"Where do I start?
How can I feel better?
It is never going to end.
Why does it always end up this way?
I just want to die."
I would be lying if I said I never thought those things . In fact, for the majority of my life they were constants.
"I'm never going to be happy."
A lot of people will tell you to change your mindset, to just tell yourself to be happy, to be in gratitude, to be in the sunshine.
For me, it was this statement that changed my life. "I am never going to be happy." I know this may seem counterintuitive but please hear me out. What also came into my being that day when I surrendered to always being sad was a huge bout of acceptance. It was radical and it was different than what anyone else had ever told me or led me to believe.
When I stepped into my sadness (my personal darkness) I made myself comfortable with being there. I stopped trying to fight it and chase what everyone else was doing. I let myself finally just be.
I think one of the worst things we face when dealing with elongated periods of sadness we learn to be "depression" (which I associate with a disconnection from Self) is the judgement we put upon ourselves. It is the tragedy within the tragedy. This is harmful as we blame ourself for not being able to be happy or be like everyone else and the shame cycle gets thrown into the mix...
GUESS WHAT! What I have learnt by sharing my story with so many people from different walks of life is that they feel the same way you do, in their own way of course.
When I said, "this has been how I have felt for ten years, I might as well get used to it" something shifted, I was 19 and had been meditating for 1 year and was just wondering what it would take to finally get out of this depression. I was happy with my life, my friends, my relationships - I was lying to myself, even as I write this I feel the illusion creeping in. I was 19 and working 7 days a week at a bar in my home city and making some friendships that will last a life time. What I was also doing was drinking excessively like every night until 3,4,5,6,7am...It changed but it was constant. I love these memories and will cherish those I met and worked beside for the following 4 years. But like I said, as I write this, I feel the illusion of happiness creeping in. Me telling myself I was happy, I wasn't really. But to me, that was the happiest I had felt in a very long time. I started drinking a lot, I was functioning and I went to work and I paid my bills, I went to school and I went on vacation, but I wasn't happy.
I wasn't sure how to get happy.
I didn't really know what would even make me happy - that's how little I knew myself.
"I might as well learn to live with it." I accepted myself for the first time and it was the true beginning of my journey home. My journey back to myself after a life time of being disconnected due to a number of factors.
Here I sit today (at 29 years of age), happy, in love with myself and working on cultivating the life of my dreams because yes, anyone can choose to create the life they desire. I recognize my privilege. I have also been working since I was 15 and began making dinners for my family when I was 12. My life has been a balance of privilege and struggle. It is quite beautiful for me to look back on knowing what I know now.
When I talk about stepping into the darkness and accepting yourself for all that you are, this is where the beauty starts. This is where the work starts. This is where the shifts happen.
When we burry our heads in the sand and disconnect from our feelings, body and life, our darkness seem so overwhelming that we feel like we're drowing, we can't breathe and we have no where to go. What's up panic attacks, anxiety attacks and chlosterphobia...
When we accept our pain as part of us and we let ourself understand that it is part of our life and our story and who we are going to be. We also let go of the expectation that we are going to "get better" as we step into the knowing that there is nothing wrong with us.
"Our shadow is with us for life, why not make it your ally?" - Jessy Dawson
Next time you feel yourself drowning, let yourself know
"I am okay, it is going to be okay."
Let yourself get mad, cry, scream, throw something, stab a pillow (one of my favourite when I was 15 for getting out aggression), go throw some axes (because yes, that is a thing where I live), jiu jitsu, dance, baseball, movie, walk, journal, have a shower, meditate, do nothing because even that is something.
Let yourself feel the freedom by no longer trapping yourself in the emotions we are told are good.
There is a rainbow of feelings and emotions out there, when we learn what they are, we learn how to exist with them and one day, eventually freeing ourself from the control of the emotions (emotions are ego in action).
May you forever be able to walk with your head high into your darkness to offer yourself love, acceptance and forgiveness.
For it is in the darknes of corners that you will start to feel the true freedom.
Always with love, forgiveness and gratitude,