Sometimes the only way to begin again is to just start. Start anywhere. Start from where you are. Start from what feels safe. Start from what feels certain. It doesn't have to be big and monumental. It just has to move you from inaction to action. Our bodies and minds need motion and our insecurities and self-doubt feed off of slack and isolation.
I have just come up for air after 6 long weeks of one of my most frightening dips of depression. It blindsided me after coming off of such a magnificent high and euphoria of rest and recuperation and focus and drive. At the beginning, I felt the familiar twinges beginning to surface but I felt strong, confident and armed with the tools I know to use to ward things off. But then my security and reality set in and it quickly came crashing down, rather quickly, and despite my best efforts, I fell further and further into the hole of despair until I reached my lowest of lows and found myself questioning life, my own life and how easy it would be to end my suffering. The brain is an incredible organ. It can be your friend one minute, and a devil the next. I know I am remarkable and would never harm myself. I value my life and the space that it fills in this world. But there I was, inconsolable, feeling lonelier than I ever had before, and feeling invisible again, feeling forgotten, feeling at a loss at how the world couldn't see how desperately I wanted to participate in it through my smile, my laughter, my heart, my gifts, and wanting miserably to be told, even by just a whisper on the wind, "You are valued." Such a short, sweet, immensely profound statement that my own voice could not simply convince my own brain to acknowledge at the moment. And it really fucking sucked, literally it sucked the life force out of me and left me utterly defeated. At that point, I honestly gave in and gave up and I let it win because I couldn't see any other way out of it.
The last few years have been a constant struggle of highs and lows, more so than any other time in my life. I've never been a truly religious person although I've often believed there is an entity greater than what we know, helping to guide our energy where it needs to go and ultimately helping us navigate this big crazy thing we call life. Some might argue that it's because I'm lacking a relationship with God that I'm feeling lost and abandoned. I say, thanks, but no thanks. If God was so merciful then why am I suffering so much? Age old question and to each his own. I am mindful to pay attention to any cues or lessons I need to learn, but some of this just feels like torture for torture's sake. I am kind and I am good and I've done nothing to bring this upon myself and I refuse to accept that this is my cross to bear for whatever reason. Life will go on, and I will too. These ebbs and flows will change me but I just need to take care that they don't completely evaporate me.
So I started by standing in the shower and just letting the water cleanse away my sorrow. I stood under that water for what seemed like hours. I visualized the hurt, my despair caking off my body and falling like clumps into the drain and getting flushed away. I let myself feel naked and uncertain and I let that be enough. I looked at myself in the mirror and had sympathy for the woman who stared back at me. I acknowledged her and told her she was enough. Then I dragged my heavy heart out to the water's edge and sat on a large rock and watched birds, beautiful, elegant birds flying and landing in front of me, just being birds. When I breathed I felt the weight of my sorrow slowly lifting. It was enough. I found that bookmark where I had left off and knew I had turned a page. I was slowly emerging, my soul returning.
It has been about four days since this turning point and what has become apparent to me is this: the further I turn away from that which fuels me, the deeper I sink into choosing something that is not true for me. What you are attracted to, passionate about gives you purpose and definition. Tapping into that, whether it be one thing or many, keeps stoking that fire of possibility and hope. We all need that force in us if we want to stand a chance of making it. I have had many moments when this drain of depression robs me of even some of my simplest joys and it's disheartening as hell. My only advice is this: find one thing you know will pull you back into participating in life again so you have it as your go-to when you're mired in the quicksand. Really, ask yourself, what healthy triggers can you count on to reconnect you to life? Keep a list and keep them close. These will be your life raft. I love the water but I'm not ready to drown in it over this. None of us deserve to.