Kierkegaard succeed in “turning a somersault” over his “melancholy” (what they called “depression” in his day). The “cure” was purpose, in his case — writing — that made the day-to-day grind of life more tolerable and livable for others. Paradoxically, that made his own life more tolerable and livable.
The bottom line: Help for others = help for self.  The end goal for purpose isn’t helping EITHER yourself OR others – but purpose-process holds a respectable Greater Purpose byproduct one might call, “enlightened self-interest” — BOTH you AND others attain and sustain the benefits.

Here’s how he described it:

“I have conceived of myself as intent upon standing up for the Ordinary — in a bungled and demoralized age — and making it lovable and accessible to all those of my fellow-creatures who are capable of realizing it, but who are led astray by the times and who chase after the Un-Common, the Extra-Ordinary. I have understood my task to be like that of a person who himself has become unhappy and therefore — if he loves human beings — particularly desires to help others who are capable of realizing happiness…

But… in all humility to do something good to make up for my shortcomings, I have been especially vigilant that my efforts should not be tainted with self-seeking vanity and, above all, that I served Thought and Truth in such a way as not to derive any secular and temporal advantages therefrom. Therefore I know, in all good conscience, that I have worked with true resignation … Like Scheherazade who saved her life by telling fairy tales, so I save my life or keep myself alive by writing.”

Anyone, therefore, might have something to gain by finding some helping purpose for others. For those who may experience the kind of deep suffering in life that becomes debilitating — purpose may serve as a form of cure. Or, perhaps one of several in a curative regimen.

From time to time I find myself in bouts of melancholy. The easy ones are the ones that are self-imposed. The harder ones are seeing the oppression and cruelty that we exhibit toward each other. The purpose I chose (or that chose me, depending on your perspective) is advancing Polarity Thinking that helps me and others in three key ways:

  1.  Explaining/understanding (while not condoning) how we can be so cruel to each other;
  2. Seeing one another more completely, which supports opening (or reopening) the path to love; and,
  3. Reducing future oppression and cruelty.