Friday, October 8, 2010

Word Wonder -- depression

Friday, October 8, 2010

2. Low spirits or vitality; dejection; melancholy. 3. A low or depressed place or surface; a hollow. 7. A deep dejection of spirit characterized by withdrawal, lack of response to stimulation, etc.    [From the ancient Indo-European root per-, meaning "to strike." The word "depression" comes from "depress," which stems from the Old French depresser and the Latin deprimere: de- meaning "down" + primere meaning "to press."] -- Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition.

To press down. Dejection. Hollow. These words certainly describe depression. It can strike as if from nowhere, or it can follow terrible life events. The stricken person feels a weight pressing down on the chest. Emptiness and lethargy make even the simplest movements difficult. Staring into space or sleeping through the day can seem like the only available choices. Heaviness prevails.

When it feels like one's very life force has turned to sludge or, worse, vanished altogether, "doing" is out of reach. Existing is a challenge. Enduring best describes how the minutes and hours crawl by, and one's surroundings become irrelevant.

Some do not survive the morass of depression. I don't know why. Some do, but I don't know why that is, either. What I do know is that during depression, a beautiful day feels like an insult and that after depression, similar beauty feels like a gift. Dispirited becomes re-spirited. I don't know why, but I have learned that "why?" is often a pointless, even damaging question.

I have heard some people say that during bad times their spirit left them. They lost their spirit, their connection with their Source. I haven't found that to be the case for me. I have definitely felt lost in empty, hollow depression; but for a long time, no matter how I've felt, I have believed that while we may forget about or lose the feeling of our Spirit, we cannot truly lose it, whatever "Spirit" may actually be. If we could lose it, how could it be Spirit? Just doesn't make sense to me.

However, depression does make it easier to forget. It makes it hard to care. Maybe the connection seems to be buried in sadness, grief, despair, or fear, but I do not believe Spirit can be lost. And if that's true, then no pit is actually bottomless, no darkness complete. My pits have sometimes felt enormous, and my dark times have been frightening, but I refuse to believe in their absoluteness.

I guess that's the point for me, once again. I have a choice in what I think and believe. I can, and do, apply logic and hope and emotion equally to the task. I look to my body to give me clues. One time I said to someone who was criticizing my beliefs, "Well, I could definitely be wrong. But I choose to spend my life following ideas that encourage me to be a better me."

I'm grateful that at tough times in my own life, heaviness has always passed back into brightness. I trust it will do so again, and I hope it will for you, too.


Anonymous said...

Amen to your position on depression.Some how I have managed to dig deeper each time I experienced that dreadful hole. Although I am still part of the human race, I am near the tail end of that race ,not only from ageing but I have chose to walk slowly.
As horrid as it sounds,I have always had a plan to leave the deep dark quagmire when I cannot endure the emotional or physical pain any longer. I do not fear death as it is only an ending to my human body, as all things have a begining and an end. I truly believe in euthanasia unlike a great many in this country. My choice to live in agony or to die with respect is ultimately mine.For some folks, pain is virtually unknown,for others life is a struggle. My choice to die will be with dignity which ever way it comes.

Kate Thompson said...

Thank you so much for writing your thoughts here. I don't think I fear death anymore, either, but I don't suppose I'll know for sure until I'm staring it right in the eye. In the meantime, I don't feel as clear as you do about euthanasia and consciously deciding to leave the quagmire. I swing back and forth, but I appreciate how your ideas have stimulated my thoughts and feelings. Being challenged and awake while we're alive is a good thing, in my books. It sounds like you are awake.