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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

Depression or Dark Night of the Soul?

In the world of clinical psychology, people are diagnosed with depression when they exhibit a certain criteria of symptoms. But did you know that there might be something else going on? Something that feels like depression but that is profoundly different? It's called a Dark Night of the Soul.

Some symptoms of a dark night are:

  • Everything seems to be breaking down.

  • You feel confused, lost, meaningless, empty, and lonely.

  • You don’t feel satisfied or joy in the things that normally make you happy.

  • Life has no meaning or purpose and you have an existential crisis.

  • You don’t feel like doing anything.

  • Random emotions might surface. You might cry uncontrollably or without any reason, experience anxiety, and panic attacks.

  • Past memories and childhood events might surface.

Sounds like depression, right? The big difference between the two is that depression offers little movement, little will, little awareness. Whereas, a dark night is primarily and fundamentally about movement and transformation. It can feel like your world as you know it has been upended and that everything you knew to be true is no longer. It is profoundly existential.

The good news (yes, there is good news!) is that with a dark night there is light at the end of the tunnel. The trick is to ride it out, be gentle with yourself, and be open to the transformation.

Need help navigating a dark night of the soul?

Find out if we are a good fit for counselling. Book a free 30-minute consultation.

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