Day and Night
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Judith Schuepfer-Griffin Registered MBACP, BA Hons
10th March, 20120 Comments
“Depression” is a word we all use liberally for all kinds of conditions and states of mind. Sometimes we may feel down about something, or we may feel sad for very good reasons like bereavement or an ended relationship. Of course it’s very normal and healthy to feel sad if something like this happens to us and it’s not really Depression; it’s what we need to feel in order to go through a process of mourning. But if we try to push these feelings away because they are difficult to bear and painful or because people tell us to pull ourselves together and get on with it, then we might get depressed, stuck, and unable to move on.
“To depress” means: to press or push down, or to pull down. This differentiation is very interesting: if we press down or push away difficult feelings we may become depressed because we try to avoid a necessary process. The other side of this coin may seem quite alien to us: Our inner Self may pull us down into a dark place where we may be in a black mood and feel stuck, trapped, hopeless, sometimes over long periods of time. This may happen because we are too focussed on our outer lives and because we need to re-evaluate how we want to live our lives. Quite often there are physical symptoms as well: we may feel deeply tired and exhausted most of the time, we may suffer from insomnia or from aches and pains, or even from serious, debilitating illness. It’s as if our inner Self makes normal functioning more and more difficult because we are ignoring certain things that need our attention. Maybe we had difficult or traumatic experiences in earlier years that still affect us today and need to be acknowledged and digested. Or maybe we are not working on becoming who we could be, who we are meant to be. The inner Self has a plan for us, it wants us to grow and develop as human beings. If we try to avoid this life force it might seem to turn against us in order to wake us up.
And: darkness (painful or difficult feelings) is as much part of life as light. If we try to live “in the light” at all times we ignore half of our nature, and darkness will claim its place by pulling us down to it or by expressing itself through illness or other difficulties. Darkness is not negative; it’s the place where germination and gestation of the New happens. We need the night with its stillness and magic as much as we need the day with its light and rationality. Nature shows us on the outside what also happens in our Souls: Life is not a straight line, it happens in cycles. Like Nature, the Soul goes constantly through cycles of germination, creation, fruition and death; or dawn, day, dusk and night. Certain things may need to change or die so that the next step in our development, the New can start to emerge. Depression can be awful and debilitating, but it can also guide us in the direction that is right for us.
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