Sometimes people ask me to write about special topics they feel confused or unhappy about.
I love it when that happens.
The other day an inquirer asked me to write about depression, and not really understanding why.
In some ways, most feelings start out without full explanation.
They envelope the body, course through our torso, our face feels hot, our stomach fluttery.
What does depression feel like?
I remember it well.
Like a huge volume dial has been turned down to one, where it was once at a ten, all around the heart. This quiet, dead feeling expanded down my arms and legs.
Tired, heavy, curled over in the gut, feeling like I couldn't stand up.
The word depression sounds like it feels.....pressed down deeeeep.
Long ago a therapist, or perhaps a workshop leader, said depression was anger or grief imploding inwards.
Trapped, stuck, flattened.
But I don't want to turn it outwards! That would result in raging at other people, or sobbing my eyes out, expressing how disturbing I find the world, acting crazy....right?
I can't just start FEELING right in front of everyone!
If you find the very idea horrifying, there is a way to slow this process of uncovering and taking the pressure off the implosion slowly, one thought by one thought at a time.
Like easing the air out of a big blown up balloon.
Don't go thinking you'll have to identify 1480 thoughts before the depression lifts, that's just another depressing thought.
So here goes:
If your feeling of depression could talk and you set it in a chair, looking like a big lump of gray mottled nasty something, what would it say?
What are the ideas it has about what hurts, what feels painful, what you object to?
- Life is difficult
- I can't stand "x"
- My work situation is "y"
- My family life is unpleasant because "z"
- What I really hate about life is "q"
Once you have that first idea, write why you think this thought.
Find your proof.
Don't talk yourself out of the exercise and say it's not all that bad, you already know life is good, you were just kidding.
Pretend you're not kidding.
"Life is difficult".
Why? Make a list. Write what seems difficult about being alive here on planet earth.
See if you can make it personal, as in, what is difficult for YOU about being here.
If you give yourself only 15 minutes to write, give or take a few minutes, you will follow the breadcrumbs to what ails you, what you're believing and thinking at a deep level.
You will have one step on this dark journey taken, like driving on a foggy, foggy road with headlights on very slowly going 5 mph. It doesn't matter that you're moving so slowly, and it's so hard to see. You still see something.
Here's the good news: nothing stays the same.
It may feel like you've been depressed for months, years. But no feeling, not even joy, is full powered on 24/7.
Once you have one thought, the one on top, you can take it through inquiry.
Get someone to facilitate you. Write out your answers. Call me, Grace, and make an appointment for an individual session, I'd be honored to work with you.
Most of all, while you're exploring the darkness...let it stay there.
Don't try to push it away or turn on all the lights at once. If they're going to do that, they will in due time all by themselves.
Welcome the darkness, the depression. Have tea with it. It's hear for an important reason, with something significant to say.
You don't want to get rid of it too soon to understand its message.
Deep breath. Go. No expectations.
"It's good that it hurts. Pain is the signal that you're confused, that you're in a lie." ~ Byron Katie