Depression seems to be affecting millions today, with anti-depressant medication becoming the most widely prescribed drug. In the past, this emotional state was referred to as melancholy, feeling mournful, gloomy or in grief.
What is it we're really feeling? Are we afraid to feel emptiness or our dark side, which may be essential to our growth? In a culture outwardly directed and geared to feeling good, darker, more reflective moods associated with depression can feel very uncomfortable.
Thomas Moore, in his inspirational book, Care of the Soul, says, "because of its painful emptiness, it is often tempting to look for a way out of depression. But entering into its mood and thoughts can be deeply satisfying. Depression is sometimes described as a condition in which there are no ideas-nothing to hang onto. But maybe we have to broaden our vision and see that feelings of emptiness, the loss of familiar understandings and structures in life, and the vanishing of enthusiasm, even though they seem negative, are elements that can be appropriate and used to give life fresh imagination."
What we call depression could be affecting what Carl Jung referred to as the "collective mind" and may be a clue that we're experiencing collective growing pains. This underlying low-grade discomfort deep in our souls may want something from us. This may be the turning point of going from an outer directed, material life into a more inner directed, spiritual one where we can merge with the authority of our own Soul. Going into the depths of depression may create the fertile ground for a rich and soulful life and a renewed sense of self.
How can TCM Help?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we look at how the energy is flowing through the body:
Is there a deficiency of heart, kidney or spleen energy?
Is there constraint of the liver energy?
Depression can be found in an imbalance in vital energy, Qi, be it on the physical or emotional plane. Acupuncture helps free up the blocked energy and redirect its flow where it is most needed. Acupuncture can help open up the heart and get us in touch with our forgotten nature. Acupuncture also helps relieve associated body tension and discomfort.
Whatever your state of being, it is important to identify it, without trying to figure it out, and decide whether or not you want assistance. Just having a witness acknowledge your "dark night" without judgment can be enough to allow change to start happening. Therapeutic counseling or "soul work" can also be of profound benefit for those willing to go deeper into their process.
"With respect to six reviewed studies, there is high-level evidence to support the use of acupuncture for treating major depressive disorder."
- Acupuncture for Treating Anxiety and Depression in Women: A Clinical Systematic Review, by David P. Sniezek, DC, MD, MBA, FAAMA and Imran J. Siddiqui, MD. Read more here.
At Dr Li's TCM Clinic, we're here to help you on your journey. Call us now for your first free consultation.
Dr. Li's TCM Clinic - Lane Cove, Rhodes, Macquarie Centre, North Ryde & Chatswood