Though none of us would ever choose to be depressed or to have gone through the harsh experiences we have, in the end this is what has happened to us. The choice we have is in how we treat ourselves when we find ourselves in the darkness of depression and despair and at first we don’t have a choice because on some level we are just suffering the unconscious impact of all that transpired for us, most often as vulnerable children who knew no better and had limited resources within or without to survive and thrive in the barren environments in which we found ourselves.
It occurred to me to day while a succession of posts were flying out in response to the comment that “depression is a choice” that many of the people who are suggesting we do have absolutely no idea of what it might mean to have come into this world and suffered from a legacy of abuse, betrayal, neglect or emotional abandonment.
And this legacy of abuse and betrayal of the child and of the deep feminine that grieves in depression is the outcome of a legacy of events that have transpired in our world over thousand and thousands of years. We arrive on this earth as spirits that arose out of a gene pool of ancestors each of which had their own personal struggles and experiences and losses. In my own family I know that death and loss of parents and children got replayed out over the five generations that I know of and eventually resulted in accident and mental illness in two of my siblings. Their spirits struggled as seeds planted in an environment where there were limited resources and a struggle to survive.
My great great grandfather left his home in England on the 12 of December 1984 to emigrate to New Zealand following the death of his mother and the falling out of the tin industry which meant he was struggling to survive. By that stage he had three children and he and his wife Eliza Jane lost their third child following the 4 month sea crossing. They then lost another child a few years later both of whom bore the same name as my maternal great great mother Eliza Jane.
In the end my GG grandfather became a alcoholic, at this stage he was trying to support 16 children. His wife left him and then his daughter Eliza Jane left New Zealand to move to Victoria in Australia with her own daughter, my grandmother. She struggled alone there. Her daughter Amy married following the first world war and moved to Canberra giving birth to my mother. Her own partner, my mother’s father died when she was only 7. My Nana struggled on alone to make ends meet.
Eventually my mother was sent to live with her grandmother for some time following the death of her father. My mother was left alone a lot following her return to live back with her Mum a few years later. Both had very little support. In time my grandmother tried to put my Mum into domestic service. By this stage my mother had been conditioned to deny her own needs and become a caretaker. She worked hard and then rebelled and got herself a trade in the same discipline that her own great grandmother was trained in, as a seamstress.
Conditions moved on. My mother met my father during the war. They married and then my brother and sister were born. Resources were limited, Dad was stationed in the then Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) he came and went leaving my Mum in both her pregnancies. Later my mother and older brother and sister set sail on a couple of cargo ships for Indonesia which was then the midst of a violent struggle for independence and was a very dangerous place to be. My brother suffered from rickets so Dad devised a plan whereby they would all go back to Holland to get care. In time he had to leave my mother, sister and brother there alone with his family in a country where they could not speak the language, with a family they barely knew that was struggling in the aftermath of war. They got by somehow. In time they returned to Indonesia and then they returned to Australia a few years after the ending of the war.
In Australia my parents struggled to survive with limited resources. Dad struggled to get work and recognition of his qualification in aeronautical engineering which he got with the Dutch East Indies Airforce who actually helped to protect our country from invasion. Like my grandfather before him he got next to no support after giving his life and energy to the cause of his country.
You may be wondering why I am writing all this on a blog on depression and recovery. I feel it is important to recognise that a hidden legacy of emotional abandonment that many of us are suffering from currently has deep roots across generations. Those of us born during the 20th century come out of a legacy of emotional impoverishment in many cases. Many of us had parents who could provide for us financially and were in fact driven to do so by circumstances, but there was absolutely no way the could provide for us emotionally or provide a fertile soil for our souls to grow out of. We badly need to recognise this legacy for what it really is, instead of glossing over it.
Added to that there is the growing impact of technology which, when coupled with the falling our of more earthy industries tore families apart. In my GG grandfather’s case it was this that drove the separation from his own family that ended up resulting the death of two children the grief of which went underground and I feel has replayed across and within our own family in similar separations. We have and are doing the very best we can to survive what we came out of and we need to work everyday to understand the very real causes that led us to here. Rather than trying to say that depression doesn’t make sense I think we need to begin to recognise that depression indeed makes very much sense when we consider what we are trying to come out of collectively.
I have to meet a friend for lunch soon so I have to cut this short and impatient to post it but today I had such an insight into a core emotional truth. This is what I realised. The soul is always using every means at its disposal to move back towards and recognise love. This recognition demands that we leave behind judgement and perfectionistic ideals of right and wrong and look with eyes of compassion to a deeper level of understanding of our personal and collective human struggles, traumas and evolution. We need to use all the resources at our disposal both independently and collectively to support and sustain each other with words of love and care at a critical time of transformation. For without love and understanding life is barren and empty.
If we allow ourselves only to be driven by ideals of achievement, functionality, mastery and conquest we will continue to disparage the dark night of core experiences playing out individually and collectively which are occurring in order that we can raise our consciousness and become more aware emotionally most especially more emotionally intelligent and aware of the ways in which our tender hearts or inner children may have been neglected or traumatised. Without such love. insight, compassion and empathy humanity as a species is doomed to become just a species of robots, well oiled, well greased to destroy and shred any form of femininity, vulnerability or deep sensitivity in sight.
It has been suggested by one blogger that the current epidemic of depression highly likely has an ecological component. At a time of fast paced living in which technology is increasingly driving and dominating our lives, we endure less meaningful face to face connection. Communities are dying out as people immigrate or travel for work. And our connection with nature both within and without gets broken. In the face of all of these impacts depression may actually be a valid response to what is going on. A desperate cry of the soul for an awakening and need to reconnect heart to heart and soul to soul and back with nature which is the true ground of our being. This is what I believe, what I have come to understand and learn as I have travelled along my own depression and recovery journey during the past 22 years.