Everyone probably knows about depressive moods from personal experience since they may be expressed as well as hidden by…suffering.
It is easy to notice , if we pay attention, that they hit almost with regularity–whenever we suppress an impulse or an unwanted emotion.
Then, suddenly, a depressive mood will stifle all spontaneity. If an adult, for example, cannot experience grief when he loses someone dear to him but tries to distract himself from his sadness , or if he suppresses* and hides from himself his indignant recognition over an idealized friend’s behavior out of fear of losing his friendship, he must reckon with the probability of depression (unless his grandiose defense is constantly at his disposal).
When he begins to pay attention to these connections, he can benefit from his depression and use it to learn the truth about himself.
Once we have experienced a few times that the breakthrough of intense early-childhood feelings (characterized by the specific quantity of non comprehension) can relieve a long period of depression, this experience will bring about a gradual change in our way of approaching “undesired” feelings–painful feelings, above all.
We discover that we are no longer compelled to follow the former pattern of disappointment, suppression of pain, and depression, since we now have another possibility of dealing with disappointment, namely experiencing the pain.
In this way we at last gain access to our earlier experiences–to the parts of ourselves and our fate that were previously hidden from us.
*Suppression is a conscious act, as opposed to repression.