Sacred Sorrows: Embracing and Transforming Depression

Overview

Few maladies touch so many aspects of body, mind, and spirit as depression. Depression creates a vicious cycle of boredom, loneliness, anxiety, despair, meaninglessness, and feelings of inadequacy. Its pervasive grip can lead to eating disorders, lack of initiative, addictions, and physical illness, at the cost of one's livelihood, relationships, and even life itself.

This insightful and compassionate collection of essays includes stories by authors who not only struggled with ...

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Overview

Few maladies touch so many aspects of body, mind, and spirit as depression. Depression creates a vicious cycle of boredom, loneliness, anxiety, despair, meaninglessness, and feelings of inadequacy. Its pervasive grip can lead to eating disorders, lack of initiative, addictions, and physical illness, at the cost of one's livelihood, relationships, and even life itself.

This insightful and compassionate collection of essays includes stories by authors who not only struggled with and overcame depression, but learned to look deep within themselves to find meaning and enlightenment, using their darkest moments as vehicles for psychological and spiritual growth. From Prozac to LSD, from behaviorism to chaos theory, from body work to Buddhism, the authors in this anthology present new ways of embracing and transforming depression, an ailment that touches nearly every one of us at some time in our lives.

Sacred Sorrows is essential reading for anyone suffering from depression, for students of psychology, and for therapists who help others cope with this devastating condition.

This poignant and provocative anthology of more than 25 contemporary essays includes the stories of people who have personally struggled with and who have overcome depression, and of those who have learned to embrace depression as part of their psychological and spiritual growth.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drs. Nelson and Nelson have gathered together a highly readable collection of essays, some previously published and some original, to help the sufferer of depression and the healer to better understand themselves, each other and the condition itself. Through compelling case histories and scientific research, contributors such as Thomas Moore and Steven Levine show how depression can ultimately give those affected more than it takes away because transformation comes with extreme suffering, arguing that humanity may be able to see as much from the bottom as from the top. These 25 articulate experts make an impassioned plea to change our view of depression solely as an illness to be cured, because pathologizing depression inhibits any transcendent powers. All emotions are valuable and necessary, they say, not just the ones that feel good. Three sections comprise the anthology: Part I relates personal stories, including those of William Styron, Bruno Bettelheim and Martha Manning, to illustrate the devastating effects of depression. Part II explores varying theories about the origins of depression and sheds light on therapeutic techniques-psychotherapy, Prozac, body work, behaviorism and others. Part III introduces techniques involving chaos theory, LSD and Buddhism and uses them to show how depression can be a pathway to spiritual growth. The thread that binds this anthology together is one of hope, because it says that because depression provokes hard questions, it is also the instrument of spiritual transformation. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874778229
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/5/1996
  • Series: New Consciousness Reader Series
  • Pages: 222
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Prologue: Depression in Body, Mind, and Spirit 1
1 The Many Faces of Depression: How Depression Affects the Human Psyche 7
2 Darkness Visible: An Author's Personal Struggle with Depression 20
3 Beauty and the Beast: Exploring the Link Between Creativity and Depression 27
4 Meeting the Shadow at Mid-life: The Changing of the Gods 33
5 Despair, Hope, and Survival: Notes from a Nazi Concentration Camp 40
6 Undercurrents: A Personal Account of Electroshock Treatment 43
7 The Dark Night of the Soul: Depression and the Veil of Addiction 51
8 Cognitive Therapy: A Thinking Person's Remedy for Depression 59
9 Seeking the Spirit in Prozac: A Review and Critique of Peter Kramer's Listening to Prozac 70
10 Prozac and Personality: The Case of Tess 79
11 Depression in Borderline Personalities: Using Empathy to Heal the Wounded Self 83
12 Alternative Medical Treatments for Depression: What Your Doctor Doesn't Know Can Hurt You 92
13 The Energy Dynamics of Depression: Healing Depression Through Bodywork 102
14 The Dark Hero: A Jungian Case History 110
15 Sadness: The Enemy of Depression: Seeking Happiness Through Wholeness 113
16 Despair Work: Healing the Self Through Healing the Planet 115
17 Chaos Theory and Depression: Disintegrating into a New Life 129
18 Transpersonal Psychology and Depression: Attending to the State of Mind of the Healer 137
19 The Path of the Dragon: Psychedelic and Empathogenic Treatment of Depression 146
20 Reactions to Spiritual Awakening: A Descent from the Heights 157
21 Depression As a Loss of Heart: Opening to Healing Through Inner Work 160
22 Opening the Heart in Hell: Healing through Grief Work 168
23 The Medicine Buddha: Combining Antidepressant Medications with Spiritual Practice 176
24 Suicide and Transcendence: Crossing the Great Divide 184
25 The Paradox of Finding One's Way by Losing It: The Dark Night of the Soul and the Emergence of Faith 191
26 Transforming Depression Through Egocide: Symbolic Death and New Life 198
27 Gifts of Depression: Healing the Wounded Soul 214
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