Spiritual depression

Today I would like to investigate the subject of spiritual depression.

If you try to research the subject, it appears that spiritual and clinical depressions are worlds apart and is not least expressed by the language used to describe either state. One uses the language of medical and psychological science, the other calls on spiritual metaphors.

In my practice I am working quite a bit with people suffering from clinical depression and of late I am more and more able to make the distinction.

Depression  is a syndrome, which means the presence of certain symptoms indicative of low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter with an important role for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, heart and circulation, appetite and digestion, sleep and mood (just to mention the most important). Depression is a state of exhaustion and with exception of the rare cases of a primary imbalance of the neuro-transmitters in the brain, mostly brought about by chronic stress due to external factors like environmental influences or life-style choices, but mostly caused by inner conflict. It is important to understand that stress is not a unilateral event induced by one thing, but mostly the culmination of many contributing factors. Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to, fatigue, loss of interest and motivation, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite and weight and many more. In treating depression holistically, it is important to identify all the reasons that may have contributed to the physical, mental, emotional and energetic break-down and – in co-operation with the afflicted person – look for the underlying cause. The good news about depression is that it can be treated successfully, even healed if the depressed person is inclined to take stock and is ready to change.

Healing depression is all about change. The cause of depression is mostly stress – which is marked by resistance, or high levels of stress hormones, that keep the body in a state of contraction and imbalanced metabolism, and to understand the reasons and causes for stress does help to identify the factors that need changing or adaptation, in order to achieve a better and healthier balance. The pillars of treating this kind of depression is to recognise the causes for stress, the right diet to help the body to re-energise, methods for relaxation, as well as understanding the role of emotions and expectations in terms of creating inner conflict. Allopathic and homeopathic medication and methods may be of great value and I use them based on individual need.

What I discover tough in many of these patients are signs of being ready to take a step towards awakening. So I very often introduce them to certain practices, like conscious breathing, non-judgement or even spiritual literature. To me, many of these “clinical depressions” have a strong spiritual component and the art of counselling is to figure out how far each individual is ready to go in terms of change. Sometimes this is just a more healthy routine in terms of eating and exercising, at other times it includes a quite intensive counselling in terms of letting go of anxiety or anger, as well as inner conflicts. Not one is like the other, but meanwhile I can tell, if someone is ready for a transformation.

So this “normal” type of depression, which is basically exhaustion, very often is a spiritual depression in terms of having run out of rope and letting the defences down. Even more so, I observe this in people suffering from addiction and virtually all of them suffering from depression.

Spiritual depression in the literal sense is about letting go and being ready for awakening and there may be many different layers for this. There certainly is the turning point of realising the possibility of a life lived by the paradigm of love, instead of fear. There may be the symptoms and conditions in association with the energetic changes of awakening, that often go along with symptoms of depression, pain or disease. Or it may even be indicative of the a state of yielding, the turning to the inner self and neglecting the outer for a while.

The important thing is to recognise the symptoms of awakening and offer counsel and assistance. I am seeing these symptoms in people who are on the spiritual path, and I see them in those who have never been interested in spiritual matters. I see them in religious people and I see them in atheists. I see them in young people, I see them in mid-life and I see them in old age. They all have different paths, different life stories and different challenges. So they all need a highly individualised approach and what really works in my experience is to help them to turn to themselves and listen to themselves how to best untangle the many strings and knots that keep them in darkness.

Spiritual depression is primarily an energetic imbalance and this is why energetic methods – like acupuncture, energetic exercise or even homeopathy help very much. It is also important to understand that the body is changing when more consciousness is coming through the system – much like turning up the voltage, and this can in turn also lead to mysterious symptoms.

Teaching people to listen to their own body and to tap into their own inner wisdom, seems to be the most important action anyone can take when facing symptoms of the multi-facetted condition of spiritual depression.

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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7 Responses to Spiritual depression

  1. Michael says:

    Hello Michaela,

    It is said by many Teachers that everything is of a spiritual nature, since all that Is is spirit manifested. If any physical condition is addressed by primarily physically related understandings a fuller comprehension of the energetic dynamics is normally quite limited.

    I remember reading many medically related articles which spoke of the causations of a disease, be it mental or otherwise, was due in a major way by some biological component malfunctioning. The immune system often was a target of this. Slowly over time clinicians are understanding that our immune systems don’t on their own cease to work well. Something intangible was the underlining cause. Today there was an article about hormones being at least partially responsible for what is called “post holiday topor.” The article represents my thesis that we rely on physicality to be at the root of many of our physically related challenges.

    Clinical understandings are beginning to move past fixed understandings in all areas of health. Mind/body medicine is now being taught in most medical schools. The next step will be mind/body/spirit approaches.

    In my dealings over the years with people who are depressed I was constantly reminded that much of their depression was attitudinal. The egocentric self latched onto certain ideas they refused to let go of. These ideas became their identifies.

    Some people I have known let themselves become depressed as they don’t feel they are Waking fast enough. Time is an important element to them. Internally they know or have a suspicion of a much different way of Being and they very much attach themselves to it. They become dissatisfied with their current levels of understanding and alienate themselves from much of life. A form of schizophrenia rules.

    Becoming dissatisfied and/or alienated is the realm of the relative mind/ego. My approach to depressed persons has been to expose them to the idea of conscious choice making. Each approach has been different of course. As one size does not fit all.

    Generally I found that many simply don’t know they have the freedom to create a life of their choosing and how it is their thinking which is the root of their experiences.

    Peace with Love,

  2. Michaela says:

    Hi Michael,

    yes, the spiritual nature of any disease – or accident for that matter – is a reality. I can see that and it is very clear to me how a disease is manifesting – or can be healed for that matter. Depression is such an interesting state because it is a doorway to a more holistic understanding of the condition.

    In my experience, people understand and accept the holistic approach, but they will determine how far we can go in terms of unravelling the choices, reasons and eventually cause of the condition. And that is ok – it is really a very individual approach.

    And yes, I have also seen what you describe – the “dark night of the soul”, this feeling of being stuck in darkness, not awakening fast enough. I am not a spiritual teacher, but it is easy for me to see what causes the depression here. Fear of letting go of the last frontier – awakening itself. It is a conflict. A desire, a want, a contraction – in one word, a nice duality. The approach is the same as I do with many of my patients – just let go.

    However, my approach is always integrative of body-mind-spirit.

  3. marietta says:

    the crucial question is how can one inspire the will to cure oneself. Thanks Michaela.

  4. Michaela says:

    Oh, I think the willingness to heal oneself is innate in all of us. It is a matter of finding it beyond the unwillingness to allow change to happen.

    So the question is – what is it that does not allow me to heal ?

  5. Detlef says:

    Quote Michael: “Generally I found that many simply don’t know they have the freedom to create a life of their choosing and how it is their thinking which is the root of their experiences”… If trapped in the ego there is no free will or choices, in my opinion and experience.

    • Michaela says:

      There is always a choice – and also free will. But we may not be aware of it. Becoming conscious of the choices we make in a day ( what we eat, how we treat others, what we say…) makes us aware of the million choices we make in a day and how they affect others. If we are able to only change 10%, a significant improvement in the quality of life and the level of consciousness does follow.

  6. controversialchristian1 says:

    There may be a spiritual component to depression, but it’s probably unfashionable to link it to Christian teachings.

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