What I want to share with anyone suffering in the throes of depression is my journey transforming beyond it.
My healing included a decision to half-heartedly believe even for a few seconds that maybe depression could be a teacher rather than my tormentor. Until then, I accepted that depression was truth-clarifying and magnifying that there is no reason for hope or happiness. The only truth is despair, emptiness, hopelessness ... it told me.
The futile times before when I tried not to accept that there was no reason to feel good, the counter argument was to believe otherwise was simply to tell myself a lie. Denying my despair reasoning and pretend that there is good, I thought, was to fake myself out. What was the point in that? Since this line of thinking became intolerable, and I was at my lowest point ever, I decided to explore options.
So, I began.
At that point, I went to see my therapist When we were ending the session having explored other options for healing, I made a decision. I declared to him and, more importantly, myself that I would experiment with being thankful for my depression. I told him that I was going to go outside, look at the sky and say out loud: 'I am thankful for my depression.'" And so I did. I stepped outside his office building and looked up at the brilliantly blue sky dotted that day with only a few pure white clouds.
"I am thankful for my depression," I whispered though not believing it. Still, I repeated it over and over that day. It became my mantra. After a few days, I added to my thankfulness: "I am thankful for the pain it causes me and what it has to teach me."
Later as I lay in bed, as usual, I decided to try something different, something terrifying.
It occurred to me that perhaps changing the way I saw depression as possibly a good thing rather than a monster intent on devouring me, allowed me a space to embrace and fully feel it. Do it just one time, I told myself. If the pain is unbearable, you can stop. I proceeded.
The first time, with great fear and trepidation deciding I had nothing to lose and had no other option but a compelling suicide, I embraced the sensations of depression fully feeling them as they surged and flowed through my mind and body.
Having heard Barbara Taylor, author of Learning to Walk In the Dark, speak about her depression and healing that in order to move beyond the darkness, one must learn to walk through it. It was then that I decided to open myself fully to the sensations of depression. I would let myself focus on the darkness, the pain, and let the emotions flood me, feel them and see what happened. I was safe and that day I wasn't obsessing about dying or how I could kill myself. That day a sliver of hope broke through the darkness allowing me to think maybe there was a way out.
It was all I had.
The first time I practiced, what I discovered was that those emotions and dark thoughts didn't kill me. Yes, I cried, sobbing even, as I felt a deep sadness, the scary thoughts that told me I am irrelevant, worthless, a failure and there was nothing for which to hope. But as I practiced this new method, I discovered I could handle those horrible feelings for at least a few minutes at a time.
After a few days of allowing myself to go to that scary place, I began to identify where the depression started in my body. I noticed that the sorrowful feelings began as a sore spot in the center of my chest, a fluttering aching sadness. I focused on that spot, the sensations, and felt it all fully.
I felt the sensations and forced myself to think new thoughts beginning with "I am thankful for depression and what it can teach me." I forced myself to think: "I am joyful."
As I did this, I became able to compartmentalize the sensations thereby creating a space within which I could examine them almost from a distance. Doing that, experiencing depression symptoms as an observer, put me in an elite power position. The better I became at doing this the more exciting it was. The thrill of beginning to think I might be in control was reinforcing. Though I flew through agonizing feelings and pain during those early sessions, I learned I could change those sensations sometimes simply by observing them and not recoiling in terror. These early experiences gave me the courage to try again and again until before long I found myself on the other side.
Ultimately doing this, glimpsing the truth: I am the observer, only the watcher of thoughts and emotions, but not them, opened the way to healing.
Though I once was terrorized by depression, finally knowing there is no danger unless I perceive it as such, was the spark that allowed me to move through it then eventually beyond, transforming it into lessons.
OUT OF THE DARKNESS:
TRANSFORMING BEYOND DEPRESSION
Healing Beyond Traditional Methods
My book Out of the Darkness: Transforming Beyond Depression is coming soon! How I healed myself from depression using my understanding of an integrated non-traditional approach involving quantum physics, neuroscience and ancient wisdom.
Since my earliest memory, I have struggled with depression varying from being incapacitated entirely, unable to hold any job long term to depression’s stranglehold underlying even what were supposed to be the happiest events of my life.
If you or a loved one, suffers from depression, I offer my story as hope. For decades, I harbored thoughts and felt them to my core that life is too painful ... It hurts too much ... I am a bad person ... I’m a failure ... I'm alone ... I’m unlovable ... I’m defective ... Nothing matters ... There is no reason for hope.
Worst of all, after five decades of suffering, with little to no relief, I believed I would never get better.
Finally, I decided I'd had enough of depression. My pain had culminated in a cataclysm of either I would find a way out of my depression or I would take my life. But, before a well-planned suicide, I decided to one last time open myself to the possibility that perhaps there was something I’d missed. I delayed the end of my life momentarily and began to research alternative means to heal.
After all, this was a life or death matter, and I had nothing to lose.
Nothing else I had ever done had relieved my depression; the pain of it was more intense and increasingly intolerable. My depression no longer came and went. It was consistent, unrelenting and torturous. My quality of life was nearly non-existent. In my mind, there was no reason to go on.