This morning I received a beautiful message from someone who is struggling in the darkness and had read my posts last night and was really looking for some guidance on how to get from where she right now to a less painful place inwardly.
I have received a number of these types of messages over the years when I’ve shared openly about my struggles, but I’ve never felt it was my place to give advice on such a personal subject especially because my own work isn’t even done. I could end up in another dark hole next month. Who knows.
What’s worked for me through everything though is this:
I heal by feeling what needs to be felt.
Again: I heal by feeling what needs to be felt. I don’t hide from my intense emotions. I’m willing to feel them. Especially the painful ones because they have much to teach me and they are my portal to more joy.
I didn’t take meds except for the time I was in the hospital for depression at 17 and it was pretty much mandatory. It was also short-lived because I kept throwing them up.
But meds work beautifully for many people and help to keep a lot of people alive and comfortable. And maybe I would have had far less pain in my life if I had taken them, but I never once considered them for reasons that are very personal and important to me.
Writing is my therapy but it might not work for you. I have a close supportive network but you may not have that yet. I have had wonderful therapists over the years but you may not be ready to share your thoughts with a stranger.
So just because I’ve been through the hell that you’ve been through, our resources are different. Our readiness is different. Our make up is different. The timing of our life is different. Our lessons are different, too.
But I believe that no matter where you are at right now, you have exactly what you need to get to the next spot. Just like I did back when things were the worst they had ever been.
You were not given this or any challenge without the tools to overcome it, and you may not feel like you can get through this but you absolutely can. I did and so can you.
Each path is so unique and depression is a horrible beast so I really have never felt entitled to give specific guidance on what a person should do to heal themselves - I just prefer to inspire others to self-reflect by sharing my own reflections openly. I write what moves through me and I share it in the hopes that it makes you look a little deeper inside yourself.
My life lived is my example and I feel that’s even more powerful than my words anyways. Besides, what works for me won’t necessarily work for you so it’s important to do your own search inside yourself for the key that will unlock the next door. You don’t have to worry about any of the doors after that. You just need to get through the next door. And the requirement to receive that key is custom-made for you.
Maybe you would heal fastest through books or through dance or through solitude or through a group or through a relationship.
Ultimately it doesn’t even matter which method you choose (there are endless options) because everything you do or don’t do leads you closer to the truth and to yourself.
You really can’t get off your path even if you feel like you’re not on it right now. You are always on track for something better. Always. And you really do have all the answers you will ever need inside yourself. You really do have immense strength and power within yourself that you probably aren’t even aware of yet.
I would rather be an example of what it means to live deeply and well than to preach to anybody on how to do that. I’m doing what works for me and you need to do what works for you.
My goal is not to be free of sadness. My goal is not even a life without depression. My goal is a life of authenticity and feeling everything that needs to be felt along the way.
I think being a fully integrated human means feeling an array of emotions. It wouldn’t be true for me (at least at this point in my life), to be happy 24/7. But when I’m happy I’m really fucking happy. And when I’m sad I’m really fucking sad. But I move through my feelings pretty quickly so nothing really sticks for long which means I don’t stay stuck for very long when the blues hit.
The more I grow and heal, the more balanced I become. My intensity has not changed but the variety of tools I use to manage myself inwardly continues to increase and they become staples in my life.
I just don’t want anybody reading my posts and feeling like I have it all figured out and they just need to do what I do and then they will be fine.
Me writing a 10 point list of the things that I’ve done will not heal anybody’s depression. Me not frequently wanting to die anymore is not me being healed completely. I am in process just like you, and I am nowhere near finished and I don’t have anybody’s answers but my own.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I have definitely faced an incredible portion of myself and my pain and that is what I believe to be the main component along my path that has allowed me to find peace and happiness in many of my moments.
Like I said, I heal by feeling what needs to be felt but I do that EVERY SINGLE DAY and I have for years and I will until the day I die.
That in a nutshell, is my “secret” which is code for a lifetime and moment by moment commitment to the messy work of looking within and daring to face what’s there.
So if I could give you any advice, it would be that.
Feel your feelings. And if that’s too much right now, write them out and throw them out. Or share them with a friend or maybe even a stranger.
Feel. Feel. Feel.
Heal. Heal. Heal.
“I’ve been in the receiving end of your kind words. Your a incredible human.” Leslie Vanderwelle Bolduc
“I love this and I always feel feelings. Having issues and seeing the darkside at the moment in life for me. But I am like you and feel these feelings... I have my whole life. I am writing more and I enjoy it as it is a release. But I do relive my moments each day that I am currently dealing with that. I am happy to have a friend like you.. you can share openly and to heal others and make us know that we are not alone. I love you for that and thank you. Love to you Mandy.” Sherri Apple Annie