Is Depression Pathological?
Sometimes it just plain hurts. And when it hurts, it hurts all over – the body, the mind, the heart – the complete self is suffering. Our good doctors do their best to help each of us as we suffer in depression. There are countless numbers of prescriptions that we can try, one at a time, in search of the pill that will lift us out of depression. And sometimes, perhaps often enough, these pills will give you or me a chance to raise our heads and try to figure out what in the hell has happened to us. But, that is a lot of work. Most of us don’t want to look into the darkness that has knocked a lot of the life out of us. Given the choice, a pill is good enough regardless of the side effects. It is simpler to say it was a chemical imbalance and leave it at that.
But – strange how there is always a “but” lingering at the edges – nothing is that simple. We, modern humans, tend to simplify things by separating them. Our minds are separated from our bodies. Our soul is unconnected to the body. And our spirit is typically found in bottles and in pills like some “genie.”
“In reality, there is nothing but a living body. That is the fact, and psyche is as much a living body as body is living psyche: it is just the same.” [Jung, Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, vol. 1, p. 396.]
There is no separation. Each of us is a whole being, each aspect of ourselves inter-connected to the other aspects. Depression then is something much more complex than science would have us believe. As a result, we have lost our way when confronted by depression whether it is our personal depression or that of someone who is in our orbit. Our modern world has pathologized depression and has declared it an enemy. It has become a cancer that must be assaulted with all of our skills and pharmacological tools in order to be banished.
But, if Jung is right that there is no separation between body and psyche, then there must be something natural about depression, something that our psyche is needing to address.