This is a space in which to discuss and share matters relating to depression, sadness, grief, melancholia, and related phenomena. There is a relevant paper posted in "Pages" listed in the right margin of the group page.

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  • Everybody experiences vicissitudes of mood. At the extreme they can be crippling or disruptive of normal life. There are many ways of viewing such phenomena - as illnesses, as necessary parts of spiritual evolution, as abnormal disturbances of equilibrium, as normal episodes within the cycles of life, and so on. In the ancient world, both Greek and Indian, such affliction was mostly seen as due to demonic influence whereas in the modern world we think in terms of complexes internal to the mind - there are pros and cons to both types of explanation.

    In any case, most of us have been there and we have dealt with or survived it one way or another. Sometimes such experience has left scars. Sometimes open wounds. Sometimes the experience makes us wiser, even when we would rather not have had to have got wise by that route. Sometimes it leaves us more cynical and takes some of the meaning out of life. Are we stronger or weaker for it?

    This is a subject in which moral judgements can readily intrude. Those who are not suffering can easily lose patience with those who languish. Questions of moral fibre arise. In some respects this is because depression is not just an individual phenomenon. We all rely upon one another to keep our spirits up and when one sinks severely they can pull others down with them.

    This, in turn, raises the question of therapy and support. Not only have we probably, most of us, experienced melancholia ourselves, but we have also experienced living with or working with somebody else who has been thus afflicted, and it is not easy.

    These then, are just a few prefatory remarks. Perhaps by sharing we can help one another both in our experienced lives and also in our understanding and therapeutic work.

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