That's what the experts used to say 25 years ago anyway...we learned in our Psych 101 classes in the 80's that the noun "depression" could be simplified into believing someone was feeling ANGRY and, therefore, had turned that anger inward upon themselves.
Since that time, the noun "depression", has been rediscovered in psychiatry to be far greater than a simplified explanation about anger and has also been removed as an ideal an individual maintains full control over the disorder...in other words, gone is the notion that if one simply STOPS feeling angry, the depression will magically leave.
True CLINICAL DEPRESSION is a far greater beast than anger...it is a manifestation of multi-layers of emotions and mental states as well as a physiological response in one's brain chemistry. It is now a well-known fact, the physiological response that occurs in the brain chemistry of someone who is clinically depressed looks very different from the brain of someone who is NOT experiencing clinical depression.
And, although experts can try to assert the psyche or mind can also ALTER the chemistry of depression, they have yet to develop a fool-proof method of training the mind to do so...thus the invention and use of anti-depressant medication and an assortment of other "mind-altering" chemicals in conjunction with traditional psychotherapy.
But I'm not writing about clinical depression today...actually, I've been very careful and clear to say, "I am NOT clinically depressed", for the very reasons ascribed above. I HAVE gone so far as to say my current issue is a "situational depression", but even THAT explanation is somewhat exaggerated. To be very succinct, I AM AFRAID...and BUBBIE'S comment in my previous post drove that simplified notion home, so thank you, O' Wise Sage, Bubbie! LOL
In my many meanderings down various spiritual paths and teachings in my life, I once heard a lecture from a Science Of Mind (the old Church of Religious Science) practitioner who stated, "There are really only two emotional states in life. FEAR and LOVE, and neither can exist in the presence of the other. All other descriptive emotions fall into these two categories." I DO believe this idea to be authentic and true.
If you "Google" fear and love, you will find a wide array of spiritual teachers talking about this ideal. For instance, Frank Sant'Agata says:
Between Fear and Love is the Living.
Fear has many faces and most of those faces are in disguise. Fear can be so deceptive that we rarely recognize or define it, and therefore fail to challenge it when it sneaks up upon us in such an insidious way that it can paralyse, erode, control and ultimately destroy us. Fear is the most lethal weapon and the most toxic poison known to man. Fear is highly contagious and self destructive. Fear can be spread by word, suggestion, imagery, innuendo or intimidation.
Fear is a chameleon and will most often show up as something completely different which makes it very difficult to recognize or unmask. Almost all destructive behavioural and emotional responses can be tracked back to fear when we peel away the layers of our feelings and actions. Fear is the core issue behind violence, jealousy, bigotry, anger, depression, greed, hatred, lies, insecurity or obsessive worry, just to name a few. When fear is appropriate it is a vital, effective life saving response which is critical to self preservation.
Staying alive and protecting ourselves from harm is our most primal and instinctual priority. Appropriate fear, will prevent and protect us from danger; it will instantly ignite super alertness and superhuman strength. This is commonly referred to as the fight or flight response. Most of us will have experienced this super state of reaction if we have been involved in a potential car accident. In something like a nanosecond we are capable of processing an extraordinary amount of information and physically manoeuvre the car to avoid the collision.
Appropriate fear is also an effective decision making factor. Most, if not all, of our choices are based on predicting pleasure or pain. We are predominately motivated by pleasure and pain, that is, gaining pleasure or avoiding pain. We all like to kid ourselves that we operate from intellect, and that we make decisions by using knowledge, logic and experience. If we just scratch the surface a little we will almost always find that our motivations are emotionally based. Pleasure is easy to comprehend; we choose and maintain our careers, relationships, homes, hobbies and possessions because they please us. Choices of pleasure may encompass comfort, self esteem, love, respect, acceptance, approval, security, safety and prosperity.
Decisions based on avoiding pain may include any or all of the above, but from the flip side. Avoiding pain is extremely motivating and many of our decisions and reactions have a fear base. Pain avoidance is what fear is. Fear of physical or emotional harm, poverty, abandonment, violence, humiliation, loneliness, disapproval, disease and ultimately – death.
It is vitally important to discern what appropriate and inappropriate fear is, as appropriate fear can and will protect us, and inappropriate fear can destroy us. Most of the time we don’t recognize it at all, so, it’s impossible to name it, let alone challenge it.
The human condition has a huge emotional range and can appear quite fluid in its ability to change; we can be carried away or bounced around in a little cesspool of negative influences one minute, and then find ourselves lifted up and flying high the next . Emotions can be quite unpredictable, indefinable and often uncontrollable, and yet emotions can dominate, create or destroy us.
At the very risk of having this blog printed out and waved in my face at any upcoming potential discussions with my employer regarding ADA, FMLA, or "accommodation" requests for my Multiple Sclerosis, I will directly say here and now...the issue I have been skirting on CHEESE...the FEAR I have been labeling as "situational depression"...is really a deep-seated terror of possibly becoming unable to perform the functions of my current job, losing my job, being "phased out" of my job, becoming unemployed, becoming "homeless and penniless", being unable to solely support myself financially...ALL BECAUSE OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS. There, I said/typed it...let the Human Resources minions do as they will with this information. I AM DESPERATELY AFRAID.
This fear of which I speak (and with whatever "label" one chooses to place upon it) has left me feeling emotionally and somewhat physically paralyzed. What I DO for a living is all I have ever known...I have spent nearly 22 years "doing" what I do in a variety of settings. My career has weaseled its way into the very fabric of my identity. I look upon my current job with an even greater sense of identity and responsibility because the very NATURE and TASKS of my job require me to be a known "public servant" 24/7/365...somewhat like a police officer, who is never REALLY off duty even when off the imaginary clock. The notion of potentially and suddenly changing the fabric of my identity sends cold shivers up my spine and sweat upon my brow...all because of MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.
If there is any ANGER associated with my fear, it is this: I LOATHE MS, MY MS in particular. It is an unforgiving, cunning, manipulative, narcissistic, and hateful disease. "It" doesn't care or mind what I might want and "it" certainly doesn't follow traditional rules and guidelines of society. "It" sneaks up on me, like an IED in my road, and tries to blow me to "smither-eens" whenever "it" feels like it. "It" decides when I've had enough or when I haven't and "it" dictates much of my future.
And what I hate/loathe MOST about my MS? "It" is a product of my OWN body turning against itself, whether because of genetics, virus, sunshine, or any other negligible cause. "It" is me doing this to me, in the most simplified version of auto-immune language...and "it" feels out of my control, even though my own body is creating "it".
You will never hear me say the trite words, "I have MS, but it doesn't have me"..."It" DOES have me...in a tight vise, squeezing and pinching my very will to live and push forward. But what "it" doesn't have is control over my perceptions AND how I choose to express the essence of my life...namely, how I choose to acknowledge and deal with my FEAR.
I don't have any cute sayings or simplified answers to impart upon you regarding how to "appropriately" manage fear...mine, in particular. LOL But what I DO know is this: by naming and acknowledging fear for what it is, the emotion becomes "tame-able"...fear's image becomes less of a vicious monster and more like a scared and tremulous child crying in a corner. I can deal with a crying child...I can't *battle to death* a huge and looming monster.
So, thank you for letting me ramble to the point of authenticity...thank you for allowing me to ramble to the point of identifying my inner truth. But then again, what CHOICE did you have, dear CHEESE reader?!? LOL Although, if you've gotten THIS far in reading, you did have a choice to click the ol' mouse many paragraphs prior and take you away to some other read that would be far more entertaining! (Several are suggested to the left of this page)
And a special thank you to BUBBIE for her comment and to HARKOO for her private emails...your assistance in "seeing" to the core issue has been much needed. And now I think I will go outside and plant a Hosta garden...play in the dirt...and bury some of this FEAR in Mother Earth...