James Hollis on Depression and Anxiety:
“There is an essential difference between normal anxiety and anxiety that is neurotically crippling. To live fully in the world is to frequently suffer the bouts of anxiety that are our lot as a sentient species. We should never deride ourselves for such anxiety. It becomes a psychological problem only when we are prevented by that anxiety from living our lives as fully as possible. And it becomes a moral problem when our own chosen strategies impair and impede us. So we are anxious?......so we are still obliged to live as fully as possible.
Anxiety is the price of a ticket on the journey of life; no ticket - no journey; no journey – no life. Just as Freud noted that the task of therapy is to move one from neurotic miseries to the normal miseries of life, so we are impelled to face what we cannot face, bear what we cannot bear, name the un-nameable that haunts us.
Again, we are daily forced to choose between depression and anxiety. Depression results from the wounding of the individuation imperative; anxiety results from moving forward into the unknown. The path of anxiety is necessary because therein lies the hope of the person to more nearly become and individual. My analyst once said to me, ‘You must make your fears your agenda.’ When we do take on that agenda, for all the anxiety engendered, we feel better because we know we are living in bonne foi with ourselves.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the perception that some things are more important to us than fear. The individuation task, for example, is more important than whatever regressively blocks us. Interestingly enough, we make a great move toward personal liberation when we can acknowledge the existential angst directly, know ourselves to be fragile beings clinging to a spinning planet hurtling through space, and at the same time grateful for such a grand ride. We gain when we are able to move from the anxiety, which, like fog, obscures the forward path. When, in that could, we can identify specific fears, we will often find them groundless to us as adults, though they were once overwhelming as a child. If, for example, one has an inordinate fear of conflict, and avoids speaking at meetings, one needs to find the discrete fear in the cloud of paralysing anxiety. Generally, such an anxious thought will translate into an early fear, such as ‘They won’t approve’, ‘They won’t love me.’”
These primal fears were real for the child, but the adult we have become can have a different experience. What I can make conscious, face directly and deal with as an adult, frees me from unconscious bondage to the past. We truly perceive that something is more important than what we fear. And there is. We are more important than what we fear. This is what is meant by courage.” (Swamplands of the Soul, pp 115-116).
“The sight of evil kindles evil in the soul…. The victim is not the only sufferer; everybody in the vicinity of the crime, including the murderer, suffers with him. Something of the abysmal darkness of the world has broken in on us, poisoning the very air we breathe and befouling the water with the stale, nauseating taste of blood.”
-Jung, 1945. After the catastrophe. Coll. Works. 10. p. 199