To Be Depressed
What does it mean to be depressed? Is it okay?
I'll be honest, my heart has been raked open by the hurt and depression that I've encountered this holiday season. Never before have I felt the rawness that is all around me in such an overwhelming way. It doesn’t seem to matter which direction I face, depression is looking back at me from the eyes of my friends, clients, and even my own family.
There is a heaviness, a feeling of futility, and more than anything else – a weight that life is maybe just a little bit too hard. Or that maybe we’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere and now we’re stuck.
Is it true? It sure feels that way sometimes.
It is easy for me to slip into thinking that way: that nothing I do will ever be good enough, that money is too hard to come by and that, if I'm not succeeding the way I think I should be succeeding that maybe there really isn't any point.
It’s a slippery slope that is all too familiar.
It's a dark place. I don't like it.
And I’m eternally grateful that I’ve figure out how to kick that shit to the curb when it threatens to overwhelm me and take me down.
Here's what I do to start to shift out of the darkness:
I look for the light.
I look for the joy.
I look for the beauty and the truth and the kindness and the love.
And I find it. Oh yes, I do. I find that shit and I grab on for dear life.
When I start to slip, I do my own quickie version of Byron Katie’s ’the Work’. Serioulsy. I know that these aren’t her questions. They are what work for me. If you want her questions, go here.
She has developed a beautiful set of questions to knock us out of our stories and back into reality. Shockingly, reality is almost always better than the stories we have made up about it in our heads.
This moment is almost always better than the story I have about how everything is wrong or will be wrong.
For Katie, it is our life's work to ask these questions of ourselves each and every time we get caught up in a story that disempowers or depresses us.
"I'm not loved," we might say. Or "I'm not good enough," or "I'll never succeed."
Is it true?
Can I absolutely know that it is really, really true?
Does that thought empower me?
What thought would?
It is a simple and elegant way to shift from thoughts that grind us down into dust, back to the powerful, beautiful souls that we are.
Is it true? Is it really true?
Sometimes I go here:
"No one loves me."
Is it true? Feels like it.
Can I absolutely know that it is really, really true? Well… no. I can't actually climb inside of everyone else's head and see how they really feel about me. It just feels that way inside my body.
Does that thought empower me? No. It makes me feel like curling up in a tiny little ball and giving up. It feels like shit.
What thought would empower me? I am loved by the Divine and I LOVE MYSELF. Other people are not my problem.
How could I love myself right now? Go for a walk, have a bath and drink a smoothie.
Okay. Let's go do that then.
It's a simple example but it worked, just now, to lift my spirits and lift my eyes up out of the misery and darkness and turn them toward what is possible.
I'm tellin' you: When you are down there is no point in continuing to just march ahead with one foot in the other. You cannot manifest the joy and beauty that you desire – you cannot be happy – when you're walking the path of depression and distress.
You need to STOP. Now. You need to take care of yourself. You need to get really real about what it will take to start loving you, setting boundaries, and getting serious about creating a life you love.
There is too much hurt and pain and suffering in the world for any one of us to spend more time in the dark places than we need to. We are here for a reason. We are here to lift up those around us, and we can't do that when we are drowning ourselves.
That isn't meant for guilt. And this *is* meant as a wake-up call.
How long have you been low?
How long have you been doing your best Eeyore impression?
How long have you been lying in the shit of your ego's fears and condemnations?
Thomas Moore in his beautiful book Care of the Soul, examines depression as a natural and necessary process. One that our soul takes us in to on a cyclical basis when it is time to shed our old skins and move into a new way of being.
But we can't complete the process when we get stuck – and our society, with it's irritatingly perky emphasis and shunning of anything dark or distressing – almost ensures that we will get stuck and that we will think there is something wrong with us when we aren't perfectly fucking shiny and happy all the time.
If you're in a dark place, get support. Ask questions. Look for the light. What is your soul asking you to become now in this next moment of your life? What if you aren't broken because you have depressive thoughts, what if you are actually in a sacred process? What if your soul is calling you forward?
Resistance? How much has depression become part of your identity? If you say that you *are* depressed than you are allowing your depression to become all of who you are. If you have depressive symptoms then that feels entirely different.
Choose your words carefully and also look at the sneaky benefits you have when you *are* depressed: what do you get to say No to, who takes care of you, how are you manipulating those around you and setting boundaries that you are too afraid to set consciously. Who are you so fucking mad at that you are damned if you're going to give them the satisfaction of being right, or of seeing you happy.
We’re nearing the end of 2015. You don’t have to enter 2016 with the same load of grief, rage, depression, and overwhelm that you’ve been carrying. There are new idea and strategies and ways for you to move forward.
There is light and hope.
Is it true? Is it empowering? Yup and yup.
You are too precious and too powerful to remain lost for one more minute. We need you. The world needs you. Breathe. Take the next step.
If you want to break through the crap that has been holding you back, go here and book a no-strings session with me.
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Tagged as: How Can I Be Happy, Inner Peace, Life Purpose