Depression is a killer, literally. I've worked for years to both understand my own depression and the depression of others, trying to understand the nature of the beast and the many causes that giveit birth.
I used to think it was the separation from other people, the inability to feel close, trust, or allow myself the freedom to enjoy other people in my life which gave rise to it. Depression isn't that simple, though. What ever it is, it is a complex set of circumstantial energies reflected in the energy of the person who is experiencing it. I believe that's why modern psychology grapples with it so ineffectively, and ultimately resorts to simply drugging out the people who suffer with it.
People who do not have to deal with depression personally simply don't understand it; and, those who do have it feel guilty about being depressed. One of my favorite statements is, "You could feel better if you just wanted to." This is much like telling a short person, "You could be tall if you just wanted to". And so, the people with depression are left to wander the dark hallways of their souls, searching for light, any light, to chase away the shadows in their minds.
One of my favorite statements is, "You could feel better if you just wanted to." This is much like telling a short person, "You could be tall if you just wanted to."
I should first explain how I see depression, my own dealings with it, and the methods I've used. How the recapitulation affects or combats depression should become obvious once you understand its roots in human energy.
Whenever I see depression in a person's energy, I look for several things, the first of which are childhood issues. Most adult depression lies firmly rooted in their formative years, and its different for each individual. Adults who knew me as a child will describe me as having been 'solemn'. Someone said her second grade teacher described her as having a black cloud over her head. These are typical descriptions of some children who later in life suffer with depression.
Infants don't start out suffering episodes of depression, so the child of six or seven who is showing signs of depressive mood swings has already been through something that is leading them down the road to major adult depressions. I almost always find that adults have tried to bend a child against his or her nature. Or, emotionally dysfunctional parents set up patterns in a child's life that will forever haunt them. Some children become this way simply because of their way of perceiving the world and the people around them. How close to birth can any of these factors be? Pretty darn close, actually.
The onset of patterns in an adult that lead to major depression are different and appear differently in a person's energy. Oddly, it lies further out from the core of their energy and is usually easier to get at when talking about alleviating it. The major cause that I see - and this might surprise you - is the issue of unfulfilled expectation. Person A grows up, has a basically sound childhood, but then finds that his expectations of life are frustrated, cut off. Careers don't materialize, living standards shift, relationships seem hard to hold or initiate. Soon, he feels trapped in a box he can never get out of.
Most adult depression lies firmly rooted in their formative years, and its different for each individual.
Depression begins, usually preceded by, or accompanied by, self-destructive behavior patterns. These usually seem to take the form of addictions to one thing or another: drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, spending money, sex. The list goes on. Many people see those outward expressions as causal factors in creating the depression once it has bloomed, but from what I have seen in people, it's the other way around. You have the depression, then the destructive behavior(s), then full blown depressive episodes. Other things create depression in adults as well.
Person A grows up, has a basically sound childhood, but then finds that his expectations of life are frustrated, cut off. Careers don't materialize, living standards shift, relationships seem hard to hold or initiate. Soon, he feels trapped in a box he can never get out of.
As far as my own history, I always was a moody bastard. But, real depression didn't start until I was in my thirties. I lost a house I had under construction to a tornado; the contractor had neglected to get construction insurance. I lost my job of seven years, and I was forced to move into the basement of my parent's home with my wife and daughter. This all occurred in the space of one week. But this didn't cause the depression. The real problem happened when my now ex-wife went off on me one day about "all this crazy stuff," and she didn't want to hear "anything more about it - ever". I thought it over and decided she was right. All that work and still never saw this coming, well, part of it anyway. So, I quit the shaman biz.
My most intense desire at the time was to be 'normal'. I started my own little business, got a store open, moved out of my parents' basement, etc. Something wasn't quite right, though. Within a couple of years I noticed I was suffering more and more severe depressions, often to the point that I couldn't get out of a chair. Soon, the business suffered, and I eventually had to close it. But hey, I was 'normal'.
After any number of those white knuckle depressions where the only thing that keeps you from killing yourself is you don't have a rope or gun handy, I decided it was time to try and do something about all this depression. An interesting side-note about depression and suicide: people often say out loud that they just can't imagine what would drive someone to suicide; well, I can. It isn't a decision that is made like what to order at the drive through. You're sitting there going further and further down into hell, when something clicks over in your brain and the decision is made for you. It is as though another person takes over, someone else in your brain, who doesn't question why, or who, but only what can you use to do it. Your death has become a forgone conclusion. Yes, your brain IS trying to kill you.
I suppose, in a way, I became hollow; and yet, by being hollow and without that attachment to my emotions, I learned compassion from a different perspective.
At the urging of my wife, who I think in retrospect really wanted a 'normal' person to start with for a mate, I trundled off to my doctor. Nice guy, just not a shrink. And so, I entered Prozac hell. Over the next few years, I went through, either in combination or singly, Prozac, Elavil, Zoloft, Placidil, several others, and then finally the biggie, Paxil. Because none of them seemed to work on the depression, he had me taking each of them right at overdose level. I knew I was in trouble when one day I stopped to pump gas at a place I had pumped gas at a hundred times before and couldn't get the pump to work. Someone had to come out from inside and turn it on for me. What fun! My wife shocked me one day by saying, "You know, I think you need to pay attention to the other side of yourself, maybe it will help". I realized then, in one of those little mini-epiphanies, that I couldn't ignore who I was, because whatever "IT" was, it intended to kill me for ignoring it. I turned back around to face myself, and - poof - no more depression. At least, no more of the depressions that kept me from functioning. I'm still a moody bastard. :)
What I learned about depression was that it could be moved apart from yourself and held at arms length for examination. I learned I could detach from it, hold it in my energy, and see it for what it was. I could indulge in it, or not, depending on what I needed to do, and I had to accept that there actually was a fundamental choice to do either.
What I learned about depression was that it could be moved apart from yourself and held at arms length for examination.
I saw that detachment was what I had learned to do with every other human emotion, to detach, hold at arms length and use it when appropriate or not. I think it was the depression, in other words, that taught me how to be detached. I saw how to be detached from grief, love, anger and self-pity. I suppose, in a way, I became hollow; and yet, by being hollow and without that attachment to my emotions, I learned compassion from a different perspective.
I came to understand that self-pity lay at the heart of all depression - the idea that somehow you deserve better, that nature and circumstance should treat you with more kindness, that life just isn't fair. It isn't, of course, but it's nothing personal. The fact of the matter was that I didn't deserve anything just by virtue of being alive, and as hard as it was, I came to understand that the universe, by it's very nature, doesn't owe me squat.