According to Wikipedia, the Dark Night of the Soul (La noche oscura del alma) is a phase of passive purification of the spirit in the mystical development, as described by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Crossin his treatise Dark Night (Noche Oscura), a commentary on his poem with the same name. In modern times, the phrase “dark night of the soul” is used to describe a crisis of faith or a difficult, painful period in one’s life. Many mistake this experience for clinical depression – and for good reason. The Dark Night Of The Soul reaches into the core of your being and fills you with an agonizing form of sadness. It seems to come out of nowhere and it feels like it is never going to leave. It mimics all the symptoms of depression. Here are some signs you may be experiencing a Dark Night of the Soul:

  1. You feel overwhelmingly stuck, or lost.
  2. You realize that you’re trying to get people’s approval by being better than them.
  3. You become aware of your ego and how it has been controlling the quality of your life.
  4. You begin to recognize, and feel, what true suffering is.
  5. Your sleeping habits are irregular, you’re hungrier than usual or not hungry at all.
  6. You’re sometimes so overwhelmed by emotion that you feel like you can’t function.
  7. You discover your dormant healing capabilities.
  8. You lose interest and motivation in activities you once enjoyed.
  9. You have no desire for sex.
  10. You may increase your use of drugs or alcohol.
  11. You feel the need to withdraw from social relationships, a desire to isolate.
  12. You suffer from poor personal hygiene.
  13. You are irritable and experience mood swings.
  14. You begin to question the very fabric of your being.
  15. You feel a sense of sadness for humanity as a whole.
  16. You become aware of your own powerlessness – both over the world around you and your innermost self.
  17. You begin to feel a need to rebel against institutions like the government, school systems, and corporate structures.
  18. You feel a need to purge yourself of material possessions and downsize your life.
  19. You feel completely helpless to change your situation,
  20. You may have thoughts of suicide.

Many people seek the help of a psychologist or a psychiatrist during this experience. They are wrongly diagnosed with depression and are usually given antidepressants. The thing is, the problem is not in your head. It is in your soul. The Dark Night Of The Soul is a spiritual transformational process that requires a spiritual solution. Depression, on the other hand, should be treated by a mental healthcare professional.

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