Live long enough and at some point you will battle feelings of depression. You might not struggle to the point of being diagnosed as clinically depressed, but struggling with a feeling of sadness for a period of days or weeks is quite common. It can be caused by situations or circumstances, such as relationship breakups, job issues, health problems, financial struggles, a death in the family, and so on.

Not many people like to share when they are struggling with the blues or a season of depression, but it is considered to be an epidemic these days. The number of people clinically diagnosed with depression (meaning they have gone to a doctor or therapist and have been diagnosed) is about 19 million in the United States. I guarantee you that there are millions more that struggle with depression but opt not to share with anyone their state.

It’s alright to struggle with bouts of sadness and I’m not advocating everyone spilling their sad feelings day in and day out because there is certainly enough negativity expressed in the work place, schools, homes, etc. I do believe that if feelings of sadness are persistent and you cannot seem to get yourself out of it, then it is wise to seek help from a friend or professional.

For those that are not clinically depressed, but for some reason are struggling with bouts of sadness and depression, I think it is important to consider the fact that perhaps the depression or darkness is there for a reason. Perhaps it is coming from deep within. Perhaps it is a state that can only be healed spiritually.

Have you ever heard of the expression, “Dark night of the soul”? Saint John of the Cross coined the term, as he hit a point in his life of extreme despair deep in his soul. He wasn’t experiencing it because of a bad past, failures, hormonal imbalance, and so on; it was a time in which everything seemed to be stripped from him within and his soul was left bare and exposed.

He questioned everything, including the meaning and purpose of life. He felt alone, deserted, confused, and empty. Though it was a horrifying time, he found in the end that his dark night of the soul led him to a redefining of himself; a time to get to the guts of his spiritual essence and discover a river of peace and joy flowing deep within him.

Many men and women have gone through a dark time and have allowed that darkness to bring transformation to their spirits. The dark night is different for each person, but a common end result is that a person comes out stronger, more in tune to spiritual matters, more peaceful and joyful. The time frame differs as well. Some people endure the dark night for months and some for years.

Listen to what Pema Chodron said about the dark night: “In the process of discovering our true nature, the journey goes down, not up, as if the mountain pointed toward the earth instead of the sky. We move down and down and down, and with us move millions of others, our companions in awakening …Right there we discover a love that will not die."

Those that pursue a higher consciousness or to become more spiritual oftentimes find that they have to endure the dark night of their own soul. The pains and struggles that they go through leads to a growth that is begun deep inside. I’m sure you’ve heard of stories of those that had to endure great pain and came out strong, courageous, and willing to help others through their painful times. Growth sometimes requires some sort of shattered dream, death of the ego, or just plain painful things.

This dark night can be excruciating and oftentimes people opt to keep it to themselves. They cry themselves to sleep, wrestle with whether there really is some sort of god, agonize in deep pain when they find themselves alone for a few moments, and some drink and drug to escape the pain. Few share the intensity with others. Most people get up, go to work or school, wear the half-hearted smile all day, come home, try to find something to do that relieves the pain, and go to bed drained, hallow, and sad.

That is sad.

But don’t get discouraged. It only stays dark till the Light shines and it is darkest right before the dawn. On this journey we will go through a lot and much of what we experience and see can affect us negatively. We can get bitter, jealous, angry, afraid, lethargic, and hold a negative perspective if we choose. Or we can allow the beckoning that comes from deep within to take us to a new level of spiritual understanding. We can endure the dark night and allow our spirits to be transformed into beautiful light and love that just oozes out of us wherever we go.

If you are enduring a dark night and have been struggling with depression, loneliness, confusion, etc., don’t rule out a spiritual healing. Of course you can seek professional help if you need to and sometimes that is necessary, as therapy and medicine can help decrease depressive symptoms. At the same time, seeking to go deeper spiritually may surprise you and you may find the root of your depressive season is spiritual. Continue on your spiritual journey and believe that there is a day that will come when you will ascend from that darkness with a radiant spirit that is authentic, full of compassion, peace, and joy.

“The nearer the dawn the darker the night.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Author's Bio: 

Dominica Applegate, M.A., is an Author, Speaker and Coach specializing in codependency and personal development. She offers an eCourse entitled “Overcoming Codependency” and holds workshops regularly. She has a deep passion for discovering and sharing authentic spiritual truth that transforms people from the inside out. She is dedicated to the sacred art of self-discovery, creative expression, and adding value to humanity. Feel free to connect with her at and receive her free eBook, Recycle Pain: It Has a Purpose.