Creative Spiritual Depression

by Crystal Belle on March 23, 2013

I wanted to write you personally to express my gratitude for you and your gift to help uplift women. You’re a true inspiration and I aspire to be as positive and present as you! I stumbled upon your site using Google looking for some positive direction. I am currently heartbroken. I have been before and I was then diagnosed with depression. This time, I want to fight back! I want to accept this and move on, but there are times/days where I struggle to deal with the challenges of grief. I can say that I do not like who this man is currently, but I don’t know why I’m struggling to let it go and move forward. We have the same best friends and I have distanced myself as much as possible until I can handle that crowd and scene.  Any advice?

I hope this isn’t too much (it really doesn’t scratch the surface), but it’s harder to confide in people that are closest to you due to their own perceptions and opinions about the situation if that makes sense.

Warm regards,

R.

Hi R! I’m so grateful you wrote. Your struggle with depression is one I’ve experienced myself, and I know a lot of other women are dealing with it, too.

When I was pregnant, at one point I became very depressed, and it scared me to the point that I sought medical help. I ended up not taking the medications prescribed, and took a more holistic and spiritual approach instead. That said, of course I’m not a doctor, and I can’t advise you on a medical matter without opening myself up to potential legal issues. I can only tell you what I’ve done, what works for me, and advise you to listen to your own intuition and of course consult a professional you trust.

I’ve experienced this sort of depression several times in my life, and here’s what I’ve learned:

Emotional

Bottom line- for me, depression comes because I am blocking emotions from coming through me. I do believe that we have the ability to transcend emotions (see them from a birds-eye view, noticing and not attached), but not to suppress them, ignore them, or eliminate them. Emotions are energy, and when energy is not allowed to flow freely, it causes severe blockages.

First and foremost, when I’m feeling depressed, I get out a HUGE piece of of butcher paper (this works so much better for me than letter-sized, so it might for you, too) and markers, pens, pencils, paints, crayons, etc. I write down all my emotions, and what I’m experiencing that makes me feel those emotions. For example, I’ll put “anger” in the center, and then shooting off from that, I write what’s making me angry, like “no time to write” and “feel manipulated by x” or “when he said ___”. Really take the time to connect with your anger (sadness, frustration, jealousy, fear, etc) and let those feelings flow onto the page.

Usually  just doing anger and fear is good for me, but let your intuition guide you.

 

Spiritual

Now that I’ve been through it and tracked my emotions and progress through depression, I try to remember to feel excited when I start to feel depressed, because it may be the “dark night of the soul” that’s going to birth an incredible spiritual experience in me.

“Paradoxically, the dark night of the soul is often a sign of significant spiritual progress for it is not really the soul (higher Self) but the ego that is in the dark. Some comfort can be obtained by recalling the spiritual dictum that one can only go as high as they have been low, or that Jesus Christ sweat blood in Gethsemane, or that the Buddha reported that he felt as though his bones were being broken and he was being attacked by demons.

“In the pits of spiritual despair and black hopelessness, the necessary Knowingness to be followed is that, spiritually, all fear is illusion. The reason it is safe to let go completely of all that one holds dear, along with the belief that the inner core of the ego is the very source of life itself, is because it is not the source, no matter how intensely the experience may seem.”
-David R. Hawkins, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness

 

One month after my pregnancy depression, I had the most significant spiritual breakthrough I’d ever had. I became more powerfully mindful and present than I ever thought possible. I am so grateful for that breakthrough, and for the preceeding depression, now.

Pay attention to your dreams, which can be your higher self talking to you. During my depression, I had a profound dream which lead me to take the steps that lead to my mini-enlightenment.

 

Mental

Thoughts are behind every emotion. When we feel grief, it’s because we were attached to something that left. When we resist change, we thought things would always stay comfortably the same.

We have so many attachments that cause us pain when they depart from us- and that pain is pure  gold, if you learn to think of it that way. Pain, for me, is a shining beacon that I’m not thinking well. I continually strive to train my thoughts and create an intentional mental life, instead of just letting thoughts think me- and letting my ego decide how I’m going to think and therefore feel.

Common ego thoughts are, “this is too hard, I shouldn’t have to go through this.” “If we weren’t supposed to be together why did I waste all this time?” “He should’ve been nicer to me.” “I shouldn’t feel depressed.” (Sidenote- back to letting emotions flow- when you believe you shouldn’t have an emotion, you block it even further.)

When I acknowledge that I’m having these thoughts, I can begin to question them to see if they’re true. (Byron Katie’s work is excellent for this.)

 

Physical 

I’ve recently been diving into incredible medical studies around nutiritional healing, and I’ve found some compelling evidence that nutritional deficiencies can either create or worsen feelings of depression. I’m truly saddened that when I sought medical help for my depression in pregnancy that the professionals preferred to prescribe a synthetic medication without once ordering blood tests to check, at the very least, my niacin and B12 levels.

While you’ve indicated your depression has a definite emotional trigger, in my own life I’ve found that neglecting my nutrition often prolongs the feelings of depression after I’ve idenified the emotional, spiritual, or mental cause.

 

Social

Oh, the incredible benefit of friends! For me, reaching out to others is so important.

There have been times in my life where I was not surrounded by “safe” friends, people I could talk to about my feelings without feeling more wounded afterwards. During those times I would withdraw, so I was at least protecting myself against further invasion while I went forward. Now, I have a handful of amazing women I can talk to about just about anything, and they won’t judge, criticize, or shame me. When I start to feel a little down, a little overwhelmed by my emotions, I call a friend and talk about it. Much like you’ve done here- reaching out to someone you know will be honest and kind. For anyone reading this- if you feel like you don’t have a safe friend, email me. I’d be honored to hold space for your beautiful journey.

 

Vocational/Creative

Another huge cause of depression in my life is “ignoring the call”. I could write this entire post on this alone, but I’ll say this: if there’s something your spirit has been longing to do, to create, and you haven’t done it…do it. This has cracked my heart wide open, put a glow on my face and a bounce in my step. Listen to your heart and do what it tells you.

Beautiful creative, spiritual woman- above all, remember that you are the authority on you. Do what you need to do, do what your soul is calling you to do. You will never lead you astray.

 

With all my love,

Crystal Belle

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Beverley March 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

I agree with most of what you wrote but I do believe that sometimes medical intervention is needed. I am a positive person and try to find the best in most things and people but on a couple of occassions I did need the help of medication and I was so glad I did accept my doctors advice and take the ‘tablets’ I did for a while feel a failure in resorting to medication but after 6 months I felt so much better and able to cope and a further 6 months of cutting back slowly I was off the tablets and better still, back to my old self. Sometimes the chemicals in our brains need a little help… But that was for me not for everyone. Love the blog and the FB and follow you and your thoughts.
Enjoy your weekend.

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Crystal Belle March 23, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Beverley, absolutely! Thank you for sharing your story with depression. It is for every woman to listen to her intuition to find out what she needs. I am so grateful you were back to your old self after feeling so low!

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Fran March 23, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I have never suffered from depression, but I have been bored to tears or frustrated beyond all comprehension. As a child and teenager, when I reached this point I would take a nap. When I woke up , everything was renewed especially my spirit. I felt so good after napping the 1st time that I kept the nap time practice.

When I was in my 40′s, my high tech job in what was always considered a “man’s field” was the source of my over whelming frustration. Somewhere I read “scream” and so on my drive home after work, in the privacy and safety of my own car, I let out a blood curdling scream to the point my ear drums vibrated, which caused me to laugh hysterically…oh that feels good…so I screamed again then laughed again…no drugs involved. I have told others to do this followed by their looking at me sideways then eventually they have come back and admitted the whole silly ritual actually let them vent and cheered them up.

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Crystal Belle March 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Fran, I love it! That is one of the best examples I’ve seen of letting emotions flow through you. Wonderful!

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Melayahm March 23, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I would never presume to say what other people should do for their depression, but what worked for me was something my spiritual guide said in o e of his books, Transform Your Life, he said that people get depressed because their life is not the way they want it to be, and this hit me like a thunderbolt. where is it written that our lives will turn out the way we want, the way we expect, and everything, indeed anything, should be just as we want it? If we can stop striving to force the world into our mould, let things be as they are and accept that life will never be perfect, it takes massive pressure off us. I have never been depressed or even down for long since the day I found this to be true for me

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Crystal Belle March 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Melayahm, what a beautiful revelation! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

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R. March 23, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Belle,

Thank you for reaching out to me and with such wonderful advice and suggestions. Many things mentioned in this post touched me and I realize I new to make many changes. I am not suffering from depression currently, but I have found myself holding on to the past and getting caught up in negative thinking patterns. You’re an angel! I’m forever grateful I have found this site.

Best regards,

R.

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Crystal Belle March 23, 2013 at 8:33 pm

R, I am honored you wrote and grateful I was able to be of some help to you. You are on an incredible journey! Thank you for sharing it with me.

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R. March 23, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Need* not new..sorry for the typo

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Beth Bartels March 23, 2013 at 8:30 pm

I had such a strong initial reaction to your calling depression a gift and suggesting that one should honor it, I couldn’t read the full post right away. It was too emotionally charged. I had to save it in my inbox for later. But I thought about your words throughout the day. When I came back to it, it was with different feelings altogether.

I experienced not only depression but later a full-blown breakdown because of my refusal to listen to myself and allow myself to have emotions that didn’t fit tidily into how I thought my life should turn out. Instead, I imploded. At the time I had few women friends, no one I felt comfortable sharing with the demise of my 5-year marriage. After the breakdown and the divorce I was struggling to get back to my writing. I had gotten sober and was rebuilding my relationships and my life. I stumbled across a Greek word, meaning to set up again, to restore. Good fortune hidden in apparent misfortune or tragedy. It struck a chord with me. I would never wish what I went through on anyone, but I’m a better person for it. I’m slowly becoming the person I always wanted to be. Writing and following my heart, even when it’s telling me an uncomfortable truth. Paying attention. Honoring the person I am, the dark and the light. Thank you.

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Crystal Belle March 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm

This is exquisite, Beth. What an incredible transformation you’ve created. What beautiful presence you have, to have come through such pain with such grace. Thank you for sharing your journey, and the word that was magic for you. May it be magic for others as well.

Love,
Crystal Belle

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Beth Bartels March 23, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Sorry, I meant to include the Greek word, ‘apokatas’tasis.’

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Maureen March 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Thank you for this conversation. So many women know depression, including myself and yet like most things in our culture, we seem to have little awareness or place little importance on our needs to heal spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, and creatively as you addressed in your post. Medications are often needed, but in my life experience, I have realized they can only do so much and our wholeness still waits for us to heal the other parts. I think of it as needing to eat a balanced nutritious meal and only eating one portion of that meal because it satisfies us for the time being but under neath we continue to starve ourselves of what we need to be healthy and happy.Thanks for putting this out there so clearly.

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Crystal Belle March 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Maureen! What insight you have! I absolutely love this line: “our wholeness still waits for us to heal the other parts.” I have found that true for me…when I only eat one part, I may be temporarily satisfied, but my nutrition is not complete. Thank you for the beautiful metaphor!

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Julie Norman March 25, 2013 at 11:25 am

WOW! I don’t know what was more powerful, the blog itself or the amazing sharing around it. Thank you for shedding light on this important topic for women. I’ve struggle more with anxiety than depression on my path but have family member and many clients who have experience severe depression. I also find the key to be presence, especially of the emotions in our bodies and what our bodies need, to be foundational. From the roots of embodiment we feel safe enough to let those feelings flow so healing can happen and night can pass back into day revealing the gifts of awakening. Can’t wait for more CSW posts!!!

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Crystal Belle March 29, 2013 at 6:13 pm

So beautiful, Julie! Presence truly is key, and you summed it up here so beautifully. To our most powerful, embodied, present selves! Namaste!

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Lucy August 29, 2013 at 8:36 am

I absolutely loved reading this post today during my lunch hour, as I try to fight off depressive thoughts and wrangle with another bout of anxiety, all the while feeling frustrated beyond belief with a job that isn’t serving my soul in any way (I am working towards quitting and going freelance). Your post really spoke to me, and I feel rather emotional as I sit here at my desk. I practice mindfulness meditation, which has changed my life in so many ways, and yet when the storm hits some of the very basics seem to fly out the window. Some very timely reminders – thank you – this has been the best thing to happen today.

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Crystal Belle August 31, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Hi Lucy! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It takes such courage to stand up to those thoughts we don’t want to think and say, “Hey, I choose something else.” Bravo! A trick I like to use, thanks to Rhonda Byrne: Think of your mind as a glass, and it’s half-filled with water (positive thoughts, loving thoughts.) Instead of “fighting off” or “waging war” on the negative thoughts (the emptiness in the glass)… instead, just FILL up your mind with positive thoughts. For every thought that comes that you don’t want to think, laugh, and say, “Hah, you can’t get me, I choose to think about this instead.” For me, it becomes a marvelous game and the negative thoughts get tired of trying very quickly. :) Hope that helps. Sending you love and hugs and admiration for your courage!
Crystal Belle

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