12. Healing of Depression - What is the nature of the Human Spirit? - Depression and Nurture of the Human Spirit - The Sources of Nurture for the Human Spirit - The "Carry Me Jesus" prayer drama
When we look at depression from the point of view of our Inner Child, we will begin to look at what happens in our heart and what happens to our human spirit.
The human spirit is our core self - the inner being that gives life and meaning to our physical life. This is the true inner being that loves and is loved, develops empathy, creativity, and is the source of our intuition and inspiration.
Note that depression is what occurs when we experience no love and feel no joy. Depression is what it feels like to run out of life energy. To ‘run on empty.’ When love and life no longer flows freely to our spirit it like a candle flickering out or a like a battery running down. Know that the human spirit needs nurture just as all living thing need food and water. My house plants do not do so well if I forget to water them.
Early bonding experiences deeply impact our ability to bond - to reopen to intimate connection and personal sharing. Faithful love bonding allows one’s spirit to receive and to store love so as to have the feeling of being loved. Our Inner Child’s ability to be open to receive love depends to a large extent on the child’s experience of unbroken family love in the first years of life. That creates both the capacity to receive love and gives the child a full tank of love to go into life with.
That means healing of depression may require healing of these early attachment issues. I am not going to suggest a program for healing these issues in this book. I need my reader to pick up some basic skills first. One way to do this is to teach someone else. Information gets hoarded by the rational mind and is not available to heart and spirit. Share what you are learning and that gets your heart and spirit activated.
We have looked at depression in terms of our spirit’s need for nurture. Now lets think about depression from the point of view of your Inner Child.
Use your imagination when considering the following questions using your feeling and intuition. Would these experiences depress your Inner Child?
1. Rejection? 2. Social Isolation? 3. Loss of a friend? 4. Absence of a loving parent? 5. Having to take care of a weeping, weak parent? 6. Being yelled at unfairly by a parent you want to please? 7. Failing to achieve your goals?
At another level, how would your inner Child feel about: 1. Feeling rejected by God? 2. Feeling distant from God? 3. Not feeling God’s love? 4. A life lacking joy? 5. Feeling guilty about yourself? 6. Feeling condemned by your own thoughts? 7. Always being afraid something will go wrong?
The Sources of Nurture for the Human Spirit
Of course, nurture for our spirit comes ultimately from God, received when we are still. At other times it is mediated through our experiences with nature, life, music and with people. Most of us must experience love on the human and physical plane. God as the Source of all life radiates through the love of others and others experience God’s love flowing through us. We are mediators of God’s love to others and others are mediators of Gods love to us and as we love others we also receive God’s love.
We can be cut off from nurture by others who shun us, isolate us and who are unable to love. We can cut off nurture by isolating ourselves from others, cutting off from them, resenting them and not forgiving them.
Clearly loneliness, social isolation - being cut off from human relationships - is depressing. And we often cut ourselves off from nurture by our own actions, thinking, and failures to love others. Learning to than others for compliments allows us to receive their love while negating and discounting compliments blocks the love.
When Our Inner Child has been pushed down, isolated and suppressed, as it is in the Super-Responsible, it is natural to find that we experience depression. How can we not feel depressed? It is like we have been put in a dungeon and cut off from light, people, and other sources of joy. Of course we are depressed!
My client ‘Angela’ experienced intense loneliness and isolation in the parental Inversion family systemshe grew up with. Mother and father were aligned against her and mother was mentally ill, narcissistic and filled with rage. Angela had no one to talk to was left tohandle mother’s rage and crazy making on her own without dad’s help.
We did EMDR about the deep sense of isolation and loneliness Angela felt. She heard Jesus say, “It is not your fault.”
Once we know that depression is a condition of our human spirit that indicates that we are not receiving enough nurture, we can make plans in our life to avoid or reduce depression. Here is some indications of what to include in your plan.
A Fresh Perspective on Depression
We have four new ways to understand depression:
Depression is a very real result of our given personality style. If we grew into the Super-Responsible pattern then our Inner Child is suppressed, criticized and not given a voice. The People Pleaser has sacrificed authentic identity for the practice of being good and achieving recognition. Both of these personality patterns will be associated with depression.
We have learned that our emotional core - the human spirit - needs love and other forms of nurture to grow into maturity and to stay healthy and strong. Our very capacity to receive love depends to a large extent on early bonding experiences. If our attachment capacity is totally or partially broken then very little love reaches our emotional core. Therefore attachment issues are intimately related to depression.
A fully alive person who is radiant with life is connected to sources of life that includes God, nature, creative expression and loved ones. On the contrary, to be disconnected from sources of nurture is put our spirit into depression.
We are learning about our Inner Child and depression. It seems obvious if our Inner Child is locked away in a closet somewhere in solitary confinement that is is going to be depressed. Freeing and healing of our Inner Child is, therefore, an important pathway to dealing with depression.
ere are points to consider in building your own personal plan to escape from depression:
1. In planning to recover from your state of depression consider, perhaps one day at a time, over many days, to increase love by getting out of social isolation and connecting with those who are nurturing to be with. Ask yourself things like “what would it take to have some great new friends to show up in my life?” Try to find find people who have qualities you admire. Be around the people you feel good around. See less of those you find draining. Often life satisfaction come through the common everyday activities of work, friends, family, loved ones and sexuality. If one or more of these areas are poor sources of satisfaction we may need to take action to correct our life.
2. We need the love, encouragement, peace and joy that comes from our connection with God. At times praising God opens a flow of joy even while we are deep in grief. Paradoxically we receive from God when we are in the acting of loving God and loving others. Even in worshipping God we are receiving from God.
3. If the flow of nurturing life/love is missing we naturally become depressed . Our inner being runs on life/love. Life/Love is food and water to our soul. This comes essentially from ultimate Source of Life (God) and secondarily from our physical life on planet Earth. Our direct connection with God/Source is important and can be further enhanced by connection with nature, beauty, physical activity. We do this by responding with awe, delight, praise and thanks to the beauty that God puts into life.
4. You need to express yourself in whatever way is open to you. If you write - write. If you play an instrument - play. If you do artistic activities - do your art. Your creative expression helps life to flow into and through you. Creative activity involves a flow from the source of life/love through you and to others. You are nurtured in that flow.
5. Recreation: Ask yourself what are the activities that leave me feeling good and what are the places that I like to be to feel refreshed or relaxed. Plan for these activities like you plan for meals. Learn to taste and enjoy what you are eating.
6. When others praise, support and encouragement us, our spirit is nurtured. Receive it. Do not block it. We receive all this life/love by saying thank you. If we turn away praise and encouragement from others we can become depressed. Stop discounting compliments and minimizing praise. By saying thank youwe allow our Inner Child to be nurtured.
7. Learn how to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones by focusing more on solutions rather than going on about the problems. Learn to look for the positive in situations instead of the negative. Shift toward optimism.
8. If you live with technology - television, smart phones, computer games and so on - then you end up living indoors like a bear in hibernation. But these screens do not nurture your spirit even as addicting as they can be to your mind. To be nurtured by nature you need to break away: walk outdoors, spend time by water, hold hands, get sunshine (without glasses with uv screens), have outdoor fun, walk your dog, look for trees to admire, take care of plants, smell the roses, enjoy while thanking God for His presence in all of nature. Take a break at least 5 minutes per hour. Look around. Every 3 hours take a 20 minute walk and look at the beauty.
9. Shut down your negative self talk. Our Inner Parent is often causing depression in our Inner Child be criticism, guilting, creating worries, and negating fun, enjoyment and good experiences for our Child. See Chapter 8 on Dealing with the Inner Judge. This is an important step.
10. Therefore, in addition to having a support system, begin to be your own support system. Have faith in yourself and put that into your self-talk. You will become more confident and self reliant. Say ‘I am capable’ or ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Congratulate yourself for your own achievements.
Find a therapist or other person who supports your truest most authentic self. People who are gentle (not controlling), and empathic listeners will provide you the space to find your own identity. Laura’s Report Laura reported a lifting of depression when she began to join in a group that was doing board games. It also felt good when she began to explore colouring and art work - where she had received no encouragement in the past for expressing herself artistically. When she was released by changing circumstances from her Parental-Inversion responsibility and anxious burden she felt for caring for her dad, her Inner Child surfaced and began to bring play and creativity into her days.
The "Carry Me Jesus" prayer drama If we turn to the Scriptures, we’ll find there a profound confession of what it feels like to be overwhelmed and alone. Look at Psalm 142 and 143 and you’ll read a variety of vivid descriptions of what deep depression feels like. Note the following words and images in the King James version:
“My spirit was overwhelmed within me” (Ps. 142:3; 143:4) “No one cares for my soul” (Ps. 142:4) “I am brought very low” (Ps. 142:6) “Bring my soul out of prison” (Ps 142:7) “The enemy has crushed my life to the ground, has made me dwell in darkness” (Ps. 142:3) “My heart within me is distressed” (Ps. 143:4) “My spirit fails” (Ps. 143:7) “…lest I be like those who go down into the pit” (Ps. 143:7)
The Psalmist’s life is in crisis such that his heart, soul and spirit are in a dark prison place. If you feel in that place you might call out like the psalmist: "Jesus I feel overwhelmed.I can't stand the pressure.It is too much for me.The burden is too heavy.I need you.I need you to carry me through this period of my life.Would you carry me?" Write out and make personal versos like this “cast [our] cares upon Him, because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7) It would sound like this: ‘I cast my cares upon you, Jesus, because you care for me.’
Finding Your Way Out of Depression with a Prayerful Approach Prayers and Action Points:
1. Ask God to help you ask, believe and receive great friends in your life” Picture what that would be like.
2. Picture Jesus speaking directly to you and using your name and speaking words of love and encouragement.
3. Write letters to God and give Him time to reply (write what you can imagine a loving God say in response). You may never feel alone again.
4. Make a list of the activities that used to bring you joy, contentment and satisfaction. Take small steps back into those activities.
5. Make a Praise and gratitude Journal. Record the good things in each day so you learn to focus on, remember and have a record of things you can be thankful for. Learn to thank God for small blessings. Look for trees, clouds, sky, beautiful people to enjoy in your day.
6. Use the ‘Put it on the Altar’ prayer (Chapter 16) to let go of others and give them to God.
7. Make your prayers statements of praise. For example, ‘God you put all the stars in place and you can bring friends into my life that are a good fit for me. Thank you for doing that.’
8. Find a calm place in nature. When you can’t go there physically go there in your imagination. Take 5 minutes with eyes closed to picture being there and fill in all the details. See Chapter One: ‘The Father’s Garden.’
9. Use the ‘Here comes the Judge’ prayer to deal with the Inner Judge that is always criticizing your Inner Child. See Chapter Seven:The Inner Judge.
10. Who do you want to be today? You can project your identity into your day by picture and praying first thing in the day and before going to sleep at night. Then commit your day to God and walking hand in hand with God through your day.
Unless you turn and become like a little child you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.