Low Voice of Concern | Opinion

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“Are you depressed?” Ray asked. “No, why?” “Your voice is low,” he said. “It’s true that my voice is getting weaker. But I don’t think I’m depressed.”

There are a lot of good reasons to feel off center, but depression doesn’t require a reason. 

Some people like me feel down on cloudy, cold days. I feel down about the planned downward direction of United States democracy, but I’m not depressed. 

Most people my age, who have had the privilege of working at something they loved over many years, can feel lost and sad upon retirement. We can feel a loss of identity and of purpose, but we’re not depressed.

Another possible source of feeling a little down is remembering all the physical things we once were able to do, but now we just watch others enjoy doing them. Maybe we can get back up on waterskis, but we don’t feel the same exhilaration we once did jumping the wake. We feel nostalgic, but not depressed.

As we age, we hear more frequently that someone we love has died. We feel sad and lonely, but not depressed.

Figuring out that we are heading toward the end of this life’s ride can cause us to think about what, if anything, is next. We might start putting our affairs in order, and we may feel anxious about the disposal of items that have given us great pleasure over the years, but we’re not depressed. 

Depression is described as severe despondency and dejection. It typically includes feelings of inadequacy. People who are depressed often lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping. Other signs of depression include extreme anger and continually feeling negative. 

If I had to pick a word that described my prevailing mood, it would be “frustration.” This results from the conflict between my soul and my head. I try hard to embrace the teachings of non-judgment. My angel whispers that the concepts of “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” depend upon perspective and judgment. Yet, during the day my judgments are triggered by threatening political antics and bravado. 

I recall the admonition from Jesus, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Similar warnings are present in all spiritual texts. The Tao Te Ching asks, “What is more dangerous, success or failure?” The daily battles I experience between my ego and my soul can have the effect of lowering my voice and appearing depressed. 

It’s not depression I feel about the fracture of American idealism, it’s deep sadness. It’s also frustration, because I feel there is little I can do about it except prevent the forfeiture of my soul by committing myself to loving kindness. 

Anyone who knows the values I hold dear needn’t be told how I feel about current events. What they might not see are the internal struggles felt daily over the challenges of being a channel of peace.


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