Recently I was interviewed on the telesummit Overcoming Anxiety and Depression with Ande Anderson addressing the management of depression and anxiety. Although I’ve been a clinically trained psychotherapist for many years, my specialty is not working with people who have chronic, long term mood disorders. I prefer to help people in major life transitions find their vocation of destiny. I do however, work with people whose emotions are compromised by continuing to live a life they’ve outgrown. If you stay too long in a what I call a defunct life, the pressure that builds from the soul to move on can translate into what I coined in 1990 as a ‘LifeQuake’: the birthing pains of the soul waking up to the next level of its evolution.
So what is distinct about the depression and anxiety that can come with LifeQuakes and how should they be treated by the professional who is working with such a patient or client?
- There is an onset. You can clearly remember a time when your work life was stimulating or other parts of your life enlivened you so the stark contrast doesn’t feel familiar.
2) The work you’ve been doing leaves you drained but when you go into nature, your energy picks up or doing Yoga or Qi Gong at the end of a work day refills your tank. Your work and/or relationships may leave you feeling depressed but there are activities that do bring your energy up.
3) People who are part of groups that you no longer feel an affinity with also drain you, especially when they are discussing the philosophy of that group such as a religious organization, sports team, or 12 step recovery program.
4) Your dietary needs change. For example, eating a vegan diet if you’ve been on that program for a while may now not provide enough protein or the reverse. Eating a lot of animal protein in your diet may weigh you down. Because a LifeQuake is a rebirthing process of the soul, the body that houses the soul may be going through an evolutionary process that requires different food to nourish you now.
5) What people care about on social media or in the news begins to feel strange, like you belong on another planet. In a dark night of the soul, the ego-based identity you’ve been operating from begins to die as it withdraws from an old life and begins a journey toward the soul. A numbness to one’s outer life can take over. Clinical Depression can look like this too but the call here is not to take anti-depressant meds although amino acids that address mood can be very helpful. What alleviates this kind of Depression is time in meditation or contemplation within yourself. There are also guided meditations that can help to connect you with your soul and your soul purpose during your Dark Night. In the products section of LifeQuake.com, I offer a CD of guided visualizations, my book in downloadable form, and if you join the LifeQuake Soul Purpose Tribe, you get the 7 week audio course that takes you through how to manage the seven stages of repurposing your LifeQuake.
The key here in distinguishing a LifeQuake from a mood disorder although they may feel the same is to slow down and listen. Take the time to deeply listen to your body and pay attention to what I call divine coincidences – a synchronicity in which your soul is magnetizing events from your outer life to guide you. If you choose to not go the pharmaceutical route to manage your emotions, it will be easier to remember your dreams. The dreamtime is when the waters of the unconscious can be accessed to greater depth. Ask for direction before sleeping and then write down what you remember in the morning. The Dark Night of the Soul has the potential to birth you into a more authentic version of yourself, especially if you work with your disowned emotions at this time. What may feel heavy can become the very stuff that creates a more radiant version of yourself if you open to the light from the universe. This is the alchemy of leaded consciousness into the golden mind. A LifeQuake miracle emerges through your new identity and the work you were meant to do can happen in the next chapter of your life, if you are courageous enough to first just be in the time in between.