Maya Angelou’s words always so beautiful, often over-used. But this really jumped out at me today.
Oh dear reader it’s been a while. Looking back I’m not sure when it all started to go wrong – but my life went very wrong this year. So please forgive my absence. I just couldn’t write – my dreams were constantly haunted by this huge daunting empty white page and I was entirely impotent in being able to do anything about it.
It was horrible. Writing, for me, is like breathing. It’s what I need to do to stay alive, to stay well, to have purpose. Blogging is like the wild west of writing – it is thrilling in its rawness, messiness and sheer creativity. No ashen-faced editors forcing emotions into neatly packaged paragraphs and word counts – just a playground of creativity and self expression. Maybe this makes it harder/less rewarding for the reader … or maybe it allows us all to romp around in somebody else’s mind for a moment of two…. I find that such a rich and exciting concept.
So back to what went wrong? I’m not going to go into great detail as it feels too like wallowing and, perhaps, a tad too personal. So I am thinking about you dear reader – what will you find interesting about what happened to me?
So here goes. It felt like one day the lights just went out. Of course in hindsight they’d been dimming for some while – but one day I just woke up and nothing seemed to matter anymore. All the fizz, fire and enthusiasm I’d always had for life just seemed to evaporate. It was scary I don’t mind admitting – I reached down deep inside for all the resilience, bounce back and emotional strength I’d spent a lifetime cultivating and it felt like somebody had siphoned it all away.
In truth before this year I’d been – secretly perhaps – of the school of thought that if you had enough guts, will and stamina you could get through anything. I’d kind of proved that – or so I thought. I don’t feel like this anymore and I have the most enormous respect for anybody who goes through this darkness and comes out again. You are the strongest of the strong!
I feel so lucky to have had a brush with depression and no more than that – but it was worrying and I’m not intending on visiting it again anytime soon. Here are some of my insights which I hope may help somebody out there:
- Curiosity and imagination are human super powers. Letting the mind run wild with creativity – dancing, reading, writing, painting – all well-known “medicines” for low mood. Sadly depression seems to kill imagination stone dead. I believe anything you can do – even if you don’t feel like it – to get your imagination working again will really help.
- Having an authentic voice and speaking your truth may be a concept that is sniggered at in the mainstream media. But the experts know that it is key pillar of good mental health. I’m with Megan on this one – good self esteem is built on the ability to have a voice in the world – and heavens knows we need good loud voices in these times more than ever. Every time you go along with something that goes against your values you are seriously damaging your self esteem and therefore your potential happiness levels . Get assertive, never aggressive (it doesn’t work) and practice stating your truth even/especially if it is very different from other people’s. Connecting properly is an anecdote to loneliness and isolation whilst false connections feed these things.
- Ditch people pleasing once and for all. Really dear reader promise yourself you will place this most awful of human behaviours on the fire once and for all – it is toxic to you above anybody else and is a quick and certain route to depression. Shout that from the roof tops. Expect/demand mutual respect, love and consideration from everybody in your life. People will treat you exactly the way you let them treat you.
- Adopt a kind and compassionate outlook – this will attract like minded people to you and will make life more joyous. This entirely different from people pleasing! There are sadly some horrible people in the world – they probably weren’t born that way they’ve been hurt along the way. Don’t try and change them – you can’t but you can waste an enormous amount of life energy trying too – but you don’t have to hate them. Hate is like a boomerang it flies back at you and poisons your soul. If somebody is making you feel an emotion this is a big clue as to what is going on in their internal world – so kind avoidance is an excellent strategy.
And finally this year I went back to school to fulfil a lifelong ambition to embark on clinical training in psychotherapy. So my plans for the New Year are to share some of my learning with you as I move and grow in the course in an accessible/plain English kind of way.
Please stay tuned and as always love hearing from you and thank you for all your lovely supportive messages.