Depression is the worst. And when you’re in the midst of it, it feels like it will never end. But it does. It always does. They say to write about what you know. And I know depression. I imagine you do too. We are supposedly more connected than ever before, yet most of us have never felt more isolated. And it is connection which feeds the human spirit and makes us come alive; connection to one another and to the wider world of which we are a part.
At its core, depression is a feeling of disconnection, of numbness. It is deeply personal and yet totally universal. While each of us experiences it in ways that are unique, it is an ache that many of us know all too well. The hardest part for many of us is the unbearable sense of separateness that we experience. It is a separateness that alienates us, not only from the world around us, but from ourselves. When we are in this place, it can feel impossible to pull ourselves out. But it won’t last forever, I promise. And there are many thing we can do to shift our mood and our mindset for both the brighter and the better.
Grief is normal; it is healthy. It is an essential basic emotion, and it is every bit as valuable as joy, if not more so. If you live on Earth and you are paying attention right now, there is so much to grieve. It can feel endless. But grief is the medicine for grief. And while many narratives within Western culture encourage us to simply suppress the very real needs which often underly this painful state of being, our hearts truly are big enough to hold it all, the grief and beauty which both exist within each of us. When we will not allow ourselves to feel whatever emotions are flowing through us we become numb, not only to those emotions we wish to insulate ourselves from, but to all sensation.
Emotion is an expression of our vitality and when any powerful force is suppressed, imbalance and stagnation often occur. The experience of depression is a message from our very souls that this is happening within us. It is an indication that some essential part of who we are is longing for more; more freedom, more play, more nourishment, more care. When we listen and respond to the messages that we receive we can begin to step back into a relationship of trust with our bodies and our selves, allowing our energies to move freely through us once more.
So below is a guide which I wrote to help myself, and which I hope will help you, or someone you love. Because we are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by this life, or by the deep pain we see around us. And this sensitivity is a gift. It is a guide for cultivating resilience within your own inner ecosystem. Because the world needs you right now. It needs you to feel and to come alive, more than ever before. Complacency and depression are difficult to resist in an era when our nervous systems are overwhelmed by seemingly endless news of political and environmental collapse. We must remember that we too are a part of the world - the living body of the earth. And if we neglect to care for ourselves, then what chance do we really stand of tending to the outer world in any meaningful way?