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Dancing with Depression

As I sit down to share my thoughts with you, two days after my 47th birthday, I find myself reflecting upon the seasons of my life. I find it hard to comprehend that I have existed nearly half a century in this body! And yet, I also feel as though I’ve lived many lifetimes in this one. Isn’t time a funny thing? It both propels us and delays us in our evolution, eluding us, while also defining us.

I digress. The purpose of my writing is to share a little piece of my journey with you… a part that I have not spoken of in awhile, although it continues to be an occasional companion, and is something I have danced with throughout my life. This dance ‘partner’ has been with me off and on since the age of 10, and although it is no longer consistently involved in my life, she still shows up every so often to share her wisdom with me.

When I was younger, I was told her name was “depression.” As a teenager, she was all-consuming and dark. Scary, even. When she came to visit me, she would stay for months, taunting me with her horrible self-talk and self-loathing. She would push me to the edge of my pain, causing me to wish for an escape, for relief, for peace. I wanted desperately to be rescued from the torment of my mind. But, there was no escape from myself. I was stuck with me. And so, I tried to end me.

After my suicide attempt at the age of 17, the dance with depression continued. My only reprieve was found inside a bottle of vodka, or beer, or peach schnapps. Anything really. It was easy to be someone else after a few drinks. The voices of self loathing became quieter when I was drinking and were replaced with laughter and fun. Depression took a back seat. But only for a while. She was still there – waiting. Waiting for me to remember my shame. Waiting for me to remember my unworthiness. Waiting for me to remember my pain.

When I became a mother, my relationship with depression deepened. She was my constant companion through my pregnancies and afterwards. Only this time, I could no longer soften her with alcohol or partying. Over the years of early adult life, she would visit often. Coming and going without warning. Sometimes staying for months on end. Eventually, I became familiar with her presence and would continue as best I could, making sure my boys were fed, going to work, being a wife. Although she was often there, I no longer allowed depression to define me or hold me back.

As I’ve grown older, I continue to dance with depression. She doesn’t visit me as often, or stay as long. But she still comes and reminds me of her presence. However, when she joins me now, I know she is coming with a purpose. A message. I know that she is coming back into my life to show me where I am needing to put my attention. To adjust my stance, my direction, my mindset.

I see depression differently now. She is no longer my enemy, or a part I need to avoid and attempt to run away from, or quiet. She is not here to cause me shame, or self-hatred, or despair.

She is here to shine a light on the shadows of my woundedness. To call me forward into healing, self-compassion, and love. She is here to awaken me to the parts I have been afraid to see. She is pushing me, pulling me, calling me out of the past and the future… back into the now. Into the present moment. Reminding me that everything I need is here. Now.

And so, our dance continues. When she comes to lead me through the darkness of my mind, I surrender to her embrace and trust that with her guidance, I will find my way. Instead of running from her, I lean into her and allow her to wash over me.

Sometimes she stays for a few days, sometimes a few weeks. Sometimes I forget to listen to her teachings and resort to old ways of being. And then I remember her purpose, and I am grateful for her presence. I am grateful for all the ways she has shown me the truth, for all the lessons she has taught me, and for the strength she has given me.

And so when she leaves me, I dance alone in her release and celebrate the gifts she has left behind. Until we dance again…

If you are dancing with depression, here are a few ways to bring more ease into the experience:

  1. Create space and time for you to be where you're at. Let yourself take a day (or a few) to just be, without judgement or trying to force it to be different.

  2. Feel it to heal it. Allow your emotions to be fully felt. Ugly cry. Sob. Wail. Scream at the top of your lungs. Journal and write it all out. Talk to someone you trust.

  3. Be nurturing and practice self compassion. Take a long, hot bath. Eat food that makes you feel comfortable. Cuddle up under a blanket and listen to your favorite music. Be gentle with yourself. Try not to "should" all over yourself.

  4. Dig deeper. Ask your body and your Higher Self what it's trying to tell you. What is out of alignment in your life? What is no longer serving you? What is ready to be released? What are you running away from?

  5. Trust that this too shall pass. It won't last forever. You aren't alone.

  6. Reach out for help. If you are having difficulty coming out of the darkness, reach out for a guide to help you find your way. I am always here to share my Light with you 💖✨

  7. Remember, you are loved!

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