Unexpected Insight of Feeling Depressed
It’s a funny thing, depression.
Traditionally associated with closed curtains and dark holes, there is a brighter side to this condition that deserves some light be shed. To begin with, if we regarded depression as a normal part of life rather than as something that isn’t supposed to be happening it might not even exist as such. If we were to welcome it the way we would a state of contentment or relaxation we might experience depression as an opportunity for deep rest, as some have offered, or a rare chance to get really close to ourselves.
In most modern-day Western lives there’s plenty of venturing out, extending ourselves and a general being all over the place with no shortage of activities. What we don’t often get are moments of turning inward, checking in with ourselves to contemplate, relax and refresh. Most of us are aware that retreat is just as much a part of life as going out into the world and blossoming. We only need to take a look at the natural world around us in order to get a clue on that one. Hibernation, cocooning and flowers taking a break from displaying their beauty to the world all show us how to balance productivity with repose.
However, we humans always find plenty of reasons not to adhere to the call of silence. This may be in part because our society is too noisy for us to hear it. Or perhaps our restless minds are too overbearing for us to notice its gentle whispers. And then of course there are all those other people to keep happy and all sorts of opinions to comply with that it’s hardly surprising we lose touch with ourselves here and there.
But then, suddenly, there’s a little speck of hope glimmering on the horizon. At tremendous speeds it comes flying in out of nowhere. It’s got us on its radar and its aim is to sweep us off our feet. It does this not in the time-honored flowers-and-chocolate sort of way but rather, when it hits us it knocks us right on our ass.
After all our flitting about we have finally landed and there is something very heavy sitting on us to keep us firmly in place. And no matter how much we scream and push at this inhibiting force it will not move until we relent and allow time for all the parts of us we’ve scattered around to join us where we are. At least until then we are thoroughly paralyzed. Perhaps we still feel as though we should be doing something useful with ourselves. And we would, of course, it’s just that we can’t.
What a shame that it can take us so long, a lifetime even, to surrender to being in the position we’re in. Because once we do, it doesn’t actually have to be that bad.Or maybe it’s bad to the point that it’s good.
Our new condition can make us feel there is nothing left to hold onto, nothing to strive for, nothing to hope for, nothing to live for. And if we somehow get to the place where our despair allows us to completely let go we may discover something. When there’s nothing left inside us to support ourselves, life unconditionally does.
Our giving up, or our surrender, has opened us up to a sense of being carried beyond what we ever realized. And we arrive in a place where we actually feel allowed to rest. No demands, just as it comes, just as we are.
The advantage of pulling back from the world to the degree that we have is that we return to a place where we can find our entire self. At some point we were split into a million pieces and were faced with trying to love the small bits we were still in touch with. Thinking that was all there was to us. But now we can experience ourselves in full.
This is of course includes the parts that hurt almost too much to take them along for the ride. The parts we’ve denied or lost access to at some point. Inevitably those same parts have played a role in calling depression in to get a firm grip on things until we loosen our own. And that is where the beauty lies. Depression has lovingly immobilized us so that we can recover the parts of us that belong to a full life experience.
And now that we’ve stopped kicking our feet and flapping our arms trying to get up we may notice the look of compassion that shows behind its furrowed brow. Perhaps then they extend out a hand to lift us onto our feet. Or maybe they sit on us a while longer. But our experience of it has changed. We’ve adopted some of depression’s compassion for us. And we’re starting to realize the value in this opportunity to review some aspects of our lives. And after they leave, if our new companion sees a reason to visit us again, we might feel strong enough not to try and kick them out the door. We simply sit down and have a cup of tea with them.
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