Circle of Stones

Circle of Stones by Judith Duerk

How might your life have been different, if, when you were a young woman, the first time you felt feelings of depression, an older woman had come to sit with you? If she had come to sit with you, as someone had come to sit with her the first time she had feelings of deperession? To simply sit, quietly, perhaps wordlessly- to sit with you, during your dark time.

And how might your life have been different if the woman had accepted your feelings of depression? Had accepted them so completely and fully that you began to feel safe with them. If there had been no judgement and no questioning… no attempt to make you smile, to betray your feelings, to deny your darkness. If the woman had simply sat in silence with you, with your pain, and in the darkest moments had been able to reflect it to you…to reflect to you your pain…to witness……attend… and by her quiet respect for it to help you learn to respect it….your own pain and depression…to witness, attend and respect your depression…and to see that just as the woman had faith in it, you also might have a glimmer of faith that there was meaning and truth in your darkness.

How might your life be different?

I grew up in a household filtered by depression. Not the kind that is so apparent that something must be done about it. The sneaky kind you can live with and pretend it isn’t there. My mother’s depression was  absolutely never acknowledged.

I don’t remember my first cycle of depression. It may have occurred sometime around the time I was 5 yrs old….after I was taken out of Sunday School. My first attempt at evangelization didn’t go so well. I came home and told my dad (a non-practicing Catholic) that if he didn’t go to church with us he was going to Hell. That ended my relationship with my first love, Jesus. My mom didn’t take me back to church. Before that I was bright and shiny…even my Sunday School teacher was tired of hearing me sing Jesus Loves Me.

At some point I stopped trying to remember life. I spent a great deal of time alone in my room. I remember the carpet….the wallpaper and even my closet….I don’t remember many events, birthdays or vacations. My mom never spoke of her depression or asked me about mine. I was lonely and manifested illness quite frequently. My first grade teacher described me as “melancholy”.

How might MY life be different?

Sometime in the not so distant past I began to feel safe with my darkness….I recognize, retreat and respect it. I light more candles, take more baths and read more books. I remind myself that it is temporary. Energy is constantly changing…I am open to change.