What do you think is needed before our awareness of awakening can take place?
Two things come to mind: inspiration and desperation.
In equal measure?
In any measure, whatever it takes, each one having their proportional mix.
Any particular order?
Again, whatever it takes. Desperation comes about through experiencing one's situation as untenable, smothered by ego-mind's limits. Imagine being confined in a small container that's sinking to the bottom of the sea.
Sounds like depression.
Without preparation or a deeper understanding from the heart, it would be depression. Perhaps what's called depression is often just a shade away from a greater insight into ego-mind's smallness and a breakthrough from the emptiness of a limited life into the fullness of experiencing its actual nothingness.
How would experiencing nothingness lead to any fullness?
It could reveal a wider scope of life that the heart intuitively grasps, that's an inspiration stemming from beyond our usual hopes and fears. Any discomforts through this process can be welcomed as a necessary housecleaning, clearing a space for the Beloved's ever-present radiance, a place within which Self's awakening work can manifest.