How To Get Out Of Depression
After a sudden breakup I fell into a deep in the darkness. I somehow worked my way out, and my life had been feeling pretty damn good. And then yesterday I woke up feeling depressed. My first reaction was something like this:
"Oh nooooooooooo. I was doing so well! Why is this happening again? Ughhhhhhh."
My mind is habituated to judging my experience. I like to feel good (don't we all?) so when I don't it's like warning bells going off in my brain. It’s something I have trained myself not to pay too much attention to. I didn’t start panicking and calling my support system to discuss it.
Instead I noticed my mental rant and then went to yoga. I let out a good cry because I felt it welling up. I know how to give my body what it needs, and it need a good cry. I was gentle and gracious with myself.
So there I was feeling all proud of myself for being gracious and loving to myself even when I wanted to be happy but felt depressed when it happened again this morning. This is when things start to get tricky. When you move into day two, three, or four it feels more...shall we say...challenging to be gracious. We so desperately want to feel good that we try to fight our way out of the dips. But here's the big truth that's so often forgotten:
if you want to get out of depression you have to stop fighting yourself.
When we fight ourselves we suffer. Our minds want to know what caused us to feel this very unpleasant way so we can avoid it at all costs in the future. But our souls know we have to feel it to heal it. So there’s a battle going on, and for most of us our minds rule the kingdom. This is why I teach about connecting to the soul. It’s the part of ourselves we want to be aligned with. It’s the place we want to be guided from.
The mind, well, the mind is like living with a five year old child who wants nothing more than to eat candy until your teeth are rotted out and play cruel jokes on you. It whines and says really mean things and lies and then can’t seem to figure out why no one wants to play. The mind is most often not your ally.
So yes, my mind wants to know why I woke up feeling depressed — two days in a row (gasp). The first thing it does is begin panicking because something feels wrong. Then it runs around trying to remember all of the wrong things so it can understand the bummed out feeling. In the midst of pulling in all the crappy memories I begin to feel anxious and maybe even more depressed because now I’m remembering all of the sadness of the past.
To make matters worse, my mind so desperately wants to get out of this depression that it now wants to manipulate me.
It starts to try to figure out why I feel like this according to the sun, planets, and moon. It tells me that I’m not trying to make sense of things, that maybe there is a spiritual purpose. My mind knows I love that stuff so it’s trying to lure me in.
All along the while my soul is telling me to relax, to be gentle, to just let the feelings run their course, but it's really hard to hear over the chaos of my mind. I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything going on in my life, and I’m resisting grounding. But then I catch on to that gentle whisper of my soul reminding me to breathe.
I close my eyes and focus on my breath. I allow myself to just be with the feelings that are coming up. I often have my clients ask themselves, “What is this really pointing to?” As I was about to do so I could feel my soul whispering, “Shhhhhhhhh. Just, shhhhhhhhhh.”
Within these moments of breathing and being I become aware of a crow cawing outside my door. Suddenly I feel contained. I am reconnected with everything that is. Nature helps ground me. It reminds me that I belong here, exactly where I am and as I am. Nothing is wrong.
I’m not saying there is no value to be held in dissecting the universe, processing our emotions, or using our minds to make sense of our lives. But I do think we can be too heavy handed there. We expend more energy on the mind than the heart. We are constantly seeking instead of taking the time to allow ourselves to be.
I was in a yoga class yesterday and our teacher said the simplest most beautiful words, “Just be. Because you are.”
You are. You just are. You exist. You are here. There is actually a lot of relief in that. You just simply exist. You belong here. Relax. You can stop trying to be someone you’re not. You can stop trying at all. You can just be, and that’s just fine.
So if you want to get out of depression stop judging your experience.
Stop reaching. Stop trying. Stop reading. Close your eyes, and for a few precious moments go inward and just be with yourself. Don’t analyze or try to be a certain way. Don't make it a problem. Just notice how you are and let it be all good.
Sometimes this is all we need. Gentleness. We don’t need to make everything better. We don’t need to feel high on life sometimes. We don’t need to deny our humanness. That means it’s ok to feel down sometimes. It’s ok to not make a problem out of feeling down.
What I have found in my deepest depression is that I get really lost trying to dig my way out. Finally I get so exhausted that I just surrender. Through the surrendering I find myself rising.
There are times for growing. There are times for being. And maybe through just being you will find that you are growing.