For those of you who have been following my recent blog posts and wonder why I feel so strongly about the subject of mental health, I was not exaggerating when I stated that I had battled depression and have since overcome it. I wrote this blog post approximately 6 months ago when I first intended to launch my business, but realized I was not yet in a place where I was emotionally strong enough to be vulnerable or share my experience with anyone else. I understand now, that the experience in some ways was a gift, having greater compassion and understanding for those struggling with anxiety or depression.
(As I have discussed many of the nutritional connections in pervious posts, here I am discussing depression from only an emotional point of view)
I have to take a deep breath, and I’m not entirely sure where to start. I keep writing and re-writing, trying to patch snippets of my life together in some way that will make sense and be understandable to you, the reader. Instead of the pieces fitting together neatly like a quilt, there are holes, gaps and tatters where my understanding is still incomplete. As a life-long soul searcher, I feel as if I should have all the answers. Truth is – I don’t.
Even as I write this, I have reservations of how people are going to perceive and judge what I am saying. I often don’t let those closest to me see what is really going on underneath the surface, so it is utterly terrifying to be putting this out for literally anyone to read. As I am just launching my business, will this make me or break me?
I don’t like to be vulnerable. Sharing what is going on with me from an emotional point of view is terrifying and it is so much easier just to not talk about it rather than express what I have buried deep down – shame, fear, embarrassment, and feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. I know this hits a chord as the tears start to roll. As these feelings are suppressed, it also inhibits my ability to suppress joy, love, and excitement. If I express any of those positive emotions fully, it will blow the lid off of everything, good and bad. All I’ve known is how to suppress. It’s my biggest defence mechanism and in turn, most people don’t really get to know me and in some ways, I’ve lessened my ability to get to know myself.
Although many of these issues of suppression have affected me throughout most of my life, the trouble really came about 6 months ago when I started a series of life coaching programs which encouraged me to live a more authentic life, get on the court and play big. I attempted to imagine myself being the person I only dreampt I could be, and make a difference in the world. Instead of being excited about doing these things, it brought up tremendous, debilitating fear. I was so used to being small, giving up before I could accomplish my goals, before anyone would notice me. I am a pro at living without being noticed, or being heard. Instead of being excited about a positive transformation and moving forward, all I could see were the negative aspects of myself, how little I had accomplished in life, how everyone was better than me, how other people made life and success look fun and easy…
This period was one of the most challenging I’ve ever gone through. I was in the frame of mind in which I could only see all the negative aspects of myself, feeling even more unworthy of transformation and success. I also began to question (as I have at other points in my life), what my purpose of being here? Sometimes I felt as if I was just taking up space. It was a scary dark place to be in and I spent weeks sobbing – seriously, utterly sobbing.
I finally, after several months of feeling like I was trudging through the gutter, I got help. I began to open up more with friends and family as to what I was going through and dealing with. To my surprise, I wasn’t alone. Most people I talked to had either been through something similar or knew someone who had. There wasn’t one person who thought I was worthless or undeserving of love or friendship when I opened up. In fact, I was offered more support and felt more connected than I had ever previously in my life. It was okay to be going through what I was going through. It was okay to need help.
I learned a lot about myself going through this period. While it’s not necessarily positive to see yourself in such a negative light, you have to be open to feeling what you are feeling. Don’t deny your emotions. Express them, either to someone or writing them out. They need an outlet for release. We are all going to experience difficult times in our lives. Pain and suffering is inevitable – we have to be courageous enough to sit with them, experience them and most of all share them. Suppression will only get you into trouble – believe me. Never be ashamed of who you are or what you are going through.
Slowly, step by step I am uncovering who I am, and sharing it with all of you along the way. You will of course see me retreat back into my shell from time to time, it is inevitable, but I am now dedicated to sharing my path to healing with all of you. Every day I am dedicated to being more authentically me.