I am depressed.
This might be the hardest and most real post I'm putting "out there." And I know once it's "out there" there is no taking the post back. But I feel the need to share this. Because this is important. And if you are someone who is afflicted with depression, my hope is that you'll find relief in my words. You've got a friend right here.
So let me go back a little bit.
I've had this underlying sadness for a long time. Probably 3 years now (maybe longer). This sadness is always present, like a nagging undercurrent that never goes away. I have gotten really good at hiding it. And stuffing it. And dare I say...drinking it away sometimes. But the sadness never really goes away. It's just this dull heaviness I've learned to carry around with me. For awhile I thought this was normal...all people feel sad, right? Sure, people feel sad for a little bit and then are usually happy again. But sadness, all the time, is not "normal." My life is sadness all the time with a little happy peppered in. It really should be the other way around.
For the past 3 years I have exhausted myself on reading pretty much every spiritual self-help book I could find. I have written enough positive affirmations to reach the top of the Sears Tower. I have prayed. I write in a gratitude journal (still do!). I have done enough yoga to last 3 life times. And for crying out loud, I AM A YOGA TEACHER! How can I possibly be depressed? Well folks, it happened. And it's now a journey I am learning to navigate and understand. The brain is powerful beyond measure...and it's pretty easy to get sucked into the black hole of depression when major life changes happen (death, divorce, illness, hormones, etc.). Depression is an illness. I didn't ask for it. I am not a bad person because of it. But I am depressed. And I am going to work through this.
So how did I discover I was suffering from depression? I picked up a book (very accidentally) called "Uncovering Happiness." I opened up to a page that read, "you might be suffering from depression if..." And listed were about 30 different signs and symptoms. I related to every single item EXCEPT loss of appetite (go figure)!!!! Let me repeat, I related to every single sign of depression. I felt my heart stop in that moment. And then, I felt relief! Like, OH MY GOD, this is it! Finally! I know what the fuck is wrong with me and now I can finally figure out what the fuck to do about it! It might have been my biggest Aha! Moment of my life.
I am not thrilled to write this post. But I am thrilled to know that I can begin healing. I am learning to notice my thoughts more and stop the loop of negativity. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But I now have tools that I can use...which is such a relief.
AND...I am beginning to feel like myself again.
I am mostly writing this post in hopes that it will reach someone who feels similar. Just know there is hope and healing. Our brains can be re-wired. We can use mindfulness and self-compassion as a tool to heal and get our lives back. We can be happy. We all deserve to be happy! I am working on happiness!
I am also working very hard on looking inward when I am not feeling good. Exploring the pain. That's the hardest part. I want to bury the pain (I think we can all relate to that). I want to bury the heavy emotions. But I am learning to explore my pain so I can begin understanding it and then move forward into healing. I am realizing that this might be the most important work I do in my life.
So there you have it. I'm exposed and vulnerable. But this is where my healing begins.
I am no expert on recovering from depression, but below are some resources that have helped me tremendously. I am not out of the woods...but I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. And that makes me pretty damn happy!
So cheers to progress and feeling more happiness. I wish you happiness!
Jan Lundy, The Kindest Thing (website)
Uncovering Happiness (book by Elisha Goldstein)
Talk to a friend or therapist
Eat healthy foods and take Vitamin D
Get some sun
Try Holy Basil Leaf
Go for at least a 15 minute walk (outside) with no phone
Mind your thoughts (can you "catch" recurring negative thoughts before springing downward)
Pet an animal
Take a hot bath
Take a social media break