Living with Depression

Sometimes depression comes into our lives for a reason...

And sometimes, it stays with us for a season...

But sometimes, depression takes up residence in our our hearts and souls for a very long time...

And some of us struggle with depression our whole lives...

I have not been able to stop thinking about Cory Monteith, the talented young actor from GLEE. He engaged in a life long struggle with drugs that began very early for him and that finally took his life. He might have struggled with depression too. I don't know. Sometimes addiction and depression go hand in hand. 

I'm sure many fans of GLEE were shocked upon hearing of the death of this young man in the prime of his life. I was. I am "almost" twice his age, and while I've never struggled with a drug addiction like Cory did, I think I know a bit of what he may have felt...

Often, when these tragedies occur, many do not see it coming - especially those who are its victims...

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who struggled with depression herself, yet managed to help me during a really difficult time, took her own life. I was in such shock and also overwhelmed with guilt because I did not see it coming and was not there for her. I did not know she was seriously struggling with depression once again - even though we had not been in touch for a long while. She had shut me out despite many overtures on my part, and our lives eventually took us down very different paths.

But I know those feelings of despair that can haunt every waking moment. I know what it is like to see things in such a bleak way that you can't find your way out of it - even when the sun is shining and no one else suspects anything...

I feel very lucky because I've had the support I needed at given times, including a good therapist, and I've also been able to turn to a lot of useful tools at my disposal such as meditation, mindfulness practice, prayer, faith, yoga, Reiki, and so forth. I regularly see a craniosacral therapist and acupuncurist to keep everything in balance physically, and energetically. But, it is my twice daily practice of meditation that keeps the ship of my life afloat.

Depression can take so many forms. Sometimes it's totally disabling. Different things can set it off - and it can arrive back into our lives - like an uninvited guest. We are never truly rid of it. There is no "happily ever after."

Sometimes depression manifests as an inability to focus, or set goals, or see things through. Or it announces itself in a failure to act or actions that aren't so characteristic of us, like giving up - or drawing away from people and communities...

Last year, when my yoga community, which I considered a major part of life, felt apart due to a major scandal - and many of my friends staked their territory on different sides of an argument - I found myself in that place of not being able to focus - and of withdrawing from others and stepping back in many ways. I felt differently about the whole situation and I just didn't feel I could connect anymore with a such a fractured group. I mourned the loss of some connections I always expected to be there, but I also felt that there was a Divine order to it all. Some good experiences did result in the aftermath of the whole thing, for myself and many others. We grew individually. Still, throughout the whole drama, depression remained somewhat masked in it for me.

When tragedies occur, it is a time to take stock. To look at where we are. To be honest with ourselves. And to be more aware of those around us. Those of us who have struggled with life long depression know how to hide it very well. To the outside world it may seem like we have it all together - or that there could be no reason in the world for us to be depressed. For those who struggle with depression, it is important to return to practices that enable one to weather the storm and to get the help that is necessary. And of course, having a support system is important.

As often happens, several things I read this morning, encouraged me to write these words. I hope that perhaps they may be helpful to someone out there...

LEAN IN - Pema Chödrön

"The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings."


"Man's loneliness is but his fear of life."
~ Eugene O'Neill

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself."
~ Walt Whitman
 

Comments

Anonymous said…
Thank you for an honest and beautiful post, as always! <3 Erin
Anna Van Fleet said…
I have struggled and know others who have as well... Thanks for this post.
Anonymous said…
Thank you.
Ellen said…
Thanks Olga for your thoughtful words of wisdom.

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