This series on the soul’s perspective of depression would not be complete with sharing a list of tools. And though they specifically target the symptoms of major depression (anxiety, panic and emotional numbness, they can be helpful for other forms as well. These are the tools that Kyle and Laura took away from their retreat with me. Of course, I don’t’ take credit for these tools; they have been the gifts received from a host of people, both physical and beyond.
Keep the daily chores that you know you can complete and make you feel good. Delegate the rest.
Laura found that if she tried to do everything she felt she should do, only a few would get accomplished. And the feelings of overwhelm and failure only made things worse. The solution was to make a list of what she could do, then let go of the rest. Kyle agreed that either taking them over or hiring them out was far better than the endless conflicts that resulted from Laura trying to do them all.
2. Start the day slow and quiet
One of the things I discovered both from Jonathan’s depression and my own is that our serotonin levels are low instead of high in the mornings. That means that our brains are slow to get going. This issue was a real problem for Kyle and Laura, and led to 3 hour intensive and exhausting discussions each morning. The reason was that Kyle’s brain was already up and running at full speed as Laura’s brain was just getting started. Laura explained the anxiety she felt when she was immediately greeted with a series of thoughts, plans and questions upon waking. Wanting to be a good partner, she tried to keep up but it just didn’t work. The long discussions tat ensued left her feeling defensive and defective, and Kyle frustrated.
Once I explained the serotonin factor to Kyle he understood that it wasn’t that Laura was uninterested in talking, her brain just wasn’t ready. Like many people with major depression, Laura’s brain is usually functioning at full speed later in the afternoon or evening. So the solution was to move the morning planning/sharing sessions to later in the day.
3. Put it in writing
Another symptom of depression is a loss of short term memory. I’ve seen this in myself and others. Not remembering things is especially prevalent during a depressive episode. What happens is that when the emotional field is shut down (from the inner child using the emotional morphine), the ability to remember even the simplest things can be blocked. The reason this occurs is that memory is accessed through emotions. No emotion, no memory.
Laura’s inability to remember things was another big issue for Kyle and Laura both. Kyle had a memory like a computer bank. Laura, of course, did not due to her frequently recurring depressive episodes.
Once I explained this to Kyle, he understood and stopped expecting Laura to remember things. The solution was to write them down. Any agreement they make, any plan they make, write them down and put them in prominent place.
4. Acceptance is the key
As I wrote in the earlier segments, living with someone who has depression is not easy, but without the understanding of how it affects the person, a difficult relationship can become unbearable. Now armed with is knowledge Kyle and Laura feel they can turn their relationship around … and the most recent report is that they already have. The main, they told me, is acceptance. Acceptance of the illness, symptoms and their effects on the relationship.
In summary, there is a higher purpose for depression. It is a very powerful tool for soul clearing that, as I understand it, is only used by more evolved souls. And being in partnership with someone who is not depressed is the norm. How else can one find the light when there is no one to shine it for them?
On the other side, the person who is not depressed also gains from the experience. As Kyle learned, there is no better way to learn to feel deep emotion than to live each day with someone who does. Moreover, having someone who can be with him as he moves through the pain that will lead to that longed- for emotional depth is a blessing and a gift. I have great hope for Kyle and Laura as I do for others who discover the soul ascending power of depression.