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Author Topic: Depression and despair  (Read 465 times)

EclecticWheel

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Depression and despair
« on: September 12, 2019, 06:02:18 pm »
Gratefully I can say at this time that I have not struggled with depression or relatively severe dissociation in months, but over the years I have had long bouts of depression that sometimes verged on despair.  There were lots of legitimate reasons for this most of the time, including a long history of abuse in my past.  In those time periods it is also easy to ponder the miseries of the world and other people and lose heart.  I still find it difficult to ponder the sufferings of the world even in my currently healthy frame of mind.

My spirituality is largely an attempt to wrestle with these issues.  Even my liturgical year represents a history of my life of falling into despair and dealing with abuse and the journey into a more fulfilling life.

I employ mundane means to deal with these problems in my own life, including medications (which have finally been adjusted after years to be a good fit for me), cognitive behavioral therapy, maintaining healthy friendships, and so forth.

My approach to deal with these things spiritually is my own, fitted for myself.  I have no doubt that my approach would not work for everyone in every circumstance, nor am I sure that everyone has a means out of despair unfortunately.  But I do wrestle with these issues.

My approach has been to cultivate devotional love: for my loved ones, for the world, for the suffering.  For my "good angels" and Powers and for the dead.  For my cat, and last but definitely not least, for myself.

This is not a stand alone remedy.  The mundane means are still important.  But I find it a help.  As someone sorely neglected growing up in terms of love and affection from parents and various other caregivers over the years, I needed love, to give it and to receive it, and I found it.  I found it in good friends and animals; I found it in myself.  At times I even found it in unusual spiritual resources through experiential encounters of the numinous, resources that I could not have conceptualized of before hand, and that I still have difficulty explaining.

So, among mundane means, that is partly how I deal with despair through religion, an intentional cultivation of the warmth and affection I need to give and receive.  Also, I keep in mind that so far as I know, no suffering lasts forever.  I am life affirming, but I am also death affirming in the proper context.  Additionally, as hinted at, I reenact my own history through the year and find release in that form of "liturgical drama," if you will.  Whereas I was made to be subdued and of little worth growing up, in my own private sphere, I enact a triumph and a liberation at certain points in the year.  In my own private sphere of meaning and ritual action, I take center stage.  How different that is from all those years past.

Do you address these types of struggles through religion and spirituality?  What is your approach to finding meaning and hope in the midst of those struggles?
My personal moral code:

Love wisely, and do what thou wilt.

Jainarayan

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 01:24:04 pm »
Do you address these types of struggles through religion and spirituality?  What is your approach to finding meaning and hope in the midst of those struggles?

I am bipolar 2 hypomanic/depressive w/ GAD and OCPD. I've been recently diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, a blood cancer. I've begun chemo, and will begin phlebotomy treatments this week. We're having major financial and housing issues. So yeah, I often think this would all be resolved by me getting hit by an 85,000 lb tractor trailer. My husband and our furbabies would be taken care of for life.

I don't say "Why me, God?" or that sort of thing. I know God does not test. It's just my karma and dharma, to bear it and see how it works out. There's a quote I found: "We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way" (Lord Rāma to His brother Lakshmana).

Tl;dr... I'm just toughing it out and "soldiering on", and appreciating whatever little niceties come along. :)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Aisling

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2019, 07:41:05 pm »
I am bipolar 2 hypomanic/depressive w/ GAD and OCPD. I've been recently diagnosed with Polycythemia Vera, a blood cancer. I've begun chemo, and will begin phlebotomy treatments this week. We're having major financial and housing issues. So yeah, I often think this would all be resolved by me getting hit by an 85,000 lb tractor trailer. My husband and our furbabies would be taken care of for life.

(((Jainarayan)))

I'm so sorry that life has thrown this at you.  With your permission, I light a candle on my altar for you.
Into the Grey Mists (Spiritual Blog)

"All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
~Neil Gaiman,
American Gods

Jainarayan

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 09:51:16 am »
(((Jainarayan)))

I'm so sorry that life has thrown this at you.  With your permission, I light a candle on my altar for you.

Thank you! Please do light a candle, I'm grateful. :)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Aisling

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2019, 06:53:26 pm »
Thank you! Please do light a candle, I'm grateful. :)

Done with lots of good thoughts for a rapid recovery.
Into the Grey Mists (Spiritual Blog)

"All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
~Neil Gaiman,
American Gods

Aisling

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2019, 07:50:07 pm »
Do you address these types of struggles through religion and spirituality? What is your approach to finding meaning and hope in the midst of those struggles?

Yes. If I'm going through a particularly bad patch, I'll petition the powers that be for assistance in getting through until the depression eases a bit. I gave up a long time ago on the "Please make it stop/go away" kind of requests. It's easier for me to cope with if I just accept that it's a part of my experience in this life and ask instead for help in navigating it.

I find that doing my spiritual work helps to keep the depression at bay.  When I'm engaged in liminal work, I am far more vigilant about keeping my reactions to emotions in check than I would be otherwise; the depressive thoughts are still there, but much more manageable when I'm being mindful about them. 

Also, the spiritual work I helps me to stay grounding in an attitude of compassion, love, and gratitude. By taking that attitude toward others, it becomes easier to treat myself in that way.  One of my 'rules' about dealing with emotional issues is "Treat yourself as you would treat the beloveds in your life."  It makes me physically sick to think of saying to a loved one the things that I say to myself, about myself in my own head.  I would be horrified to hear anyone express the kind of self-loathing that depression creates within me.  If I can keep myself in a mental space that embraces compassion and kindness, negating that terrible internal monologue becomes easier.

Since much of my spiritual work is with the dead and dying, it's a bit ironic that doing it actually helps with issues of despair and depression. There's such a strong sense of purpose in that work for me that it overrides, at least temporarily, whatever is going on in my head.
Into the Grey Mists (Spiritual Blog)

"All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want.
But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
~Neil Gaiman,
American Gods

Jainarayan

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Re: Depression and despair
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2019, 11:23:43 am »
Done with lots of good thoughts for a rapid recovery.

Thank you.  :)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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