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Author Topic: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality  (Read 9987 times)

HeartShadow

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2011, 09:02:48 am »
Quote from: Finn;2838
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.

veggiewolf

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2011, 09:21:42 am »
Quote from: Finn;2838
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.

Quote
...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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Eating Monsters - my mental health blog

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Finn

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2011, 12:49:04 pm »
Quote from: HeartShadow;2915

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.

Quote

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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Finn

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2011, 12:57:12 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;2920
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.:confused:

If that makes any sense to you at all, you deserve a round of applause.:p
Fight evil: read books.

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Chase

Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2011, 12:10:07 am »
Quote from: Sage;749
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 from: Sage;749
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. :)

SatAset

Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #20 on: July 11, 2011, 09:00:57 pm »
Quote from: Sage;749
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 have depression and social anxiety.  Aset has me take baths with natron to help me.  I used to be on medication and therapy (the therapy helped tremendously), but I can't afford it right now.  

I find that on bad days, I just curl up in my bed and try to sleep.  Sometimes you just need to rest and there isn't much more you can do other than that.  Other times, I pray or do ritual to help cleanse myself of my fear or anxiety or depression.  I think Aset and Sekhmet may help me with this via magic and ritual work.  

I have an online Kemetic community that may help.  I have friends that help me and family, but they aren't co-religionists.
I am the Goddess of Who I can Become. I mix the magic of the sorceress with the blade of a warrior. I walk the liminal pathways to see the face of the Goddess, both terrible and kind. As She stares back at me, I tremble in awe and ecstasy.  --SatAset

Liadine (dragonflyeyes)

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2011, 03:47:01 am »
Quote from: Sage;749
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?


Keeping this brief, because I could go on forever about this ;)

I have several mental health issues, and they affect me every day. I have good stretches, but even those are 'better than usual' more than 'very good'. With that in mind, I've had to structure my religious practice around it - from 'what I can promise to the deities I work with' to 'what, if anything, I do for holidays'.

The overriding problem I have is that my mental issues (depression being one of them) kill the mechanism for getting things done. Sometimes they also drain the desire to do things, but I can accept that more easily than days when I want to do something but the part of my brain that actually gets me moving is completely out of commission. It's difficult not to beat myself up about it, to tell myself that I'm just lazy, but I'm slowly learning to just go with it.

These days I try to treat it like I would the seasons, since the bad times and good times tend to come in waves (though not linked to the seasons themselves, I don't have seasonal affective disorder). When I have the energy/mental health to devote myself to my path, I treat it like summer/harvest time - I try to be generous with my work and my worship, giving as much as I can (though not so much that it drains me, I try to keep a good eye on where my energy's at even during 'good' periods). When things are bad and I can't do anything for weeks or months, I try not to think of it as 'wasted' time, but 'fallow' or 'dormant' time. Fields need to lie fallow in order to regain the things that allow crops to grow, and I think I work in the same way.
We owe it to each other to tell stories [Neil Gaiman]
But we\'ll stand tall, we\'ll dance them down [Vienna Teng]
night\'s a good herd [my religious tumblr]

DerickVonD

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2011, 03:15:32 pm »
Quote from: SatAset;4068
I have depression and social anxiety.  Aset has me take baths with natron to help me.  I used to be on medication and therapy (the therapy helped tremendously), but I can't afford it right now.  

I find that on bad days, I just curl up in my bed and try to sleep.  Sometimes you just need to rest and there isn't much more you can do other than that.  Other times, I pray or do ritual to help cleanse myself of my fear or anxiety or depression.  I think Aset and Sekhmet may help me with this via magic and ritual work.  

I have an online Kemetic community that may help.  I have friends that help me and family, but they aren't co-religionists.

The problem I have is I am lonely. When I am with someone the loneliness goes away, but it is rare for me to have a girlfriend. I have bipolar, aspergers and ADHD. It is not very easy for me to talk to new people, especially women, because I don't relate to them so I have no idea what to talk about. I like guy things, so I can talk all day about wrestling, mma, video games, but girls who aren't in to that I have no clue what to talk about and most girls I've met who are into that stuff have a boyfriend or are married. This is why I have depression, I have mental issues that prevents me from relating with others and because of that I am lonely, even when I find someone the relationship doesn't last past three months and usually when I start talking to someone after awhile they stop talking to me and talk to someone else. Sometimes I feel all I can ever hope for is meaningless sex, which meaningless sex isn't bad, but I don't get it often and truthfully I rather have someone.

Talvikki Wyntersong

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2011, 06:10:28 pm »
Quote from: Sage;749
I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. How does depression (anxiety, etc.) affect your spiritual life? What obstacles do you encounter, and how do you get around them?

 
I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder and also OCD.  Anxiety is definately a part of my everyday life... -sigh-  There are some days where I just feel too "out of my body" and need to neglect my spirituality.  Then I neglect it MORE out of fear that I won't know what to do when I start it up again.  My OCD makes me place things oddly around my altar and touch things repeatedly if I feel needed (silly, but...).  Sometimes I will feel panicky if I'm alone for too long (like when I'm meditating in the woods) and I really wish that wouldn't happen.  Yes, my anxiety and OCD interfere with my spirituality, but I definately won't let it rule me all the time! I do my best to keep it under control, but some days are just -bad- days...

~Talvi

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Livia Indica

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2011, 06:28:58 pm »
Quote from: Sage;749
Note the sarcasm in the title.

I was diagnosed with minor depression last October, but I'm fairly certain I've had it at least since the 10th grade if not since elementary school. 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.

Also, it's easy for me to "binge" on energy when I am in the mindset and when all that energy fades away... hello seriously bad emotional state. :(

I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. 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?

-Sage (Ellen M.)

 I was diagnosed bipolar several years ago. I don't have hallucinations but I do have sometimes severe depression as well as terrifying anger when I'm manic.  I'm on anti-psychotics and they keep me from going too far in either extreme. When I first started the pills I was worried I'd be zombiefied but that wasn't the case.

I'm also still in the midst of the deep depression brought on by my brothers drug addiction, the hell he put us through, and his death in January. I've been so depressed I haven't worked hardly any magic in four years. Now, eight months after his death I'm trying to pull myself out of this hole and get back in touch with my magical side. It's not that I've doubted myself, I've just been destroyed emotionally.  Can't work magic if you're so hurt, violated and angry you can barely see straight. And the years of that has taken its toll.

I've not had doubts that some have talked about. Even at my lowest I never felt like anything other than pagan. I'm pagan in every cell in my body. I just haven't been much a witch in recent years. But here's hoping I can re-learn all my old tricks.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 06:30:20 pm by Livia Indica »

yarnwitch

Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #25 on: August 31, 2011, 03:32:35 pm »
Quote from: Sage;749

I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. 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?

 
Earlier this year I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders and am still not comfortable with the diagnosis. I am on medications for them, but I am terrified that I will begin to use it as a crutch, or to mention it at every possible opportunity for pity and sympathy. It's easier to deny it, I think. I don't, however, have a terrible lot of support from a local community.
My local community is full of one-uppers, and I don't feel like depression, anxiety, or anything else should be turned into a contest of "who has it the worst". Conversely, it also doesn't help to mention positive things like skills, and have those one-upped by the same people.
This past... dip... into depression has left me seeking answers for my spiritual self, but I personally need support, and I don't feel I can get that where I am now. I don't wish to be solitary, but I have a feeling it will end up that way.

I'm looking for a path to follow and a place to belong. Thank you for letting me vent a little bit! :lub:

Remember

Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2012, 12:07:29 am »
I was diagnosed with manic depression, my depression was which woke me up spiritually. I also have major problems with anxiety. I feel it really effect the value I give myself and now as it seems to be getting worse I find it harder to pray and meditate

SunflowerP

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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2012, 04:32:31 am »
Quote from: Remember;41455


 
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Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2012, 11:52:01 am »
Quote from: Sage;749
Note the sarcasm in the title.

I was diagnosed with minor depression last October, but I'm fairly certain I've had it at least since the 10th grade if not since elementary school. 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.

Also, it's easy for me to "binge" on energy when I am in the mindset and when all that energy fades away... hello seriously bad emotional state. :(

I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. 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?

-Sage (Ellen M.)

 
I was diagnosed with major depression and bipolar 2 about a year ago, and it's a huge drain on my life.  There isn't really a pagan community out here that I can connect to, so I am often lonely which makes the symptoms worse; the people I surround myself with often think that I am faking my symptoms for attention.  At those times, I definitely find comfort in speaking to Brighid and Inari.  They, of course, understand and support me.  They try to guide me and keep me from harmful situations, but my own resolve falters...

When performing rituals, I have problems often because of low self esteem, and I am left wondering "am I even doing this right?" despite my own belife that any sincere ritual/prayer, no matter how it is performed, is the 'correct' way.  Sometimes I cannot focus as well because the bipolar makes my mind race and wander.  I haven't been in contact with my fox spirit guide for a long time because of this and I am often frustrated.  

Because this problem is fairly new to me, I am still working out on how to better accomdate for my "handicaps", but I try to use the high energy from the bipolar to focus it on ritual because there is definitely a lot of energy to work with there, if only I can focus it.  

My goddesses helped me to find my current boyfriend, who is a great source of happiness and comfort, but even he cannot fully understand and often pushes himself away because he says he feels burdened by the idea that he is a great source of happiness.  I am conflicted with the idea that happiness comes from within and not from external sources, because while I feel it is true for most people, I feel that it is very difficult for me.  Inside, I always feel that it is dark and moody, and so that is why I try and use my practice and my significant other to guide my soul to a more pleasant state of mind.

TangledMarionette

Re: Depression (and other fun mental afflictions) and Spirituality
« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2012, 04:13:27 pm »
Quote from: Sage;749

I'd like to start a conversation about the intersection of spirituality and depression, anxiety, severe esteem and body image issues, or really any mental/emotional imbalance at all. How does depression (anxiety, etc.) affect your spiritual life?


I'm always trying to catch myself on using my mental disorders as an excuse not to achieve more for myself. I have ADD, OCD, Bipolarism, and Depression, but only the ADD, and OCD really bothers me. The others have had enough time to not effect me as much.

It's interesting that you bring this up on here. So many seem to struggle with other people thinking they're crazy for what they believe in. I only worry about coming on strong with family members because I'm passionate about what I believe in. I don't want to make them feel like I'm forcing them into some form of indoctrination. They're all Christian too, so I'm fighting myself from assuming that they will hate me for my beliefs.
 
I worry about being able to share. Several times in the past I've had others not taking me seriously when I tell them my experiences. They seem to assume it's something wrong with my head. Even fellow pagans will point out automatically that I may just have something wrong with my eyes. I am confident in my bodily functions, and know how my brain works. I have regular check ups. I have researched my disorders. Thank you, and good bye!

That just tells me that they won't trust me.

It frustrates me to have to tell others what my mental disorders are because they will always chalk my experiences up to that. It somehow makes me incompatible with them with what I do, or feel. Suddenly I feel like I don't get to have a say in with anything that is normal to me, because they think I'm incapable of it.

Now days I try harder to figure out the how, and why before bringing up something. Even if it seems common place, because I know I will be interrogated just to show that I know what I'm saying from the start. This, as you MIGHT guess effects my self esteem. Voila. I am human, yes? Do I pass? Heh.
~See the way the wind blows lives are intertwined; watch the way the world goes the man deals out our plight
Jester in the corner laughs without a sound, Jester in the corner; malady abounds in our souls~
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