My path to surviving Clinical depression and getting my life back
by N J HowellHow to recognize depression
No Stranger to Depression am I.
review by N J Howell
I have survived three or four bouts of what a mental health professional would have diagnosed as clinical depression. At least one of those times, I went thru standard medical care for clinical depression, which included antidepressant meds and counseling for depression. The next few times, I was a little wiser and realized that the emergence of depression was because of a soul-level, spiritual crisis and that all the pills in the world would not fix it.
The reason I want to share my personal experiences with depression is because all three were caused, at least in part, by resistance to changes my soul knew I had to make. I believe resistance to our soul's call is one of the major ways of thinking that chemically confuses our brain and causes depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. For me, surviving clinical depression depended a great deal on surrender and the allowing of grace, as well as owning the emotional trauma of my childhood in a way that empowered rather than decimated.
Begin the Beguine - My First Waltz with Surviving Clinical Depression
The first of my dances with depression came when it was time for me to remember and heal childhood abuse that I had completely blocked out until I was 28 years old. I went through a terrible time of wanting to die, feeling totally devoid of joy, etc. Although prescribed antidepressants at times, I was never diagnosed with clinical depression. There's a simple reason for that. When I was at my lowest, I was too depressed to seek help. I do not need a doctor to tell me I was clinically depressed. I had no will to live. I could not imagine the pieces of my shattered self could cohere again into a joyful life pattern. The emotional trauma scars felt too deep and pervasive to heal and I was my own worst enemy when I tried to start the healing process.
In my case, I did not remember the childhood abuse I suffered until I was 28 years old. Even then, when I finally got a glimpse of a past too painful to hold in conscious memory, it was difficult to accept. I said I wanted to know and to heal but that was just my conscious mind speaking. At an unconcious level, I had so much inner resistance to admitting and being with what had happened that I had to wear myself completely down, mentally, before I would allow remembrance.
It took a tremendous amount of energy to fight remembering, which is why I always felt dead inside back then but I was unconsciously terrified allow so much feeling, and begin the process of healing my badly wounded inner child. I needed an incredibly strong wall of protection around me when I was young and it just hardened as I grew older. It was like literally breaking through a brick wall in my consciousness, to find the little one trapped within.
After I began to heal that sweet, innocent and beautiful part of myself, I looked back on my life up til then and realized I'd probably been depressed, to a lesser degree, ever since the abuse. It was logical. I had suppressed feelings about something very emotional traumatic. Keeping that emotional trauma suppressed was pretty much a full time job after that.
Another bout of deeply serious period of depression, I would say definitely major clinical depression, occurred when my spiritual marriage of seven years ended. I literally lay in bed for months, crying. I lost 30 pounds in 2 months and truly wanted to just die. When I look back on that event, that was also resistance. I knew, early into that relationship, that we lived far too different types of lifestyles to ever make it but I lied to myself for years. Many people do. When I finally had to let go, it was devastating. Surviving clinical depression again required a dark night of the soul for me that lasted two years.
And recently, I had a third round of what I'd classify as clinical depression. This time, menopause played a big role but also, resistance again. I resisted the fact that a dream I'd had all my life, of working in substantial roles as an actor, was not one I had the will to bring into manifestation. I did not want it badly enough to pay the price of living in Los Angeles, and living that life of auditions, rejections, and driving all day in monstrous traffic. Nothing there fed my soul, not even the work when I got it, because I was miserable living there. I knew this dream was over when I went back to Los Angeles. I went back to Los Angeles twice, in fact, coming back home to Alabama in between very expensive trips to L.A..
Each time I returned to Hollywood, I tried to ignore how abrasive and unpleasant the energy was there, for me. The unending traffic, the smog, the desperation in the air from thousands of actors all wanting the same few roles. It was poison to my soul. So, after the second time back, I had to look at whether I wanted to poison myself, to obtain the other goal. It wasn't worth it. But what do you do, after you let go of your last dream?
Additionally, in that same period of time, I realized that my work as a healing facilitator also had to change. The old ways no longer served but the new way was unclear. I had resistance to this as well. I had gotten very comfortable with the way I was working and didn't want to step into a new, unknown level of service. I'm still not through that discomfort but the depression it precipitated has lifted in time.
OK, I said all that to say this: If clinical depression is there and there is a desire to get to the spiritual root of it, look at what might be resisted. Resistance plays a part, I'm certain, if depression has progressed to the clinical depression diagnosis.
How do we work through our resistance, once we identify it?
In my case, I do a lot of work in dreamtime. I ask for help before I go to sleep and get a lot of assistance while my conscious mind is out of the way. I also practice conscious owning of what I feel. This means just being with it. If pain comes up, or anger, or hurt, I attempt to be conscious with it, own it as mine instead of instantly pushing it away, suppressing it or going into blame.
Something about that decision gives the memories room to come forward and the resistance to abate, or at least after practicing awareness for a while. Resistance is often a part of us asking for full attention. Once that attention is given to whatever we are feeling, it often becomes more clear WHY we are feeling it and what we can do about changing that without denying our feelings or suppressing them again. More on the potential spiritual Meaning of depression
Helpful Tips for Depression Relief
Mental Health Disclaimer: This information about my own decision to self-treat depression is personal. I do not advise anyone to do what I did. Surviving depression, for me, was a spiritual journey. That takes nothing away from other approaches.
In addition to my choice to heal through prayer, energetic healing work, spiritual surrender, releasing resistance, owning my past and coming into alignment with my Higher Self, I took antidepressants for a period of time and saw mental health counselors. I feel both were helpful, for a time. The distinction for me was that I could have healed without the medications and even without the counseling, helpful though they both were. I could NOT have healed, even with those tools, had I not healed in my Spirit and broken the patterns of emotional trauma that had broken me. Each person should seek out the path to wellness that works for them. Clinical depression can be debilitating and even life-threatening and none of this information is presented as substitution for medical evaluation and treatment in the event such is needed.