Tuesday 10th October, 2017 – World Mental Health Day..
Part of me wishes it wasn’t necessary to have such a day in the calendar, but the other part of me tear up by the thought of it and make me feel immense gratitude for living in a world where Mental Health is being acknowledged, supported and treated.
I feel grateful for living in such a world now, however, I also feel like I partly experienced a world where it wasn’t understood or very supported.. That world existed only 13 years ago, and I was in the very thick of it, fighting for, what felt like, simply being able to live life..
Rewind 13 years..
I was only 15 years old when I was diagnosed with ‘depression’.. I think, mum felt like she was way out of her depth with me, and finally sent me to a psychologist.. Something I was very hesitant to do, because I wasn’t ‘crazy’ or ‘nuts in my head’! I went alone.. Just like I felt.. The experience resembled how I felt on the inside. Lonely and empty.
When I told mum that I’d been diagnosed with depression her response was: ‘There, there. You just have to get up and get going.. You’ll be fine. I was once depressed too, but I had to pull myself out of it, too. There’s no one here to do it for you’… Which is, partially, right – but, at the age of 15 I wasn’t on the spiritual path that I am now, and all I wanted, then and there, was for mum to hold me, love me and make everything better..
I tried.. I really did. I tried to ‘get up and get going’, but I suppose that is the biggest thing when it comes to mental health – depression and anxiety in particular – you just can’t.
No matter how much you WANT TO, you feel like you’re anchored down. To your bed, to the floor, to a corner.. The world seems like it is swallowing you in one whole piece, and all you can do is watch it all go by.
Seconds feel like hours, days, months.. You’re tired.. All the time. You can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t think, you can’t smile. Hell, you can’t even cry or scream. You are emotionless, but at the same time, you feel it all; in every single part of your body. It pierces your soul and it lingers in your stomach. Everything is dark, and the light is very rare and far in between.
So, trust me when I say: I do understand – more than anyone. But, the thing was; no-one understood me. And perhaps that was the hardest part. For years I lived as a depressed and sad girl with no spark for life what-so-ever. And this was now at the age of 17. Everyone looked at me like I was the weird girl, people felt sorry for me but, didn’t want to ask why I felt the way I did and I was judged every-day by how skinny I was because the depression stole my appetite and joy I had for food and cooking.
My turning-point came when I was 17.. But that turning-point only came from hitting a low. Something to talk about another time..
Back then I started on anti-depressants after having gone to a psychologist 2 x weekly for 1 whole year, where either my mum or dad would go with me and wait outside the door until I was done. I will admit, back then I needed the anti-depressants. I was so depressed, and I was so unexperienced about life and myself, my connecting to my true self and the path I had to go on in life. I know, back then, it was the right choice for me and I don’t regret it one bit. The mix of a psychologist that truly understood me, the support & love from my mum and dad and the anti-depressants saved my life..
But it wasn’t the fairytale ending of ‘depression cured = TICK!’.. I suffered for many years ahead – but in periods. However, I had another very big low at the age of 23, that once and for all knocked me around and made realise how serious I needed to take this. And by the help, LOVE and support from my friends in particular, I really turned my life around.
However, this time, I took the shift from a ‘conventional approach’ to embracing my spiritual awakening and practice which now is my ‘medicine’ for my mental health. Anti-depressants isn’t for me, personally, any longer and they haven’t been for many years now. I feel as if they shut off my connection to my higher self, and I have a real hard time finding the ‘direct line’ to above.
The mind is a peculiar thing, but if there’s one thing I keep coming back to when I feel depressed, anxious or stressed it is this:
I am not my thoughts, and my thoughts are not me. Same as; I am not my emotions, and my emotions are not me. Everything passes, and so will this. But I must sit through the learning of these times in order to progress in my spiritual journey.
My ‘medicine’ now is meditation and continuously listening to and learning about the spiritual practice that is of the body, mind and my higher self; all of which are really the same and never separated. If we ever do think it is, it is simply an illusion.
What makes me feel good? Beach-walks and putting my toes in the sand, diving into the sea and being one with the water, practising yoga in nature and flowing freely as we are all meant to do through life, meditation every morning and afternoon and connecting fully with my subconscious mind, laughing with my friends and loving. Loving, staying soft, open, exposed. Exposed to everything that is life, that I can only truly feel if I cast away my fear and see through the lense of love.
If you are reading this and you are in the dark, let me promise you this; there is light. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s brighter than you’ve ever experienced it before. I understand, I truly do. I understand you may not understand, but try to believe. Believe there is a world out there which is full of love, joy and peace, where your mind is not debilitating you or running your life.
It is no shame to admit we need help. Just as if you break an arm and you get it in a cast, so should you take care of your mental health if you’re struggling. If you speak up, others may want to as well. Just as I’m sharing my story in the hope that it will help just a single person, so should you ask for help if you feel like the world is overwhelming. There is no shame. And you are never alone. But it’s time to stop suffering in silence.
Let me repeat that.. There is no shame. And you are never, ever alone!
Sending love and light, always – Caroline xx