2.9: Depression and the Collapse Response Pt 3 - When Loss is Intensified by the Collapse Response

Updated: Jul 28, 2021


When understandable feelings of loss, grief, disorientation, disorganization and temporary depression... are intensified by the Collapse Response... What are we looking at then?


When the Survival Brain tags a crippling injury or loss of a loved one as if they were the same as an attack by Grizzly Bear and flips us into the Collapse Response... The Collapse Response will get weirdly psychologized:

  • It can possibly knock us out in a way that's very close to the impala! Short of that... while we are still conscious:

  • It can block our ability to live in all but the most minimal way... we will feel exhausted.. functional systems of the body such as digestion and the immune system can become burden and dysfunctional. Sleep will cease to be refreshing. Fatigue will be felt all day long.

  • It can block our ability to respond to our environment... we may feel disengaged, disembodied, depersonalized - distant from our body and our thoughts, as if in a dream. (A psychologized version of the impala not showing signs of life.)

  • It can block our ability to respond to others... wen a co-worker smiles at us - nodding or smiling back can feel like a dry act of will... when a 4 year-old asks us to read them a book - reading to them can feel like a willed performance during which we constantly try to conceal our feeling of being lost in a private hell. -- A corollary to this is that some people will want to avoid us as much as possible - having no clue about dealing with how shut down we are. (This is the dysfunctional weirdness of the human psychologized version how Collapse straightforwardly and helpfully functions with the impala and the leopard.)


Like all the threat responses the Collapse Response will:

  • Block access to our higher thinking facilities... without which taking care of ordinary tasks such as getting kids ready for their school day (virtual or at school), making a list of things to do, remembering where you left your phone… can feel overwhelming and/or hugely demanding and frustrating. Even more deeply than with the other threat responses, we will feel inwardly disorganized, incompetent, incapacitated.

  • …In general, by blocking our higher thinking faculties… Collapse blocks our clearer thinking, spaciousness, calmness, and ability to be with and work with whatever is going on…

  • …Furthermore, with its urgent concentration on our immediate physical survival… it can be very easy for us to feel separated from our higher power – and the wisdom and guidance that comes from God/Source/Spirit/Flow.

  • …And since both our higher thinking faculties and our connection to our higher power are the foundation of our experience of being simply present to life, to what’s here and now, to what touches us in the moment…. Our very capacity to receive our own life and the life of others as a gift, can feel lost to us as Collapse takes over.


…Summary: In the Survival Brain’s misguided attempt to help us survive, it will block everything else, including anything like thriving. -- In full-on Collapse we will be taken to a place where none of what we would normally do to deal with death, loss, etc. and cope with overwhelming feelings will seem to work!

If that is what depression is… if that is what Collapse has to offer … let’s consider that it is not the death of a loved one that causes such a response. How can such a response really honor the life that we felt with them? How can such a radical and dismal disengagement from all our other relationships and obligations be in harmony with the gift of life we experienced with our loved one?


It is not the loss itself which causes this response, it is the Survival Brain with its powerful thinking and emotional-energetic-reaction that causes this deeply felt, but profoundly unhelpful response.


Our life still calls to us… to keep accessing our higher thinking faculties, to rest in our higher power, and to take in what life offers moment to moment… even as we feel a number of feelings related to our loss.

The next few posts will offer examples of what life can ask of us and offer to us even when dealing with situations that we might normally think devastating.

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