“People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we are really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive…so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Broken Open by E Lesser
In this context I am using the term “depression” loosely, the way women say it to one another. Women are quite capable of feeling this way and continuing with normal daily life, so it’s not always easy to tell.
Let me say from the outset that I don’t have all the answers here. I am exploring this issue and some of things that cause it.
For some reason the last couple of weeks have presented me with situations where the topics of unhappiness and changing one’s life have come up.
One involved a long chat with a long lost friend and I must say it left me with more questions than answers about life. About four years ago she suffered the loss of her 10-year-old daughter through a rare blood disease.
This is enough to floor anybody but the ensuing years also saw her being retrenched and having to face all the economic challenges that go with it. Bear in mind there is also a husband and family who still require her attention.
There are days when she is so down she spends the whole day in bed, literally.
The realisation that at the end of the day we are really alone in dealing with our challenges is not an easy one to face. There is no one in the world waking up with the sole intention of making sure you and I are happy.
One can read a good book or get good advice but it’s up to each individual to find the strength to make the changes required.
We laughed about this because she said that a lot of people used to say to her, “Call me anytime!” but what they meant in reality was call me at a time that is convenient to me.
There are some people who can be there for someone but the time will come when they have to leave and attend to their own life.
Issues of change and dropping limiting behaviours are ones that I grapple with all the time and I am always on the lookout for new insights.
I found some interesting articles by Angela Deutschmann (www.angeladeutschmann.com) and one of the points she makes is that we must stop identifying with our feelings.
It’s important to separate what we are feeling from the essence of who we are as human beings.
The words, “I am” are very powerful and when they are followed by words such as angry, depressed or worried, they can give us the feeling that we are actually those things.
Depression can also be caused by seeing that one’s life is moving in the wrong direction, whether it is the relationship, health or career wise.
Someone once said that what is not expressed is depressed and sometimes we hide the truth from ourselves because it can imply certain changes that we are just not ready to make.
In Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open, quoted above, she says there are two kinds of people: there are those who are “once-born” and go through life, almost half alive because they never have the courage to make painful change.
Then there are those who are “twice-born” because they die to their old self and start anew.
She says that a woman (or a man for that matter) can wake up one morning and ask themselves, “Is this all there is to life? Will I always feel the same? Do I not have some purpose to fulfil, some greater kindness to give, some inner freedom to taste?”
Asking the questions is the easy part but answering them can be life changing not only for the woman but for the people around her too.
This life journey is not an easy one and OSHO summed it up when he wrote; “Everybody has to pass through a dark night before he reaches the sunrise.”