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Imagine yourself in a walk-in closet. Before the door shuts, you run your hands along the shirts neatly hanging on the top row, followed by the pants hanging on the bottom row. On the right-hand side you can smell the sweet, flowery potpourri resting in a blue ceramic bowl. You imagine that once the door closes, the room will be pitch black and you will be surrounded by darkness. Just then someone does slam the door and you are immediately thrown into blackness. At first, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. You want out. The clothes feel like they are going to take your shallow breaths and smother them completely. You are alone and the world is silent. After what seems like forever, you look to the left and notice a dime-sized hole where light is pouring through. As the light appears to expand, you slowly begin to see a pair of shoes you had forgotten. A long, lost love letter, shoved under your favorite blue sweater. Exponentially you begin discovering all kind of treasures assumed lost long ago.

Depression can be like this closet. You can feel like life is closing in. You can feel tired and listless and like you never want to get off the floor of that room. The whole world feels dark, hopeless and out-to-get you. You may feel like you eat and eat and can’t stop eating. Or that nothing, not even your favorite food sounds or tastes good anymore. Feelings of guilt and worthlessness may be constantly brushing up against you or even enveloping you until you feel like you can’t breathe. All of the activities, hobbies and upcoming events used to put a spring in your step, and now, you don’t want to do anything; you don’t want to move, even for the things that used to be really fun.

No one wants to feel this darkness. We want to avoid things that make us unhappy. And much of the world is hawking the latest cure at the first sign of uncomfortableness. But what if you had run out of that closet before the darkness had really set in? You would have never noticed that small, but brilliant spark beginning to illuminate all sorts of secrets and treasures. And in your own life, if you are too quick to escape the darkness of depression, you may not stick around long enough to see what the depression is trying to teach you. The feelings of extreme sadness will bring you to a place where you can really take a look at your life and what is out of balance. Depression is a tool that leads you to understand what you need to remove from your life, or what you need to welcome into your sphere. The horrible darkness may lead you to a therapist who, like that light, can guide you through your unconscious. And together, you can learn paths in which to navigate the dark nature of depression, and unearth the beautiful mysteries you would have never discovered before. The Stockton Therapy Network can help.

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