Depression

Day 34 - #365MeditationChallenge

Another night meditation and another powerful journey for me.   

The universe has been bringing me quite a few books about elephants lately... (I am a voracious reader and read about 1-2 books per week).  In this journey, I ended up working with one particular elephant, Maura, the matriarch of her tribe and we were accompanied by her daughter Maisy.  She invited me to ride on her back into the dark summer night.  We began by walking West, further into the darkness, when all of a sudden we did a 180 degree turn, and started walking towards the East, just as the first hints of dawn were appearing on the horizon.  It's like she remembered that she could CHOOSE to walk away from darkness and back into the light.  

This feels symbolic and significant given the mental health struggles that have been present for me of late.  It is a powerful reminder (and a visceral one, which is why I love journey so much) that I do get to CHOOSE.  That I do have power in the situation.  That I get to REmember my birthright: Joy, and come back to it again and again and again.   

I am so very grateful to this powerful guide and this profound experience. 

 

Day 31 - #365MeditationChallenge

Lately I feel like I am walking around with my nervous system on the OUTside of my body.  I am jumpy, jittery and skittish.  I startle easily and everything feels too loud, too bright, too busy, too intense.  Other times, I am noticing that I am having a hard time paying attention.  Hearing other people talk, putting things back where they belong, driving the correct way to my destination. 

All signs of anxiety...and depression.

Over the years, what I have noticed is that my emotional state seems to pendulum between two extremes; let's call one side AVOIDANT and one side ANXIOUS.  For those of you who are familiar with attachment theory, these all also types of attachment.  Somewhere in the middle of these would be SECURE.   

For many, many reasons, as I said above, I tend to move between avoidant and anxious, with brief stop-overs at "secure" sometimes along the way.  Based on these terms, I would have to say that my attachment style then is "anxious-avoidant".

Another thing that I am noticing is that the "avoidant" side of the pendulum feels like "depression" in my body.  It is the part of my that holds the stories of isolation, hopelessness, abandonment and despair.  The "anxious" side of the pendulum is the one I describe above.  The nervous-system-outside-of-my-body thing.  

What I am noticing lately is that I seem to be fluctuating between these two sides of the pendulum at Mach speed lately.  As in, back and forth between the two extremes several times in ONE NIGHT.

It is so uncomfortable.   

And that is what is true for me today. 

And the reason why my 12 minute meditation was one of the toughest ones I've ever sat through.  It was a challenge for me to even keep my eyes closed. 

Something I say in the video, and I believe it's true; even though I'm in tough with my metal/emotional state right now... I have a sneaking suspicion that I would be worse off if I wasn't meditating at all. 

Bam. 

 

Day 22 - #365MeditationChallenge

Wow.  Just... Wow. 

As you will see in tonight's video, I had an epic healing session tonight which changed my perspective on, well, everything.   

Driving home from dinner at my parents, I was very present as I listened to my 8-year-old sing is heart out from the back seat.  In that moment I was so frustrated and disappointed with myself that I was feeling the way I was feeling (God-Awful) when I know how much I have to be grateful for and joyful about.   

"I think I need to ask for some help", I thought to myself.   

"Yes", I thought, agreeing with myself.  "I need help".  Immediately my thoughts drifted to a friend of mine.  A coach that I met in the Martha Beck coaching program and now a dear friend.  We hadn't connected in quite a while, so I started to think about how and when I might reach out.  Ten minutes after I got home I got an out-of-the-blue message from... you guessed it: that same friend.  

"Oh my God" I texted her, "The Universe is LISTENING TO ME!"  (This is far from my first experience like this, but I can still get pretty stoked.  After all, miracles are just that: miraculous).   

A little later, after I got my son to bed, she was guiding me into a deep healing journey around one of my ancestors, the Divine Feminine, self-love and forgiveness.  It was beyond powerful and impossible to put into words.   

I am not exaggerating when I say that coaching is one of the tools that has literally saved my life, and it continues to Bless my life with amazing gifts.  I am SO GRATEFUL for the opportunity to be coached by such a genuine, loving, authentic soul and to be given the opportunity to coach and hold space for others.   

 

 

Day 21 - #365MeditationChallenge

As you can see from the video below, I'm still navigating the "muck".   

Ok fine.  Enough with the surgar-coating, let's call it what it is: depression. 

I live with depression.  I like this description because it implies that depression is like my roommate, which feels like a pretty accurate description of her.  

Depression lives in the basement and there are times when I don't see her that much, or spend that much time with her.   

Other times, she is right in my face... I'll come home and she'll be everywhere I am: in my kitchen while I'm cooking dinner, in my bed while I try to fall asleep, in my office while I'm trying to work, in my shower in the morning and yes, even in my meditation room.  

When she is that present I find even the basic functions of living to be super challenging: going to sleep, getting out of bed, cooking, eating, showering, brushing my teeth.  Everything feels fucking impossible.  Like it requires a gutsy, over-the-top "performance" just to show up in my life.  

And she talks.  Oh. My. God.  The incessant talking.  And she is fucking crazy.  Like really crazy.  And Dark.  And Twisty.  And she doesn't think very highly of me.  Or my choices.  Or my life.  

You can see why I don't love hanging out with her.   

Other times, I barely know she's there.  It's like she retreats to her basement lair and recharges for her next foray into my life.  And while I do enjoy these little breaks, I have learned to brace myself; I never know when her next appearance will be.  

And here's the thing: I have tried everything I know how to do to evict her.   

Initially, I resorted to some less-than-healthy behaviours; alcohol, smoking, risky behaviour, promiscuity, and binging/purging food.  Thankfully, these not-so-good choices eventually got replaced with healthier ones: a healthy diet, exercise, good sleep habits, prayer, meditation, music, yoga, therapy, coaching, plant medicine, shamanism, reiki, herbs, light therapy, and writing.   

At one point, I gave anti-depressants a try too.  For me, these seemed to shut her up some but in someways it made me even more like her; an existence that I couldn't  bear.

I have even tried making friends with her.  Trying to really understand her and where she comes from, hoping that this might somehow change her nature or incite her to move on or move out.   

And the thing is; through this 25 year relationship that I have had with her, we have made progress on our journey together.  I do (in some ways) understand where she came from and why she is here.  When she really takes over my life and gets all up in my grill, I can sometimes remember that everything she says isn't true and that eventually, if I hold my ground, she'll retreat.   

Stepping out of my metaphor for a moment, I know cognitively that this is all a matter of neurological programming.  I know that my brain has laid a lot of "tracks" for her existence and that with time, patience, discipline, continued effort and practice, that these "tracks" can be rewritten.  That they are being rewritten, even right now as I write this.

But FUCK is it slow.  And sometimes I just feel so fucking tired of her.   

Anyway, thanks for listening.  I'm off to make some healthy choices and keep fighting the good fight. 

Oh, and happy 3 weeks if you're doing the challenge!

Day 16 - #365MeditationChallenge

I did a 20 minute meditation today and I spent the first 15 minutes with that "wall" I spoke about yesterday.  As I allude to in the video, I felt like one of those pantomimes putting my hands up and down this invisible wall in my consciousness.   

And then, all of a sudden I got a very clear vision of a bridge.  The bridge looked as though it had been blown up and I was standing on the edge of it looking down into an abyss.... just nothing.  I couldn't see over to the other side because it was all misty.   

I get it.   

All of a sudden I can see neuron cells in my brain making new pathways... to the unknown.  I have literally never been here before.  It is a new frontier.  It is a new way of thinking and being.  I am becoming.  

And holy CRAP does the notion of this make me excited.   

Lately I have been doing some reading about mental health and chronic conditions and decided that it is very likely that I literally have brain damage/trauma that has resulted in a whole host of undesirable symptoms (depression being first and foremost).  I am PASSIONATE about creating new brain circuits that are healthy and NOT of the variety that spin me into this old story of depression.  

I have been working on it for years and, although I do feel like I'm making progress overall, it's slow.   

It is a daily journey to re-write your programming.   

But the image of this bridge is exciting!  I feel like it means that, through meditation and the time that I am putting into this very deliberate, intentional box, I am finally going to create something new.   

This makes me feel PUMPED.