Depression as a path to enlightenment?

Depression as a path to enlightenment?


Depression. We all have heard about it, and some of us know what it is.

I have had a depression, and I have depressive moods every now and then. I call them my dark nights, my silent storms, it’s when I have short periods of feeling down and dark and see no hope. It was different from my depression because when I had that I initially didn’t see a way out.

But eventually I did (more on that in my first book, soon to be published), and I believe that the reason that I am able to return from the short depressive moods I have now, is because I was able to overcome the big depression. But still, every now and then when I am in that mood and just want to give up on everything, I always feel like there is something wrong with me. That I should fix that somehow. Because I always feel like being too much for others when I am in that mood.

When I stayed in the UK, for the first time in my life I experienced what it was like to have someone let me go through one of my silent storms. I do realise now that my energy during such a silent storm is very intense, but I can’t hide it. I tried. I just feel deeply. Everything. Maybe my Moon in Aries is part of that. There’s no hiding from my feelings. But, just being able to go through it without someone around me being afraid that they were the cause of it, was amazingly healing. For the first time I was able to let the storm fully rage. Internally. And because she had also seen my other sides, she knew that I wasn’t like that all the time. She knew I could also laugh, love and enjoy life to the fullest.

The first week when I got back to the Netherlands I felt emotionally and spiritually drained. I wasn’t able to do much. I had on of my depressive moods, not like the silent storms, these are different. I also can feel very melancholic when I am in that state, just missing “something”, I feel that what I am missing at moments like that is the feeling of being alive, that spark of life. I also didn’t want to interact with people much, just wanted to be. And I did, I listened to what I needed. I didn’t reach out because everyone always says you need to do that. I didn’t want to. This was my process.

Then, yesterday, I had a phone call with a longtime friend. I explained to her about the moods and she said wow, don’t you want to get rid of them? Fix them? And then it hit me. No, I don’t. They are part of me. Of who I am as a person. They are part of my inner growth, my evolution. These moods and storms always cause me to have a breakthrough afterwards. They inspire me to write. To be creative. To take action. To take steps. She said it was such a waste of time and energy, and you know what? I don’t think it is.

I thought about this some more. Depression, sadness, grief, melancholy. Most of the people don’t know how to handle it and want to fix it. Either through visiting professionals in the field, or by taking (holistic) medicine. Some people believe that it might be caused by dark or low energies or entities that are attached to them, and who knows, it might be the case, although people who sense those never sensed any with me.

And there certainly are things that can cause these states that can be addressed and that might make it lighter. There are physiological causes, like certain deficiencies in minerals and vitamins, hormonal unbalances, medicine use. I think that might be the first thing to look at if you are experiencing feelings like that and never had them before. And then look at emotional causes, like not grieving when it was needed, not accepting or loving yourself, hidden trauma. External causes, like any form of abuse, overwhelm and burnout (from work, from taking care of (terminally) ill family members, taking care of parents with dementia or alzheimers). Yes, there are certainly many things that can cause depressions, depressive states and more that can be addressed. The fact remains that people in general can’t handle people that are in a state like that. It’s not “normal” and needs to be fixed.

Yesterday however, I had an epiphany. Because I’ve had these moods and storms for the most part of my life. And I even realised what triggers the episodes. It’s when I decide to start taking care of myself, when I stop being a people pleaser and always feel responsible for other peoples happiness. My big depression followed a break up with my then fiancee and starting to live on my own. Suddenly I only had me to take care of, my own life, and as I didn’t like or love myself very much, I felt lost. It wasn’t until I got a doggie to take care of that I started to feel better. And then a new guy entered my life that I could care for, so I just fell back into the people pleasing part. And I kept doing that until about a year back. When I got divorced and needed to start taking care of myself again.

And all through that last year I had depressive moods and silent storms. Because I just didn’t know how to take care of myself. Of my own happiness. And it wasn’t until I left everything and everyone behind that I realised how much my life always had been about others. What was my reason for getting up in the morning? It sure wasn’t my own life. It was always for others, for my pets, for the planet, friends, family, work, colleagues. Never for me. Never for just the beauty of life itself.

And that part is healing now. Finally. And with that the total acceptance of me, of every part of me. Warts and all. Depressive moods and silent storms included.

My friend said at one point, well what if you have a mood like that when you are working for a boss again, you can’t show that at work. And that’s where it all goes wrong doesn’t it. Because it is not accepted. And I said, well, they will just have to accept, or I will call in sick. I don’t care. This is me. I will no longer pretend. And maybe, by accepting them, finally, as being a part of me, they will not be so present anymore. I don’t know. But I do know I embrace them now. Fully. And I really don’t care what others think about them.

Because, yes, I feel this deeply, but on the other side of that I also love deeply, laugh hard, and can enjoy the simplest things in life in a very intense way. Like the smile of a baby when they see me, the dog that trusts me, the birds that don’t fly off when I walk past. That I have an eye for details. That I can experience music on such a deep level. I love being so alive again. Coming back from my flatlined existence. I don’t want to loose my ability to feel so deeply, so if that means every now and then I will have dark nights, then so be it. Dark nights are amazingly beautiful anyway, because the stars shine bright. Even Vincent van Gogh knew that.

And I am in good company. Some of the most amazing artists, writers, poets, painters, dancers, composers, musicians all dealt with these periods. And because of them we are now able to enjoy their work. Imagine if they lived the flatlined life, how much beauty would we be missing out on!

Maybe by denying people their being, wanting to fix their moods and storms, we are making it worse. For some people they are just that, a part of their being. There is nothing wrong with that, the only thing that needs fixing in this is the acceptance of all. Without night no day. Without dark no light. Light even produces shadows! Think about that 😉

I have a much deeper understanding of myself now and I feel that this is part of my inner spiritual growth and maybe even enlightenment, whatever that may be. It certainly is opening the way for me to finally truly love and accept myself with everything that is me. With no longer looking outside for feeling that love and acceptance. I am honouring all of me.

Leaving you with this beautiful poem by the wonderful Charlie Chaplin:

As I began to Love Myself:
“As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.

As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time.Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening.Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILMENT”.

As I began to love myself I recognised that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!”

Much love,



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