I touched upon this subject during a conversation with other members of DT (you know who you are, thanks for letting me formulate this idea) and I thought I'd share it with everyone who is interested.
Every living thing requires a very specific set of circumstances to grow and prosper. Change things a bit and the organism has to adjust and adapt, change something too much and it won't grow at all or worse, die.
Take a tree for example. A tree needs soiland space to grow and a medium amount ofwater and sunlight, too much is just as bad as too little would be. If everything is available in just the right amount – and our tree doesn't get cut down to end up as a table – our tree will grow large and strong, offer shade to weary travellers, a home for squirrels, maybe even delicious fruit but most of all, it will live up to it's full potential.
Now let's take a step back and let me introduce what I actually want to talk about. I have spent quite some time talking to other people who have or had their own experiences with chatrooms, witnessed plenty of conversations, read the literature and so on – and one thing that almost inevitably comes up is the fixing vs healing controversy. Some people consider themselves "broken" or "damaged" like a mechanical implement that needs to be put back together with screws or glue, while others think of themselves as "wounded" and in need of healing and recuperation.
To get fixed one needs a lot of external influence, medication, support, therapy to name a few, in short: a mechanic with replacement-parts of sorts. It is not invalid to view the road to betterment like this but I inevitably feel that something is missing from the equation and that is a certain focus on the self: namely what you can do to make yourself better. External influences can only bring you so far after all and to get seriously start on a path to healing you need to take the first step and in fact every step. Others can help, limit symptoms and accompany you but no one can make you walk or carry you all the way. In short it creates a dependance on external influences that will certainly lead to a crash should those externalia disappear for whatever reason.
Healing on the other hand takes a somewhat opposite approach in that it focuses on the self first and foremost. Circumstances only matter insofar as how much healing they allow or constrict. Meditation, a time-out from stressing agents, a vacation or spirituality are – again – great tools but not everything can be handled with such measures. The obvious problem lies in the premature disapproval of more "mechanical" aids like medication and in simply not utilizing all the tools available even if great wisdom can be found in "healing" methods.
To put it in context, I'm sure every single one of you (my dear readers) once heard or read someone saying/writing "I am broken" or "I am unfixable" or something like that and someone else respond "no, you're not. you just need <insert good suggestion here>" only to be rebutted by "that won't work" or "I don't trust <insert pretty much anything here>" … well, like most things it makes more sense in my head, so if you're a bit confused because I don't make any sense keep on reading.
Both aforementioned views are right dependant on how the psyche is viewed, but they are not necessarily diametrically opposed and there need not be an argument about semantics of "being broken", "using meds as a crutch" and "spiritual nonsense".
Most people that suffer from depression got there because something was added – or taken from – their lives that the psyche couldn't quite handle, pain built up over time and at one point became too much to bear. Which is pretty much how the growth of a tree gets stunted. And like with a stunted tree it takes time and care to get a psyche back on track and the best way to do it is to utilize every tool available.
Which brings us to something that also is often argued about. Can one recover completely? Or does one have to remain fixed but fundamentally flawed for the rest of one's lifespan?
I say neither. If a tree lacks sunlight or water it withers and stops growing but as long as it doesn't die it can resume growing once it regains what it needs. Sure, it won't be as tall as the proverbial perfect tree (the one they call normal) and it may grow at an angle in it's attempt to reach the sunlight but look around you, every tree is different from the next, that's what colloquially is called "character". (That was a metaphor for people, but it works for real trees too.)
If you get damaged by depression or trauma or another ailment of it's like you will stop growing for a while and may aquire a few oddities or eccentricities or quirks but if you work on it and accept the help that is readily offered you will continue growing nonetheless. You will still be able to offer shade to a weary traveller and fruit or beautiful petals and the people that know how to look will love you for your oddities and eccentricities and quirks. All the others wouldn't appreciate the straight and normal tree either anyway.
May you grow strong and take pride in how you grew,