I remember making recordings of my LP’s back in the ’80’s. The instructions from Maxell and TDK, the two big cassette manufacturers of the day, were to (a) place the needle onto the record and (b) depress the ‘play’ and ‘record’ buttons at the same time.
The word ‘depress’ always seemed a little vague to me. I’ve been thinking about the word lately and how it relates to our experience of depression. ‘Depress’ is defined many ways, but each is more or less a variation of the idea ‘to press down’. In external depression we press down on an outside object. For example, we depress a lever to start a machine. In internal depression we press down on ourselves.
We ‘depress’ because we think there is something wrong with us, with what we are feeling. We ‘push’ ourselves away to create a more palatable reality. We hide parts of ourselves in the hope that we can be what the ‘other’ wants.
Pushing comes at a cost, though. In bearing down on ourselves we inhibit our natural response. Two conflicting forces fight it out - our dynamic energy and the reactive force we use to tame that energy.
If we stopped pushing down we’d be left with…well, we’d be left with just ourselves. Nothing to change. Nothing to tame. Nothing to improve upon. Just us and our experience….and that’s a scary thing.
So what to do…
Opening up to the fear, even if just a little bit, is a good place to start. Trusting that whatever comes from within is worthy of acknowledgement. Sense the lightness, the ease, that results when you do trust.
Owning that we have agency in how we feel is magical. Revelatory. Life altering, really. And that’s a hopeful thing.