Once again, I am delighted to write for the magazine, and being the story-teller that I am, this month, I shall indulge in the telling of a story called, “The Tea-Cup”
A couple walked into an antique store, and asked to see the most beautiful item in the shop. The shopkeeper proudly displayed a teacup. This, however, was not just an ordinary teacup, but one of extraordinary beauty and elegance. As the couple were admiring the teacup, much to their surprise it began to talk to them. It said:
“I was not always as you see me now. Once I was but a lump of clay. There was nothing special about me at all really, but one day, I was aware of being grabbed and kneaded hard against my will. I was upset and disturbed about being so harshly treated. So I shouted out, Stop! Stop!, and I heard a voice say”
“Not just yet...”
“And then, before I knew it, I was flung hard against a rotating wheel, and moulded and shaped by strong hands, again I shouted out, Stop! Stop! I am getting so dizzy!, but again I heard the voice...”
“Not just yet...”
“Then, things went from bad to worse, I was placed in an oven of intolerable heat, and I began to cook in the relentless heat of the furnace... Once again I shouted, but to no avail... Stop for pity’s sake I screamed, I cannot breath and I am tormented by this terrible heat”
Once again, “Not just yet...”
“Then I was removed from the oven, and just as things were cooling down I was aware of being ticked by a brush, and I was being smothered by paint...again, I pleaded to my tormentor...Stop! Stop! I am being smothered...”
“Not just yet...” came the calm voice.
“Then, I was placed once again in a furnace of even WORSE heat, and felt I must surely melt... Stop! Stop! I cannot stand this inferno!”
“This time though, the voice said”, “It is finished”
“I looked at myself in the reflection of a mirror, and saw, that I was no longer a shapeless lump of clay, but now the finished article that you see before you, one sought after, highly prized and now a thing of beauty”
The difficulties that we are subject to, particularly those issues we face during the end of a relationship are at times experienced as almost intolerable, but if we stay the course and learn the lessons, allowing the potter to shape us and form us, suffering the tribulations and heat of our troubles, we may yet become so much more than we were.
Sadness Vs. Depression, (or, Sorry I cannot feel Sad at the Moment...I’m too Depressed...) Depression is only one of many types of psychological illness, and it may or may not surprise you to know that it comes in a variety of flavours. There are depressive illnesses of the exogenous type, (that is, they come from without, or have a causative factor, i.e. the loss of a job, spouse, pet, or even health), or the more problematic being the endogenous type, (which exist as part of the person’s psyche).
Also there is the interesting variety of Bi-polar, (or manic depression, where there is a manic phase and a depressive phase). The latter type we shall also not deal with here, as it requires medical intervention to stabilise the condition. Also, the endogenous variety we shall put on the shelf for the time being.
What we are primarily discussing here is exogenous depression. Now, we tend to use the word “depression” freely in our society, as in: “Oh, I feel really depressed today..”
Let me assure you. That is not depression. Depression itself is marked by a LACK of being able to feel, and is the mind’s way of protecting itself from an overwhelming onslaught of negative feelings.
There are conditions known as depressive equivalents that may mask depression by such things as psychosomatic illness, where the person experiences real pain but where there is no obvious physical cause, (this is also sometimes known as somatoform disorder). Phobias may also figure prominently with depression, and these types of condition have what is known as depression sharing co-morbidity with another condition or anxiety.
Now, the difference between depression and sadness is that with sadness, (over say the loss of a pet for instance), there is a period of pain, but then once the grieving has passed, maybe a few weeks later, then one’s interests turn to other things. In short we start to get over it. In depression though, if the person fails to mourn the loss, there can be no letting go, and so there can be no moving on.
The interesting thing here is that sadness is actually a very important part of the recovery process, and those who are unable to experience the grieving fully and thoroughly remain “stuck”. SO, remember that although sadness is hardly a pleasant experience, it IS a necessary part of recovery, and has a rich depth to it that is denied the person experiencing a depression.
Allow yourself sad time, and feel the feeling rather than trying to cover it up, or bury it. Running away from sadness is futile, for it pursues you, but by facing it, and allowing yourself the necessary luxury of experiencing it, you will inevitably come to terms with your loss and be able to move on and start living healthily again.
Thoughts from the Top of the Head...
I was once asked by my eldest daughter about why it was that certain things kept occurring to her, and why it was that a specific person kept being unkind.
I remember saying to her that, “You learn nothing, the second time you get kicked by a mule”. She was young, but she got it.
On the other hand there is a story of two Tibetan monks, washing their clothes in a river, and a scorpion fell into the stream from a rock, and proceeded to whirl round in an eddy, and drown. One of the monks picked the scorpion out of the water, and was promptly stung for his troubles.
Shortly, the scorpion fell into the water again. So the monk once again rescued the scorpion receiving once more another sting in the process.
The second monk said, “Why do you persist in saving the scorpion? Do you not know it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting?”
The first monk replies, “Ah, yes, but you see, it is in my nature to save”.
There is a balance somewhere between these two ideas. Where is your balance I wonder?