Another Look at Depression

Debbie Whittle asks in her 2005 essay Another Look at Depression:

What if depression was viewed not as an illness, but rather, a call; a call from your own soul? Is it possible there is a gift in depression? We are told that depression is an illness; one involving brain chemistry. Is it possible to view depression from another perspective? Is it possible that depression can be viewed as part of a larger life cycle? Is it possible to see beyond appearances and perceive a higher vision, a vision of meaning and purpose?

... such good questions! As Whittle wrestles them she begins with a quote from Rainer Marie Rilke's "Letter to a Young Poet" counseling the open:

... Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and ... try to live the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to Live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers. ...

... and then she turns to the meta:

... When we move to a different level or perspective, we move out of the experience. This gives us the ability to observe the experience rather than be caught in the emotion of the experience. When we become the observer, there is an opportunity to gain clarity and understanding. ...

... followed by lovingkindness and acceptance — the soft:

... access our own compassion. Whatever our experience, our ability to be compassionate with ourselves increases our ability to accept ourselves, wherever we are. I find this to be one of my greatest challenges: to accept myself as a fallible human being living in a world full of misery. ...

... and ending, as she began, with more questions:

... What is calling for your attention in your depression? What new life is germinating in the darkness? What wants to die? What is waiting to be reborn? ...

(cf Worst Zen Student That Ever Was (2012-03-10), Friendship and Meditation (2012-11-06), Therapies for Depression (2015-10-04), Edgeless Sea of Compassion (2015-10-10), Open Readiness (2016-09-27), Mindfulness in Three Words (2018-06-13), ...) - ^z - 2018-08-12