People play games. This is a fact. If you study enough psychology, you get to this conclusion in the end. People pretend to be somebody else. People distribute themselves and the others in roles, in huge scenarios. People believe unreal stuff and change and alter reality so that it fits their perceptions and their inner script. Using a known metaphor in NLP, people use their inner map, not the territory.
Depression is also a role; it is part of a bigger script. It’s either the script of a victim, or the script aimed at self-punishing or the script of punishing others. You stay in depression because you believe it’s meaningful to do so, it’s helpful for your spiritual development to be depressed, it’s good to suffer because you either become more experienced, or more noble. Or you stay in depression because you want to punish God (or your parents); making you suffer means you’re mocking God’s creation, therefore punishing God (or your parents). I know, this paragraph may look totally psychotic, but both transactional analysis and psychodynamic psychotherapies tell us about the fact that we have inside us a principle, or “object”, or “entity” called “the inner child”. The Child in us has all these fantasies and the Child in us plays. In neurotic or depressed individuals, the Child plays dangerous scripts, which can result in pain and death. That’s why I began with him.
After a while in the psychological field, you become aware of what is illusion and what is reality. You become aware of what is projection – a subjective perception –, and what is reality – the objective real stuff. You notice, for instance, that one patient comes to you describing his family as being made of horror monsters, and then you encounter the “chief monster” and you see he or she is not a monster at all. This way, you practically come into contact with the notion of map (a gathering of blood-thirsty monsters) and territory (a family like any other family, perhaps a little bit more neurotic). And then you begin to extrapolate. And then you question yourself whether what you perceive is really real, or you too have a damaged perception. And the answer is Yes, you too have a screwed up perception, and you need to constantly work to become aware of it because… you know what?!… you’re working with people, and at some point you might see monsters in others, monsters that do not belong to reality…
After years of studying and exploration and experience, you reach a point where you understand everybody’s reasons to be like this or like that. You find yourself unable to get mad at someone because you understand where he or she is coming from. You discard the notions of good and bad, you learn to work with the patient’s beliefs; you learn that there are other points of view that are different from yours’ and equally valid. After a while, you feel that your own struggle is in vain, that you’re actually playing your own play – or your inner child is playing his old game – but you also become aware, evidence-based, that you’re actually playing a game. Suddenly, life becomes a stage, and each individual, including you, plays a part (that’s Shakespeare).
Obviously, you wonder why are we supposed to play games? What does living a real life means? What is game and what is not? Can we live without playing games? Is life going to be at least equally colorful if we cease to play our old games?
My attraction is for abandonment situations or persons that might abandon me. What happens if I’m in a safe situation? I feel nothing, love nobody, and am attracted to nothing and nobody. My attraction is also focused on forbidden situations or persons. What happens if I can’t play my game of slaloming through dangerous and challenging situations? I feel nothing. The game has a rule: you can’t get out of it without suffering or being thrown in the abyss.
This entire situation unveiling before my eyes was too much. It was, literally, the Matrix. I was fated to repeat over and over again the same stupid games that would give me the necessary arousal to go on with my colorful life until death. It was like being drug-addicted… it was like being game-addicted…
I said Stop!
I got depressed.
I got sick.
I got eyes problems. I didn’t want to see this wide-ranging game. Everything was so illusory in nature that created in me a huge disgust. I was sitting now in the audience, witnessing the games of others. Life began to happen to me. I was like the hero in the Matrix, suddenly seeing reality in rows and columns of flowing green numbers. I achieved clarity even if I was blinded by my eye problems.
Depression first came with asthenia, with fatigue. Then sleepless nights. Then a complete dismantling of my social network. I lost everything I could possibly lose. I didn’t lose my family, it’s true. But I lost all that was relevant, emotionally. I was in Hell.
I tried to remember what I learned in my psychotherapy training and use it on myself. Nothing worked. Then I acted-out and went abroad, hoping that my condition was linked to the situation in my country. No, it wasn’t. It was linked to myself. I returned. Several folks told me that the problem is in me and the solution is also in me, and that I should search for an answer in me. I searched. I was voided of any ideas. I was dead.
What is reasonable to do when you don’t have any idea where to go and what to do? You stop. You remain still. You wait.
While I was struggling with the initial phases of depression and I was still happy in a large city and in a couple, I tried a hypnotic trance. I did it online and I still have the link to that video:
It was a 30 minutes trance in which it was advertised that we could see our past lives. I do not believe in reincarnation and stuff, but I believe in the symbolic power of a trance: it is a way through which our unconscious mind can tell us things we’re not aware consciously. And for this reason, I used the opportunity, not out of curiosity to see who or what I was in my previous life, but out of the need for a creative solution to my current struggle.
I woke up in a dark world on a distant planet. A planet without a Sun. Huge artificial skyscraper-like structures, pinkish-violet flames coming from the crust of the planet, several 10-meter spiders thriving in that environment. Futuristic landscape. Scary for human standards. But I wasn’t afraid since, I myself was a huge… spider.
Being a spider was a blessing, because having 8 legs and many additional tentacles meant multiple possibilities. It felt very natural to be a spider. I remember I left the home planet so as to explore new worlds on a spaceship. I was a researcher, a scientist and a teacher. I discovered many planets driven by my curiosity. But everything I did during that lifetime came in indigo images; the only colors were black, violet, pink and white. I died on my starship during one of my long voyages; it was my choice to die while still doing something, being caught into something, as I hated to be passive and enjoyed being restless.
The moment of my death, when my spirit left the starship and my spider-like body, was a moment of awe, as I was flooded by the perception of many colors. I still see the starship disappearing in the distance, on the background of a rainbow-colored stellar-gas nebula. It was only after the moment of my death when I realized that I saw all the time, while I was a spider, in the ultraviolet spectrum… As a spirit, I was now able to see the entire spectrum of radiations, including the visible colors I see now in my human form.
When I was born in my human body, I was disappointed: I have only 2 hands and 2 feet. I am severely limited, almost handicapped. My body is incredibly small and vulnerable. But on the positive side, I can see colors. And there is something else: added to the logical thinking I was used with while I was a spider, there is a different, unusual way of experiencing reality, a way that was not available to me in my previous lifetime: feelings, emotions.
This hypnotic trance still reverberates in my head today. It was an extraordinary inner experience that taught me something extremely valuable: what is different during this lifetime, what is priceless and important, are the sensory experience and the emotional life. I think you’re familiar with the NDEs (Near Death Experiences) and you know that what we retain in the afterlife (despite our brains being bio-electrically dead, as shown by the medical devices) are our knowledge (we know who we are, we have our memory), our critical thinking (perception of the doctors trying to resuscitate us, for instance) and some sort of affective reaction (we feel loved by the dead relatives we encounter on the other side of the tunnel). What we lose however by death is… our body.
I have mixed opinions about the NDEs. Some people argue that they are proofs of the afterlife; others bring proofs that they might be the result of the brain activity after the efficient resuscitation, some sort of delayed hallucination. If there isn’t any afterlife, then… that’s it. But if there is, the only stuff that we’re going to miss from this lifetime are our bodies. And this is how I got, for the first time in my life and after an unusual hypnotic trance, the value of being alive: my body with all the attached sensorial, perceiving and emotional experiences.
Some days ago I was still contemplating the Matrix. I was contemplating the fact that both good and bad, both optimistic and pessimistic are essentially illusions. Some people are happy and therefore delusional. Others are sad and equally delusional. And I was just neutral, not willing to be delusional in any way. Why would I like to be someway?
But then I was struck by the awareness that, since I can always choose to be either happy or sad, I should preferably be happy, as this boosts my immune system and prolongs the duration of my life, increasing also the remaining time to experience life in this unique sensorial form – the body.
So I decided to be happy, so as to make the most of my lifetime, while I’m still alive.
When you’re depressed for years, you get accustomed to the situation. The brain pathways are accustomed with abnormal levels of serotonin and dopamine and stuff… You’re just like a car that’s been left in the cold for some months: it doesn’t start at the first attempt.
So here I am, working my way out of depression, silently pushing myself to do minute steps towards a happy life… A life that should be happy not because I’m living a delusion of my gaming inner child, but because it’s a choice based on the value of this life: my body.
I wrote these lines as a confession and a reminder. Depression is an illusion. In my case, it was an act of self-harm and a reaction of discontentment versus what was given to me during this lifetime and what I have now. It is important however to accept that you do not get what you want in life, but rather you get what you get, and it’s up to you to do the best you can with what you have. Continuing to be sulky like a child who does not have the toys he desires… is not going to help… because nobody, God included, is going to come and help you or give you new toys. You either get off the ground and look the abyss straight in the eye and transcend the illusory nature of your games, or you continue your life in misery. I said “God included” because it is in vain to wait for salvation; if there is any, it comes from within, as you’re “always online” with the spiritual realm.
The image of the article is Maman by Louise Bourgeois, a sculpture I saw when I was traveling through Switzerland. It is the closest approximation for how I was in my previous lifetime. 🙂