|Posted on 3 December, 2017 at 9:45|
I am a strong advocate for a holistic approach to healing and well being practices but in today’s fast paced modern world sometimes we expect a little too much too soon from our minds, our bodies and our spirits.
While education, medicine, technology and science have made huge progress over a short space of time, our ability to repair our minds, bodies and souls cannot be fast tracked.
A post I wrote not too long ago “Why Reiki Won’t Heal You,”highlights one of the many ways our current expectations of ourselves have become unreasonable in practice.
Advertising and social media are full of messages about magic pills and schemes to lose weight in weeks; get the perfect abs for summer; get rich quick; in general solve many complicated and chronic problems and issues in a drastically short space of time; while anyone who has genuinely changed their lives around for the better will tell you it didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy.
My passion and my own story revolves around living with and healing from the debilitating illness depression. While I view my experience in a positive light now, it didn’t always feel that way.
According to the World Health Organisation and studies across the globe more women are affected by depression than men. In fact 1 in 4 women will suffer from a major depressive episode in their lifetime. Depression is also a highly recurrent disease, with 50% of those who recover likely to have one or more additional episodes and approximately 80% of those with a history of two episodes having another recurrence. On average, individuals with a history of depression will have five to nine separate depressive episodes in their lifetime. For me, this summer marked the FIFTH major depressive episode in my own life since my first chronic depression diagnosis at age 22.
Thankfully, yet again I find myself on the other side; but in the darkest days of my illness I fully felt all the symptoms that overwhelm and debilitate us when we live with depression. I’m not Happy every day, neither am I sad everyday. No matter how I feel, I know this too shall pass. But, what if it doesn’t? Depression, as many who have experienced it, will respect that it is a lot more than simply having a bad day.
It’s hard to say how it begins, but certain feelings will creep up on me. I might feel low in spirit, unhappy or sad for no apparent reason. I feel quite well but perhaps notice an extra sensitivity to other people, be it their comments or a simple look or expression on their face. I sometimes feel afraid but don’t know exactly what it is I’m afraid of. I worry more, and the slightest irritations may cause me to flare up, over reacting to situations that don’t warrant the response.
Physically, I may feel tired. I’ve no energy to get through the day fully. My body can feel achy and I experience more flair ups of pain or headaches and pick up colds and viruses. From July to September, for example I recorded 13 migraine attacks in 70 days.
I withdraw from things, preferring to seclude myself at home. I avoid other people and am afraid to talk to them about how I’m feeling in case they don’t understand or judge me. I’m worried people will think I’m copping out when I make excuses for why I turn down invitations or avoid answering the phone.
I struggle to find any enthusiasm for motivating myself any more than to survive the day, trying to get through the basics of the day such as getting showered, dressed and getting the kids out the door to school. As one client described it to me all you want to do is curl back up into your shell and hide away; and that’s exactly how I felt.
When I admit to my family and friends (usually my husband is the first to know) how I’m feeling; my thoughts will turn to thinking I’ve failed, I’m weak, I’m a fraud. He is always the one to remind me I’ve been here before and I’ll get through it again. Everytime I stumble I get back on my feet.
In the height of the illness I find it hard to believe there is any HOPE. When I feel lost and overwhelmed by the darkness of depression it’s hard to imagine finding the energy to fight it.
The RELIEF when finally I admit there is a problem and seek help and get assistance is wonderful. But this initial relief is fleeting as I begin the slow and steady journey of recovery. This is the truth about healing, the initial visit to the Doctor is not the happy ending to the tale, as this is only the START of the healing journey.
That is exactly what healing is though, it’s a JOURNEY, an experience that must be lived and learned from in order to reach the desired destination. In my journey of healing, it’s about getting back in touch with Emily, recognising who I am underneath the dark cloud of depression. Remembering that I have purpose and meaning for living. Exploring the goals and dreams I have imagined for myself. Realising that I AM loved, needed, wanted and respected. Accepting that it’s okay to fail, to fall down, to make mistakes and that there are people around me who won’t judge or ridicule me, they will hold out their hand and HELP me up. Knowing that every experience I have is teaching me something about myself and about life.
This is why I class depression as having been a positive experience in my life. The episodes of depression are miserable and debilitating but the truths I have learned about myself through my healing journeys have been life affirming. Living with depression and learning to heal from depression have been the best teachers in my life so far.
Depression has taught me:
=> I Love being alive;
=> I matter to people;
=> I can live life fully, no matter the circumstances;
=> I can make a difference to people’s lives;
=> I am worthwhile;
=> my opinion counts;
=> my opportunities to grow and develop as a human being are endless;
=> I have something and someone to continue to live for;
=> I can pick myself up;
=> I can heal;
=> I can learn;
=> I can;
=> I am;
The key to all of these lessons is not because I SUFFERED WITH depression but because I HEALED THROUGH it.
No matter the challenges I or anyone face in life, we each have the opportunity to learn and grow through it. Life is a wonderful teacher; if we allow ourselves to be taught and open ourselves to learn. Great teachers sometimes come in disguise and sometimes you do well because of a great teacher other times you do well in spite of a difficult one - but the truth about healing is that you must ENGAGE with the journey to reach your destination. It’s not easy, it doesn’t happen overnight; you will struggle; but if you allow the experience to be your teacher you will overcome it. The outcome is all in YOUR hands.
You don’t need to be suffering from full blown depression to go on a healing journey, you may feel a lack of direction, or connection or simply be needing to reassess your life and take time for yourself, either way a focus on healing and taking time for yourself is the best place to start.
If you want life to change, you must be the change!
If you are ready to ask for help, then I’m here holding out my hand to help you.
Let’s have a chat and see if we can get you back on track.
Schedule a call with me here, there’s no obligation, just a 30 minute call to see if I can help you or point you in the right direction.
You don’t have to do it alone let’s start your healing journey together.