The place I started was removing the idea of “combat” or “fight” or anything that will add defense and resistance.
Years ago, I would start out with the idea of fighting it… I’d threaten it: SCREW YOU DEPSRESSION I WILL FIGHT YOU TO THE DEATH (Its or mine? I could never tell.)
Even more years ago, I would hide the fact (ok, completely deny the fact…) that I was depressed.
NoooOOOOOooo!!!!....................... yes I was.
I tried so hard to pretend to be “normal” (whatever that is!) Act as if feeling like killing myself is a normal occurrence in everyone’s life and being angry at the state of my world was my “thing” … that it didn’t mean that I was depressed, I was just edgy! (pfft!)
Then one year I finally gave in and admitted there might be a problem. (I had a daughter, I needed to get out of bed and stop crying!)
My next question was: what the heck now?
For the first week or 4 I cried.
I cried and cried and cried.
I felt (almost-but not quite) every ounce of pain and despair that I had bottled up over the years.
I gave in to the tugging of my depression. Let it consume me. Went into it.
And soon enough, my tears were dried up… but I was still sniffling.
I sniffled my way to a doctor I didn’t know and sat as a lump on his chair and stated: I think there is something wrong with me.
The typical list of questions ensued and my answers poured out.
The honesty, which I had been hiding from any one and every one, started driveling out in snot and tears and gasps for air to this Doctor who had never seen me before.
He smiled (?) and decided I was depressed and had “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (in other words: I was freaking out about everything and had no sense of who I was!)
He prescribed me pills. At first I was reluctant. I didn’t want that. I wanted someone to talk to, who would fix my thoughts.
I asked him could he refer me to a psychologist. He kinda brushed his hand and said the pills should be enough, but I could talk to Dr. So and So when he gives me the prescription, if I wanted.
Ok, I sobbed. I felt a little excited to be able to FINALLY talk about all the pain I had been carrying.
The next day I went to Dr. So and So and quickly felt uneasy when I walked in the door.
The environment was old and outdated and not welcoming (not a place that cared about my pain AT ALL!) There were people just handing him paper and he’d give them pills in return.
No one was talking.
My thoughts: WTF!?
I finally saw a real-life pill pusher! Sketched-out, lost people were lined up, not wanting to talk, waiting for refills.
THIS was NOT for me. But I took my pills and left. I decided to take it in to my own hands for a while. Just pills. Lets see if they work.
I was on them for 3 months, 3 long, shaky months. At first I thought they were working, but I began to realize I was just numb.
I went to talk to two other psychologists, both of which felt much too sterile and stuffy for me. I did not feel comfortable so I didn’t talk and didn’t go back.
I decided that pills were not helping and I didn’t want to be pumping myself full of the crap. So I stopped them. No easing off. Just stopped. By the end of the first day I had to call my mom to come take my daughter. She had her for almost a week. I lay in the fetal position and cried and didn’t eat and smoked and shook. (I gave up smoking after this ,too!) It was one heck of a week!
When I finally got back to a normal I could handle, my daughter came home, and I started reading. And sadly, starting using my friends as psychologists. I would talk and talk about all the pain, all the suffering, and all my analysis of myself, my life.
That got old. And didn’t help as much as I was hoping (and I’d say it annoyed the shit out of the people in my life at the time.)
The reading helped, and I read a LOT. But it still wasn’t enough. For the next couple of years I started hunting for someone or something that I could release to. Searching obsessively for someone I could feel comfortable and safe with.
My first year of university I got excited about one of the schools psychologists I had met during an exam, he was babysitting us. He seemed so nice, so real, funny and he looked like he cared! I was excited. But sadly, it was a university, with thousands of stressed out students needing advice and listening to, he was much too booked up and I needed much more time than once every two weeks- MUCH more (...a lot of pain in there!) My hunt continued.
It took a long time. Luckily I was dealing quite well with the ups and downs of depression. I was a little bit more aware of it and all the readings were giving me tools to use when it hit, so it wasn’t as devastating as it used to be.
It was only one year ago that I found a true outlet. A place lead by a wonderfully receptive, supportive, and caring woman, Meranda Squires.
She ran the YES program (Yoga Enlightenment Studies). It was through the inner work and the sharing with her and the others in the group that I went deep into the roots of my depression and deep into all the reading I had done and finally got in touch in ways I had been searching for.
A place where I felt safe to share, to open up and to love myself. It helped me be honest with myself and others. That when I am feeling depressed, I’m not going to hide it and act as if I am a super hero. I’m going to go into it. I’m going to cry when I need to cry and I’m going to tell people that I’m crying and know it’s ok.
Being open about the truth of it all might help other people be open about their own pain and discomfort.
However, the YES program has ended for this year. And after going so deep into so many things, apart of me feels like I’ve picked old scabs and they are still bleeding from the edges now.
This time, this last month, when depression hit, I went into it.
I went in deeper than I have in years. I am missing my YES weekends, if I had a YES weekend this month I could've released so much of it there. But I don’t. I can’t. So I released it by driving for 6 hours on the highway, at night, in a rainstorm and fog, with moose crossing signs, a million transport trucks AND I was texting- without a seat belt on! And I didn’t die. (This proves to me that we die when we are ready to die, circumstances aren’t always the cause.) I felt a sense of risk, which helped. I felt a sense of being in the moment, in control- which also helped. I felt a sense of love for my family and pets sweep into my heart and dry up some of those tears. I meditated. I wasn’t scared and I cried and I stopped crying. And the next day, I felt much better, tired, but much better.
This September I start Yoga Teacher Training at the Lotus center. I’m excited. I think this will be a beautiful way to connect with my inner self and become more centered and better equip to deal with depression when it hits (and much less dangerous than late night highway driving!) I know yoga will help, it helps me now and I hardly have a clue what I’m doing yet!
It will also help me help other people, which is apart of my life's purpose (which I discovered with truth during YES).
I’ll end by quoting a family member: depression is not a choice, and we have no say in when it comes and goes, all we can do is cope with it while its here.♥
Truer words were probably spoken, but these are pretty true as well ;)