I wanted to write you personally to express my gratitude for you and your gift to help uplift women. You're a true inspiration and I aspire to be as positive and present as you! I stumbled upon your site using Google looking for some positive direction. I am currently heartbroken. I have been before and I was then diagnosed with depression. This time, I want to fight back! I want to accept this and move on, but there are times/days where I struggle to deal with the challenges of grief. I can say that I do not like who this man is currently, but I don't know why I'm struggling to let it go and move forward. We have the same best friends and I have distanced myself as much as possible until I can handle that crowd and scene. Any advice?
I hope this isn't too much (it really doesn't scratch the surface), but it's harder to confide in people that are closest to you due to their own perceptions and opinions about the situation if that makes sense.
Hi R! I'm so grateful you wrote. Your struggle with depression is one I've experienced myself, and I know a lot of other women are dealing with it, too.
When I was pregnant, at one point I became very depressed, and it scared me to the point that I sought medical help. I ended up not taking the medications prescribed, and took a more holistic and spiritual approach instead. That said, of course I'm not a doctor, and I can't advise you on a medical matter without opening myself up to potential legal issues. I can only tell you what I've done, what works for me, and advise you to listen to your own intuition and of course consult a professional you trust.
I've experienced this sort of depression several times in my life, and here's what I've learned:
Bottom line- for me, depression comes because I am blocking emotions from coming through me. I do believe that we have the ability to transcend emotions (see them from a birds-eye view, noticing and not attached), but not to suppress them, ignore them, or eliminate them. Emotions are energy, and when energy is not allowed to flow freely, it causes severe blockages.
First and foremost, when I'm feeling depressed, I get out a HUGE piece of of butcher paper (this works so much better for me than letter-sized, so it might for you, too) and markers, pens, pencils, paints, crayons, etc. I write down all my emotions, and what I'm experiencing that makes me feel those emotions. For example, I'll put “anger” in the center, and then shooting off from that, I write what's making me angry, like “no time to write” and “feel manipulated by x” or “when he said ___”. Really take the time to connect with your anger (sadness, frustration, jealousy, fear, etc) and let those feelings flow onto the page.
Usually just doing anger and fear is good for me, but let your intuition guide you.
Now that I've been through it and tracked my emotions and progress through depression, I try to remember to feel excited when I start to feel depressed, because it may be the “dark night of the soul” that's going to birth an incredible spiritual experience in me.
“Paradoxically, the dark night of the soul is often a sign of significant spiritual progress for it is not really the soul (higher Self) but the ego that is in the dark. Some comfort can be obtained by recalling the spiritual dictum that one can only go as high as they have been low, or that Jesus Christ sweat blood in Gethsemane, or that the Buddha reported that he felt as though his bones were being broken and he was being attacked by demons.
“In the pits of spiritual despair and black hopelessness, the necessary Knowingness to be followed is that, spiritually, all fear is illusion. The reason it is safe to let go completely of all that one holds dear, along with the belief that the inner core of the ego is the very source of life itself, is because it is not the source, no matter how intensely the experience may seem.”
-David R. Hawkins, Transcending the Levels of Consciousness
One month after my pregnancy depression, I had the most significant spiritual breakthrough I'd ever had. I became more powerfully mindful and present than I ever thought possible. I am so grateful for that breakthrough, and for the preceeding depression, now.
Pay attention to your dreams, which can be your higher self talking to you. During my depression, I had a profound dream which lead me to take the steps that lead to my mini-enlightenment.
Thoughts are behind every emotion. When we feel grief, it's because we were attached to something that left. When we resist change, we thought things would always stay comfortably the same.
We have so many attachments that cause us pain when they depart from us- and that pain is pure gold, if you learn to think of it that way. Pain, for me, is a shining beacon that I'm not thinking well. I continually strive to train my thoughts and create an intentional mental life, instead of just letting thoughts think me- and letting my ego decide how I'm going to think and therefore feel.
Common ego thoughts are, “this is too hard, I shouldn't have to go through this.” “If we weren't supposed to be together why did I waste all this time?” “He should've been nicer to me.” “I shouldn't feel depressed.” (Sidenote- back to letting emotions flow- when you believe you shouldn't have an emotion, you block it even further.)
When I acknowledge that I'm having these thoughts, I can begin to question them to see if they're true. (Byron Katie's work is excellent for this.)
I've recently been diving into incredible medical studies around nutiritional healing, and I've found some compelling evidence that nutritional deficiencies can either create or worsen feelings of depression. I'm truly saddened that when I sought medical help for my depression in pregnancy that the professionals preferred to prescribe a synthetic medication without once ordering blood tests to check, at the very least, my niacin and B12 levels.
While you've indicated your depression has a definite emotional trigger, in my own life I've found that neglecting my nutrition often prolongs the feelings of depression after I've idenified the emotional, spiritual, or mental cause.
Oh, the incredible benefit of friends! For me, reaching out to others is so important.
There have been times in my life where I was not surrounded by “safe” friends, people I could talk to about my feelings without feeling more wounded afterwards. During those times I would withdraw, so I was at least protecting myself against further invasion while I went forward. Now, I have a handful of amazing women I can talk to about just about anything, and they won't judge, criticize, or shame me. When I start to feel a little down, a little overwhelmed by my emotions, I call a friend and talk about it. Much like you've done here- reaching out to someone you know will be honest and kind. For anyone reading this- if you feel like you don't have a safe friend, email me. I'd be honored to hold space for your beautiful journey.
Another huge cause of depression in my life is “ignoring the call”. I could write this entire post on this alone, but I'll say this: if there's something your spirit has been longing to do, to create, and you haven't done it…do it. This has cracked my heart wide open, put a glow on my face and a bounce in my step. Listen to your heart and do what it tells you.
Beautiful creative, spiritual woman- above all, remember that you are the authority on you. Do what you need to do, do what your soul is calling you to do. You will never lead you astray.
With all my love,