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The “Other” Depression

Have you tried anti-depressants and had no results?  Perhaps you have tried many different types of medications, seen a therapist or counsellor, and nothing seems to help?  It is possible you have the “other” depression. It is not a medical issue or a clinical depression in the purely physical or psychological sense; it is what I call a “creative depression”.

When there is a creative flow there is lots of energy!  We are charged. There is vitality and all seems possible.  Depression is just the opposite: we feel heavy, bone-chilling exhaustion.  There is anxiety, hopelessness and complete despair.

We want to find joy, to be with others, we want to feel connected but the depression says “no, stay unconscious, go back to sleep where it is safe.”

Having worked for years with people who have suffered from depression and having lived through one of my own that lasted many, many years, I’ve come to understand that depression can be a gift.  It tells us that something new wants to be created within so we can be in the world and live out our lives in a new way. I’m not talking about an outside creation but an inner one. We can no longer go on living as less than who we truly are.

Many spiritual seekers are only too familiar with a creative depression.  It is often known as the “dark night of the soul”.

If you’ve ever watched a rocket launch then you have seen an image of what goes on in the psyche when a change is needed.  Before lift off, there is a long time while the fuel burns as it builds the power and energy to hurl the rocket into space.  It’s necessary! NASA can’t just send something out into orbit without a huge build up of potential power.

It’s the same with our own inner world.   We can’t just decide to be different and bim, bam , boom there it is!  We all know how difficult it is to really change and transform. There are so many ways we want our life to be different but no matter how many self-help books we read and no matter how much we understand and want the change, it just doesn’t happen easily.

Like the rocket, our psyche has to build the energy.  While it builds and until it moves, we experience it as depression.  The more energy there is, the deeper the depression. A creative factor is underground and has constellated below, attracting the inner energy.  But the energy has nowhere to go.

Just as NASA can abort the rocket mission and dissipate all that rocket fuel energy, we often “abort” our own inner mission. We all know of someone who wants to live a much fuller life, more true to who they are but who can’t seem to manage to get out of the situation they feel stuck in.  There is always a reason, a justification of why they can’t do/be what they really want. If the psyche is seeking a true change, the build up can be very painful and that’s when some people “abort the mission” with drugs or alcohol or sex or food. Anything to shove it back down and make it more bearable.

 Meanwhile, if you are struggling with a deep depression and are feeling like there is no way out, know that there is.  If I can do it, so can you. But it takes more than medication. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all go away.  Take heart knowing the depression has a purpose.

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