As a child I felt others suffering but also had no idea why the world could be cruel or so harsh for some. This is why I say my sensitivity and intuition- felt like a curse. What I had to offer was an ear to listen and a heart full of empathy. Sometimes all I knew was that a gentle caress or touch on the other's hand could say more than words. When we are young our hearts are tender and still not so bruised. We have a greater capacity for heartfelt compassion.
Most of my life I have lived feeling depressed. I became skilled at covering up my sadness and at doing well in school. At my worst moments I isolated because I didn't want to be seen deeply sad. It took so much in me to pretend I was okay. Other times I felt it was obvious just how deeply sad I was. I was crying out for help knowing no one could really do much to help. I wanted to believe the rescuer was outside of myself. Still, I knew that only I could save myself. Over time it seemed harder to overcome my blues.
The thing about depression is that it is anger held in which sinks deep within us & gets triggered easily desiring to be released from the body. Often in the last years I had no idea what exactly I was angry or sad about. The rage was eating me up from the inside out and it felt like a slow death. Many times I wished to be dead but I kept myself from acting upon the thoughts because I couldn't do that to my family. I became concerned when I thought about how to end my life. Previous to that- it had just been despair & thoughts of dying but no plan.
I had wished my death so often I came close. Thoughts do have power. On one occasion without knowing it -I drove for several miles without breaks. The mechanic couldn't understand how I had made it safely. I had felt something while driving as though something had taken over. The mechanic's words confirmed my thoughts - it had been angels that kept me from getting in an accident and from dying.
Of course there were periods of time when things felt on the up swing but they never seemed very lasting. One of the counselors I saw for a while suggested I take medication as she believed I had tried so much to heal my depression. Initially, I refused but after several months I reluctantly agreed to take an antidepressant.
It was a few months before I started graduate school that I gave Celexa-an antidepressant a try. I had made the decision considering that I was moving away from my family in Los Angeles and a recent breakup with a long term boyfriend. The first few months on the antidepressant felt as though a weight had lifted. I felt more free to be myself. Of course I had moved away from my family so that had a positive impact. Those closest to me noticed the difference in my mood.
After several months I noticed weight gain. That was the side effect of the antidepressant I did not like. I had struggled with emotional eating and being overweight most of my life so I didn't need the added weight. I decided to see a counselor during my graduate program as I felt I needed it. Learning about psychological disorders was tough as it opened up my eyes to how emotionally hurt my deceased mother had been. And it helped me to realize just how much damage her bursts of rage had had on me and my family.
A part of me felt empowered by understanding my family's dynamics and had hope for overcoming my early wounds. However, my wounds, anger and sorrow ran deep. At times the pain seemed endless. I would cry but often it seemed there was no end or complete release. That endless sense was discouraging especially when I had been in psychotherapy for quite some time and thought I had tried my best to overcome the things that weighed me down. I stayed on the medication for about 4 years. I still had it in my mind that I could overcome my issues on my own without chemicals.
The thing about depression is that it is hard to feel understood and often for those who have never felt it- it is a mystery why anyone would be so sad. In this way depression is a very lonely place to be.
Had I known what was coming I may not have stopped taking the medication. I knew better than to stop taking the medication cold turkey. That combined with being fired from my first job out of grad school -marked the beginning of my self-sabotage. In the midst of losses in 2007 I had a spiritual awakening that was beautiful and affirmed that I could do well or not feel depressed without the help of medication.
It was during the few weeks of my awakening that I came to realize that all illness, challenges and hardships are a way of bringing us back to our essence. In a fraction of seconds it seemed I understood life more than I ever had. And so I came to see depression as something that allowed me to understand others a little more deeply. I came to see that my intuition was a gift along with empathy and compassion that I had blocked to protect myself. I just had not learned how to manage my gift.
I can see how strong I have been and how much I have allowed my thoughts to run my life. I have held myself back from being free right where I am. I have been very hard on myself. Of course I did the best I knew at any given moment.
Now I am learning to recognize when I need to be more gentle and patient. I am committed to doing what is within my power to smile and enjoy life. I am grateful for the darkness because it has allowed me to appreciate the light. I am learning to trust more and to let go.
Life is a gift -mostly beautiful if we realize the triviality of things and what we really are. In that lies our ultimate strength. Today in a moment what can seem so real and tough -is but a timeless moment in the path of an eternal being.
I cannot know with certainty if my depression is forever gone. It feels like it has lifted for good but it has been less than a year. I've had times like that in the past. So as I continue on the path it seems key to ask - "What would make me smile right now in this moment?"
Have you asked yourself: what is my heart's desire? Can I see it, smell it, taste it...imagine it? If so, go for it. If not, imagination is free. Right now is all there is. So dance to the beat of your heart.