In the Spirit of Depression


In Part IV in my series on depression. I thought it important not only to share my truth, but to continue the conversation about mental illness, thus helping one another find tools and ways to ride the waves every single day so none of us, whether you are depressed or living with someone who is, feels alone.

*note Part I in series starts here

I discovered, throughout this whole ordeal: my separation, my move, my past relationships with friends and family, that I had to learn to be my own best friend. Most importantly, I also had to deepen my relationship with the divine:  The divine in me, the divine in you, and  the divine in the Universe. This, is a task of great importance for me. To rely on something bigger than I, to surrender, to KNOW that I am not alone in this world. You and I, together, can find solace in knowing we are loved and supported.

Finding some sort of Spirituality doesn’t make depression go away. It does however, give you a chair so you can sit down and be with it while it is there.

– Mel Horrod

In the past, from a very young age I was always longing for someone to constantly be here to comfort me.. to be my security blanket… Where this feeling of incessant insecurity came from, I do not know.. Was it my parents separation, my father not always “being there”, the bullying at school, the feeling of being ostracized and not being part of the “in crowd”? This lead to bad eating habits and the constant urge to want lose weight over and over. Whatever brought me to today… whatever caused this person, who I am now falling in love with, to hate herself to the point of not even wanting to look in the mirror… is not of utmost importance (healing the roots are), yet, acknowledging that the path I have taken has led me to today has fired my critical urge to want wellness.

What I know for sure, is that I am a worthy and loveable human being. I know this!! right? But do I 100% feel this in the core of my being. I do not feel I am there yet.. and this is where I am going.

Which brings me to the subject of Spirituality. My spirituality has been there since the age of 4 (that is the earliest I remember). I believe 100% (this is my truth) that without the belief in God (this is my term I use to describe this amazing unlimited source I can tap into) I would be dead! Without my belief that there is spirits, Angels, sprites, light, Gods and Goddesses watching over me, I would not be of this earth. It is this belief that I am not alone which carries me through these troubled waters.

I also believe the divine works through people. Real people! I have surrounded myself with those you support 100% my well-being and detached myself from those who don’t. This is part of my spiritual path towards wellness, which also includes medication and therapy. Spirituality alone will not cure me, however, it has taught me to be aware and be there for myself in such a loving way.

In their book, The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Fourself from Chronic Unhapiness, the authors state in their introduction:

“Depression Hurts: It’s the “Black Dog” of the night that robs you of joy, the unquiet mind that keeps your awake. It’s a noonday demon that only you can see, the darkness visible only to you”. (p. 1 Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat-Zinn)

Part of my spiritual path is to practice Mindfulness: The authors describe Mindfulness as:

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are.”

To me, this could mean during a panic attack to stop and focus on my feet touching the ground until the wave passes. Being mindful and grounded, instead of trying to “fight” the panic away is a tool I used often, which is, in fact, surrender and acceptance.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”

Lao-tzu

To sum up, my faith in God has been, and still is, a major part in my recovery. My understanding of the God in me, has brought me to here and carried me during the very painful times. My gratitude, for all that is and all that will be, creates a bridge for me to cross when times are tough. I am happy and grateful for this gift of depression, because it allows me to go inward instead of searching outside myself thinking I need to be fixed (no need to fix something which isn’t broken).

Even though I am battling depression now, I still choose happiness every day. Do I feel happy every day? NO! Do I feel happy in some moments of my day? YES! because I choose it.. because I know it is there, and I accept when it is not.

Remember we cannot chase away the blues when one is clinically depressed, however, we can use all the tools available: Medication, therapy, friendship, diary writing, mindfulness, and yes God whomever you wish him or her to be!

I leave you with this video of Jim Carrey as he explains how sprituality has helped him with Depression and Bi-Polar disorder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfWN5EW5eo4

Love and light

Kim

Go with the flow


Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.  What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn?  What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice.  Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Last week I posted: Depression hits. Now What? = Love Yourself! I discuss the importance of self-love and the ability to treat and love yourself like you would a child or your best friend. This week I want share some of the strategies which help me with coping with certain fears, thus, often removing the feeling of overwhelm when I begin a new task.  Overwhelm, really makes everything bigger in perspective, so I need to break down tasks into smaller steps.

Dealing with depression and anxiety has been a challenge and a huge awakening at the same time. (see:  Let The Truth Be Known:  I Suffer from Depression) I realize, after some great reflection that depression, anxiety and panic have been part of my life since my early 20’s, maybe even earlier (according to my therapist) However, with this latest onset, I have discovered self-loving ways to overcome some of the challenges I face. These self-loving ways are things I didn’t do in past recoveries.. I mean yes, I started, however, I never took them as serious as I do now. There is the little voice inside of me (which I call my higher self) which guides me through. This “voice” is beginning to replace the “negative voice” which ruled my life for 20 years. These following strategies helped me “unlearn” the old and experience new and loving ways to be gentle with myself.

The two (2) things I needed to work on (huge mountains) were: 1. Self-care (Taking care of my body and showering) and 2. Going out / socializing. These 2 things, if I didn’t pay attention to them, could send me into a deep downward spiral. Think about it.. Looking yucky would lead to more self-hate, and not seeking support or running errands would lead me to feel alone and my kids wouldn’t have food to eat. So, during my treatment, these two areas of my life need to have some sort of plan. A flexible plan.. but a plan.

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!  ~Allison Gappa Bottke

Plans help me shape my world. I for one, was never really good a making plans and sticking to them. Even with the post today, I had a plan to find some terrific article to back up my post, however, I cannot find a single thing which I find “inspiring”. Being too rigid does not work either. “Go with the flow within guidelines” is my new motto! If I were to stick strictly to adding “facts” from an outside source, it just wouldn’t work. This gives me some control over certain situations and help me feel safe. Just like one would devise an “escape plan” in case of fire, I devise an escape plan in certain situations. Take going out for example:

Lets say I must take a bus to go to an appointment. Taking the bus is quite scary, because this means I am going to be far away from “home base”. Home base, is my safe zone. So I usually devise a plan before I leave giving me a 100% right to change my mind at any time. Meaning, I give myself permission to return to home base.

The first thing I do is to make sure I have my cell phone on me. Then, I stash a $20.00 in my purse. This allows me to take a taxi home if ever panic really strikes. Then as I walk out of the house… I talk to myself. I give myself support throughout the journey. Last week, I had to do this and I told myself I had permission to get off at every stop. This permission allowed me to go all the way!! Get it! When I know I have a choice.. it eases my anxiety.

Choices, we all have. Giving ourselves the right to choose differently allows for freedom. So in the end, I always end up where I wanted to go, or do what I planned to do, because I had a choice! I didn’t feel like I was choking on “I must” or “I have to”.. I felt alleviated with “I can, but I can change my mind at any time”…

As for taking a shower, I now get in the bath! I prepare everything around me. I may even break out a few candles and some bubble bath. I wash my hair with clean water from the tap and rince. Giving myself this “motherly” love is exactly what I need!

You can Google “Anxiety busters” or Depression Strategies to find tons of strategies which will work for you.

Yet, the message here is. Give yourself choices. In most instances, you’ll stick to the plan. However, if one day you don’t, that is ok too.. since it is part of trusting yourself, you can take yourself back home. Just like a mom who promises her child she will pick him/her up right after the first day of school, keep those promises to yourself too! I know I did, and it makes things easier.

Its going out and taking a shower still difficult for me; OH YES! However, now that I have “escape plans” and “mothering techniques” these tasks are much more manageable..and will get even more manageable as my recovery continues.

Keep on moving and smile!