Depression is still the Great Enemy. More personal energy is expended in manic defenses against, diversions from, and denials of it than goes into other supposed psychopathological threats to society: psychopathic criminality, schizoid breakdown, addictions. As long as we are caught in cycles of hoping against despair, each productive of the other, as long as our actions in regard to depression are resurrective, implying that being down and staying down is sin, we remain Christian in psychology.
Yet through depression we enter depths and in depth find soul. Depression is essential to the tragic sense of life. It moistens the dry soul, and dries the wet. It brings refuge, limitation, focus, gravity, weight, and humble powerlessness. It reminds of death. The true revolution begins in the individual who can be true to his or her depression. Neither jerking oneself out of it, caught in cycles of hope and despair, nor suffering through it till it turns, nor theologizing it — but discovering the consciousness and depths it wants. So begins the revolution on behalf of soul.”[iii]
Sadly,(*) I have outed myself and my depression. Depression and all of society’s denials of it and refusal to believe its validity brought me to this place where you’re reading my words. My mind would not even entertain the idea of me, yes me, having depression! Weak people have it. You see, my shame wants to hide this. I am not supposed to show you my “weakness,” because when I do you will ostracize me.
Honestly, my depression is no less a gift than my sobriety. It has forced me to look into my own soul and see what is really real for me. There is a lyric that goes, “I’ve lost everything I’ve ever loved or feared,”[iv] that I used in an e-mail to a bunch of my friends a while back to explain what depression has done for me. Those who know me know what my losses are. But this blog is not about my loss in the outer world. It is about the times of struggle and beauty of working through the underlying causes for my dis-ease. It is about the joy of being whole for those moments that are happening more than they ever did, which then put the times of absolute emptiness into perspective.
[i]Ralph Waldo Emerson. [iii] James Hillman[iv] Bruce Springsteen Growin Up.(*) I normally write with voice activated software and I just stream of conscious speak for the most part. That was the word that came out of my mind.