Singing the Blues: Dealing with Depression

You wake up in the morning and wonder why you bother getting up to go through a day which will be exactly like the one before it and the one after.

When you think about your problems it seems as there's no way to ever solve them. You can only imagine them getting worse.

The cheerfulness of other people only makes you feel gloomier.

Nothing you do to try to cheer yourself up works.

These are some of the symptoms of depression. For some people it's a relatively permanent state; for many others, even when it's temporary it feels as if it will last forever.

Countless medical and psychological books and articles have been written about depression; my purpose is to briefly describe the state from an energetic and spiritual point of view.

How Depression Feels

It may feel as if you're carrying the weight of the world, as if you're mired in mud. You may feel heavy-hearted or somewhat numb.

Think about the phrases which are used to describe depression, and you'll see that they all suggest a sluggish, a slowed-down flow of energy, reduced sensation, a diminished ability to feel. It is as if people in a state of depression, having decided that feelings hurt, remove themselves from the flow of life around them and retreat to a dark cave of the psyche.

This has implications on a spiritual level. When we are depressed we see only what appears to be, not what could be. We abandon hope, trust, faith; we cut ourselves off from our spiritual source.

With this perspective in mind, I've found that crystals, flower essences, and essential oils, by helping to restore an internal energetic flow, can be very helpful in dissolving energy blockages, restoring feeling, and the reopening of oneself to spirit.

(A note: None of the suggestions below are intended to replace medication or medical or therapeutic assistance.)

Crystals

Many times depression may take the form of feeling generally unhappy about being in physical existence. It may seem as if our bodies, the routines of physical life, the necessities of survival, or emotional disappointments get in the way of being spiritual. (And sometimes this belief is another way of saying that feelings hurt.)

It is true that physical existence is all about feelings and sensation, about taking emotional risks and sometimes getting hurt. The more receptive we are to it, though, the more we see the possibilities for learning and growth„and fun, the more we are able to appreciate the pleasurable aspects of sensation and feeling.

At least, that's my opinion, and I don't pretend that I haven't gone through stretches of depression and of feeling pretty ambivalent about this whole business of being in a body.

The crystal which best helps me handle my own ambivalence is smoky quartz. In many ways, this is a stone which bridges heaven and earth. It is a dark stone, occurring in various shades of brown, but it's also translucent, and thus a receiver and transmitter of light.

Thus, it channels the white light of the crown chakra (represented by the top of the head) into the first chakra (base of spine, legs, feet) to help root an individual in the physical plane.

It can quite literally make one happy to be alive, and this is why it's recommended for depression. One way in which it can relieve depression is through disposing of psychic waste. Often old beliefs and emotions prevent us from experiencing life fully. Smoky quartz helps us to process and release that which is no longer needed. As we release these blockages we find that energy flows more easily through us and that we have an expanded capacity for feeling.

One nice way to use smoky quartz in meditation is to hold a clear quartz in one hand and a smoky in the other. You may want to think about the conditions in your life which you wish to release or change while mentally focusing on the smoky quartz, then ask for inspiration regarding accomplishing these changes.

Other Helpful Stones

Tiger's Eye. As a cat patiently stalks its prey or simply stares at it as if it has all the time in the world, so tiger's eye helps us to take the long view of a problem. One might call it the "This too shall pass" stone.

Hawk's Eye has a similar role, except that instead of taking the long view one gets an aerial perspective. When we can see our problems from a distance they seem much smaller.

Amber is not actually a crystal, but petrified pine tree sap which is millions of years old. Like smoky quartz, it can be used to ground healing energies into the physical body. Its golden color also radiates light and cheer, and it has been found to be helpful in relieving depression. It's ideal to wear.

Rhodochrosite is often used for anxiety, and that may seem odd, given that I've been writing about the inability to feel. Often, though, in the midst of depression, we may be trying to feel, but the resistance to feeling is so great that what surfaces is anxiety.

Rose Quartz: When we experience a deep emotional disappointment or loss it may revive the buried memories of all the other times we've had emotional pain„and these memories can trigger depression. Rose quartz helps these memories to surface and dissolve. When it's used in meditation on a regular basis to help us surface and face old pains it can help to prevent depression.

All three are available in tumbled stones, and rose quartz and tiger's eye are available in jewelry, hearts, pocket totems, and runestones.

Bach Flower Remedies

In going over flower essences, I realized that I could describe a dozen or more, and you may want to look at the descriptions at Beyond the Rainbow.

The ones I've chosen are, to borrow a phrase from medicine, broad-spectrum.

A Gentian state of discouragement may arise after you've tried and tried, and can't seem to accomplish what you want. If taken at the first sign of discouragement it can, like rose quartz, help to prevent depression.

A Gorse state is more severe. People in this condition may keep on trying, but it's usually to avoid looking like quitters, and they rarely have any hope that anything will work.

The Hornbeam state is often called Monday-morning depression. It's the kind of feeling you have when you wake up and would just as soon stay in bed all day, but which usually disappears once you get moving.

Olive relates to the depression which can follow surgery or a long illness, and is usually accompanied by physical exhaustion. The individual doesn't feel that they'll ever feel strong or energetic again. This remedy fosters revitalization and more cheerful spirits.

Agrimony is for those who don't want anyone to know how depressed they feel. Agrimony people are cheerful, friendly, and generally very popular, and only when they're alone„and not always then„do they allow their true misery to surface. Often they use alcohol, food, or substance abuse to keep their feelings under cover.

Mustard is the classic remedy for depression. It's especially recommended for those times when a dark cloud seems to blanket your emotional landscape, resists all your efforts to remove it, then mysteriously disappears. It can be taken for any depression whose source is unknown. I recommend it even if you think you do know the reason for your depression, as this flower remedy can work on a very deep level, dissolving energetic patterns of depression you didn't know you had.

Essential Oils

A note on essential oils: It is never a good idea to open a bottle of any oil and sniff it excessively. Using oils in aroma diffusers or in the bath are much better ideas.

Basil: This oil has been known for over 400 years to be a mood elevator. In the 16th century an herbalist wrote "The smell of Basil . . . taketh away sorrowfulness . . . and maketh a man merry and glad."

Juniper is an excellent essential for the cleansing out of accumulated negative energies, and is especially useful when put in bath water. (In general it's very helpful„and enjoyable„to put essential oils in bath water. 4--6 drops are usually sufficient.

Lime, because of its tart, stimulating fragrance, has a direct effect on becoming re--energized and revitalized.

Melissa (known in herb form as lemon balm) is for me one of the most delicious essential oils, not only in its scent, but in its gentle ability to lift up the spirits. It can be used both to relieve depression and to calm intense emotions. Its keyword is balance.

A Meditation for Depression

For this meditation you'll need smoky quartz, tiger's eye,rhodochrosite, rose quartz, and clear quartz. If you have an extra smoky quartz and clear quartz to hold in your hands this is helpful.

You may find it helpful to also burn some essential oils in a diffuser or aromalamp. Taking one of the Bach Flower Essences described above just before meditating is also a good idea.

Place a smoky quartz near the base of your spine, tiger's eye on the navel area, rhodochrosite on the solar plexus, rose quartz on the heart center, and clear quartz just behind your head. Place a smoky quartz in one hand and a clear quartz in the other.

Inhale slowly and deeply. Imagine your breath beginning at your head and traveling down to your feet, then coming back up again. Feel your breath travel through your body. After you've done this for a few minutes notice whether where there are any parts of your body where:

The breath doesn't seem to be going

Your energy seems to be congested

You feel any kind of heaviness

Focus your breathing on those areas. You might want to imagine it as fire which melts the blockages or as water which washes it away. Don't be discouraged if it doesn't seem to go away immediately. This is a meditation to do more than once.

Sometimes, while you're doing this thoughts may arise. Allow this to happen. They may lead you to the source of your depression. Images may also arise. If, for example, you're depressed because you didn't get a raise, you may find yourself as a child being deprived of your weekly allowance. If a childhood memory comes up allow yourself to experience it fully.

How long you spend in this meditation it all depends on your tolerance for it. If you're a new meditator ten minutes might be as much as you can handle. If you can last for or gradually increase your time to thirty minutes that would be ideal.

The greatest challenge for this particular meditation is not to jump up and end it if uncomfortable feelings arise -- which they may. We haven't buried those childhood memories because they were so wonderful. Do you best to stay with them. Remind yourself that releasing them also means releasing buried pain.

Other Supportive Measures

Dreams: If taking flower essences is one of the methods you choose to relieve depression you'll probably find that your dreams are becoming more vivid. I highly recommend writing them down, as they, like your meditative practice, may yield clues as to the source of your depression. Simply to dream vividly and to remember these dreams can in itself relieve depression, for dreams are a vital connection between the conscious and unconscious planes.

You can also read articles about Rose Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Tiger's Eye, Clear Quartz.

Bach Flower Remedies and FES Flower Essences. You can also read articles about Agrimony and Gentian.

Dreams (general) and Flower Essences and Dreams.


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