Whenever I tell people that I’m in a depression, the common response is “I’m sorry to hear.”
I’ll admit, even I find myself saying the same thing when I hear it.
While the words may be helpful in showing empathy, we must also acknowledge the detrimental aspect of the statement.
Embedded in the words of “I’m sorry” is a deep undertone that seems to be plaguing the mental health world. It is one of regret. Of seeing someone as where they shouldn’t be. In addition to this, it enhances the idea that this issue is a part of the person. It is an aspect of who they are. Put these both together and you end up creating a picture of someone who is 1) not where they should be and 2) because it’s a part of who they are, they never will be where they should be.
Simply put, we create a personality label of perpetual imperfection.
However, let’s take a step back for a moment.
Since when did feeling ‘dark emotions’ become so bad? So ‘wrong’?
If we think back to some of the most defining moments of our lives, it is often through the struggles. It’s when we navigated through and out of our dark emotions. It’s when expressed this lower vibrational self, just as we do the higher vibrational ones of excitement and joy. The beauty of the relativity.
Looking at the news, it’s clear to see that we are waking up to the overly ‘masculine’ society we have conditioned for ourselves. This doesn’t just apply to the inequalities in gender, but also the inequalities in our collective state of energy.
The Yin Yang symbol shows us this harmony of contrast. White, known as the Yang, represents masculine energy. It relates to that of intention, penetration and conscious control. Black on the other hand, known as Yin, represents feminine energy. It relates to that of intuition, allowance and subconscious receiving.
Both these energies are vital to living. The easiest way to understand this is viewing the circle as life/existence. The only way to actually experience what’s inside this circle is to create a perceived relative difference. In this case, for us to experience the Yin Yang symbol, there has to be relative difference of black and white. Alan Watts also describes it well when he says that for us to to see something in the foreground we need a background, or for us to understand what it is like to feel happy we need the relative difference of sad. Remove either ends of the spectrum so that it collapses into the opposite side, and the experience ceases to exist. We cannot experience life as we know it without a relative distinction within it.
With this in mind, let’s look at what happens when we lean too far to one side of the symbol – in our case, the masculine energy.
We become addicted to control. Everything become about us ‘doing’ for anything to get done. We grip, grasp, clasp and attach ourselves to everything that effects us. As soon as something starts to hit the shits, we grip, grasp and clasp harder to maintain this control. And even though we know life cannot be fully controlled, we do whatever it takes to control it. Due to this lack of awareness, pain develops to get our attention and teach us this lesson – “You are out of balance!!!” it yells – but instead of using the feedback we find ways to control, mitigate and distract ourselves from the pain.
Until one day, we begin to lose this arm wrestling match with life.
It pulls on us so hard we are forced to listen.
The question is – Are you really listening?
Unfortunately, the majority are not. Instead of thinking, “I wonder what this trying to teach me” – we compare this relatively uncontrollable state with the familiar state of control, and as a result end up victimizing ourselves and judging others.
We say things like,
“There’s something wrong with me.”
“This is a disease I just have to deal with.”
“I suffer with depression.”
But these words – wrong, disease, suffer – they can only be true relative to a certain reference point. And right now that reference point is an unbalanced sense of control we think we have over life.
So if really want to see depression for what it is – a gift – we need to change the reference point.
What if we saw depression as an exploration of emotions that have been suppressed due to our unbalanced ‘masculine’ energy?
What if we saw depression as an opportunity to learn how to channel Yin energy, just as we channel Yang energy through clapping, cheering and jumping for joy?
What if we saw depression as the ability to receive from life the magic it has in store for us that we wouldn’t never be able attain through our limited capacity of conscious control?
What if we saw depression as a way for us to re-balance ourselves? To overcome our addiction to the crack-driven society of constantly doing?
I mean, we even preach and this so called 80/20 rule, where 80% of what we do only leads to 20% of what we want, and instead of fuckin’ reconsidering what we’re doing so we can reclaim that 60%, just tell ourselves it’s the 80/20 rule.
We know that every experience is teaching us something, so why should depression be any different?
Every time we say “I’m sorry” or feel bad for being depressed we are propagating this war against our dark emotions… against the power of the feminine energy… against receiving from life that which we would never be able to control it in getting. We push so hard to get out… but why? for what? To bring us back to a ‘normal’ that is unbalanced in the first place?
If we are going to overcome mental health issues, we need to not only remove the stigma, but change the narrative altogether.
We need to celebrate it, just as if it were someone’s birthday!
We need to say “Depression? Oh snap! Congrats!!! You’re learning to be balanced. What a gift! I hope you’ll share with me what you find so that I can use it to become more balanced myself.”
We need to say “I heard you’re in depression. Wow! I heard there’s a lot to be learned from that experience. I’m here for you should you need a temporary break during your experience, but enjoy the journey. You’re learning to balance the dualistic nature of energy and so that you can realize your true potential. I’m so excited for you!”
We need to high 5 each other; we need to be aware that – yes, there will be withdrawal symptoms.. heck, you’re breaking your addiction with control; we need to ask ourselves when we’re in it why we’re even running away from it – why is it such a ‘bad’ state to be in? What if it’s simply just an unfamiliar one that in order for us to master we must become familiar with it?
So let’s change the narrative folks.
Let’s stop avoiding, ignoring and bashing that piece of us that is pivotal to our growth and potential.
Let’s start congratulating people when they go into depression and make them realize they’re becoming strong because of it, not weaker for it.