What Depression Does for Me

(Written in October 2003)
Woke at 5:41 terrified. Tried to bring compassion to my fear. No softening, all is meaningless. No sense of contact with the spirit realm.
Last night at NVC check-in I talked about my despair. I said I need to know that what I do makes a difference — and then something about fear for the world — how things are getting worse — needing to know that there’s a spiritual realm. I see now that what I need is to know that the spirit realm is much bigger than the earth and holds it gently and lovingly. I said at the end that I thought we needed to practice empathy and recommended that we do Chapter 12: Liberating Ourselves and Counseling Others. I see now that I was dimly perceiving the importance of supporting each other in the place we are now, rather than trying to push ourselves to get where we want to be. (O my, what an easing in my heart. This is the answer to my own problem — I’m so desperately trying to be somewhere else than I am — wanting to “have my life again” and not be stuck in this place of despair and meaninglessness.)
Despair/depression takes away everything but the core — and the core is truth, or true self. So there’s integrity in the willingness to face the darkness and not brush it aside with medication.
So what has despair/depression done for me? By making everything meaningless, it forces me to renew my commitment to the dances: as expressions of human pain and joy, of connection with community, nature and the divine, as expressions of diversity. When even Neskaya becomes meaningless, then the place I come back to is that my work on the transformation of myself — in particular bringing compassion to my pain — is also work on the human energy field — and it’s really the only work that has any possibility of making a real difference because all manifestation/change in the physical realm is subject to death and disintegration. So if Neskaya really does function as a “healing sanctuary” it’s not because of the building (tho it’s important that it exists as a container) or because I keep the building clean, but because of my work on myself, my continued efforts to become more conscious of what is going on in me, and to bring compassion to all of it.
I’m so surprised. Waking in fear, I thought I was in for another bad day, but this writing has helped a lot. Still, I don’t think “I’m fine now”, I still feel pretty precarious and unable to make decisions, function in the world. I hope I’ll at least be able to shower and wash my hair. And if I can’t, then compassion for this poor woman who’s having such a hard time.

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