The person may have thought that he or she knew exactly his or her standing in terms of ideologies, morals, the world, and religion. It becomes apparent, during this process, that what we thought we knew has been primarily according to our ego’s stannce. The opposites in dialogue may suddenly pull us into new territory where we experience tremendous indecision.
The now indecisive and floundering ego may become identified with both sides of the opposites, which creates quiet a confusion. Splitting, which entails some psychological part of dissociating from consciousness, may arise as a defense mechanism.
Beneath the splitting, dissociation and repression that can accompany creative depression is frequently a “core of madness” that must be uncovered. We feel “mad” owing to the degree of chaos and the loss of equilibrium that our ego is experiencing as its “known” perspectives are challenged.
In this dual identification, it is as if the ego decombusts. Everything is being canceled by its opposite in the dialogue, creating an indecisiveness that is one of the primary symptoms of the depressed condition. In this state of ambivalence, in wh ich everything is canceled out, one may feel like one has fallen into an abyss.
In this void or abyss, we feel as if we were dying, accompanied by bursts of intense anxiety around conflicting thoughts and values. We may feel we haev regressed back into the interpersonal field of parents and family. In the “black hole” of the abyssal experience, conflict can often take on a rather paranoid form. The clash of forces can feel as if one is in an ideological, spiritual, or cultural collision, not just with our former personal ideals and values, but with the entire collective consciousness.
Because dissociation may be occurring on a collective, cultural level, certain individuals may be depressed, not only because of developmental traumatic and intrapsychic factors, but also because of the sensitive and uncanny nature of some individuals to have a large psyche and soul that is more attuned than some of the rest of us to the collective unconcsious.
Certain persons have access to a depth of unconscious material and, with discernment, may find that their psychic imagery is running parallel to the dissociation or splitting of their culture. Crucially, there is an important cultural factor here. The healing nature of this phenomenon is an ego re-organised in relationship to the Self.
Any individual who evolves into a healthy ego Self relationship inevitably has the potential to contribute a great deal to culture and society. If our society pathologises such episodes only during which a reordering process is occurring within the individual, we miss the impact of the unconscious material not only upon the individual and his or her growth, but also the potential for this individual’s healing to have a positive ripple effect upon the immediate culture and community.
Karen Wood Madden, Dark Light of the Soul