Depression and the downward spiral...help!

Nature has this incredible way of bouncing back with restoration and renewal that does not come as naturally to us in the way we deal with trauma. In fact, because our unconscious believes whatever we tell it, our mind often sabotages our happiness.


Especially when we are feeling down, then the way we perceive what is happening around us feels like a cup half empty. This negativity then attracts more cousins called negativity and leads us down an empty, dark rabbit hole. We don’t feel good enough, relationships feel like betrayals and we withdraw into isolation which just makes matters worse, but the deeper down the hole we fall, the more difficult it is to climb back out and connect with others or ask for help.


Melanie, a guest on a Wisdom Elephants experience was prone to depression. She felt let down by those close to her and thus she did not give anyone else a chance to really know the tender, kind heart behind her abrasive exterior. She felt unloved so when she met the Orphan elephants she was drawn to Constance, an orphan herself. Constance, her sisters, Charm, Charisma, Chance, and their brother Tusker were only 5 years old when their mothers, aunts, sisters, and big bull fathers were culled. There are too many elephants in this national park the conservation experts proclaimed.


Constant gave birth to a still-born calf and grieved. Now she was an over-possessive aunt of Charlie, the firstborn of her sister, Chance. Constant was very protective of Charlie and whenever the Orphan herd came across the game vehicle when we were on safari she would charge at us with big flapping ears and menacing eyes. She too, like Melanie had a big heart, but she did not give us a chance. She had been betrayed by humans before why should she trust these new arrivals?


Melanie leaned out of the vehicle to call out, “It’s ok Constance, we love you, we would never hurt you or Charlie”. Constant stopped and listened, she encircled Charlie with her tenuous, touching, trunk and pulled her into the shade of a mopane tree. She stopped charging and allowed us to be together for a little longer.




Melanie was drawn out of herself, out of her depression, out of the deep, dark hole she had been digging herself into and as she saw Charlie take refuge against the strong, caring body of her aunt, Constance, Melanie started to open up and let other people in. The most important person she let in was Digs. He was the leader of an organization called Space for Elephants. Digs and Melanie began working together to ensure elephants had space in fenced-in reserves so that they were not culled. Their joint mission drew them ever closer as they became friends, then lovers, and now they are married.


In the face of trauma and loss many human and elephantine autonomic responses are avoidance, numbness, isolation, and anger as we ruminate on our negative thoughts. Recovery and the ability to let others in begins when we can reach outside of ourselves again and recognize our worth as we begin to meaningfully contribute.


What better place to experience unconditional love and acceptance than in the arms of Mother Nature, it is here that the healing journey has a chance to begin.

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As a Psychotherapist and Ecopshchologist, I would love to support you on your own journey of recovery. If you are dealing with depression or loss, please email me at wildernessencounteraafrica@gmail.com

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