Where does depression come from? Is it in any way positive? In the following letter the Rebbe addresses a student who was going through difficult times that it’s all in the mind, and in that the mind can change more easily than we think. Included is a newly released photo, courtesy of the Rebbe Archive.
By the Grace of G-d
27th of Teveth,
27th of Teveth,
5721 Brooklyn, NY
Mr. ----- 5265 Park Avenue Montreal 8, Que.
Greeting and Blessing:
I received your letter and enclosures.
It is explained in many places in Chasidus, beginning with the Tanya, about the negative aspects of all forms of sadness, depression, despondency, etc. It is also clear from experience that these attitudes belong to the bag of tricks of the Yetzer Hora in order to distract the Jew from serving G-d. To achieve this end the Yetzer Hora sometimes even clothes itself in the mantle of piety.
The true test, however, is what the results are, whether these attitudes bring about an improvement in, and a fuller measure of Torah and Mitzvos, or the reverse. This should be easy to determine.
On the other hand we have been assured that “He who is determined to purify himself receives Divine help.” The road to purity and holiness, however, is one that should be trodden step by step, and by gradual and steady advancement.
Needless to say, the idea of your continuing at the Yeshivah for some time is the right one. As for the question how and what to write to your parents, I suggest that you consult with Rabbi Joseph Weinberg, who knows them personally, and who could give you some useful suggestions.
Hoping to hear good news from you in all above,