Gateway Gazette

Thoughts on Depression

By Eric Francis Coppolino

I’m back a little early from my break with a note about a topic that I think needs to be focused and given some language.

I’m aware that a good few people are going through rough times right now, on the psychological, spiritual or emotional levels. They are all related; we each describe our experiences using our own words and ideas.

We could point to many external factors associated with these feelings — for one, the news has been over the top grievous lately, and that will cause stress for any sensitive and humane person.

It looks like we are experiencing a culture-wide moral collapse, and yet many lack the ability, strength or personal resources to respond.

It’s ugly hearing about kids kept in conditions not considered suitable for livestock, being taken from their parents, having their sleeping mats confiscated as punishment for complaining about disgusting food, and the rest of it.

We now are learning about a sitting cabinet member complicit in a child sex-trafficking scheme, potentially involving the President of the United States. It’s worse not being able to do anything about it.

When I talk about depression, I mean something more deeply personal, inwardly focused and without an apparent cause.

I mean an enveloping bleakness, lack of purpose or motivation, the sensation of having no power, the deep feeling that there’s no point to any of this, and/or the feeling that nobody cares about you.

Many are also experiencing profound frustration about their personal affairs but still have the ability to focus and keep going. Others are watching loved ones go through deep struggles. It seems like everyone is either going through something intense, or is close to someone who is.

Current astrology is exacerbating this situation, though my practice is to be cautious about ascribing emotional or spiritual effect to astrology per se. However, the combination of eclipses, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, are worth taking note of and may have some clues to offer.

In astrology, the concept “Capricorn” is shorthand for many of the most challenging factors we deal with in life. These include family, work responsibility, accountability in many other forms, and corporate and government power. Capricorn is noted for its depressive feelings, wherever someone might have it in their chart.

The Saturn-Pluto conjunction — a rare event that I am trying to cover regularly, to keep up with people who miss articles — is a rare event, and one that describes the sensation of maximum density imploding on itself. It’s also describing the need to confront anything in your life that you know is pending material on the Capricorn spectrum.

The forthcoming lunar eclipse, exact Tuesday, can act as a release point or vent, if you position yourself there consciously. We need to look closely at anything involving mother, which is a sensitive topic.

The issues are not necessarily specifically about her, but rather the latent impressions she has left on you. Often someone is trying to live through the other unconsciously (whenever that may have occurred).

In Capricorn, this will feel like some kind of constriction or restraint (at this time, self-restraint). That can lead to excess at times — different forms of avoidance, drinking, prescription meds, toxic relationship patterns, or our topic for the day, depression.

My therapy teacher Joe once said that the opposite of depression is expression. I suggest you study how you work the balance between self-restraint and self-expression.

This can be on a daily or hour to hour basis, or how you think about what you do with your longer-term desires and ideas. This is one point where it’s possible to unravel the nexus of depression — what I am calling the balance between self-restraint and self-expression.

After being held down for a long time, or holding yourself down, it’s not easy to flex and stretch and express your vitality at first. Yet at a certain point, the question becomes, ok — which is less uncomfortable?

I’ve been on a short break the past week or so, and one day recently, I just didn’t want to get out of bed. I could say to myself, well, you’ve been working 12 hours a day for the past umpteen months. Just rest. When I do, I know I’ll soon come out the other end.

Yet if that’s how you feel every day, then it’s not about rest, it’s about something else. There are no easy answers here, though I don’t believe that “nothing can be done.” I suggest you be leery of anyone who takes that position, or who says that the only solution is to use mood-altering medication; that does not help in the long run.

I believe it’s vitally, vitally important to connect with positive people who have some experience with these kinds of feelings, and get a conversation going. Do something, anything, that feels good, and that does not come at a cost (i.e., sex with a toxic person, or drinking a fifth of gin).

You need to be patient with yourself. Stay close to your notebook, your sketchbook, your critters, or your musical instrument. Write down your dreams: many times, they contain the closest thing to a custom-tailored psychological key.

Remember your basic needs: food, water, sunlight, movement, company, and getting your endorphins moving (such as with orgasms). And you need air: not fake, recycled conditioned air, but actual fresh air, such as you find outside, preferably near a tree or two, or a lake, a river, a beach or any body of water. When you go outside, take off your sunglasses for a while, and let all those frequencies of light enter your brain.

Soaking regularly in a sea salt bath is helpful. (I mean ordinary cheap sea salt, not a boutique item.) Plants in your space — and taking care of plants — raises your vibration and that of the space you live in.

(This morning, I dreamed of someone lighting an underground fire, like in a subway tunnel or coal mine. I was alarmed at first, but woke up feeling pretty good, and took away the idea that the dream was about me lighting a fire within myself.)

I think that Joe is right, and I suggest you take this as your mantra: The opposite of depression is expression. Do your best, one hour at a time, or one day at a time, if you must.

With love,

eric

Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Visit Planet Waves at
https://planetwaves.net/weekly/

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