Depression has a way of sneaking up on us. It comes out of situations which create emotions within us which we don’t know how to express. Over a period of years experiences like the loss of a loved one, a trauma, an accident, an unfulfilling relationship or job accumulate. Over time these deep feelings and start to build up. There may be occasional emotional outbursts but if we are not well supported in expressing ourselves and change does not occur we switch off to how we feel – neatly tucking our feelings away in the recesses of our mind/body. Eventually we become emotionally numb: this is depression.
Emotional imbalances may show up physically through inflammatory conditions known as the “itis” such as rhinitis (colds), conjunctivitis (styes), gastritis (tummy bug), psoriasis (skin conditions) and bronchitis. The skin, fasciae, lungs and large intestine all relate to the autumn so look out for conditions relating to these organs.
The autumn season has its own particular qualities and affects on our bodies and psyche. As the weather cools down and summer changes to winter we start to look inward. Positive emotions connected with the autumn are courage to experience our feelings, integrity and ability to speak our truth. They naturally arise within us at this time of the year and its the perfect time to work with our emotions. Feelings of sadness due to climate changes and the effects on the environment (like falling autumn leaves) begin to naturally arise. Unresolved grief may also turn up. If we have the courage and honesty to express sadness when it turns up our personality becomes more refined.
Depression is experienced as lost enthusiasm for life. It is very debilitating. A common coping mechanism for depression is keeping ourselves busy, so we can pretend we are doing just fine. Yet deep within there is a nagging ache of unhappiness. Workaholism, the constant need for activity or entertainment can be a sign that we are covering something up. This need can lead to a person becoming involved with activities that are unfulfilling instead of what satisfies them. Louise Hay in her book You can Heal your Life says that colds are “too much going on at once. Mental confusion, disorder. Small hurts”.
Underneath depression is a myriad of other unexpressed feelings, anger, resentment, frustration, unfairness, worry which all take a lot of energy to suppress. We literally “put a lid on it” to depress all these strong feelings from arising – they can be quite frightening and we can feel unsure how to express them safely. For many of us, its better to keep them locked away inside of us. Unfortunately they just don’t go away, we can’t “think them out” or “explain them away”, the only way they will change is if we can feel them. It takes alot of energy to keep all this powerful emotion in, so its not surprising that exhaustion, tiredness, loss of libido and distancing from people comes along with depression.
Our inner message is that we are not enjoying life and don’t deserve to live. To rekindle our spirit we need to feel and validate our unexpressed emotions and also find our passion in life.
Here are some helpful tips ....
When you feel a bit low find a sad movie and be prepared for a good cry. If you can’t cry but have a lump in your throat, spit into a tissue instead. It sounds strange, but its better to get something out then swallow it back down. Do this as often as you like and the feelings will begin to change. This is a great way to move through sadness at a pace you can manage.
Find a counsellor for when you feel really low. Don’t burden your friends with your troubles all the time. They are not trained in how to help you and it becomes a burden for them. Work with someone skilled who can explain your patterns and give you the support and techniques appropriate for you.
If angry feelings arise taking walks uphill, using a punch bag or using shaking chi gong whilst thinking about the anger helps you to move the feelings through your body. Its invigorating and releasing at the same time.
Support your “inner work” with things that nurture you. Good food, hugs, massage, being around kind people, spending time with animals and walks in nature. Deepen your relationships. Enjoy the nurturing and be grateful. These moments give you time out from your sadness and a fresh perspective.
Sometimes chemical imbalance within the body adds to the depression. Herbs and a good diet can change your inner chemistry and affect the way you feel.
There are also flower essences, homeopathic remedies and essential oils which all have positive affects upon our emotions.
Cultivate your spirit with things that uplift you... singing, dancing, music, humor, laughter, theatre, uplifting movies and books, non-competitive sport that’s fun – pay attention to what lights up your enthusiasm for life and go for it!
There are a number of wonderful meditations which convert negative emotions into positive ones. In the Taoist practice we have the Inner Smile mediation, Earth Chi Kung, the Six Healing Sounds and the Inner Beauty meditation. It is a longer process than counselling and you have to be committed to the practice. However it is very effective and feelings start to change all by themselves. These practices have additional benefits to your health as well and are an alternative to “talking therapies”.
A clear perspective on life develops when we can recognise and express our feelings. Gradually we are able to become completely honest with ourselves and others, and grow from our feelings and find our passion in life.
Gilles Marin “Five Elements, Six Conditions” A Taoist Approach to Emotional Healing, Psychology, and Internal Alchemy
Louise Hay “You Can Heal Your Life”.
Elayne Lane is an Aromatherapist, Massage Therapist, Touch for Health Kinesiologist, she also practices Chi Nei Tsang and teaches chi kung classes from the Universal Healing Tao. She can be contacted on 03 5470373 or www.learnhealing.org.