Thoughts on Depression

Dear Friend and Reader:

I’m back a little early from my break with a note about a topic that I think needs to be focused and given some language.

I’m aware that a good few people are going through rough times right now, on the psychological, spiritual or emotional levels. They are all related; we each describe our experiences using our own words and ideas.

We could point to many external factors associated with these feelings — for one, the news has been over the top grievous lately, and that will cause stress for any sensitive and humane person.

It looks like we are experiencing a culture-wide moral collapse, and yet many lack the ability, strength or personal resources to respond.

It’s ugly hearing about kids kept in conditions not considered suitable for livestock, being taken from their parents, having their sleeping mats confiscated as punishment for complaining about disgusting food, and the rest of it.

We now are learning about a sitting cabinet member complicit in a child sex-trafficking scheme, potentially involving the president of the United States. It’s worse not being able to do anything about it.

When I talk about depression, I mean something more deeply personal, inwardly focused and without an apparent cause.

I mean an enveloping bleakness, lack of purpose or motivation, the sensation of having no power, the deep feeling that there’s no point to any of this, and/or the feeling that nobody cares about you.

Many are also experiencing profound frustration about their personal affairs but still have the ability to focus and keep going. Others are watching loved ones go through deep struggles. It seems like everyone is either going through something intense, or is close to someone who is.

Current astrology is exacerbating this situation, though my practice is to be cautious about ascribing emotional or spiritual effect to astrology per se. However, the combination of eclipses, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, are worth taking note of and may have some clues to offer.

In astrology, the concept “Capricorn” is shorthand for many of the most challenging factors we deal with in life. These include family, work responsibility, accountability in many other forms, and corporate and government power. Capricorn is noted for its depressive feelings, wherever someone might have it in their chart.

The Saturn-Pluto conjunction — a rare event that I am trying to cover regularly, to keep up with people who miss articles — describes the sensation of maximum density imploding on itself. It’s also describing the need to confront anything in your life that you know is pending material on the Capricorn spectrum.

The forthcoming lunar eclipse, exact Tuesday, can act as a release point or vent, if you position yourself there consciously. We need to look closely at anything involving mother, which is a sensitive topic.

The issues are not necessarily specifically about her, but rather the latent impressions she has left on you. Often someone is trying to live through the other unconsciously (whenever that may have occurred).

In Capricorn, this will feel like some kind of constriction or restraint (at this time, self-restraint). That can lead to excess at times — different forms of avoidance, drinking, prescription meds, toxic relationship patterns, or our topic for the day, depression.

My therapy teacher Joe once said that the opposite of depression is expression. I suggest you study how you work the balance between self-restraint and self-expression.

This can be on a daily or hour to hour basis, or how you think about what you do with your longer-term desires and ideas. This is one point where it’s possible to unravel the nexus of depression — what I am calling the balance between self-restraint and self-expression.

After being held down for a long time, or holding yourself down, it’s not easy to flex and stretch and express your vitality at first. Yet at a certain point, the question becomes, ok — which is less uncomfortable?

I’ve been on a short break the past week or so, and one day recently, I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I could say to myself, well, you’ve been working 12 hours a day for the past umpteen months. Just rest. When I do, I know I’ll soon come out the other end.

Yet if that’s how you feel every day, then it’s not about rest, it’s about something else. There are no easy answers here, though I don’t believe that “nothing can be done.” I suggest you be leery of anyone who takes that position, or who says that the only solution is to use mood-altering medication; that does not help in the long run.

I believe it’s vitally, vitally important to connect with positive people who have some experience with these kinds of feelings, and get a conversation going. Do something, anything, that feels good, and that does not come at a cost (i.e., sex with a toxic person, or drinking a fifth of gin).

You need to be patient with yourself. Stay close to your notebook, your sketchbook, your critters, or your musical instrument. Write down your dreams: many times, they contain the closest thing to a custom-tailored psychological key.

Remember your basic needs: food, water, sunlight, movement, company, and getting your endorphins moving (such as with orgasms). And you need air: not fake, recycled conditioned air, but actual fresh air, such as you find outside, preferably near a tree or two, or a lake, a river, a beach or any body of water. When you go outside, take off your sunglasses for a while, and let all those frequencies of light enter your brain.

Soaking regularly in a sea salt bath is helpful. (I mean ordinary cheap sea salt, not a boutique item.) Plants in your space — and taking care of plants — raises your vibration and that of the space you live in.

(This morning, I dreamed of someone lighting an underground fire, like in a subway tunnel or coal mine. I was alarmed at first, but woke up feeling pretty good, and took away the idea that the dream was about me lighting a fire within myself.)

I think that Joe is right, and I suggest you take this as your mantra: The opposite of depression is expression. Do your best, one hour at a time, or one day at a time, if you must.

With love,

Weekly horoscope for July 11, 2019 (#1253) | By Amy Elliott

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Certain conflicts are now decidedly behind you, and you may well feel freer and more like yourself than you have in a long while. Enjoy the sense of relief and release. During the next few weeks, it might still be worth going over the past and considering what your experiences have taught you. It’s important that you understand how your new situation is a development from the previous one, and that you are still the same person, grown wiser. What you have learned from recent events is a key component of this knowledge.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Since your thoughts originate with you, try not to be afraid of them. If you feel like they’re leading into some deep, dark areas, do what you can to provide illumination. Write down what you experience and, if possible, tell someone you trust. The chances are that in the background of all this are some old devils attempting to take new shapes, and that once identified they’ll be far less fearful. You’ve almost certainly defeated them before, and are more than capable of doing it again; you’ve already proved both your strength and your tenacity.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — Be aware that you are almost certainly underestimating your capabilities, especially when it comes to achieving what you most wish for. Definitely avoid any temptation to assume the worst or to move the goalposts. Mercury is retrograde in any case, so the stage isn’t exactly set for major determinations of that nature. Instead, stick to the plans you already have in place, and keep any appointments or promises you’ve made. Doing what you know to be right should be one useful tool to help you restore your confidence.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — You seem to be developing a strong understanding of who you are at essence, and what you’re capable of accomplishing. You are navigating that sometimes-tricky boundary between yourself and the rest of the world. Mastering this can be a source of immense power and energy, and you are glimpsing this now; it’s important that you make no assumptions, especially regarding limitations. Many people are experiencing a crisis of self-esteem and feelings of disenfranchisement; you do not have to be among them.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — You likely have a sense of something preparing to come to a head: a phase of your life that you’re ready to let go of amid new challenges and interests. What is emerging probably still has some developing to do before you can see a clearly defined shape; this could feel unsettling, though there might also be an inspiring quality to the process, on which you can draw. Hold space for the tension and the uncertainty. You may benefit for now from focusing on what’s immediately in front of you; that should help keep your mind busy.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — It may be necessary for you to cultivate greater trust in your instincts, which in turn requires trust in yourself. While you may be feeling rather unsure just now, a part of your mind at least seems tuned in to exactly the frequency needed to receive valuable insights. This could be of considerable benefit to specific people in your milieu as well as yourself. Be open to what comes through, as far as possible, and try to address anything related to your self-confidence that’s bothering you, as this will help clear up the signal.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — It would seem you’re gradually forging a vision of the next phase of your life, which is assembling one piece at a time. The gentle pace is necessary to allow you to take every facet into consideration. Once the final image is complete, you’ll know. During this process, you may benefit from keeping day-to-day events and routine tasks at surface level, dealing with them quickly and then leaving them behind. Anything that requires your special attention will be evident. Otherwise, give your mind room to work its miracles.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — First and foremost, remember you are worthy. Dare to aspire after what is good and beautiful, even if it seems too far to reach. Your desired goal may well be closer than you think. One idea that may help you at this time is getting to know the layout of the path between you and your destination; mapping out methodically all the windings, bumps and other changes you’re aware of. This might help make the work seem significantly more manageable. One step at a time may not be a sprint, but it’s still moving forward.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — When it comes to fulfilling an agreement or working on a group project, be sure you’re holding up your end of the bargain before questioning anyone else’s commitment. It may be wise for now to assume everyone has the best intentions. Ruts and delays can happen without anyone orchestrating them. Develop a sense of mutual trust, and review your own actions to be clear you’ve not missed anything. Now is a time for fact-checking and being actively clear in communications, so that nothing is left to the mercies of chance.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — Like many others, you might be afraid that allowing your desires to be valid could mean a loss of self-control, or straying too far from the narrow path. Don’t be fooled by things like shame and embarrassment. Sexual desire in particular can be confused with actual unethical behavior, to the extent that people tend to shut themselves down before they’ve even got started. You have some perfectly healthy and reasonable needs to explore. Why not suspend self-judgment and try out one or two thought experiments, or even play a little?

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — This could very well be a good week for “serious play,” not only in the sense of creative thought, but also as a way of connecting consciously with experiences that delight you. You may be inclined toward a more cynical or morose view than usual at present, and could probably use a pick-me-up or three in order to dispel that line of thought. Do some of your favorite things, and some altogether new; vary the day-to-day routine, especially if it seems dull. Everyone needs a holiday now and then. You’ve certainly earned one.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — There are those rare and special moments when we understand something of the answers to the more profound questions. We see the underlying patterns, like individual threads creating a beautiful tapestry. Recent events have started making sense to you, where in the past the significance has seemed foggy or vague. The picture is falling into place in all its vibrancy and wonder, and you now have a clear enough lens to take in the view. Let this revelation empower you to live fully in the light and express your most fundamental truth.


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