I sat down today to share something about my journey into and out of clinical depression. The impulse to share comes from a recent trend in clients confiding that they had chosen me as their therapist, guide, mentor or teacher because they had learned that I have been through the realities of depression, anxiety and other negative emotions that they now find themselves in. Including thoughts of suicide.
The trauma of life and chronic illness that I had travelled through was the very reason they had chosen to work with me now. This is really humbling and brings forth tears of gratitude for my suffering. And today, it gives me more confidence to share that which shame would like to wrap around and silence.
Yes – all that “suffering” was for a reason! The personal growth that came from it can now be a rung on their own ladder out of the depths of their inner hell. I can’t do it for them – or you. But my learnings from the actual experiences and the subsequent training that was sought as I found help to heal myself can surely give you a leg up and out. But you are the one who does the actual climbing.
Part of the trap of depression is its ability to keep us in silence. Recently I had an experience of sharing very publicly (Oct 7th 2017 on my fb business page) some sentiments written whilst IN a depressive cycle. Not the dark of dark that is clinical depression (because I am no longer there) – rather a natural depressive cycle that was triggered by a major change in life situation presenting itself. This post really got people reacting and commenting on how the act of talking about it was useful, brave and unseen in our “show our good sides only” society. I didn’t feel brave at all. I wanted to die.
All the theories and intellectualism about depression are meaningless when you are in the deepest darkest depths of it. You just want to die. This death can be from over eating/TV watching, shopping or other addictive patterns, dying to the world by sleeping, or at its worse – death of the body. What type of death looked for, asked for, begged for seems to depend on how deep into the realm/level of consciousness called depression you are in.
The worst of my depression came after my marriage ended. But it wasn’t sudden onset like that statement may imply. The marriage ended after about 12 years of mostly dysfunctional relating, during which was the emergence of chronic auto immune disease and 2 pregnancies. Now add to this the financial worries and general stressors in life. I was worn down by life and my own ignorance. I had become clinical… but didn’t know it until he walked out the door and I finally broke down.
I felt weak, very weak.
I felt useless, very useless.
I felt incredibly alone despite being surrounded by kids, family and friends.
At the darkest point I entertained ideas of physical death.
It seemed like the only way to end the constant pain and suffering. And at that time this was a truth, as I did not know then what I know about the inner world now. It feels important to note that at this time I was GP medicated and under the guidance of a psychologist.
Thoughts of physical death only ever came when driving, where it would be so easy to swerve into that oncoming truck. They weren’t fleeting ideas, but constant ruminations about it along the 42km drive into town. I was so deeply in this potential that I would see a truck and count down to the point that I would need to swerve to be guaranteed to cause the highest likelihood of dying on impact. Then one day the thought became the actual moment…
But I couldn’t do it.
Just before the actual moment of swerving, everything slowed down and an image of the truck drivers life came in to my awareness. It was really vivid and I saw him like I was watching a life size TV. He was living his life, with his family, doing what people do. But I wasn’t just watching, I was feeling his emotions, his humanness. And such was the opening into compassion for the trauma he may go through both physically and mentally that it stopped me from swerving. Literally. I needed to pull over and catch my breath… and sob my heart out. Interestingly, it was not an image of the two young children in their car seats behind me that stopped me from swerving. My logic at the time was that it was better for them to also die, rather than go through the trauma of childhood with no mum.
All of this says a lot about the mindset I was stuck in doesn’t it?
Looking deeper at this, a decision was made in that moment to put life before death. And this brings in incredible energies of change. It wasn’t a decision my conscious mind could make – as it was intent on dying. It had to come from somewhere else much deeper in. My soul chose the life of another over its own. In terms of consciousness this is BIG. If I slow it all down in my inner world now, I can feel that in that instant my soul leapt up in consciousness. It left a world of shame, self pity and judgement. All that energy I had been putting into those thought forms was momentarily redirected towards the life of an-other. The soul experienced a spark of pure self-lessness. And the tears were the release of pent up emotions or “stuckness” that washed away of that old level of thinking.
Of course, it wasn’t a matter of drive away from that moment cleared of depression and living an enlightened way. Life went on much the same way, except there was a new feeling inside that made it a little bit easier to get out of bed each morning and face whatever that day held. Suicide had became – NOT AN OPTION. I slowly began to see life as more precious. The feeling of wanting to die has returned many times since – including recently as shared in the fb post publicly. But there is such as strong feeling that its NOT AN OPTION that my consciousness immediately begins to look for other more positive solutions.
I had to break down in order to breakdown the negativity. I had to sink into the depths of this unworthy pit of self loathing to find the lesson in it. For some reason it was necessary for me to go to the depths of hell, to want to die and in the moment of “choice” – choose to live – for whatever reason. I now understand more about karma that helps me see all of this with new eyes, but that’s perhaps for another post.
There are so many learnings that flow from where I went in this one episode of my life. And there have been many, many episodes. As has your life brought to you. Life is surely for learning.
If you are feeling stuck in negativity in any way, please reach out to someone. Its an opportunity to learn a new way to relate to life. You actually aren’t stuck- just paused ready to break through.