Flames 3

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The hardest part about depression is that you feel everything. every breath, every move, every thought…it is almost as if you are being controlled by another force, much stronger than you. You think about death, and plan the end. But even that feels like too much work. You think about life, and positive thinking, and it all feels without purpose. You think about reaching out to a friend, but the thought of rejection feels unbearable. You cry, thinking the tears might wash away some of the sadness, but it only makes you  feel worse. So you cry some more, this time with more intention, for now you feel hopeless. You feel in-between. Neither dead or alive. Not able to let go of the past, or think about the future. Living in the moment, but the moment is filled with despair. You breath into it, trying to be mindful of each sensation, but the breath barely comes, gets lost somewhere between the inhale from your belly to the exhale from your mouth, and chokes you. Like the hand of the stranger whom you used to love, whom you thought shared your soul, strangling you, silencing your voice. The breath feels like your enemy, even though it is supposed to give you life.

So you sit…in silence…waiting…afraid to breathe…alone and isolated. For the thought of any movement frightens you. You feel close to the edge, and another’s careless word or  glance can push you over. You’ve been here before…many times. You know the darkness will eventually end because it has before. So you sit….breathing slowly, being mindful of the depths of your fears, grieving the ultimate loss, staring at the flames of your alchemical burning. The nigredo, blackening, descent into the depths of your own purgatory, has a life force of its own. You’re being broken open, burning to ashes, engaged in yet another phoenix process. Do you dare to go in willingly, or be dragged by fate? You have no idea what will come of you, whether you wait or move towards the fire. You know clearly that you cannot continue to live in suffering, waiting for change to happen. You don’t know if you will come out of the darkness, or how long you will burn. But you must find peace amidst the chaos……joy in the suffering…pleasure in the pain.

You have spent many years searching for an easier way. I don’t think it exists. You now must accept life on life’s terms, and decide whether you move forward or die waiting for change. You must surrender to what is, no matter how painful, and let go of the attachments…so you can breathe. Be in the moment, and find gratitude in who and where you are today.

I know how it feels to be in-between. I have been there many times. And the only way out is through. No medication, addiction, obsession, or affirmation will be a good enough companion. All is needed is a courageous heart, relentless faith and endless compassion. Courage that you are strong enough; faith that your higher power will protect you, and compassion for yourself and others, for we all have a cross to bear.

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