I've never been diagnosed with clinical depression, and I don't think I've ever actually been clinically depressed. Whatever that means. I have felt hopeless, alone, empty. An apathetic cloud washed over me, completely consuming every cell in my body. I had nothing left in me to give. An intense heaviness rocked my very core. Getting out of bed took every morsel of my strength, a kind of strength that at times, I couldn't even begin to muster. I cried every single day, for weeks. It felt like the world was crashing around me, it felt morbid, intense, depleting, ever-lasting. I was definitely depressed.
Life went on like this, off and on, for years. In the hole that is depression, it was always these cold, dark months of Winter that were the worst for me. Figuring out a way to dig yourself out of the darkness and slowly crawl up to the light. Where is that goddamn light?! Time kept ticking past and I spent my days wondering if I'd ever see it again. Everything always seemed so catastrophic back then, so cosmically huge. Out of my hands. Beyond my control. C'est la vie.
A big dose of honesty? It was as recent as just over one year ago that I was being sucked into that black hole again, completely without my awareness. Then came that big hit of clarity that I was yearning for, although I didn't know that's what I needed at the time. I stepped outside of myself and saw what was happening, the feelings that came rushing back as they so often did. I felt a sense of familiarity looking in, and that terrified me.
I decided to turn off the cruise control and steer the wheel of my own ship.
You can too. If you want to.
That feeling like everything is beyond your control? That, you know, "shit happens."? And that "life is hard."? Throw that limiting thinking out the window STAT and invite in something more positive. No - scratch that - invite in something more exhilarating, that fills every fibre of your being with excitement, curiosity, and joy.
You can create a life you love. Even if you don't know what that looks like yet.
I know what it feels like to think that's not even a possibility. To feel hopeless. To want to throw in the towel. The first thing I'll tell you? Don't buy into it. You got this. Trust that. Believe in that. The simple fact that you're here, reading this, that you've shown up, says so much.
What I know about breaking free
1. Give yourself permission to feel depressed. Wallowing in your own self-pity for a night or weekend isn't the beginning of your ultimate demise, it's simply letting your feelings rise to the surface. Cry all day if you have to. Write your heart out. Listen to depressing music. Denial + suppression just means you're lying to yourself and it just hurts in the long run. Feeling your feelings is the journey of healing and beginning to know yourself more deeply. Then move on, feeling lighter and more empowered than before.
2. Don't hide your feelings. Want to feel a little liberation? Confide to your loved ones that you're feeling down. Ahhh, freedom. Weight lifted. Honesty goes a long, long way.
3. Start with the small stuff. Just like our list of things to do can overwhelm us, so can working past what holds us back. Feeling good and self-care don't have to be huge tasks to tick off. Wake up an hour earlier, meditate, journal, drink smoothies, workout, read a book. While all those things are awesome, it wouldn't be realistic to start all at once. Try this: get a stack of cue cards, and write one thing that makes you feel good on each one. Fill out as many as you'd like, don't criticize or judge, just write. How about: buy fresh flowers, jump on a mini-trampoline, cook a gourmet meal for starters. Keep 'em handy, draw one card every day, and commit to doing one thing.
4. Be remarkably gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Any time your inner-critic pops up, resist diving into the story, and let those thoughts dissolve. Replace the negative with a positive, "I am letting go of _______ in order to invite in ________."
5. Seek out support. We are all made of the same energy and matter, and everything you've felt, it's been felt before. Chat with a friend/ life coach/ counsellor. Talking it out shines clarity on the situation, and receiving wisdom/ guidance helps that clarity to shine just a little bit brighter.
It begins one day at a time, piece by piece, moment by moment. Let resistance and fear show you the path to walk down. Chuck comparison to the curb.We all have our good days and bad days. Don't carry your bad days with you, just keep moving forward, one (small) step at a time.
You got this.
Keep aligning yourself to YOUR light, the light of your soul. Do more of what brings you JOY, because when you do, you become a magnet for MORE of what you want.
OVER TO YOU: Care to share an experience you've had when feeling down/ depressed/ in a funk? I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and I'm so grateful that you're here! All comments/ shares are always met with a big smile.
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