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What Helps Depression During Major Life Transitions? #2

July 3rd, 2012 · 3 Comments · depression, life transitions, major life transitions, what helps depression

There are key elements of psychological and personal growth involved in getting to what helps depression of the type that occurs during major life transitions.  What helps depression starts very often with a deeper level of emotional honesty.

what helps depression

Dealing with What We Can’t Sort Out

Sometimes, major life transitions are just overwhelming.  We can have a certain image, idea or feeling of ourselves and our life situation, and then find out that it gets completely undone by some development or crisis in our lives.  Although we really need to find some new way to approach our lives in such a situation, our initial reaction can be to try and return to the past, and to simply pretend that the new situation doesn’t exist…

Regressive Restoration of the Persona

Jung used this term particularly with the major life transitions associated with the second half of life, but it also applies to quite a number of other, similar transitions.  It pertains to situations where we essentially try to go back and live in the persona, or the way we presented ourselves to the world, that we had prior to the commencement of amajor life transitions.  We strive to convince ourselves that we still are that very same person.

Yet, despite our very best efforts, we can often find that we are simply not able to pull it off.  We go through the motions of living as we once did, but we seem to be only a shell of who we once were.  We simply can’t go back.

Yet, in Our Depths…

We may be in a state of conscious denial of the emotional impact and life impact of major life transitions, or even in a state of conscious depression, blankness or feeling bereft.  However, this doesn’t mean that the unconscious mind is not engaged with the impact of major life transition in its own ways.

Changes in My Identity and My Way in the World

It may be extremely difficult to come to terms with the pain, grief and loss that we encounter in major life transitions.  Yet often, it is only through surfacing these feelings that we begin to move towards the deeper understanding or attitude emerging from the unconscious.  Often, only this will allow us to accept life as it is, to find what helps depression, and to move forward, perhaps even haltingly.

Who, then, am I now? How do I now think, feel and relate?  Often, only through exploring our inner reactions in a process such as Jungian therapy do we begin to accept, move forward and create our lives again.

PHOTO:  Attribution    Some rights reserved by dpape

3 Comments so far ↓

  • Brian C

    Thank you very much for your comment, Chris. I think that is is quite common for people to experience depression as they are undergoing one of the major life transitions, as we mostly all do. It’s very important for us to recognize what is happening, and to not deny it, and also to realize that, while we might be experiencing depression, some part of us is working to help us create a new synthesis and a new way foreward. Thanks again!

  • Paulette

    You seem to have the gift of touching on the most important pieces in a short space…I find that in any transition I go through, it is often the dream and the symbols that anchor me, when I feel like I might be falling off the earth. Often the dreams themselves are pointing the way and I have this wonderful sense of being connected to a greater plan. I can work with the symbols in various ways to anchor them in the outer world. (art, poetry, dance, etc.) This keeps them alive as I go through some of the darkest periods. It is a boon to have someone walk through it with you, who understands what it is all about….
    a good post, Brian…. thanks.

  • Brian C

    Thank you for your comment, Paulette. I’m glad if you found this piece useful and evocative. I agree with you fully about dreams and symbols. Exactly as you say, they do connect us with the solid earth again, often because they touch something in us much deeper than the part that thinks or intellectualizes — or even, that is in any way conscious. When we follow dreams closely, we do have a sense often that the “dreaming genius”, as they say, has a profound plan for us. Working with the symbols, and doing something to make them concrete, can be a very powerful and important thing to do. Art, poetry, dance — exactly as you say, and, I’d like to add, one of my favorite ways, which is working with clay. I do think that there is tremendous life to be found in talking it through with someone who is familiar with this realm: it allows it to become concrete and vital. Thanks again for all that you’ve brought out in your comment, Paulette.

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