Others have much more experience with this than me, but I thought I would briefly explore the difference between the dark night of the soul and depression.
Here are some ways the dark night of the soul is different from depression:
The dark night of the soul follows a period of opening, of illumination. This period of illumination may last for days, weeks, years or even decades, and then shifts into a dark night of the soul. (For me, it lasted about ten years.)
The dark night of the soul can get very dark for periods and then lightens up. For me, it’s typically very dark for a few hours and then it lifts, as a passing storm. (It’s different from bipolar since it doesn’t shift into manic phases.)
During the dark night of the soul, there is a knowing and remembering of reality even during the darkest phases. There is a knowing that all is OK and more than OK, no matter what. It’s all Spirit, even if it’s not accessed at the moment as a direct perception.
The dark night of the soul may be recognized, even during the darkest times, as a surfacing of wounds and beliefs, as an invitation for these to be seen, felt and loved, as an invitation for surfacing stressful thoughts to find liberation from being taken as true, as an invitation for (i) opening to experience and (ii) identifying and inquiring into thoughts.
– dark night follows period of opening, illumination
– dark night shifts, dark then lightens
– dark night, knows reality – even if cannot access at the moment (knows all is ok and more than ok, no matter what)