The power of the inward turning of depression

We do live in a chaotic universe and its ways can sometimes seem strange.. The thought came to me yesterday after discussing the subject of depression and empathy with my good friend Sue on Sunday that the capacity to endure and learn and grow from and through depression matures someone. and then the next thought that came to me and which I later shared in therapy (and Kat agreed with wholeheartedly) was that an immature society could only judge people for suffering or sometimes feeling low and depressed in a world that so often leads us to the brink of such inward tuning, learning and transformation..

The poet Robert Bly and psycholanalyst Marion Woodman discuss this subject in great depth in the book Tbe Maiden King, in fact I have heard Robert Bly say that depression is an inner force of the psyche that can take us down when we refuse to go down and inward and face things like hurt, failure, pain, challenges, grief or loss.

In that book speaking of the dark feminine character of the Baba Yaga from a Russian fairytale they say that these dark Goddess figures do not care for us and this is how it can feel when we lose someone we love, or someone betrays us, or we suffer an illness or an accident or an injury, suddenly at whatever age this happens many of us find ourselves in a cold hard Underworld place where in we may have to wrestle with many demons or energetic or archetypal forces.. Just such a forced confinement may also bring us onto a creative path.. I was thinking of this after sharing that beautiful song by the music group Haevn the other week and reading how the guitarist suffered an illness for 3 years which immobilized him and then made him turn even more towards the healing power of music and creativity.

My own immobility these days often goes back to those two accidents but it is tied up also with a fear of doing and being alive.. In an interesting discussion my friend and I also had prior to lunch on Sunday she was saying that she recently read on a blog somewhere that when it comes to genders apparently one of men’s biggest fears is of being laughed at, while one of women’s is being killed.. this really resonated for me I fear if I am myself I will be killed off in some way and just possible many parts of me were as a child. As Kat and I share all of the time she believes that when I suffered that near death crash in 1979 a part of me did die and dissociate.. and that dissociation become more extreme after the second crash in 2005 when I was also stuck in a lot of unresolved grief and that led to the ending of my marriage.

Being able to cry for my part in that marriage ending coming up for the 17th anniversary of it has been healing.. And I am seeing too how the grief over that sometimes makes me angry and reactive with Scott..

Last night I started watching an Australian series on four divorced and/or widowed women trying to open their hearts to date again, the one I most resonated with was Nikki who lost her husband in a crash 3 years prior and is still stuck in so much grief and fear.. In the show she connects with a lovely guy but meets a number of intense roadblocks on the path to opening her heart to him. The relationship psychologist Matthew Hussey works with all of the women to help them understand where reactive defenses may be standing in their way and I actually cried in the scenes where he is working with Nikki using boxing to get her to hit out and confront her intense fear of death.. this part was so moving for me to watch last night, as yesterday with Kat in therapy we were exploring how each decision I make now comes with a fear of death : decisions on what to eat, whether to move, reach out, or take other ‘risks’, whether to walk, rest, worry or exercise.. it all just so often triggers the most massive anxiety in me.. And when I think of it that fear also seems to come up for my sister in her struggles with anxiety, grief, fear and depression too.. She hit this last downward spiral herself when she was opening herself to a new person back in June 2020…

Being able to cry about Jonathan and the ending of our marriage as well as see my own part now may be a sign of me moving on. I do ache for the UK some days but then I get grounded in the now and know that where I live now and am can be good too, that not all of my happiness lies in the past, this is just a lie that my own depression can sometimes tell me…

For myself, hard as the inward turning that seemed to commence so powerfully and at depth leading up to the time of the Saturn Pluto opposition in 2001 (across the Gemini Sagittarius polarity recently triggered both by eclipses as well as Mercury retrograde) was for me it most certainly has come with blessings and gifts..

Since then I have faced the death of my older sister and Mum as well as having to attend a number of funerals of friends and their family that helped me to grieve my own.. And in the facing up to and feeling of these and also in the fronting up to help and support my sister even in the midst of a treatment I can naievely judge to be ‘wrong’ I have continued to grow and learn. Most of what I seem to be learning lately does have to do with polarizing or splitting and may relate back to emotional blind spots, defenses and judgments (both in myself and others). The mature among us know this life is complex, as are other humans, no one has the monopoly on truth and sometimes what seem to be our biggest failures or ‘mistakes’ turn out to have been, in retrospect our biggest gifts, forward turnings and blessings.

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