I realized the other day I mentioned having depression but I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about it openly or shared my journey with depression. I think all these years I have resisted identifying with that label and have never accepted it as a diagnosis. I still struggle with it and have been opening up to a different understanding of it, from a spiritual perspective. (more on that when I get clearer)
The truth is, depression runs in my family.
My grandmother suffered from it and ended up in a mental institution when my mother was 16 years old. She died there.
My mother had it as well in addition to daily rages and other mental health issues.
I have suffered from depression since I was a child. At the age of 12 I was already trying to leave this earth. By the time I was 16 I was pregnant and so notions of leaving were no longer an option in my mind, and so I turned to other ways of disengaging from my life.
I’ve tried a lot of things to deal with the extremely heavy sadness I carried, including medication for several years. But nothing has shifted my depression more than the act of saying yes to my life.
Being depressed is often a withdrawal from life, it has a lot to do with not wanting to be here for some of us.
Saying yes, meant I was choosing to be here, choosing to fully embody my life.
It flipped a switch for me.
It also helps that I am actively engaged in community.
I am actively engaged in my healing from an energetic and body perspective not just “talking” about what is coming up for me.
It is also immensely valuable to know you are making a difference, and to be clear about what you have been called to do right now in your life.
And having an amazing tribe that you hold space for, learn so much from and just love wholeheartedly, is no small thing.
Yeah..all of this matters on a really deep and cellular level for me.
It shifts me daily.
For years my healing journey consisted of talk therapy and therapeutic writing. Both very valuable but insufficient for me personally. I was never going to figure this out from an intellectual level. There was no talking me out my depression.
No matter how much I understood why I was depressed it did not make my depression lessen.
I needed to move, I needed to feel myself not only in my body, but as more than my body. I needed to understand that my body held the key for me, that it was exactly where I was storing pockets of terror, sadness, anxiety, fear and that I could only release it through my body. I also needed to know that I was more than the body I was living in, that I was more than the story I was told about myself growing up. The trick was I wasn’t going to change that story by thinking happy thoughts, I had to experience a shift in my being and how I walked in the world.
I can’t even begin to go into everything that has contributed to shifting my depression, because so much went into it.
Everything I’ve done till now, has led me here to a place where I can truly say I feel really good in my life right now.
This is not to say it is the same for everyone, or that depression or the healing of the depression should look like this. And I am fully aware that situations such as transition, loss, betrayal and any crisis can put me squarely back into the middle of a period of depression.
This is my story, my journey with depression, my ongoing story as I am sure there is still so much to learn. This is what I know so far that has worked for me.
These days I spend more time in love, more time feeling alive than I do in the sadness.
Before I used to be sad most of the time, and have moments of light, moments of happiness, today I feel content and happy most of time and only have moments of sadness or short periods of depression (like days instead of months).
I think for a long time I was suffering from PTSD but I just didn’t know it, recreating scenarios with illness in which I was trying to survive, a familiar scenario from childhood.
Growing up was all about getting through the day and not being annihilated.
I recognize my healing is about reclaiming beauty, love, safety, trust, and belonging. It is about living in the here and now and not living in the old story of terror. It is about recognizing that this life here is not the same life I lived as a child and letting the scared little girl in me know that.
But what happens when you spend your early years in terror is that you carry that terror with you, always afraid of the next shoe dropping, that next bad thing that will come and rob you of what little shreds of peace and protection you have gathered around you?
You wait for death to take you, sometimes you sabotage your life, you do what is absolutely going to bring you pain. In the meantime, you do very little living because it is super hard to live and open to life from that place.
I made a choice to fully engage in my life in the last few years and that commitment has increased greatly in the last year or so. Today, I choose to focus on the good in my life. Some days, I work hard at keeping my years of depression at bay and some days I just have to let it be what it is.
But more often than not lately, I make a conscious choice to celebrate the goodness in my life.
It is my practice.
And the funny thing is, life just keeps giving me more to celebrate.
It’s funny that way.
What you focus on expands. What you devote yourself to, is drawn to you, it becomes who you are.