Have you ever gotten hopelessly lost while driving home? It’s much too dark and scary to stop to ask for directions. You know you are terribly lost. You realize that you are driving around in circles, getting nowhere. Yet, for the life of you, you can’t remember the way home. That’s how depression is for me.
Depression has been a gigantic force in my life and soul evolution. Some depressions can be a few hours, days or weeks of feeling "blue." My depression has been months of seemingly endless, hopeless entombment in a cocoon that feels like a coffin. I am bereft of joy, light, sound and love. Trapped in this cocoon with me is an incessant thundering judge who perpetually convicts me of my character flaws and personal failures. I can remember the thorns, but not the roses. I am shut off from everyday joys and pleasures. My food tastes like cardboard. Music is flat and toneless. Sexuality is hopelessly lost forever. Passion is but a faint memory. I feel frozen in mucky mercury. I have forgotten how to laugh or that there is anything funny to laugh about. All I see is tragedy, misery and hopelessness. The prospect of my physical death seems like a blessed relief.
My friends and family always know when I answer the phone if I am depressed. My voice is flat and colorless. My talkative personality has been kidnapped and replaced by a zombie with zero charm.
When living in depression, I can write affirmations until my hand cramps, yet my mood remains ugly. I have fallen off the cliff too far to be rescued by mere sweet words of possibility.
Night on the town
Once, while suffering from depression, my women friends persuaded me to accompany them to a movie and a restaurant. Though I felt I could not afford to go financially, emotionally or physically, their loving siren song won over my lethargy. Many of them were healers. I had no idea what movie we were going to see or what it was about. No doubt they had told me. But when I am depressed, I do not listen well and my memory is fleeting.
In the darkened theater, I discovered that the movie was about women who contemplated and committed suicide. After watching The Hours, we went out for dinner. We had been members of a Goddess Circle for several years. These women had seen me caught in the throes of depression before. They were true friends and encouragers who had phoned and visited me when I was dreadful company. While they chatted and laughed around the dinner table, I retreated inside my cocoon, in my mind’s eye re-living the suicide scenes from the movie. At that moment, I felt closer to the fictional movie characters than I did to my flesh and blood spiritual sisters.
My sisters reminded me again that "this, too, shall pass." In my heart, I knew they were right. I only needed to surrender to the darkness and accept that my rebirth would take however long it would take. As my friend Barbara Shipka reminds me, "It’s not about time. It’s about timing."
Into the holy dark
So at last, when I was too tired to struggle any longer, when I was tired of living in a hell where I could not even remember the words to my usual daily prayers, I surrendered.
Then miraculously, inevitably, upon surrendering, I realized again why my soul chose depression. I had lost myself. I became rotten from the inside, resentfully taking care of others and neglecting to take care of myself. I was seduced by the need for approval from others. I lost my personal vibration. So my soul arranged for me to go into the holy dark. Depression imprinted the story of crucifixion and resurrection in me at the cellular level. Through depression I was born again.
Depression is my soul’s means of rescuing me when I lose who I am and what I want to do with my life. When I feel forsaken even by The Divine and cannot imagine how or if I will ever find any joy again, when the darkness seems interminable and unbearable, that is when the dawn breaks through and my soul sings my personal vibration once again. I needed to leave the world to seek answers to some saving questions: "Who am I? What is the right path for me? Where am I willing to be led?"
Pharmaceutical drugs under a doctor’s supervision made my mind feel like it was encased in amber. On them, I couldn’t wrestle with my saving questions. What led me towards the light was naturopath Dr. Barbara Young. She encouraged me to spend time in nature and pamper myself, and she recommended that I take some high quality vitamins, herbs and flower essences. Other helpful things were my daily ritual of anointing myself with essential oils and exercising outdoors. Once I could consistently sleep at night again, I registered with several temporary office services. Temp work forced me to get up in the morning, put me on a schedule, got me to be around people, forced me to smile and pretend I was "okay." It still amazes me how mundane, low-paid work raised my self-esteem. Once I got home I’d revert to my familiar depression cocoon, but the weight on my shoulders lifted for eight hours Monday through Friday. On weekends I had reconnected the circuits of my brain enough that I could ponder my questions and listen for answers.
Eventually, temp work led me to an offer of a regular corporate job. I was assigned a lot of number/computer/detail work that I hated. Yet, I was so proud of myself for doing it. Each time I completed a task successfully I felt like cheering. Later, when I confided to my boss that I had been severely depressed when I was hired, my boss expressed surprise. "Act as if" had worked!
I bless every boring job I did. Those jobs taught me that I was a survivor. They gave me the discipline and structure I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself. They strengthened me and diminished my negativity. The boost they gave me enabled me to pray more fervently and explore healing options. The corporate health insurance enabled me to seek counseling for a low co-payment. My counselor became my storytelling audience as she helped me glean the soft glimmers of answers to my personal vibration questions. She also referred me to Dr. Kimberly Berkus, a network chiropractor, whom I still see for health maintenance.
All those boring jobs enabled me to treasure my current work. I am now again self-employed in a non-traditional business that makes my soul sing. As a creative healer storyteller and teacher, I get to learn from my clients and listeners with whom I share the wisdom of the ages.
Copyright © 2005 Carol McCormick. All rights reserved.