Today’s blog explores the strange dance between the voice of the Holy Spirit that seeks to be known within us and symptoms of depression.
This weekend, I found myself sidelined by symptoms of depression, melancholy and overall martyrdom. It started with the telltale signs of depression – sadness, paralysis and the strange closing sensation at the top of the head that reminds me of the Milwaukee Brewers’ stadium roof when it is being closed on account of rain. The collapsable steel roof in my mind slams shut, preventing me from thinking or acting straight. Thank God I had some mindless creative activities to keep me from falling into the bottom of the pit, but once the creative activities ceased, I came down with some mysterious eye infection that told me “all bets were off.” I was forced to spend the remainder of the weekend on the couch, unable to complete any of the “goals” I had set for the weekend and this ushered in the demons of martyrdom and victimhood. “Oh, Woe is Me…..Won’t you feel sorry for me?” I felt sorry for myself, wanted everyone else to feel sorry for me and was sure it was somebody else’s fault I was feeling this way. Damn you depression. Damn you.
Enter the Muse
Then a strange thing happened. After spending a couple of day wallowing in self-pity and cultivating the darkness of depression which for me included an ocean of unnamed tears, I had to go teach a class. (A five-day weekend is never a good thing for someone who struggles with depression!) I hemmed and hawed all day trying to find a reason to NOT teach this class. Instead, I got my butt off the couch and went. THANK GOD. Because as I joined the participants in doing the prescribed meditation and journaling exercise, I found the words coming out of me that were the true source of the depression that I had experienced this weekend. In the form of dialogue first, then a poem, the cause of my weekend depression revealed itself……and the source: FEAR OF REJECTION – the core wound that I identified in the work I have done with my teacher, Julie Tallard Johnson, and the darn wound that colors the way I perceive my world. ARGH! Out Damn Spot. Out I say! As the words of the poem sprang forth out of my pen, and the fear of rejection was identified, I cried. Then, viola’ my depression was gone. (Further assisted by the fact that I was doing what I love to do and seeing the benefit to those attending the class.)
Depression, the Muse, the Holy Spirit
It is amazing to me the dance that I see over and over and over again between my personal symptoms of mental illness – depression, anxiety, panic attacks; and the working of my inner muse which could just as easily be called THE HOLY SPIRIT. So often, when I am plunged into depression or suffering anxiety, the release comes when I finally put my pen to paper and start writing. Every time, my pen reveals the source of the depression or anxiety and once identified, it is released. Amy Grant gives voice to this experience in her song The Power. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gXn0S3e9dY
The Power touches me
The Power helps us see
The Power holds my hand
The Power DRIVES ME CRAZY
The Holy Spirit WANTS us to know our truth and will HOUND US until we identify this truth and give it its voice. And for me, it hounds me through my personal symptoms consistent with mental illness. And this really gets me wondering, how many who suffer with symptoms of mental illness would find relief by getting in touch with and giving voice to the Holy Spirit/Muse within?
Annd just for fun, here is my favorite song from the band, Muse that in my mind, talks about the Super Massive Black hole of depression: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBb-J0hcBQA
Authentic Freedom Ministries