“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” — Madeleine L’Engle
Today I woke up depressed. It just happens. These days still appear in my life, although they have become fewer. Depression for me doesn’t mean sitting in the corner and crying , I actually don’t usually feel sad when I’m depressed, I feel empty. I have found the days where I don’t feel myself, the days I feel “empty”, are the days I really need to strengthen me emotionally, physically and spirituality. I am not a depressed person, I am simply feeling the energy of depression, and this energy is being present in my body for a reason.
My biggest role models and inspirations struggled with depression. Depression pushes me to become the person I really am. For a long time I thought I was defined by my depression, but the more time I take to be present it the more I realize it’s pushing me to be who I really am. It encourages me to take time to question my life. It pushes me to get in touch with my heart, to actually take the time to listen to it.
I find it is necessary to transform suffering into a purpose. It gives me hope that everything I am going through will help others. I felt helpless for many years as I went though my depressed days. I just wanted to run away from them and hide. Once I decided to learn from them, rather than feel reduced by my feelings of depression, I grew stronger and wiser. It takes courage and commitment to become empowered from my feelings of depression.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” — Helen Keller
I woke up later and started my work later than usual. I’ll be honest, it was difficult. It’s hard for me to stay focused on a task when I am experiencing depression. In the past when I had bad days of depression I made them worst by blaming myself, telling myself I couldn’t feel a certain way, that I needed to do more. For some reason I thought this would help me. It never did. I find though that depression becomes easier to get through if you bring in the practice of self love. All the years I ended up beating myself up emotionally and sometimes physically, it never got better or easier until I began loving myself with my whole heart on my darker days.
Often times we try to run away from uncomfortable feelings that depression brings up. It makes sense, they aren’t feelings society rewards us to feel, but the more I let myself sit with my feelings and accept myself in the present moment, my depression doesn’t seem as life threatening as it did in my past. I’ve accepted it’s okay. I’m okay.
Later on during my day I decided that I needed to do something nice for myself. When I see people who are depressed I always think, “Your body is asking you to treat yourself with kindness and love”. It sounds simple, but that is really what depression is asking of us and it’s usually the hardest to practice when we are in a depressed state of mind, but that’s when we need it most. I’m learning to find ways to get through my depressed days despite the intense negative emotions it can fuel.
Often times when you are depressed you want to just hang around your house, and while that’s okay some days your body is telling you just to “chill” out, sometimes it’s good to just get outside for some fresh air. Mother Nature has a way of bringing you back to your natural state of being. My body needed the movement so I decided to go for a short run. I told myself just to get a mile in as a goal, but I actually ended up running 3 miles because I felt good in my body and I was enjoying being out in nature. Once I got home I decided to cook myself a healthy meal with lots of different colors and I also jammed out to my favorite music artists.
And now here I am sitting with a cup of tea not expecting to write a blog post about my depressed day. It sounds like a pretty typical day, but I think it is important to take time to acknowledge the harder days and recognize they are not here forever. I worked with myself today, I was kind with myself, and non-judgmental. That in itself is a successful day. I tend to find that I am my biggest critic when I’m having a depressed day. Because I didn’t have a packed full day I wasn’t doing enough, but that’s not actually true. I have to check myself in from time to time and remember that I’m human just like everyone else. One we learn to accept ourself no matter what we are feeling emotionally, we find that we aren’t defined by depression, we are simply feeling it and we get to choose how to respond to those feelings. We have the power.
I hope tomorrow will be better, but for now I’ll curl up with a good book, finish my tea, and call it a night. I might even end the night oiling m hair with coconut oil so tomorrow I can wake up to smooth, healthy and healing hair. Remember: be kind, love yourself no matter what kind of day you are having or experiencing. Depression isn’t easy, but if you continue to be present with yourself as you are experiencing depression you will get through it, because you’re strong. It’s worth it, you’re worth it.
“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.” — Stephan Hoeller