In this post, I’m sharing my personal struggle and the things that helped heal me in some way. This is my journey, my experience. I’m not a mental health professional. Please do not confuse my post as advice on how to deal with and/or overcome sadness and/or depression.
It seems my last post was sometime in February. I apologize for being MIA the past couple of months. It’s been rough to say the least. I hit a wall. Figuratively speaking. I literally woke up one morning feeling like my heart space was filled with grey, heavy, lumpy goo. It held me down like rock. When I experienced this feeling, I realized that I “hit” that wall of depression. Depression. Self-loathing. Sadness. Hopelessness. Again. “Not again,” I thought. I thought I “over” this for good.
Anyway, it took awhile to stop crying. It took weeks before I felt like I could pick myself up again. It took about a month before I felt confident enough to keep moving forward as I had done before. And man, I tell ya, moving forward is hard work! Hard work because it often felt easier to sit in the dark and cry. While I do believe crying can be cathartic and healing, there was a point where I knew I couldn’t do it forever and that I hated feeling this way.
This is the part where I draw on my experiences in yoga… Soon after, I made a conscious effort to turn inward. I turned to what I call, “the quiet”. Instead of shoving these feelings aside, I decided to reign them in. I felt like I needed to acknowledge them, tell them to go away, let them go away, and move on. In effect, I started retreating to a quiet space to just breathe. And think. And as it turns out, meditate.
Now I’m making the assumption that I’m probably like many, or at least a few of you– intimidated and a bit weary of meditation and the thought of sitting still for chunks of time. Left alone with lord knows what floating inside that vast head space! Afraid of what might come up. Or wondering if there’s even enough time during the day to simply sit still and breathe! I get it! I’m with you!
But I’m also a firm believer in honouring what your mind, body, and spirit “crave”. And after some time, my mind, body and spirit were craving a quiet space to breathe. A quiet space to think and release. A quiet space to just be. So I did it. I found solace in a soft armchair. Sat upright. Shoulders down and relaxed. Closed my eyes and started following a guided mediation. I breathed. I sat. Breathed. Sat. Let whatever emotion come to the surface, exhaled with all my heart and let it go. Sometimes my mind went to my to-do list. When it did, I let it sit with me for a few seconds. Then I exhaled and let it go. When my mind went to sadness, I let it surface. Exhaled and let it go. Other times, I had an itch to scratch. I scratched it, exhaled and let it go. Depending on my day, I noticed the same emotion surfacing over and over again. I let myself be frustrated, exhaled and let it go.
Soon, I found myself using a visual technique my former yoga instructor used during savasana. I imagined inhaling light into each part of my body. This light would morph into a ball of light. While I breathed, this ball of light would gingerly travel to each part creating space, and “zapping” away all of the heavy, gloomy junk that was holding me down. I started with my feet and worked my way up to the crown of my head. It really helped me. It still does. 🙂
For the first time in months, I finally feel a sense of clarity. I feel like I’m finally on track to being myself again. Yipee! But it wasn’t only quiet mediation that put me on that healing path again. And as simple as it sounds, it’s a lot of work. I had Thai Yoga therapy; kicked up my exercise routine; recommitted to a more balanced diet, played with my dogs more, gave myself permission to make mistakes, cried; acknowledged the changes happening in my life; stopped making so many changes to my life; revamped my Yoga practice; talked to my support system; stopped putting myself down and started some positive self-talk; began limiting the time I spent with toxic people; and started taking everything one step at at time. Geez. All of this looks great on screen doesn’t it? Truth is, I struggle. Frequently. I’m OK with that too. I am a work in progress after all. While I don’t always have the time to sit quietly each day, I find wee moments when I turn to breath. I close my eyes and breathe. In some of my darkest moments, I feel like it’s breath that saves me.