Tuesday, 23 September 2008

When Changing Your Mindset Isn't Enough - Questions Regarding Spiritual Depression

About a year ago a young man went and shot 9 pupils at a high school in Finland. A year later, another man shoots 10 pupils in a high school. I heard about both cases in the Swedish news, where they also reported that there are more firearms per capita than in most other countries. I think the US is worse, and the third country was probably one in the Middle East. This is a very shocking thing considering that we have always lived with a certain sense of security. Because of the low population in Finland, there is a lot of control, and in fact less corruption than in most countries... Am I living in a country of contradictions? I myself never felt particularly at home here, as one of the minority of Swedish speaking people, I don't really relate to Finnish culture very well. To me it's too stark and unyielding. I am proud to be a Finn when I am abroad, as we are honest people who tend to avoid bragging and bullshitting. This is obviously changing though. While the general atmosphere is more laid back and international, there are also the unwanted elements of the infiltration of the Russian mafia (this is a popular throughway for terrorists) and the craziness that comes from a lack of emotional expression, and the long, desolate winters.

I have been feeling down because of some things that don't seem to disappear although I am keeping myself very busy renovating some furniture and planning a dinner (well, I was really too shy to invite people I don't know all that well, but thought it would be a motivating factor as the days are getting darker... and lonelier. I've also been constructing my own website, improving the old ones, trying to find ways of ordering items connected to my art that I can sell and through which I can promote myself - all this is positive except that I am quickly approaching the limit of the credit that was finally granted me thanks to my long relationship with "the" departmentstore in Helsinki (oh yes, it's that screwed up!). I am tired of being poor and feel almost frantically determined to change this state of affairs. I want to move to a happier environment, I want to feel that I am alive, I want to feel freer, I want to... well you know, all the things that make life worth living. At the moment I'm a bit of a zombie, really. Perhaps as a friend said, it's the isolation that does it. The relentless brooding, the sadness over lost relationships that just won't give in... I don't know. I wish I did. And I guess in some cases, keeping your mind busy is not the solution. So don't believe everything people tell you.

Today I replied to Marianne Williamson's article on Myspace about spirituality and depression. She's the one who wrote "A Course In Miracles", which I respect as I have not read it and have no reason to feel adverse to it (well other than that I didn't read it because I didn't personally feel attracted to it). I am obviously a bit irritable due to all the weird crap that came my way from the spiritual sector during the summer, and so all the oohs and aaahs that her article ignited kind of ticked me off. I mean, come on, folks! Wake up! THINK. For yourselves. Seems as spiritual people are either lulling in some slumber where fairys and angels reign, or scheming evil things with the intention of turning the positive evolution into the revolution of the Dark.
Are the lovey dovey ways going to fix the problems that are more than obvious in this world? I am not saying love gets the thumbs down. Only that... there is "reality" too (I mean the one that still stands after you've removed the illusion-part). You can't love a stranger. Or can you? I guess I thought that was granted only the select few, the real Enlightened ones. But... who am I to say? But when people tell me they love me SOOOO much though they don't have the faintest clue who I am, I get a little suspiscious... Is that paranoia? Possibly. Maybe there's something I'm not getting? Uuuh? Of course, I get even more suspiscious when people do the tests to see how their auras look and publish the results for everyone to see... or do some online test to see what kind of earth angel they might be. Hey, are those any better than magazine tests? You know, the ones people laugh about during coffee breaks? I did one about the auracolour and had a very hard time deciding which boxes to tick. Maybe something is wrong with me? I thought I knew myself really well - after all I've been the main object of my own studies for most of my life... but perhaps I'm too intent on being honest and then I just get... stuck. I did the other one about angels and I just barely made it to "starperson". Then I waited to see if that affected me somehow. Well, truth to say, I was a little more impressed when Archangel Michael talked to me and told me about my origin. IF it was him, of course. But one can always hope.

Ok, here it is: I have studied mysticism and esoterics for nearly 20 years. I think I know a thing or two about the truths the ancients knew already, as well as new findings regarding quantum physics and how it relates to our very basic ability to create (and co-create this reality). I also know about the New Age because I wrote a thesis about it. Admittedly, this movement has changed a bit since, but has it really? I mean, Ken Wilber who does after all have the mind of a genius was very much into the evolution thing. You know, the evolution of consciousness. And when people are talking about the ascension, well is it really a different issue altogether? Hard to say, isn't it? People go all crazy over the Mayan calendar, since 2012 has been marked as a turning point. Truth to say I rather try and manage my day to day life as best I can than get engrossed in all that. It's just too much. I've had so much of all that already. Now I need to live.

Anway, I did write a comment to Williamson, with all my respect for the work she has done, of course. My question is, can we really always fix our mindset and make everything ok? I'll add my response here:

"I'd like to present a slightly different point of view. Not that I disagree with you or that I think I have all the answers. It's just that I used to be very good at monitoring myself when I was sad, I would cry for a while and then go out and spend time in the big bookstore and maybe in its café. That's when I was living in the big city. Maybe the humdrum was distracting me or I was in a more disciplined mode. I suffered a major burn out after this though and it has taken me years to slow down. I'm one of those who have a stressed out nervous system. I moved to a searesort and live alone with my cats in the forest. I thought this would calm me down. In fact I could feel my feelings more acutely and more thoughts more loudly. I tried everything; taking grieving time off to cry about my lost relationships and cats that died under very sad circumstances. I tried to force myself to rest but my stress level was so great I couldn't meditate. Slowly, it got better. But some basic sense of disappointment is holding me in its grip. I've done 30 pieces of artwork this summer which is more than I used to do in year. I am working a lot online (I'm disabled) to promote myself. I am trying to divert attention from any negative thoughts that many so-called spiritual people are prompt to point out. Ok, so I try and ignore my thoughts and only "indulge" in them when I need to write about injustice (well, someone has to, and I do feel it's my purpose). I tried communicating with spiritual people but I was hurt by very many of them, and I promise that I am not exaggerating. The exaggeration is maybe in the fact that I am having trouble letting it go. I have decided to try once more and get out of the social trap I'm in, so I am not totally without a vision for the future. Am I depressed? I finally got a psychatrist who is trying to find out. However, a serotonin boost is seldom the solution, and the extensive use of drugs is only in the interest of drug companies. Like someone said, if you feel happy when you have a reason to be and sad when you also have a reason to be, you're actually healthy. So what are we to do? How are we to get out of the sense of disappointment and desillusionment? I don't know the answer. And believe me: I have been thinking about all this a LOOOOONG time. Btw I understand the "Russian" thing (referring to Marianne's genetic heritage), yes, I am Finnish and so I am not far removed from that either. But that is hardly the ultimate answer. So what is? Truly? With respect, Vivi-Mari Carpelan"

So what is really wrong? Why does a person want so much to "ascend", that is rise into a higher sphere of consciousness, but fails so miserably in creating the reality everyone is talking about? I suspect that one part of the melancholy that lingers somewhere behind all the things that keep me busy, is a disappointment that I tried to fit in with the spiritual people but got only trouble, and that maybe the trouble was a sign that I was forcing it. I have given it a chance - indeed, I spent more time on one of the spiritual sites than I've spent in any other community outside of the socially accepted instititutions. And here I am, claiming defeat. I just cannot force myself to join in with the happy chorus of oohs and aahs and I love yous. On top of everything, I have seen (or believe I have seen) that this is a very American phenomenon. I can hardly keep count on all the people who gave me promises of one kind or another and failed to deliver whatever it was. Well, one promised me a web site but I got tired of waiting (my question, which was not assertive, was met with a defensive explanation about business), and so I created my own through a server (http://www.vivimaricarpelan.vpweb.co.uk/).

It seemed to me while watching all these people who are a majority on the internet, and also in real life through the friend I visited last winter, that promises are given as symbol of optimism, since without it you're dead meat. And if you do want to make it in a highly competitive society, you need to show up a cheery facade and kiss ass, be it real or not. I have thought some about it and it seems that my culture is the opposite in many ways. But in both of them people carry guns and shoot innocent students who are only trying to get themselves an education.
While contemplating these issues today, I thought to add a few of my thoughts. One is, as someone pointed out, that many people today are probably going through a lot of changes and so one needs to try and be compassion about the occasional slip of the ego. I do believe this to be true though it doesn't necessarily make me feel any better at the moment nor help me deal with certain upsetting situations. It's interesting that I read the second article about spiritual depression within a short time span, and I certainly liked Marianne's much better as she was talking out of her own experience. The first one was the one that got me into trouble and that I mentioned in my last blog. Anyway, I do not really feel that I understand what has been said in these articles. To me, it tells me something that people feel a need to use a new term such as "spiritual depression". Now it obviously means, that people are spiritually aware yet depressed at the same time. For some reason that is unclear to me, they want to join these together. Perhaps it's what I have, only I've called it "existential anxiety" or another bout of the real "dark night of the soul" (see previous blog). I don't really feel very connected to "Source" or whatever you want to call the creative force, and it bothers me. I feel guilty about it.
Now feeling guilty of being depressed is certainly a sign of the times. Although it's starting to become a dinner table subject as more and more people confess to popping the happy pill, it's still something you rather not mention as you know that people will shun you. Especially if you don't pop the happy pill! The woman who channelled messages to me in the summer implied at the end in a rather manipulative voice that I "must be highly depressed"; it sums it all up; doesn't it - it's the easy and rather superior answer when you want to get away from someone who makes you feel uncomfortable.
Yet as the links below will show, you may suffer from a longing of "the light" or our basic nature, and thus life as we know it may feel hollow. On the other hand it's not very clear to me how you remedy this state of affairs if you're dysthymic enough or mentally and physically fatigued (for instance suffering a burn out which is becoming more and more common these days) since simply "telling yourself you're beautiful in front of the mirror and smiling at the image every morning" may not be an option at the time. Very likely you also suffer guilt from not being able to pull yourself together. It's amazing how many poeple still think it's a matter of getting a grip or scooping the crap underneath the carpet. Also don't forget the power of hopelessness. One example would be that of disabled people who get no support to keep them busy and motivated, and they also cannot gain a few bucks because they are dependent on the social service. This is because the basic pension is too low.
There are many kinds of depression, that is true. Make sure you don't fall into the category of "people who are a bit sad and need medication". Make sure that you deal with your issues in daylight and hope that it will help you have a good night's sleep. If that doesn't help, it may be that you're suffering from dysthymia, which is a mild but chronic depression that is hard to fix. It could have deep existential origins - perhaps something that nothing really can cure until you decide to accpet life as such (this is hard for many), and of course it can stem from unresolved issues from your childhood. Don't immediately assume that it's just a matter of chemical imbalance, hey come on! I mean yes, things affect other things in the body and our energies. Still, ff you eat right and exercise, the odds are small that your hormones are all screwed up. But if you do feel grief that never ends, maybe some form of therapy could help if you can afford it. It is NORMAL to feel grief and loss, but maybe not for months or years. Life does go on, so don't discount the power of self-healing.
One important thing that I forgot to mention is that many sensitive and empathic people absorb collective energies, and I think that I personally had a pretty heavy load of that due to the shooting in this country. After all, it would upset most people that kids get shot for no reason at all.
I also want to underline that many of the unpleasant side effects that people go through when they take the happy pill (loss of libido and creativity, the zest of life, etc.), could occur if you are taken these medecines unnecessarily. It's only normal that your body would react to something that is out of place. These view points are not made by a medical authority, and so I am only telling what I have concluded over the years. It has for instance been proven that people with fibromyalgia rarely respond to anti-depressants though they show signs of distress and irritability.
P.S. Karen (Univision) kindly sent me these links that might answer some questions:
Artwork: "The Art Of Survival", handmade collage by author, all rights reserved 2008

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