September 01, 2016
Depression: A Spiritual Crisis
It is a gloominess that descends upon you like a thick, water soaked blanket. Colors fade to shades of gray, joy becomes completely inaccessible while sadness overtakes your body. While this is experienced briefly by many wading through loss or grief, to others depression takes up permanent residence in their psyches. The outside person sees their relentless sadness as unwarranted, as physically they look quite capable. While they may be on many levels, the depressed person is caught within a quicksand of hopelessness inside that pulls from them their very will to survive.
In science, animal models are used to study depression. In one model a dog is restrained by a cage on a platform where it receives a mild shock regularly. Once the animal realizes it cannot escape this shocking it withdraws, expecting it will never end. Eventually the dog is put on the platform without the cage, but it doesn’t leave, even when it can. It stands there and continues to be shocked. This is called “learned helplessness.”
July 01, 2015
Romanticizing the Victim
Within each of us lives the potential to feel helpless and powerless as we navigate a world where our safety seems tenuous at best. Events are forever out of our control. Our foods are sprayed with pesticides and infused with hormones, unscrupulous people hide in the anonymity of an over populated world, stealing our identities and scamming money out of our elders. Dangerous pedophiles stalk our children. It is easy to see ourselves as victims. In fact, the Victim archetype is an integral part of the cultural paradigm we all have been taught to unconsciously construct our worlds around.
The seeds for this thinking start early. Most of us were raised on old stories of Heroes and Villains. We have Superman, Prince Charming and the X-Men all coming to save the day; we have the Wicked Witch, Evil Stepmother, and the Joker trying to destroy some form of our innocence. Implicit within each of these stories is a Victim that needs to be saved. They have been tied to train tracks, locked in stone towers, and fed poisoned apples. As we grow into adults we hear these stories morph into victims of crime, natural disasters, and disease. In a very reflexive way we romanticize the victim, we feel sorry for it and want to save it from its pain.