Journeying Toward Wholeness

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Desert: Depression and Suburban Life

July 29th, 2008 · depression, depth psychology, Halton Region, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, life passages, Meaning, Mississauga, Oakville, Peel Region, soul, suburbia / exurbia, Wellness

1_saharadune1 "Depression" and "suburbia" are two words that you don’t usually see in the same sentence.  Those who promote suburbia tend to want to portray it as a place where happiness and fulfillment abound.  However, as any therapist or counsellor can tell you, depression and anxiety are widespread in the ‘burbs, just as they are in the rest of our society.  It’s not that depression is more widespread in the suburbs and exurbs than elsewhere in our society.  It’s just that, contrary to the suburban myth of joyful care-free family life, many ordinary, normal people in suburbia are dealing with depression.

Depression is a fairly common occurrence.  How frequent it actually is depends a lot upon the level ofDepression_2 severity of depression that we’re looking at.  Depression is sufficiently common that it can probably be said that most people have been subject to some level of depression at some time in their lives.  That being said, it’s essential to not underestimate its potential for disrupting and impacting an individual’s life.  If you are suffering from depression, it’s important to take steps to deal with it, rather than just hoping it will go away.

Recently, a client said something to me that I think is very true.  Speaking about his own experience of seeking help for depression, he said, "I think that they were all focussed on treating the symptoms of the depression — but they really didn’t get at what it was about."

What is depression all about? Clearly it is important to take with all due seriousness the science of depression, which understands depression in terms of serotonin levels and all its other physiological and neurological dimensions.  But it is equally important to see depression as something human, with a human meaning for individuals like you and me.

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Is My Life Meaningful — for Me?

July 21st, 2008 · depth psychology, Individuation, Jungian analysis, Jungian psychology, life passages, Lifestyle, Meaning, Psychology, Psychotherapy, soul, symbolism, Wellness

One of the most fundamental questions a person can Dancing_woman_for_meaningask  is whether his or her life, taken as a whole, is meaningful to her or him.  This is different from an abstract question about "The Meaning of Life".  There is no abstract universal answer to the yearning that each of us has for a meaningful life.  Every "answer" that an individual finds in terms of meaning in his or her life is an individual answer, an answer that emerges from the very fabric of his or her unique life.  On this level the question is as important as it is urgent: Does your life or my life have meaning– not in the abstract, but to us personally? 

image: Arjan Hamberg //12186.openphoto.net

Meaning is to be found in the value that we place on our experience and our involvements.  It does not reduce to simply "just being happy": it is something more and deeper than that, something that is not incompatible with happiness, but that can abide through the difficult times and struggles of life.

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What gives meaning can vary greatly from person to person.  Sometimes it is found in our relationship to other people.  Sometimes it is in our vocation, if our work is meaningful or satisfying, or in our avocation — what we do with our time and our life outside of work.  Sometimes meaning is found when we can relate symbols intimately to our lives, whether those symbols are found in the arts, in organized religion, or in symbols that have emerged for us as individuals on a deeply personal level — symbols from the depth of psyche.

image: Christof Wittwer //7740.openphoto.net

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