Just as there are many different cancers, there are many different depressions. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that there are many different expressions of depression. I believe that there are as many different forms of depression as there are people suffering from depression. As you are certainly a unique, one-of-a-kind person, so too, the way you may experience depression is as unique as your fingerprint. I have struggled with depression.
Depression robs me of my zest. It leaves me lifeless and sad, angry and irritable, stressed and easily overwhelmed. Depression twists my soul leaving me destabilized, un-centered, and unfocused, and consequently more vulnerable to slipping into my shadows and compulsions. Depression confines my personality leaving me unable to resist any noxious emotional, psychological, and spiritual forces that may accompany me with cancer. When I’m depressed I not only suffer from the sickness of cancer, all the physical pain, but also from the illness of cancer, all the emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain, as well.
Depression didn’t cause my prostate cancer, but it very commonly comes along with cancer, and it can make my cancer journey much worse. Even if I can’t see the physical effects of depression, I certainly feel the emotional pain of depression, a pain that penetrates to my soul, squeezing out its essential vitality and distorting my life along with it. Depression can be torture.
Depression is a reaction to what’s been called "dissonance" in one’s personality. Dissonance is another name for internal tension, emotional clutter, discontent, and dissension, all mixed up with the spiritual "gunpowder" of fear. In other words, depression signals an undeclared war going on in my personality. In the language of the Spiritual Strengths Healing Plan, my six signature spiritual strengths (forces of light) are being attacked by my shadows and compulsions (forces of darkness); and there’s a rising fear in me that the shadows and compulsions are nearing victory, or maybe even some resignation at times that they have already taken over.
Depression is living in a state of emotional trench warfare where I not only feel under attack, but I feel helpless to do anything about it. Depression pushes the six points of the "Law of Healing" quite out-of-reach.
When I’m depressed—
- My beliefs lack the power for personal direction.
- My perceptions seem disfigured and confused.
- My thoughts all bend and twist around me.
- My feelings infect you rather than motivate me.
- My decisions are conflicted at best, and more likely simply frozen.
- My behaviors are stiff, stilted, repressed, and stifled, if not shut-down.
I wrote the two books: 1) Cancer and Depression, and 2) Healing and Depression; and developed Spiritual Strengths Course 106: Inner Healing and Depression, as both self-healing for me and hopefully as a healing balm for all those dealing with whatever level of depression, either related to another sickness or emerging quite on its own. I'm happy to offer all of this to you.
Wishing you God’s peace in mind and heart,
Richard P. Johnson, PhD