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  1. #11
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by caelestisraven View Post
    I discovered that in my darkest times I would just turn away from everything & everyone. One of the big things with depression is that you do often turn away from things you enjoy or care about. & my spirituality was no exception. I had almost completely lost all forms of practice. So something that could have helped me dealt with it & move through it I was turning away from.
    This is so me. Unfortunately, I know exactly what I'm doing but can't make myself stop doing it very easily. And I am worried that it's going to affect me spiritually as well; I've only just started exploring paganism as a viable belief system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage
    Because of this, it's difficult for me to trust myself and the spiritual experiences I have. It's also difficult to sense energy or muster the strength to be open (emotionally, mentally) to any sort of connection. For many years I thought I was doing it wrong, but with the diagnosis of depression I understand it's just a stumbling block in my brain. It's not my fault, and it gets better with drugs and therapy, but it is something I have to be aware of.
    I'm not on meds any more, either, ever since I realised that they weren't helping any more. Oh, they helped when I went on them nearly two years ago, but after coming off them and feeling no different most of the time and actually better some of the time, I've decided to stay off them. (I've tried various other ones too. They either do nothing or make me even more of a bunch of crazy :P) However, I still find things difficult, and I haven't even tried energy work or anything else yet. I am still at the reading-everything stage rather than the practising stage -- although I tried to do electrokinesis when I was younger. Yeah, 99% of the time it failed :P

    I'm hoping, once I get more into the practising (at the moment I no one knows about my paganistic leanings so I'm leery of practising) that it'll actually help, rather than be one of those things that end up dumped by the wayside when I feel like s***.

    (I'm trying not to be too melancholy; today isn't a Bad Day but it's not a Good Day either.)

  2. #12
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by caelestisraven View Post
    I discovered that in my darkest times I would just turn away from everything & everyone. One of the big things with depression is that you do often turn away from things you enjoy or care about. & my spirituality was no exception. I had almost completely lost all forms of practice. So something that could have helped me dealt with it & move through it I was turning away from.
    I tried replying earlier today, but leechblock kicked in and I lost all I wrote...

    Hi, I'm Stardancer and I have chronic depression, undiagnosed, undoctored, untreated, uneverything. Because - says the demons in my head - if I go to a doctor, it means I'm admitting I can't do everything on my own, and that I'm not perfect and not holding up to the (imagined) demands of society, and then I'm fast into another tailspin of panic. The same goes for admitting stuff to friends and family, so I mostly put on the face also for my husband (though he probably suspects/knows a lot more than my depression gives him credit for).

    The quoted bit describes my spiritual pursuits during bad periods, very well. I can do my shielding and prayer and be really comforted and strengthened by them on good days. On bad days I tell myself 'well the comfort only lasts a minute, so what's the point?' I have a little bit of success trying to tell myself that life is lived minute by minute, so that minute of comfort is better than none.

    Otherwise I write a todo-list for the day, make a little heart *blush* by the babysteps I really need to take, and write a short statement of celebration for what I accomplish. I have set up obligations for myself of offerings 4 times a week, and I do feel pretty guilty if I miss one. I try to make it up on the good days, and tell myself that Their love is not diminished by my faults or sickness.

  3. #13
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Aisling View Post
    The biggest obstacle I find is my own willingness to believe the lies depression tells.
    I know these lies. But I wonder: does depression tell only lies? Can it also tell truth?

    I ask from a position that believes it can, and does, tell truth. This is based on contemplation and readings around the subject of "the dark night of the soul" (particularly St. John of the Cross' work entitled the same), acedia, and melancholia in general. Basically, the spiritual dimension of depression.

    Which isn't to say that clinical depression is a spiritual disease. I have to admit, I don't think it's a wholly physical disease, or even a physical and emotional disease, but a disease with consumes every part a human can experience the world with. I do think there is a spiritual element, which, if plumbed, can lead to truth.
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  4. #14
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    <Snippet>
    I find that my depression and anxiety stop me from doing things on my more bad days. I'm on a path of drugs and therapy that works for me more times then it fails but I still have bad days where I'm depressed and can barely move. I find on those days I cannot get myself to even read about my path, let alone pray, do a spell or even do a simple rite.

    My anxiety stops me from going out and meeting others so I've restricted myself to the solitary path. I also find that I have a hard time meditating and often have a hard time sticking to doing just one thing at a time. Like this message has taken much longer to write then normal since I've been looking at other webpages. I don't figit or have a hard time sitting still but I can't seem to concentrate the way it says I should be in the books.

    Hopefully this will change.

  5. #15
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage
    -Sage (Ellen M.)
    I was first diagnosed with severe acute depression when I was 17, after multiple suicide attempts. The depression began around the age of 10 and progressed unchecked until I was hospitalized 7 years later. The ironic part is that my mother was a former nurse and herself undergoing therapy throughout that time, and my godmother, whom we lived with, was the charge nurse on the acute psych unit at the local hospital - neither of them had any clue of what was going on with me, including the suicide attempts until the high school called my mother in over concern on an essay I wrote. I never bothered to deny my attempts and confirmed I would try again. Hence hospitalization.

    I never had any insurance - so my mother weaned me off the medications as early as she could get away with. And even now, as an adult I still have no insurance so have no formal treatment for this ailment. On my worst days I still find myself thinking of ways I haven't tried - but manage to somehow pull myself back from the edge by my bootstraps as it were.

    I am a solitary, with the notable exception of observances with my spouse. So there is no real community support in that regard. Since losing my job nearly 4 years ago, I've been trying to pursue my dream of being a writer - with full supporrt from my wife. It has kept me mostly homebound to the point I was borderline agoraphobic - and my patience for people is at a minimum. To try and combat that I forced myself to join a bowling league so that I had to get out of the house and socialize at least once a week.

    I found great comfort in my spiritual beliefs until too many negative occurrences happened too close together and I lost track of my path and observances.

    I know that when I am actively following my path my Bad Days are fewer, and so I am trying to force myself back into that direction. The decision to rededicte myself and actively pursue bringing more of my spirituality into my life had me finding this group, within 24 hrs. of my rededication. I took the hint.

    Good days I feel confident and able to accomplish anything I need to. Off Days I sleep a lot and stare vacantly at my computer and or the TV. Bad Days I sleep even more, don't turn on the computer so that I don't have to deal with people, don't answer the phone unless it's my wife. Worst Days, I sleep, and ask my wife for many hugs, and cry in the shower in the hope that the negative head talk will go down the drain with the water and my tears.

    I'm starting to decorate my most occupied spaces with images of Diety, prayers and anything else that might help prop me up. Even to the point of making a folder of inspirational images and sayings that randomly change my desktop so that I can't get so used to one image that I no longer see it.

    My fur kids also help tremendously. They make sure in get out of bed at least a little while even on the worst days, and their uconditional love and purr therapy are great comforts.

  6. #16
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    I know these lies. But I wonder: does depression tell only lies? Can it also tell truth?

    I ask from a position that believes it can, and does, tell truth. This is based on contemplation and readings around the subject of "the dark night of the soul" (particularly St. John of the Cross' work entitled the same), acedia, and melancholia in general. Basically, the spiritual dimension of depression.

    Which isn't to say that clinical depression is a spiritual disease. I have to admit, I don't think it's a wholly physical disease, or even a physical and emotional disease, but a disease with consumes every part a human can experience the world with. I do think there is a spiritual element, which, if plumbed, can lead to truth.
    I think the question there is the type and severity of the depression.



    It CAN lead to truths. It often leads to lies. One of the defining characteristics of depression is that it distorts one's reality to the worst possible interpretation.

    Part of my knee-jerk here is that it's SO HARD to fight depression to begin with, the idea of saying "oh but there are good points" just makes me want to hit people. I mean, you can learn something from a broken ankle, too, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna run through a mall with a mallet so people can learn.

    Is there wisdom to be found in the depths? Probably, there's wisdom to be found anywhere if you look hard enough. But it's not worth the price.

  7. #17
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Finn View Post
    I know these lies. But I wonder: does depression tell only lies? Can it also tell truth?
    I think it *can*, but it is immensely difficult to separate what is true from what is patently a lie. When I take medication every day and go to therapy every week, I can start to separate the two.

    ...a disease with consumes every part a human can experience the world with.
    Yes. I'll climb on a soapbox briefly to add that those that do not understand this are those that have never had a spoon shortage.

    *climbs down*
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  8. #18
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by HeartShadow View Post
    It CAN lead to truths. It often leads to lies. One of the defining characteristics of depression is that it distorts one's reality to the worst possible interpretation.
    Absolutely.

    Part of my knee-jerk here is that it's SO HARD to fight depression to begin with, the idea of saying "oh but there are good points" just makes me want to hit people. I mean, you can learn something from a broken ankle, too, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna run through a mall with a mallet so people can learn.

    Is there wisdom to be found in the depths? Probably, there's wisdom to be found anywhere if you look hard enough. But it's not worth the price
    I guess I could try to be clearer in what I'm trying to say. I'm sorry if I can't articulate it well, because it's something I'm still working with.

    I'm not saying, "Oh but there are good points," or trying to build up an argument that affirms depression as, ultimately, a positive experience. I'm certainly not advocating for depression as "a learning experience" in general or defending it as a valuable experience for everyone to go through.

    What I am trying to defend is my experience of depression, darkness, and the spiritual dimension of that disease, and my transformation of my experience into something with wisdom.

    Through this perspective, my depression ultimately became a... thing that held several contradictions in a strange balance: it was (is) a crock of complete shit, it was (is) a holy thing, it told me lies, it told me truth; it was me, and it was not me all at the same time. It became mine, and I learned to... learn from it in the only way I could. It was how I survived.

    I mean, maybe, in the end, this transformation of my depression into this thing was and is nothing more than a coping mechanism, or just something I made up for myself in order to live with depression. But the fact remains that I lived, and so I find it difficult to conclude that the "price wasn't worth it" for me, because... it was.

    Ultimately, I have to conclude that this... thing, which is and isn't a disease, which is and isn't a gift, is mine, for better or worse, and I have to... acknowledge it: its wisdom, its pain, its complete horror and lies. Not honor, not worship... but certainly hold, carry, and remember.


    Does that make some sense?
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  9. #19
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by veggiewolf View Post
    I think it *can*, but it is immensely difficult to separate what is true from what is patently a lie. When I take medication every day and go to therapy every week, I can start to separate the two.
    *Nod*

    I tried to make a distinction between clinical depression and my experience and work with depression, acedia, and the spiritual dimension of depression. Clinical depression can't lead to truth, but once you start climbing out of it, maybe you find there is still something... dark there inside you. Something with truth lying at the bottom of the pain.

    For me, my clinical depression was transformed into a weird sort of... thing. It led me down, and then went... sideways, in a way, which led further down.

    If that makes any sense to you at all, you deserve a round of applause.
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  10. #20
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    Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    How does depression (anxiety, etc.) affect your spiritual life? What obstacles do you encounter, and how do you get around them? Do you find much support from your religious community (both on a local and a broader scale), or is support and understanding hard to come by?
    I've been going through a phase of self-destructive, intense depression on and off since I was about 15, so it's nothing new to me. I have good days and I have bad days, and on the bad days (as I said in another thread) the only thing that keeps me going sometimes is curling up in front of my shrine or meditating in bed.

    I have a lot of support but my friends, but am not a part of much of a religious community outside of Cauldron itself (and here I'm fairly new). My family is of a mind that I need to, to put it lightly, suck it up and get over it, so I lean heavily on my friends. I have some slight worries as to whether my religious path will affect my treatment, which I'm re-entering later this week for the first time in over a year, but I have hopes that as professionals, they'll be able to remain objective. I can be optimistic when I want to be!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    Because of this, it's difficult for me to trust myself and the spiritual experiences I have. [...] It's not my fault, and it gets better with drugs and therapy, but it is something I have to be aware of.
    SO much of my blockage with spirituality in general comes from this. Extreme mental illness (schizophrenia, manic depression) runs in my family, and I'm at an age where such things tend to manifest themselves, so I second-guess everything. This is where intense journaling comes in, even when I don't want to be bothered. Being able to see whether there are any major changes in my actual thought processes makes me more sure that I'm not crazy, these things are really happening, and I can calm down.

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