Friday, February 22, 2013Posted by Morgaine Kildare at 2:12 PM
I've mentioned this on my blog before, a conversation I had with my mother not terribly long ago. It, for me, was a very disheartening conversation. It felt like my relationship with my mother had taken ginormous steps back. I'm talking "Back to when I first came out of the 'broom closet' with her" sort of thing. I know she doesn't see it this way, but I felt that she was judging me ill for being a Pagan when, obviously, it hasn't made me the happiest fucking fluffy bunny on the face of the planet.
That's how it's supposed to work, right? You find the spirituality that you feel is right for you and everything bad in your life, including depression, just magickally goes POOF! and disappears, right?
WRONG!! I'm sorry, but it does not work that way. Not even for Christians, despite how much they might protest to the opposite. Religion/spirituality is not a cure-all. It does not erase from us the responsibility of seeking out our healing and working through our problems, no matter what it might be from. What it does, however, is empower us with the strength to strive for our healing. And for things like emotional/mental issues like depression, it is a lot of work! Mind you, I don't take medication for depression, though there are many times I wish I could. I have no doubt that I've got a hormonal imbalance that contributes, but even then a pill isn't going to fix the situations that contribute to depressive episodes. What I end up having to do is find coping methods when I go into a spiral or I feel like I'm heading that way.
As it is, I've been dealing with clinical depression for probably around a decade and a half. I was 19 when my mother had a talk with me to tell me that that's what I have. Have I ever been officially diagnosed? No. But it doesn't take a genius to see that I exhibit a good 98% of the symptoms. Trying to find ways to deal with it hasn't been easy, especially after spending the better (or worse, rather) part of 6 years with a husband who scorned me for having depression to begin with. He was thoroughly unsupportive and would even make fun of me if I ever made the mistake of telling him I was dealing with a spiral. Oh, and then he would go into these tirades about how he was manic depressive and he could deal with it in these ways, so I should be able to as well and blah, blah, blah. Never could I count on him for support of any kind -- I can't count how many times he treated me like a weakling because of it. I could go into so much where he's concerned, but what's the point?
The point is that, despite what people like him (and Tom Cruise) say, depression is a very real and very valid affliction. If you are having to deal with it, I want you to understand something: YOU ARE NOT WEAK. YOU ARE NOT A STUPID PERSON. And if you have anyone in your life who treats you like this because you deal with depression, then they need to be booted from your life ASAP if at all possible. Things like that can turn a depressive person suicidal in real short order. I had suicidal thoughts because of my ex-husband a couple of times. I felt like he didn't care (he didn't). I felt like nobody really cared. I felt like it must seriously just be me with the problem. That shit can cause a deathly spiral in no time. And even the one time I told my ex-husband that I was feeling suicidal, can you guess what reaction I got? Here's a clue: it wasn't a caring one. It wasn't a supportive one.
Being Pagan has not cured my depression anymore than being a Christian did. And it, quite frankly, stung me when my mother said what she did. I, honestly, wanted to tell her "Are you kidding me?" I wanted to ask her if being a Christian had helped her past her depression and issues from things she suffered as a child (which I will not go into here, but trust me, y'all, it was BAD especially when she started to remember them) or if she'd really had to work at getting past and healing from these things. 'Cause lemme be the first to tell you that she had to fight like hell to get past these horrors and to even forgive enough to not be enslaved by her hatred. I was there for it. I was there as I watched her snub off contact with her family until, gradually, she healed enough to be able to first endure them and then finally love them again. It was not easy. God did not give her a magickal cure-all anymore than He and Brighid have given me one. And believe me, I've got my own childhood issues to deal with, especially where my step-dad is concerned.
However, what God and Goddess/Brighid HAVE done for me is be there for me. They've given me the empowerment and the strength to keep working at shedding the situational garbage that has contributed to my depression. Am I there yet? No. I'm not. I still have a LONG way to go, especially where it concerns being freed and healed from the things that's happened in my life. It is a daily effort. Especially where it concerns my thoughts. There are so many times where I'll start to think about painful things that have happened and I get angry all over again. And then it runs around in my head like a couple of ferrets and I find myself diologuing in my head. I'll find myself daydreaming of getting to tell these people EXACTLY what I think of them and where they can shove it. I find myself daydreaming of telling my ex-husband and one particular family member who thinks himself infallible that you CAN'T just say hurtful shit to people and then act like THEY'RE the problem and to grow some balls, stop putting the focus on me and actually start looking at themselves and realize what horridly unkind people they are.
That kind of shit runs through my head for hours if I can't get it to stop and, believe me, it is seriously difficult to get it to stop. Especially if it's during the time that I'm supposed to be sleeping. It is a genuine effort that I have to give, sometimes daily, to not allow myself to be haunted and tortured by these things. But it is possible!
One thing that's definitely helped me is looking for things to be happy and thankful for -- to realize how much God and Goddess/Brighid have stuck by me through thick and thin. They have brought me through so much and in one piece! I still struggle, but it gets easier to remember as time goes on. I think back on where I used to be and realize that, even though things aren't even close to perfect, I am still so much better off than I was.
I'm still an angry person. I'm not gonna lie. And I still go through REALLY BAD depression spirals sometimes. I had one this last summer that was a total doozy; it was the worst spiral I'd had in YEARS! And Druid, thank Goddess, stuck by me through it all. Not unscathed, that's for sure, but he stuck by me and supported me as best he could. He didn't call me weak or pathetic. He didn't scoff me off. He didn't treat me like I was a stupid burden who could control these things from happening. I'm so thankful to be with him. We've endured so much shit over the past few years -- things that would have had other people throwing in the towel and moving on. We've stuck together and fought for each other even as much as we've fought against each other. I honestly don't think I could have gotten to where I am -- made the progress I have -- without him. <3
Discipline (or the lack thereof) -
Truthfully, I lack it. It sort of, for me, ties a lot into my depression issues. It's hard for me to stay motivated and keep going on something that I should be doing, especially if I'm dealing with a spiral or I'm over-stressed by shit going on in the every-day life. But I'm learning.
I lacked the discipline to be able to go through my Year and a Day on my own as a Solitary. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I prefer the "monkey see, monkey do" approach. I know that what I'm doing now will still require A LOT of discipline to keep going with it even when those times inevitably arise where I feel like "But I don't WANNA go!!!"
It's not even just Paganism where I lack discipline. Lack of discipline has gotten me in trouble where my schoolwork is concerned (which is why I'm trying very hard to make sure that I stay caught up on everything this semester!) and it's even made it to where I've not made any progress on my health and fitness goals. And, believe me, I know I have no one else to blame but myself. I mean, yes, life gets busy and it's hard to find time to work out like I would like. But lack of discipline has shown me that I'm a total weakling right now where food is concerned. I totally trashed my metabolism by compulsive snacking and it's been hard trying to break out of that rut. There are so many things that would be better for me if I just get stubborn and whip myself into shape.
The path of the Witch is one that really does require discipline. It requires that we really know ourselves, we know our motives, and we don't get in a habit of lying to ourselves about why we do the things we do. Being a Witch really does require some cajones because it's not an easy thing to be honest with ourselves. If we're madder than a wet hen at somebody who's done us wrong and we want to just automatically blast them with some sort of delicious hex, it's hard realizing that we still need to be responsible enough to figure out if that's truly necessary. I'm fully of the belief, as I've said before, that breaking out the bitchcraft is perfectly acceptable and appropriate at certain times. However, most of the time we might as well just be shooting a mosquito with a bazooka.
Being a Witch means we need to be able to recognize when we can solve something on a mundane level instead of using magick as a cure-all. It's perfectly alright to turn to magick to solve things, but it's much better if we try to solve things without it first. If you've had a fight with your spouse or best friend, don't just automatically break out the freezer bags for a spell unless you're just as willing to do one on yourself. After all, is it not quite possible that you're just as at fault for the bullshit? Do you, perhaps, need to be the one to apologize this time? At least for your part of it. Mundane means like trying to make amends sometimes is all it takes and it's good for us to do things like that. It exercises our character-building muscles. ^_^ And, believe me, it's a lesson I'm still learning. I used to be a lot better at apologizing and realizing my own fault in conflicts, but that got lost somewhere along the way and I'm having to re-learn. I'm having to re-learn that, as much as it stings the pride, saying a sincere "I'm sorry" can be one of the quickest balms to a wounded situation between two people.
Overall, having discipline means to be able to look at yourself honestly, recognize your faults and where you lack, and to try to find ways to better ourselves. It means to find it within yourself to set a goal and to stick to it. Don't be wishy-washy like me. That's something I'm still having to work on.
)O( Morgaine )O(