Friday, December 28, 2007

Pele: depression, obesity and tiredness

Over the past few days I have been reading 'The Dark Goddess: dancing with the shadow' by Marcia Starck and Gynne Stern. It was one of those impulse buys when in Bent Books at West End on my last Artist's Date. It literally jumped out of the self and into my hand.

I was reading the section on Pele the Hawaiian Goddess of violence, volcanoes, jealousy and lightning (in her dark aspect) Christmas Night. The following really struck a chord with me, especially as I've been on a bit of a quest to better understand the origins of my anger ...

Masks by Rain Walker

"Depression, far more common to women than to men, is often repressed anger. It is safer for many women to appear and feel depressed than to be angry. Anger then gets pushed down into the shadow where it erupts or spews forth unexpectantly, similar to the way a volcano blows its top. Unfortunately hidden anger is a great energy drain, but the chronically tired woman often doesn't know what is wrong with her and blames herself for always feeling tired. Obesity too is connected with hidden anger. Fat protects the body from feeling too strongly impinged on from the outside; also tired women eat for energy." Page 48-49

This made me think about my own battles with depression in the past and what was a possible source for my anger. The largest and most serious episode of depression was the first year I was living with my ex partner. I was angry with him for not understanding me and what was important to me. I felt very alone and without anyone to confide in. I felt as though I had made my bed and had to lie in it, regardless of what it was doing to me, in terms of my relationship. Part of me was also stubbornly determined to make my relationship work - to prove to family and friends interstate that I could have a serious, stable relationship, and that someone could love me - even if that someone didn't really love me and was abusing me in subtle, but powerful ways.

I was incredibly angry with my employment situation at the time and felt as though I was being taken advantage of - working 40 hours a week as a Nanny/housekeeper and then was looking after the same kids another three nights a week while my bosses played sport, or went to bible study class. My partner at the time couldn't understand what was wrong with me - he believed that as a couple we were on a good wicket and told me to try harder. But my anger was explosive and dangerous to both myself and the kids whose care I was entrusted.

In regards to my employment, in true Pele form I exploded and had a screaming match with my boss (I was working as a Nanny) the day before I was to return to work, and she returned that evening with my severance pay. Finding new employment, in a position that gave me responsbility, scope for growth and a chance to have some fun (not to mention 100km from where I was living and beyond the grasp of my ex boss) helped me to climb out of my depression.

And I know my current round of stacking on the weight has to do with my anger. It falls around my belly (to the point that I'm mistaken for being pregnant) and its like the extra weight there is protecting that nurturing centre, whilst I work out and heal the deep anger inside that has to do with the nurturing I'm missing out on from my own mother. And I'm tired for no particular reason, so its time again to look for my anger, and to excavate its source to find a way to heal.

Julia Cameron says that our anger is a compass .. buts its hard to follow the needles when the compass is hidden. Perhaps its time to call on Pele to help me find the way?

1 comment:

Square1 said...

This is why I had no clue I was suffering PPD with my first child. I wasn't weepy and mopey. I felt that way a little, but mostly I was pissed off! Not at the baby of course, but at Mr. Muse, for any number of reasons. When roles shift in life and something forces you out of a zone of comfort it's easy to get pissed off. When our partners don't seem supportive, it makes us angry, because we start thinking about all the ways we've supported and nurtured them through their difficulties, and it doesn't seem fair.

I try to remind myself that at least in relationships, communication is key. For me personally, I have trouble swallowing the excuse that it's all my hormones, because generally speaking the hormones only magnify a problem that is already there, and they make me examine what I've ignored. I do this in hopes of keeping eruptions at a minimum, because even though my perceptions are tinged by the hormonal veil, ultimately I am still responsible for what I say and do, and the consequences they have. The biggest thing is communication with self. This is why I write, or part of it anyway.