cycle, Dr. Mehran has dev

eloped seven key practices to mend one’s heart,

building on what he calls every human being’s “Bill of Emotional Rights.”

“When you activate these seven,” he says, “you wake up one day and realize that you’re not depressed anymore. Instead, you are pissed at all the wasted time! And you’re impatient and excited to keep working these practices.”

THE 7 PILLARS OF YOUR EMOTIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS

To get started, Mehran prescribes affirmations which establish the key seven pillars of emotional health:

1: I BELONG. I have deep connections, affection, and feel safe, with love both shared and received.

A recent Harvard study showed up to 50% of CEOs report feeling lonely, and men are particularly vulnerable to loneliness. “We are brought up to achieve and create, but not to connect. This goes beyond our primary relationship. Unless we work to connect authentically with others, we begin to detach from the world and drift.”

2: I AM COMPLETE. My being is untethered from past challenges, hurt, and trauma.

“I’ve seen this so much. People live lives of regret, shame and guilt. They are owned by the past,” Mehran says, “and it’s like a strangling anchor pulling us backwards, out of the moment. We need to own who we are, right here, right now, free of the past, available to engage the world as a whole being, wholly present.”

3: I AM BOUNDLESS. I am physically active, with body agency, engaged and aligned with nature. I listen to the wisdom of my body.

“We literally think with our entire body, but most men can’t hear it. We are not attuned to our physical being in space, nor our presence in the moment. We don’t even know what our bodies are telling us. Our bodies are an afterthought — and so we feel alienated from our own selves and therefore cut off, limited.”

4: I MATTER. I am seen, valued, dignified, respected, and appreciated.

We feel fulfilled when we are seen for our core dignity and honor of simply being a human among humans. Free of status. Free of position or rank. “We need to look into each other’s eyes no matter our titles or wealth,” Mehran urges. “There are a lot of people feeling invisible around us and it’s a tragic story. In fact, almost every mass shooter talks about having felt invisible. Through their act of violence, they are making a declaration: ‘Hey! I exist!’ Greet people fully. Feel them. Offer respect and connection.”

5: I MAKE. I contribute in ways that reflect my potency and impact, and make my mark in this world.

Two-thirds of Americans report feeling disengaged from their work. “And when you’re disengaged,” says Mehran, “you get a higher rate of depression and anxiety. Sure you work to make money, but is that your gift? If not, you numb out, and are likely to spiral down.”

6: I AM. I speak with my true voice, values, and convictions, courageously expressing myself.

If you don’t express your true self, something in you dies. “Everybody has a story. Everybody has a voice. But too many people play it safe. They step back, defer, appease and please, trying to get along.” To build the right muscle, Mehran counsels, “own who you are. Own your backbone. Tell people what you believe. State your wants and needs cleanly. And depending on whether others can handle it, your attitude should be “stay or go away.”

7: I SOAR. I step into my life’s calling and purpose, and abundant growth.

Mehran quotes Maya Angelou who, he claims, says it perfectly: “there’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” In fact, that quote hangs above his home desk. Mehran has worked with countless terminal patients who offer regrets about what they wished they had done with their lives. “There are 8 billion people on this Earth, and therefore 8 billion stories. What is your story? When we don’t own our unique story, our journey, we not only lose our standing among men and women, we lose our soul.”

HEALER, HEAL THYSELF

When you are not honoring, noticing, applying, and living even two or three of these seven practices, Mehran says, you will predictably feel depressed.

And he should know…

The prescriptions offered in his book You are Not Depressed. You are Un-finished are not just conclusions from his years of practice and research. They are highly personal. Despite his academic achievements and prestige consulting and leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies, overcoming depression has been a long, inner journey for Dr. Mehran.

From childhood, he was seen as a role model, a star performer, and the life of the party. Yet, privately, he felt helpless, depressed, lonely and grew disillusioned with how the medical world was handling — or rather, not handling – depression. “I was a healer who could not heal himself.”

Things only shifted for Dr. Mehran when he changed his focus from “how” to heal his depression to “what” depression is in the first place. The seven pillars of emotional health slowly came into light. Suddenly, he says, everything made sense.

EMOTIONAL BILL OF RIGHTS

Our Emotional Bill of Rights, he says, is a biological need. “We are designed to experience them even before parents, teachers, bosses, politicians or society start to shape us. We can use them at work, but also to raise our kids.”

Dr. Mehran’s message, ultimately, is one of hope.

YOU ARE NOT BROKEN

“The message I want to give is that with these practices, you will learn to go from managing symptoms of depression to living a life of fulfillment, boldness, and courage. You will no longer feel depressed, but instead, energized and resolute. You won’t want to waste time playing small. You will feel bigger, more focused, and hopeful. You will begin creating the life you’ve desired for so long. You are not broken, my friend. You just have work to do!”