Traveling inner landscapes

The past few weeks have been hard… my depression has spiraled down deep and I’ve been clawing at the walls trying to drag myself back up into “normalcy”.

I’ve been extra tired, especially the week leading up to and the week of my moontime. I’ve wanted to retreat into myself and just shut out the world. I’m in school, so there’s only so much retreating that I can do, but when I close my eyes, I see myself walking into the side of a mountain, closing door after door behind me until I’m alone in the silent, beautiful, velvet darkness.

I’ve stopped trying to claw my way out now, and have begun to try and float on the waves of my moods… and I’ve been finding that the less I struggle, the calmer my inner waters become. There were only great waves that I felt were about to drown me any second because I was thrashing about so much instead of swimming with my own tides, that I was creating the waves themselves.

I know that these journeys down to deep places I’d rather not visit are necessary; there’s a lesson to be learned, some bit of wisdom to be gleaned. And since my depression is medically monitored and because I am not at risk for self-harm, I know that I’m mostly safe to submit to these journeys inward and down… and they’re always less awful when I don’t struggle so much.

Submission is not something that often comes easily to me… I tend to be stubborn and while this is sometimes a good quality, I can tend to dig my heels in just out of principle, even when this doesn’t help me out. And perhaps that right there is the lesson I was meant to learn during this particular trip down into my abyss.

I drew a card last night before I went to bed. I shuffled and shuffled and shuffled and asked, “What does my spirit need to know?”

I drew one card and it was my card, the Hermit. This card turns up for me time and again; when I’m feeling overwhelmed and like I need to retreat into solitude for a while, but haven’t been allowing myself to do so. When I guilt myself or shame myself for wanting (needing…) alone time, because sometimes I feel like I need a lot of alone time. The Hermit reminds me that it’s okay to rest and retreat and spiral down within myself; but the Hermit also reminds me that to complete the cycle, I must re-emerge and bring what I’ve learned to light. Otherwise, the journey was in vain.

hermit

I flipped over the deck to look at the bottom card, the root of the question, and the Tower stared back at me. Getting rid of what no longer serves me, destruction to make way for creation. The fire that destroys the trees, but releases the seeds from the pine cones to generate new life.

tower

Struggling against my own inner cycles doesn’t help me… consenting to make the necessary inner journeys, kindness to myself and my needs (even when those needs are inconvenient…) do help me. When I stop digging my heels in out of fear and pure stubbornness, I clear my own path to continue moving through my cycles. I am able to float to shore and then walk up and out of my abyss for a time. Things have come full circle and will most likely cycle ’round again. But each journey gives me new insight into myself, and these bits of knowledge that come back with me are missing pieces of myself, now recovered. Are they worth the pain and difficulties of depression? I’m not always sure, but I know that giving into the depression and spiraling down while refusing to search for the missing bits of myself and refusing to surface once again to implement the lessons I’ve learned are not options I’m willing to settle for.

Things have come full circle and will most likely cycle around again. But each journey gives me new insight into myself, and these bits of knowledge that come back with me are missing pieces of myself, now recovered. Are they worth the pain and difficulties of depression? I’m not always sure, but I know that giving into the depression and spiraling down while refusing to search for the missing bits of myself and refusing to surface once again to implement the lessons I’ve learned are not options I’m willing to settle for.

So when I disappear for a while, to retreat and regroup and continue my inner journey, it’s okay. I’ll exit my cave again, lantern held aloft and continue on my outer journey, more myself than before.

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