Depression: Even Happy People Get It. (Moi Included!)

ElephantJournal#2First official Blog post of the new site… so much pressure…

NOT! I’ve actually been really excited to start up again. I was incredibly stagnant in my creativity and writing the past few months.

Apparently I had a lot of planets in retrograde and that was supposedly slowing things down…Yep, that was it. And although I do believe in astrology, I think the truth of the matter was that my life was in a downward suck slide and it didn’t bode well for being able to focus on helping and inspiring other people.

Which brings me to the topic of the week… DEPRESSION. Because nobody really wants to talk openly about this. I mean, if someone you know is depressed, that’s one thing. We can talk all day about how badly we feel for them and all the reasons they have to be depressed and spout off all our opinions about what they should do to get themselves out of it…

Then there’s our own depression.

Yep. Our own. That’s harder right? To admit we are depressed about anything? Especially if we have a good life. Especially if we have a pretty great life.  A great job, a loving family, good physical health. Maybe we even have some beautiful material things too. A cozy home, a reliable car, things surrounding us that bring us joy and make us feel good. So what’s there to be depressed about?

This was the case with me just a few months ago. Nothing in particular happened. Yet, 20 tiny things happened over time and started building up and as most of us do, we power through because we have things to do and lives to live and we don’t have time to sweat the small stuff going on.

In fact, some of that stuff is so insignificant and happening regularly that we are actually unconscious that it’s having any emotional effect on us at all.

Maybe your workload has increased and it’s been a bit more stressful at work. Maybe you recently had a falling out with a close friend. Maybe your marriage or relationship hasn’t been fulfilling for a long time and you’re starting to really feel it.

Whatever it is, we tend to push these things down as a normal part of life and power through. Because they don’t seem to be a big deal and we’ve been taught in our culture to “carry on”.

Until one day you’re going about your day as normal and you friggin’ LOSE YOUR SHIT.  It starts as this kinda empty feeling in the pit of your stomach and then turns into this sorta anxious feeling in your chest area and you’re breathing starts to feel a little labored and constricted.

Then you realize you have a lump in your throat and you feel like you’re about to cry. But like… WTF is going on because you’re just driving to work listening to Drake sing about some vey rad “Hotline Bling”. And before you know it, you’ve gone from pretending you’re Beyonce singing with Drake to BALLING YOUR EYES OUT!

And you can’t stop.

So being we’re all extremely curious and wondering how this applies to me, I’ll get real with you…

That was me just 3 months ago.

I was on an upswing one moment…. Coming off a great New Years Retreat with Jen Pastiloff in Ojai, having met someone I really connected with and was excited to date and get to know more. I was feeling more comfortable in the role of being a single mom and feeling like I had a good system going now where before I was hanging on by a thread.

Then before I knew what was happening, I was feeling anxious, desperately lonely, isolated and immobilized. I went from loving my alone time to panicking on the drive home because all the sudden being alone felt so…. BLACK. I used to fill the nights my kids were with their dad with Yoga class or coaching clients or writing.

 But all of the sudden my nights without my kids became something I dreaded. And so I started the downward spiral… This is how it went…

“I can’t believe I’m doing this alone. I’m always going to be alone. I’ll never have a real family again. My entire family is in NJ and I can’t be with them when I’m feeling like this. I met this great guy and he’s never here in LA and I feel even lonelier because he doesn’t seem to really be that invested in me anyway… which of course he isn’t because this is like…. a *really* good guy and he doesn’t want to take on dating a single mom with all this baggage when he can date a hot Tinder girl half my age…”

“I betcha right now at this very moment  he’s trying to figure out how to let me down easy and get out of this because he feels sorry for me. And dammit – I don’t want people feeling sorry for me! I feel soooo isolated.!! I hate living so far away from everyone.  I have no support out here. How did I end up here? WHEN WILL THIS GET EASIER?”

SPIRAL DOWN, SPIRAL DOWN, SPIRAL DOWN.

Sound familiar? Because you’re not alone. Depression happens. And we can’t be ashamed of if.

So this time around, here’s what I did when I went to that place…

 ~ I CALLED MY CLOSEST FRIENDS & ASKED FOR SUPPORT.  I cried, I talked. I psycho-analyzed everything with them.  I asked them to come over and be with me. I never used to do this. I would isolate and then pretend everything was fine. DON’T DO THIS. IT WON’T GET YOUR OUT OF THE DEPRESSION.

~ I CALLED MY MOM.  And I actually admitted that I was depressed. Like, full on sob show revealing this horror to her.  I try not to involve my family in my personal day to day dramas. It’s too hard for them when they are so far away. But I’ve learned over the years that more than anything they always want to be there to support me no matter what I’m going through. And just talking to my mom for like 15 minutes every day made all the difference in the world.

~ I MEDITATED, PRAYED & SURRENDERED IT.  I knew these feelings would pass. I knew I was just healing something on a deeper level. So I meditated daily, prayed for God to take what I was feeling and help me release it and than surrendered to the icky, uncomfortable feelings, knowing on the deepest level of my soul that this too would pass and I’d be back to myself soon.

~ I GAVE TO OTHERS.   As much as I could, I would try to help somebody else every day. It allowed me to focus on someone besides myself and the emptiness I was feeling by being of service to someone else who needed me.

~ I GOT MOTIVATED.  I listed to every motivational/inspiring You tube video I could find… In the mornings while I got ready for work. On the drive to work. On the drive home. As I was falling to sleep every night. There are so many amazing spiritual teachers and inspiring people out in the world who have done Ted Talks or Commencement speeches or interviews online. All I had to do was google it, and a new one would come up to listen to daily. These SAVED ME.

~ I FLED TO MOMMY & DADDY.  I flew home to NJ and allowed myself to be embraced and held by the people I love most. Because there is nothing like your family when you’re at your lowest point to help you through it.

And guess what happened? It passed. It passed as quickly as it came. And I realized why this time  around it passed quicker than it has in the past.

BECAUSE I DID THINGS DIFFERENTLY. I didn’t do what I’ve always done before. What I’d always done before never worked. Do something you didn’t do last time if you want different results. DON’T KEEP SPIRALING. Talk about it. Ask people to help you. Get yourself out there and be with people.

Write to me. I get it. If you feel nobody else will, you got me. I get it.

And just know that this too shall pass.

3 thoughts on “Depression: Even Happy People Get It. (Moi Included!)

  1. First, you write absolutely beautifully. I enjoy reading your words and often feel your spirit when I do.

    I have two children (teen and young adult) who struggle with varying degrees of depression. Your description of the negative thinking is spot on. And it isn’t easy to change the voice in your head. And for people who haven’t been through it, or been close to someone who has, it can be terribly difficult to understand.
    For one child, Cognitive Behavior therapy was very helpful. For my daughter, Dialectical behavior therapy has been a real help. In fact, this summer a local therapist offered a DBT boot camp of sorts. And it was awesome. A week of learning and practicing and it appears to have really made a difference.
    Learning what helps is so important, but depression is evil and often sucks the motivation right out of you and then you are paralyzed so you can’t move forward. Having people around you to help is essential.
    Good luck on your new website and your new journey!

    Like

  2. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve felt many, many times without getting what was happening. And it did and does pass.

    Love the website, love the message.

    Like

  3. Well I just had one of those ball my eyes moment this week! I felt so positive the day before, was happy thinking this is it, I’m finally feeling better, I’m going to beat this! Woke up the next day and my heart hurt, my mind so heavy with sadness. My husband was home on vacation, I just couldn’t pretend I was ok. I told him I needed to lay down which is normal with having fibromylagia. I absolutely lost it when I hit the bed, trying to silently hysterically cry, not easy. For the first time I cried about being molested as a child (which I just remembered over a year ago). At first I was happy to find out why I was so fd up. But this day I cried because my Uncle ruined my life! The bad things I have done in my past because of the abuse, that I have been beating myself up for. Terrible decisions, bad behavior, hurting people I loved. Just to get attention from men, I learned at the age of 5 through 8 that love from men meant I had to do things. Crying silently that I can’t live like this anymore, the pain was too much. Between how sick I am with fibro and the emotional beating I am under. All I wanted was a hug saying it will be ok. But no one hears my silent cries of pain. That’s what I was taught, don’t bother anyone, be strong, stay silent. I am completely alone. I have had a horrific couple of years and was so out of my mind that everyone ran. The start of my down fall started when i lost my brother in law at 47, which we had to make the decision to pull the plug and watched him die for a week, my only son was going to college and my fibro was bad. All of a sudden I was stuck in my own thoughts. I kept so busy with my son’s travel hockey and taking care of him that when he left for the first time I was alone in my own head. Over a year later my molestation came out with help from Dina, she saved me! Here I am a year and a half later crying hysterically still silent. My family doesn’t want to hear about it. Some don’t believe me. I happen to pull up your blog I haven’t been able to read it yet. And this post comes up. Couldn’t of been better timing! It gave me hope that some day I can possibly pull myself out of it. I’m still working on that part. My brain is fried from the fibro, find it hard to focus between that and all the shit in my head. Thank you Dina for always finding a way to help me! Love you!

    Like

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