Before I get into my thoughts here, I want to acknowledge that Depression comes in many forms, and some forms do need clinical support. My own Family has been plagued with clinical bi-polar depression and I even needed clinical support for a while. This post in no way invalidates your particular situation or need. It is purely anecdotal from my perception and is intended as a thought provoker and not a judgement or shaming stance – we’ve all had enough of that. I do not condone shame in any fashion and I know where you are, I have been there – your healing is your own.
But frankly, I totally get why you are depressed.
Depression – its somewhat of an epidemic these days, yet still widely misunderstood. Many of us have suffered from it in one form or another. From expected depression from grief or other life circumstances, to the more elusive and confusing chronic depression that can be passed on through generations of families.
I’ve struggled with many levels of it. I’ve been diagnosed clinically depressed bipolar with anxiety issues and PTSD. And, I’ve experienced the deep dark dive into the holy pits of hell of depression after a bad breakup, relationship abuse and death of a parent. This ‘thing’ that we often don’t know how to talk about has been a familiar to me for most of my life. How I’ve responded to it has been different over the years as I’ve learned new skills, found new forms of support and slowly eradicated all the ‘toxic’ out of my life and healed from some pretty nasty wounds to my psyche.
It still lives with me, it hasn’t gone anywhere, but I have grown to realize that it has always been my own barometer for what I am seeing in my life and the world around me. I was depressed when I was young and I had every reason to be. I was confused, wounded, and traumatized in some areas. I had parents that had their own set of mental issues and I had to grow up very quickly. Later in life as a mom, being alone and trying to raise two daughters with no child support and extremely limited community support, I realized how alone I really was. I was often told I wasn’t alone – but when it came down to it people were never there when I needed it most. Like after a car accident where I was rear-ended and I needed help when the washing machine broke down and spilled water everywhere, or the Christmas tree was on the deck and needed to be taken to the dump, or other seemingly simple things that would add up to monumental mountains that I felt so ill equipped to handle on my own. The shame set in, the isolation set in. I think it was very reasonable to BE depressed during that time.
Later on, I had a string of horrific relationships that beat me to the ground, quite literally in some cases. But, what I have realized looking back on the whole process now is that I learned each and every time. I learned, grew and adjusted accordingly. I felt horrible, it took me years to work out of the abuse cycle from one relationship. I had to heal many, many wounds and I mostly did it on my own. I had counselors here and there and some friends who would stay longer than a day or two in my life and who deeply cared about me rather than just wanting something from me, who I started to trust. I slowly put the pieces of me together. I DID this because I chose to, and it was my journey. This may not be the journey for you, or someone you know – each person has to do their own healing in their own time. But, for me, the road was long, but I did keep walking forward.
Now, much of my life has improved exponentially – I’ve learned to choose non toxic people to be around, I’ve assembled support systems and I’ve learned to distance myself from family that just don’t understand me, nor seem to really care to. I’ve changed my relationship goals and learned to look for healthy dynamics that don’t include passive aggressiveness, mental and physical abuse, dis-respect and emotional betrayal. I’ve done what I’ve needed to to keep my world nourishing and healthy. Like food choices, it was up to me to choose the spinach salad over the Mars Bar when it came to people, jobs and situations in my life. I had to ‘re-wire’ myself essentially and it wasn’t easy. But all along, the depression kept motivating me and showing me what I needed to ‘Adjust’ to feed my heart and my soul.
I gave up drinking, serial and destructive relationships, drama and many other ‘personifications’ of me that just weren’t serving me any more. I learned to value myself more and in turn attract those who value me. [tweetthis]I learned to value myself more and in turn attract those who value me.#Depression #JustReal[/tweetthis]
And yet, with all this PROGRESS for myself, I am still not overjoyed and brimming with happiness all the time. It’s not a reality to always be that way, and some people condemn themselves to a mental prison thinking that perhaps they SHOULD be happy when they aren’t, and then they just convince themselves that there is something wrong with them. Nyet….there is NOTHING wrong with you. What is wrong is society, culture and where the world is right now. But that’s not to be a Negative Nelly, it is purely an observation – AND an acknowledgement and validation to you dear sufferer – you have every right to be depressed. Some of us are also built differently. We are more sensitive, we feel more, see more and hurt more – it doesn’t make us better or worse, right or wrong, but it does offer up a set of challenges that not many others will understand. And, being HEARD is the strongest anecdote to loneliness and shame – being HEARD can start with yourself, by listening to the voice that is beneath all of your shame. Once you learn to do that, you’ll find people in your life who will hear you, regularly. That one change for me made the most incredible difference.
The world is in a chaotic state right now. From politics to money greed to war and death to segregation and fear and global conspiracy. Many of us are waking up, and those that are awake suffer from depression daily when we see what is going on in the world and experience the way people behave when they are sleeping and completely unaware of how we are all connected.
To me, my depression has always been a barometer as to what is not right. What is not pure and what is not nourishing and sustainable. And although I may have worked through my own personal set of demons, there is still a world out there that goes on around me. I can isolate to some degree, but because I am healthy now I yearn to connect, want to communicate and am passionate about building community.
The #JustReal hashtag that I use represents my deep need for everyone to just break out of all the falsities, the ‘shoulds’ the plastic ways of being that keep us separated from how we truly feel. And how we truly feel may not be that pleasant – but that is the point. Until we acknowledge the truth of what we really feel deep within, we will continue to grow thick, hard walls around our hearts that will further distance us from ourselves and others.
That is not healing and that is not what the world needs. So, please don’t FIX your depression, please don’t try to medicate it away, please don’t fight it or hate it and please don’t wish it would disappear forever. Connect with it, communicate with it and learn what it is trying to tell you. Being awake and aware has it’s own set of shitty realities – do you remember the Matrix? Which pill do you choose to take? I prefer the REAL over the fake any-day. I’ll take the depression and the fear and the hopelessness, because I know I can deal with that. And I know if I am AWARE then I can start making change – even the smallest changes have a ripple effect.
This isn’t for everyone, and I respect that. It’s a journey, it is a path that must be clear to you, and I know how damn difficult that journey is. I’m just here now to tell you that I think you are beautiful for being depressed. I think you know how things are around you and your soul yearns for change. You are a leader because you see the potential and you know deep down how things could be. Depression isn’t WHO you are, it is just PART of you, what has happened to you based on what is around you and has been passed on to you. [tweetthis]Depression isn’t WHO you are, it is just PART of you. #Depression[/tweetthis] It’s not a ‘choice’ and it’s not something you can just ‘snap out of’ – by GOD we’ve all heard that enough. There is ALWAYS hope, and being real allows that hope to take seed and start growing. So please, please don’t FIX your depression. Aim instead to be healthy, and that may not mean you’ll be happy all the time. A good part of what emotional health is, from my own experience, is learning that feelings are always valid, it’s how you react to them and work with them that really counts. Stay with it and learn from it. The world needs you to.
There is a wonderful question that I’ve often speculated about and it goes like this: ” Have you ever considered that all the so called mentally insane people we are afraid of are actually the sane ones? That they are responding more appropriately to the world as it is than us so called ‘sane people are?” [tweetthis] Have you ever considered that all the so called mentally insane people we are afraid of are actually the sane ones?[/tweetthis]
It’s food for thought – and if you see a need for change, do it. Dream the world you wish to see into existence and please, please don’t FIX your depression, let it inform you, let it guide you and let it transform you into a leader of the new world. Ya, you are that powerful and it’s time to rid yourself of the shame and see yourself for the leader that you are. If you are Depressed – Please don’t get Better – instead, get Healthy in mind, body, spirit and soul.
You are not broken and in need of fixing.
Rather, you are wounded and in need of healing.
Some Great Resources:
Healing the Abandonment Wound, Podcast Carmen Spagnola
The Roots of Addiction in Free Market Society, by Bruce K. Alexander
In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction, by Dr. Gabor Maté
The Journey From Abandonment To Healing, by Susan Anderson