Reblog: Odin’s Greatest Enemy, Depression in a Heathen Context

The Heathen community doesn’t deal well with mental illness or depression. There. I said it.

I’ve written before about how our community puts such a powerful emphasis on the value of self-reliance (not to mention a certain amount of machismo) that asking for help can be a real struggle. As a Heathen I’ve often felt like talking about depression was more likely to get me judged than to help me. For a group that’s normally all about Frith and supporting ones fellows, Heathens can be remarkably unhelpful when it comes to mental or emotional struggles. You’re more likely to get a brusque ‘Man Up’ than a friendly ear or constructive advice.

Read more here:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2015/12/wyrd-words-odins-greatest-enemy-depression-in-a-heathen-context/

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About Amber Drake

AKA Darkamber.
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6 Responses to Reblog: Odin’s Greatest Enemy, Depression in a Heathen Context

  1. Poppy says:

    Glad you posted this. So timely for me. 🙂

  2. Stormwise says:

    A really good article, with some good insights. I’ve often considered Odin to be what many today refer to as bipolar; but it’s possible that this has more to do with my own polarized mind, and my tendency to seek out my connections and commonalities with one of the gods I follow, than it does with any real evidence from the lore. Along these lines, there is one thing I am fairly certain of when it comes to various mental illnesses and injuries and Odin: Odin is, among many things, a god of the mind. Odin is also a god of bindings and fetters. It’s my contention that Odin sometimes fetters our minds so that we can learn how to break through these fetters; or because it’s simply our lot to experience life in such a fashion. One of the ways I learned to live with a bipolar mind also looked to Odin as an example, in the way he lives with all the passions, furies and sadnesses in his own mind: I allow myself to feel everything. I do not try to block a bit of it. This would be something I would not mind seeing someday within the community of those dedicated to Odin: sanctuaries for people to feel the full range of their emotions, without fear of judgment or recrimination, where dignity could and would be preserved – for that matter, where people who spend time at the sanctuary would be honored for their insights and experiences. And, for the occasional bit of snark that might creep into someone’s thoughts, I’m not talking about something that already exists in the form of asylums. What I have in mind would be more like a cloister(s), dedicated to Odin; not for the purpose of healing an affliction, but rather for the purpose of exploring a connection to one of our gods.

    • Amber Drake says:

      I also never block what I am feeling. I don’t think I know how. Maybe that is why the depressions were so devastating before I began to take anti-depressants.

      Loki is also said to struggle with mental health issues. He is also a passionate god.
      I think it would be a wonderful idea if there were cloisters to Loki!
      I would go there on a retreat.

  3. Neal says:

    True clinical depression goes far beyond mere feelings or states of mind … it’s a physiological, biochemical imbalance / malfunction that medical science is only now beginning to understand, let alone be able to treat properly and effectively.

    • Amber Drake says:

      My brain’s chemical balance malfunctioned when I hit puberty. I’ve been struggling with clinical depression since I was 13, and now I’m 51.
      Antidepressants helps some, but I’m still not able to function “normally”. My depression has made me disabled. I’m also in weekly therapy.

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