Feeling blue these days? You’re not alone. This month Rochana and Kathleen cover the topic of depression and the constellation of difficult emotional aspects that accompany it. Find out what flower essences and gem elixirs we use to shine a gentle light in the dark corners, help shift perspective, soften the suffering, and provide soul guidance.
Flower Essences discussed during the show:
- Wild Oat – Healing Herbs
- California Wild Rose – FES
- Wild Rose – Healing Herbs
- St John’s Wort – FES
- Lighten Up – Alaskan Essences
- Orange Calcite – Alaskan Essences
- Despair – Flora of Asia
- Chinese Emmenopterys – Flora of Asia
- Wingthorn Rose – Flora of Asia
- Red Clover – FES
- Mustard – Healing Herbs
- Illumine – FES
- Borage – FES
- Pink Quartz – Alaskan Essences
Rochana Felde: [00:00:40] Hello, flower essence friends, welcome back to The Flower Essence podcast with Rochana Felde and Kathleen Aspenns. And we’re here today to talk about another cheery subject. Last month, we dived into toxic shame. So this month we’re also kind of working in this realm of looking at things that might be bothering us this time of year and that is depression or depressed states. And when we talk about that, I want to make sure that we’re referring to more of the situational depression, seasonal, temporary, low mood, all of these forms that you know, can just make you feel the blues and also, you know, lead to clinical depression if left unchecked, too long. But we’re not dealing with clinical depression and want to just make sure that, that is something, you know, left to the professionals. And you know, it’s all related. But let’s dive into what it even means to have depression or to feel depressed. Are you ready for this, Kathleen?
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:02:01] Yeah. Well, this time of year and I’m speaking– we’re in mid-November here, and I always notice in myself that I have a dip in my mood when the leaves all start falling off the trees. And even as beautiful as it is, as beautiful as the fall season is and I’m looking outside, I’ve got a maple that’s just– ah, it’s just so gorgeous right now, beautiful leaves. And yet this season is so emotionally challenging for me. I know some people love fall, so I’m like, I wish I was you, but I don’t. The light changes and it really affects my mood. It really affects how I feel inside, and I think essences can be a great support for all of us who have this. There’s a lot of people who have seasonal mood changes or get impacted by the seasons, and there’s a lot we can do about it. And I think we’re going to dive in a little bit to the, you know, different types of behavioral shifts you can create in yourself and then we can get into the essences. But we wanted to talk to you about some of the qualities of what we’re talking about when we’re talking about sort of a non-clinical depression. And I think that’s probably a good starting place. Yeah?
Rochana Felde: [00:03:19] Yeah. And you know, there’s an internally generated depression and that is more of the body or the, you know, the chemistry, the physical reaction to less light in the year. It also, you know, can be caused by lack of sleep or a poor diet. There’s so many physical factors. Even they’re tracing it now to the microbiome in the gut being a huge part of what can be a factor in depression. But then there’s also externally generated circumstances, and those are more the things that something happened at work, things that are happening in your relationships, things that are happening in the world and the news and the media. So there’s a lot of stuff coming at you and that can lead to depression.
And so what I love, and Kathleen, you’re the one who introduced me to the work of Karla McLaren, and I’m just such a big fan now. She has a book called The Language of Emotions and what she calls depression is a brilliant stop sign for the soul or an ingenious stop sign. And it’s like a cue to start paying attention to what’s going on with your life, with your lifestyle, and also around you to see what it is that is causing these feelings. And maybe there’s something that you can do to alleviate them.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:04:59] Completely agree. Her work is so defining of our emotions and so accepting of our emotions. What she has brought to the world of emotional awareness and emotional appreciation is really great, and I want to just add a piece that a lot of times culturally, we see ourselves as we should be joyous all the time. We should be happy and everything should be great, and– you know, and if it’s not, we fake it. And social media, I think, has been kind of a real problem in that it reinforces this. And when we’re sitting there looking at it and our lives are not as fabulous as the peoples whose lives are on our scroll, then we feel even worse. And just recognizing that feeling depressed is normal. It’s human. It’s part of all of the range of emotions and it just is looking for– it’s a signal. Like Karla is saying, it’s a signal. It’s telling you something important and it’s the same as fear and it’s the same as anxiety, and it’s the same as our happy emotions, the ones we love. They’re all telling us something important about ourselves. And so depression is not something to be treated away instantaneously as if it’s a bad thing that we have to tear out and, you know, burn and get rid of. Recognizing that it has a purpose, it is trying to guide us. This quality of the stop sign is so important to recognize that sometimes it’s keeping us from doing something that’s not good for us. And that quality of soul guidance is something that I think that we should be focusing on a little bit because I think that despair or depression is trying to tell us, “Hmm, we’re going in the wrong direction here. There’s something that needs to be adjusted in your life at this point.”
Rochana Felde: [00:07:06] Yeah. And another aspect of that is to, exactly what you’re saying, it’s not something we need to just fix right away. I think the idea of allowing is so healing. It’s the hardest thing to do but the most healing thing to do with all of the difficult emotions, and depression is one of those. There’s a fear of– you know, it’s been so stigmatized in society and it’s very difficult to talk about. But it’s something that happens to all of us and there’s more and more awareness now. But I would say that awareness is for the more severe cases. You know, you want to make sure somebody is not going to harm themself, of course, but there’s so much more gray area between not being depressed and being suicidal. Like there is just a huge, huge swath of area that is in the normal range, I guess to give it a little clinical wording. And you know, what are some of those aspects that we might, you know, look out for or be aware of when we’re feeling blue?
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:08:29] Yeah. And I can’t go past what you just said because it is so common. Depression is so common. If you look at the figures of how many Americans are on antidepressants long-term, it’s a staggering number. And there don’t seem to be enough possibilities for what to do with that expression of our sole experience. You know, you go to the doctor and you say, I’m feeling depressed and you get an antidepressant. And then you’re just on that probably for a very long time, instead of, gosh, wouldn’t that be great to explore that internally with a therapist, with a support group, with whatever and to start to look at it as a sign rather than as a problem to be medicated. And we’re not going to be– we don’t want anyone to hear what I’m saying and decide to just go off of meds or anything like that. That’s not what we’re saying because that’s something you have to do with your doctor.
But what I just want to express is how common this is and how this is a huge issue in culture in people today. And what can we do to make our lives better and hear this message that this stop sign is giving us? And what do we do to adjust it and that gets into like, you know, is your work-life supporting you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially? You know, sometimes the work-life is just about the finances, and it does nothing for your soul. It doesn’t mean you go ahead and quit your job, but what are you doing to feed your soul? What are you doing to feed your purpose? There’s a lot of things that sometimes if we just go, ok, well, we’ll just treat it. You know, then we don’t look at what’s underneath that. What’s actually being called for?
Rochana Felde: [00:10:31] Absolutely. I see some of the main aspects are that feeling of hopelessness or powerlessness, kind of that it’s just a stuck feeling, a feeling of stuckness like something’s feeling crappy and I can’t do anything about it. And so that, over time will definitely naturally lead to those feelings. And some other aspects that I see related to these sort of stuck, depressed states, unworthiness, self-blaming, discouragement, feeling alienated, either within a tight social group or in general, as a whole from the world, so that feeling of loneliness. Another big one is that crisis of faith can be really depressing and put you in a stuck place where you’re not sure where you fit in the grand scheme of things. Rumination, of course, you know, that is something that’s so common when something’s weighing on the mind or the heart and just general feeling of gloom. Also, deep despair, you know, like soul angst, existential feelings of despair. And again, these are all things that we’re all going to feel at some point in our lives.
Kathleen Aspenns: [00:12:01] And they’re legitimate feelings. There’s nothing inherently pathological about feeling grief over the state of the world and the losses that we’ve all experienced in the last few years and over our lives. And it’s perfectly normal to feel that way. There’s nothing toxic about it. It’s not something that you have to manage into oblivion so that you can all of a sudden be joyous all the time. It’s recognizing that these feelings are part of us. They flow through us and the more that we are able to embrace them and allow them to flow and to listen to their messages, that’s when they can release the hold. A lot of us haven’t been, you know, emotionally educated. Certainly, I wasn’t as a child to recognize that my emotions are telling me something. They’re my friends and they’re here to help. And to be able to hear the message and to be able to let the emotion flow through my body rather than to stop it, tamp it down. And that’s something– I like how you kind of talked about some of the topics that can bring up these feelings because there are so many. But one of the things that I really see is that helplessness quality. And this is, I want to weave in a little bit of the Chinese medicine perspective. The Liver, the Chinese Medicine Liver, is considered to be like the general of the body, and the Liver is in charge of making plans and executing the plans and, you know, like doing this 3D life thing, like, “We’re going to do this. We’re going to set our eye at accomplishing this goal and we’re going to do it this way.” It’s very much into that. And what happens in a circumstance if you’re in a, say, a workspace where you don’t have any ability to make the decisions that need to be made, when you don’t have that agency of being able to express yourself and to being able to do the work that you know you can do when you want to do, and if you continually get sort of ground down by that system, it’s going to impact the Liver’s quality of bringing that energy up and getting things done. And when we constantly have that downward pressure of somebody else or the circumstance controlling us and sort of squishing us down that will come up as depression. That will start to– that cycle will reinforce itself and we will feel really, really depressed. And so I think that’s one of the pieces that I’m looking at. If you lose your sense of agency and you lose your sense of hope, that it can end up in that depression.
My favorite essence for this dynamic is Wild Oat. And Wild Oat is a really useful, broad-based remedy that helps you kind of clear stuff out of the way so you can actually see what your purpose is. And that really fits in well with the Liver dynamic of helping you direct your life.
Rochana Felde: [00:15:16] That’s really interesting to tie in that sense of purpose with the Liver dynamic. I hadn’t really thought about it that way before. But that sense of purpose is such a key, and you know, that, really, will to live, you know like turning around that sort of apathy. And so another, I think, essence in turning that around would be the Wild Rose, that Bach discovered that flower essence and also the California Wild Rose is also helpful in that regard. What do you think about those two?