For most of us life is safe. We live nice and cosy lives, where all that has even a hint of danger is cleaned, clipped, sprayed, or sterilised. We have become comfortable, maybe too much for our own good.
I too, am a child of the progress, and although the low-fat, pre-cooked, danger-free life sometimes really gets me, I am grateful for the peace and safety that it offers, at least externally.
Alas, darkness ever stalks the human race, and its malice is revealed not only when the enemy rushes upon our walls but, as is often the case in our world, when the enemy is within those walls.
The grey cloud of gloom is one such enemy.
Although many of us suffer, or have suffered from depression, and despite all the information that now exists about it, it remains an enemy, almost impossible to entirely defeat. Some of the symptoms of depression are, according to the NHS, lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and complaining of various aches and pains.
In some of his books, author Gordon Dalbey states that depression is the opposite of expression. That is, if you have been ‘de-pressing’ something, down in the depths of your inner being, you may end up feeling depressed. According to my experience, and that of others around me, this is true. Often, that which we are depressing is a strong emotion, the most common, in my experience, being anger toward those who shared our childhood. The tiredness which I felt for most of my life did, indeed, turn out to be real and valid exhaustion – after all, as Dalbey says, it takes a lot of energy to constantly push down, and depress old childhood emotions which, though rooted in the past, are as valid and real as those in the present. Thus, along with tiredness, other symptoms can be truncated sleep, deep-seated anxiety, and the deep sadness which, as was the case in my life, drapes itself over us even during the brightest of moments. Yes, this is my story, too. We men are especially good at suppression our emotions, and the suicide rates prove it.
When the heart, that deepest inner self, born and made for freedom and fearless expression of itself to the world, is depressed, it is forced to sink into dark depths where it belongs as much as the Queen of England belongs in the squalid slums.
Think of it – how much freer and happier you would be, and how much you would have contributed to the world if it wasn`t for your depression, that lifelessness, the gray cloud, ever hanging over your immortal soul? How much happier those around you will be if the cloud lifted, never to return? And what will you be able to finally do, when it is gone?
The world needs you.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Howard Thurman was right. Being fully alive is not impossible to achieve. Hard, painful – maybe, but not impossible. Healing can come. And I think that, although medications are important, and in fact needed, they cannot deal with the root cause of depression, and therefore, fail to provide lasting solution. If they did, they would not be needed on a daily basis, for periods of years, even decades. Yes, we should take them, and indeed, take more seriously the life-preserving help they offer, but not look to them for the restoration our heart needs. It is there, in our heart, where we must look, and ask ourselves those questions which we have avoided all our life. They will hurt, wound us, and cut deep into our being and bleed us dry…but it is by this bleeding, that the poison will begin to seep out of our soul. That which was forged in pain, can only be re-forged through pain. Along the way, we will face hardships and many enemies. They will whisper to us that all this was long ago, or that it did not matter, or even that we somehow deserved our fate. I use the word ‘enemies’ for a reason. We must overcome them.
That which has been depressed, must be expressed.
Go, and may your pain open the floodgates of joy.