When You Want to Die (Literally)
There was a time in my life when I thought I was too much. I felt too much. I thought too much. I talked too much. I was too much for everyone around me—and for myself. To be honest with you, I felt like that my entire life, up until a few years ago.
There are some things we believe about ourselves that just aren’t true. Here are a few I have managed to (mostly) eradicate from my being:
I don’t belong here (or anywhere).
I have nothing to offer.
I am unworthy (of love, of attention, of being seen and heard).
I don’t matter.
I am alone in this world.
I will be alone in this world…forever.
No one sees me.
I’m too much.
There are others, but these are the big ones—the ones that hurt so deep and go so far back I could barely find their origin (some of them I still can’t). I have cut my body so I could feel the pain I had numbed out. I have sobbed endlessly and felt completely alone. I have imagined my life ending, and I have wished for my life to end.
I don’t know where or who I would be if I hadn’t found Breathwork or my teacher and mentor David Elliott. I don’t know who or where I’d be if I didn’t have the unconditional love and support from my family and friends when I needed it most. I don’t know who or where I’d be if I didn’t write about my pain and share it with the world.
And in the very same breath, I do know where I’d be without this perfect combination of things that have changed my life. I know I’d be in a whole lot of pain. I know I’d be hiding from the world. I know I’d be guarded, self-conscious, and mistrusting of love and life and the people on this planet. I know I’d feel utterly lost.
I know these things because each painful moment validated all of the beliefs I carried about myself.
I used all of my painful experiences to prove that the world was against me and that I was unlovable. It wasn't until I began my Breathwork practice that I started to actually see the beliefs I was holding onto and experience for myself that they weren't actually true. One glimpse wasn't enough. I had to spend years working on my relationship to myself.
Because of my life experiences and the number of people’s pain I hold space for, I have no judgement toward anyone who has chosen to take their own life. I am not better than them. I didn’t “do it right.” I don’t know if I would go so far as to say I am lucky, but I am surely blessed to have found tools and teachers that have changed and, possibly, saved my life.
These things have helped support me in my healing, but here is the ultimate truth:
I had to find my worth and my love for myself on my own.
I could be told I was loved and valued to the moon and back (and often was), and it wouldn’t change the way I felt about myself. I could attend a Breathwork class, have a powerful experience, and then never show up again. I could have given up on my healing every single time the pain surfaced.
But I didn’t.
I showed up when it was really fucking hard. I faced the pain and dug deeper and deeper into what was creating so much suffering within me. I reached out to the world, grasping for someone else to save me, until I surrendered to the fact that this was my job and all of the wisdom I needed was within me.
I know for sure that we can all heal, but I don’t know the perfect storm that takes us to our knees but not to our graves. I don’t know why something clicks into place in some of us but not others.
Healing has taught me how to listen. I think this is one of the things our collective and individual depression is pointing to. We’re not very good listeners. We’re not very good at making room for pain.
I have learned how to listen very closely to my pain and discomfort, and that has ultimately helped me support and guide those who are in deep pain.
When I was devastatingly heartbroken and had lost myself completely, people told me to medicate myself. I love a lot of the people who suggested this to me, and I’m not mad at them for it. They wanted to fix the problem, but I didn’t want them to fix it. I wanted them to just be with me. I wanted them to hold me and remind me that I’m OK.
Fortunately, I had that too, and in the times I didn’t get that from the people around me I discovered that I could give it to myself. That’s when everything changed for me and I began to come through the pain with some gems.
I acknowledge that I am incredibly privileged, and I also have not had an easy life when it comes to healing. It’s still not easy, but I have surrendered to it and I am relentless about it because I know I need to be.
Depression is the clearest sign our beings can give us that our relationship to ourselves needs some very serious time and attention. It is the signal that our healing needs to be prioritized, that we need to explore who we are, why we’re here, and what our place is (side note: every single one of you has a place and purpose).
Finding your inherent value and learning what it really means to love yourself is a difficult journey because we are fragile, delicate beings even if we try to pretend that we are tough and unaffected.
All of the moments when we have been hurt matter.
Our minds might want to diminish them, but they matter to our souls. We don’t just forget the pain or move past it. We need to pick up our pain, moment by moment, and hold it and love ourselves through it. We need to squeeze it so tight until we can feel that the pain and the love are not separate.
If you look around your life and can’t seem to find anyone who understands your pain or who feels the way you do, know that this is not a true representation of the world. Most people are in a whole lotta pain. Many people hide it and many people are damn good at hiding from it.
You are the furthest thing from alone.
Healing is not easy, it’s messy and painful, but it’s possible. There is not just one way—but there is a way.
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The kit I created to help you begin your Breathwork practice. It includes 3 guided Breathwork meditations, an ebook about how Breathwork heals, an FAQ, and a series of printables for a 30-day Breathwork challenge.