No one likes depression. When we become depressed, our first instinct is to escape its debilitating symptoms. These symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, an aching monotony of mind, body, and spirit, and even thoughts and actions to extinguish its agony by any means necessary.
Yet, there is another dimension to depression that can serve to expand our awareness and allow us to experience more deeply the cause of our suffering. It may require us to revisit painful memories and nightmarish dreams—but with a different point of view. In this way, depression is like a knock at the door of the wounded soul, bidding that we pay attention to what it is trying telling us, even at the temporary expense of coming closer to an original trauma, a broken relationship, or a great loss. In developing a new relationship to these ghosts of depression that haunt us, we can begin to experience reconciliation and healing.
As archetypal psychologist and scholar James Hillman stated in Re-Visioning Psychology (pp. 98-99).
“[Depression] . . . moistens the dry soul and dries the wet. It brings refuge, limitation, gravity, weight, and humble powerlessness. It reminds of death. The true revolution begins in the individual who can be true to his or her depression . . . discovering the consciousness and depths it wants. So begins the revolution on behalf of the soul.”