Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

Anti depression: Using grief for a chiropractic adjustment

There’s a song by that un-sexy trendsetter Johnny Rotten — maybe you heard it — where he rants a refrain, Anger is an energy.

The track is called Rise, and it was done by Rotten’s post-Sex Pistols band, Public Image Ltd.

Anger’s an energy? Ya, we get it. From the World Trade Center to Oklahoma City, it can obliterate buildings. Far more of a reach is to grok how depression is equally an energy, maybe even moreso. As strange as it sounds, depression from a loss, a death, a break-up, bankruptcy or divorce has been tapped by people to propel themselves forward with the same force that others use anger.

The difference is that depression is a subtle trickster. When it courses through your mind and body it masquerades as a throat-choking, hemorrhaging, soul-sucking black hole. (And we say that like it’s a bad thing:)

For one second, picture the volume of energy required to mechanically produce those effects in you. Flip it, and see that energy for what it is: an internal power plant. A natural resource that’s 100% yours.

Other schools of therapy would try to remove the black mass by medication, behavioral modification or cognitive reframing . . . But none really honors the depression for its insistence that one’s life be changed. In that massa confusa a powerful will to life may be found, though presently it is obscured and unavailable.

To thank the depression as an angel, a “messenger” of attention and healing, seems bizarre to contemporary culture which pathologizes such mainfestations and seeks their rapid elimination.

James Hollis, who has looked farther and smarter through the woods than the average bear, thanks his depression “as a gift from the psyche.”

And the mind goes, ‘HTF do you do you that when you keep having images of the lover you slept with for years, who checked out overnight and now shows less affection for you than they do toward the assitant at their dentist’s office’? Or the parent who died on you? Or the business partner who pulled the rug out from under you? Every waking moment seems to bring alive their casual brutality, to borrow Neil Bissoondath’s words — the hearteache that he or she has apparently inflicted.

So whatever was loved — an actual lover, a marriage, a stock, a self-image — kills in its absence. The mind freaks out at the vacuum the loss leaves. It’s compelled to fill a void with something. Fill it with, ‘God, how can this be?’ That’s the emotion. Depression is the thing we call it.

Imagine, then, for a moment, if you were a person totally incapable of protesting what you miss. Just pretend. What does it feel like?

The moment will pass and then the pain is back — a pain in the ass that has as much a reality as the chair right under your ass. So give the painfulness the same place in existence as you’re giving the chair that’s supporting you right now. Immerse yourself not in the thought of the loss, but the sensation of the big empty space inside of you. Step into it with a Live-and-let-live submissiveness. Do it as if your personality isn’t even in the scene anymore, as if “you” have disappeared and all that’s there now are lumps of coals and waves of whatever passing through a sphere of awareness like a storm in the changing sky.

The weather changes, and you’ve just ‘sat with your pain,’ as the Buddhists would say. And the pain you felt maybe has a different surface to it. Transparent like a window pane. A looking glass into a totality that is you. A light-well.

When one can find that vital connection once again, the natural energy and purposiveness returns and the depression lifts. – James Hollis

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One Comment on “Anti depression: Using grief for a chiropractic adjustment”

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