My Brief Winter Depression
Feeling compelled, and at the same time, repelled about the writing on which I am about to embark!
As weird as it feels for a decidedly private person, I’ve resigned myself to writing this latest little personal journey of mine and share it with the public. Not something that I feel completely safe doing, as for a very long time, I stopped sharing my emotional journeys widely with others.
When I was younger (and far, far more naive), I used to overshare all the time. It left me open for others opinions when I didn’t want them (and judgements), and as I grew older, I learnt which people I could trust, and with what information. So, this little blog post is actually far from comfortable for me to write, and yet on the other hand, I no longer actually care so much what others think of me. Think full circle (oh the joys of being in my mid-late 40’s)!
In the last month I have experienced what can be called an acute episode of depression. Acute because it only lasted just under 3 weeks (chronic is when it goes on and on). I went down like a sack of potatoes, and I had no idea what was going on for me. Well, I sort of did, but the depression was so overwhelming, I just wallowed in it for a while and did a lot of sleeping, withdrawing, thinking and introspection.
Finally, after a few weeks of wallow time, I came to a decision. I recognised what was going on (I was overloaded). I had to take stock of what I could realistically do, where my heart was, where my future really lay and make some tough decisions.
I realised my depression was due to not only being overloaded, but also about being stubborn about letting go of stuff that wasn’t meant to be in my life anymore. I was holding onto to some stuff that I was emotionally attached to (think love – I loved the teams I was attached to, the philosophy of the organisations and programs, the people, everything) …. So why was I struggling? I COULD manage if I really pushed myself… I was capable, skilled and willing to do everything I needed to do, but…..
My body and my soul knew differently to my mind and my heart… and I crashed.
Bring forward the epiphany that was a result of all the internal work I was doing as a result of this depression. I had to make a decision, and it was HARD. Not only did I have to be totally honest about having had an ‘emotional breakdown’ of sorts to people I did not want to let know I was feeling this way (think of letting go of appearances and that oh so prized reputation), I had to let go of some things in my life that I was holding onto very tightly. I ended up sending 2 different emails of very similar content (and yet not). And I released.
One of those emails resulted in a phone call that had me blubbering like a baby (thank you to my wonderful friend and colleague for giving me the space), and I found out a few other things that I was hiding from myself (including an area of my life and business that I constantly am in denial about – lets just say budgeting skills are involved), and move onto the next day.
The next day I was still feeling emotionally exhausted, worried that I had made the right decision (I call this a decision making hangover), and had a mild migraine (hahahaha – mild migraine is an oxymoron isn’t it, but when I say mild, I mean that I headed it off at the pass with a shit load of headache medication and a sleep), and then allowed myself a day to equilibrate .
Bring me to a few days later, and although I’m still somewhat emotionally sad and disappointed about having to let go of things that I didn’t want to (even though it was proving to be just all too much, and, ultimately directions that were moving in the wrong direction for me), I feel so light, purposeful, creative, energetic and strong again. Just a little bit of an emotional hangover, but nothing I can’t handle…
Anyway, the purpose of this blog post is to share that EVERYONE has their own bag of junk to handle and that having a journey like this makes a person wiser and stronger, not weaker for having had it. Mental health, depression and anxiety are universal experiences, and dealing with our hidden stuff is usually pretty much essential in being able to move forward. What are you holding onto that is no longer serving your path and purpose, and is causing you to feel stuck?
What are you scared of facing and letting go of?
I promise you there is always a toll, but the relief is worth the brief amount of pain involved in letting go. And share. Sharing and talking out loud is surprisingly (and always) cathartic. Just make sure you pick the right person/time and space. It wouldn’t have been helpful if the person I shared with had been judgemental, trying to solve my problem, or unable to hear what I had to say. This was imperative. He also knew what questions to ask, and how and when to ask them. Professional help (or a proven close friend/buddy that always knows what to say), is probably one of THE most important keys here.
Had I spoken to someone else who had their own fears about my story and pushed me to stay where I was, I wouldn’t be feeling like this today. I would still be feeling scared, stuck and miserable.
One thing is for sure, holding onto stuff Is not the way to heal or move forward. I know this – that’s why I wanted to train and learn about being a counsellor/psychotherapist and coach in the first place. I’ve experienced this time and time again over the years, and I’ve also dragged some things out for years – holding onto the past and the pain like a crazy woman and wondering why I was depressed!
Now I can process something in 3 short weeks – aint that grand!
Much love, light and blessings,
Love Jules x