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.