Depression Sucks

It comes in many forms, and has many faces. And all of them suck.

My typical pattern looks something like this:

dropI start to get overwhelmed by all the things I am involved in, or want to be doing/experiencing/learning/etc.

I get exhausted. I feel to tired to do any of the things, so I start to withdraw. I play games on my phone and watch Netflix, because I have no energy or motivation for anything else.

Then I feel guilty for not doing all the things that I ought to be doing instead of wasting my time on electronics. (And before you say it, yes, I know to be gentle with myself, and do what I need to do to heal. That’s part of how my mind messes with me.)

Before I know it, I feel horrible. And then I realize, oh wait, this is what depression looks like for me.

Thankfully, the depression I experience is mild, from what I can tell from friends of mine who have also experienced depression. Once I realize what’s going on, I generally start improving pretty quickly.

For example, I had a slide start about two weeks ago. I hit the bottom on Saturday. I didn’t want to do anything, but I had a lot planned for the weekend. I wanted to stay in bed and cry. But obligations.

So I got myself up, and showered, and made my way out into my day. And cried a little. And put on my game face. And celebrated love in all its diversity at the Campbell River Pride Festival, and hung out with an awesome friend all day. She put rainbow tinsel in my hair, and rainbow feathers, and I put on some make up, and I slowly started feeling better.

The encouragement of friends on Facebook helped, and so did some good supplements. And, of course, my amazing husband.

I’ve come through it. Again. For now. And all I can say is, depression sucks. I know I have it easier than many, many others. My heart goes out to all who experience depression. I hope you can find the tricks and tools that help you weather the storms, and that the dark times be brief and far between.

Blessings,

Mary

Asking for Help

Last week was a pretty rough week for me. Fear, anxiety, depression… all the internal bullies decided to pay me a visit at once. Most of the internal conversation came down to asking for help. Or more accurately, resisting asking for help.

Asking for helpMental health is a funny thing. You can do all the right things, take all the right steps and build all the right habits, and still have bad days. And on a bad day all of those positive habits go right out the window.

On a bad day, getting out of bed takes a tremendous amount of effort. Routine tasks and errands require even more willpower to accomplish, especially when you don’t want to step out your own door. And facing people, talking to them? Forget it.

When all you want to do is sleep, or at least hide in bed, reaching out for help seems like an impossible challenge.

The paradox is that help is exactly what I needed. “When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.” (Joss Whedon, Firefly, The Message)

Thankfully, my husband was there to carry me. He hugged me and let me cry. He was patient as I got myself together to go out. He drove me around and came with me on the errands I was having trouble facing on my own. He made sure I ate nutritious food, and encouraged me to make the phone call to find a counselor.

In short, he helped me make the baby steps that meant accomplishing something.

Those “little” accomplishments encouraged me to keep working on a bigger project I’ve been working on – decluttering and rearranging my home. I have a tendency toward being a pack-rat. My kitchen table had become my desk, there was a huge box of papers that had collected over more than two years, and stuff. So much stuff.

This weekend I sent a ton of paper to the burn pile, and filed another ton. I set up a new-to-me desk, and moved my sewing table out from under the pile of things that had accumulated on it. I’ve been able to sit down to meals with my children at the table. And my youngest thanked me for it.

Between that, and some pretty good vitamins, I’m feeling better today. There’s still more to do. The decluttering is not yet done, I still need to connect with that counselor to make an appointment, and rebuild my healthy habits. However, I celebrate the small things, the progress I have made, and take each day as it comes.

My mental health didn’t get this way overnight, just like my house didn’t get messed up and cluttered overnight. It’s going to take time to clean things up, sort them out, and heal. And sometimes, despite having the tools and knowledge, I just can’t do it on my own. Sometimes I need a little help.

Blessings,

Mary

How To NOT Fall Into a Pity Party Pit

This weekend was a little discouraging for me. Small things are stacking up – the van needs an oil change, my son needed money for an outing, I had several trips out for meetings this past week that increased my gas usage, and there’s no new episode of Outlander this week. I was pretty confident going into the weekend that things would be ok, because I was reading tarot at a Spirit Fair on Saturday and at the Farmers Market on Sunday.

hello pityThe Spirit Fair went fairly well. I was concerned at first because there weren’t many people. Then I forced myself to let that thought go, because even if I didn’t make much money, I made some fantastic connections with the other healers and readers in the room. And it turned out that I did make a little money after all!

Sunday, I woke up feeling yucky. I debated cancelling going to the Farmers Market, however, the van’s oil change was weighing on me. I pushed through, and once again spent some time releasing the yucky feeling and getting back to a happy place. I was feeling pretty cheerful by the time people started arriving.

It turned out not to be a very profitable day at the Market. I had lots of fantastic conversations, and again, made some good connections for possible tarot parties and coaching clients in the future. There just weren’t a lot of actual readings today.

After the Market, my husband and I went for a walk on the beach. The tide was out, and it felt delicious walking through the waves. Except for the pain. My body hurt. A lot. Because I didn’t listen in the morning and pushed myself, I paid for it.

Then the negative self-talk started. Why did I bother going to the Market today? I should have just cancelled. I didn’t do as well as other readers yesterday. I’m not as good as they are. (It’s really hard just writing this.) Why does my husband want to be with me? I’m in pain so much. Why am I pushing myself so hard? I really should just give up.

Those of you who have ever experienced chronic pain or depression know what I’m talking about.

So, how did I stop it?

I answered some of the questions – I went to the Market today because I needed to be there for the people I DID talk to and read for. I can’t compare myself to the other readers because we all have our own styles and our own audiences who need to hear the messages from us. My husband loves me, and why am I questioning that?!?! I keep going because I receive joy and fulfillment from most of the things I do, and I care about my family.

I looked at the sun and the beautiful place that I live and found things to be grateful for.

I kept walking. Even though I hurt, and even though my amazingly wonderful husband offered to walk ahead and get the van to come get me, I kept walking. Exercise helps when you get into a funk.

When I got home, I snuggled my boys. Because hugging helps elevate your mood!

Then, I took a nap. Not for long, and I don’t think I really slept. However, taking a rest and letting my mind and body just BE helped tremendously to restore my spirits, and helped to alleviate some of the pain.

And now, I’m writing about it. I’m getting it out of my head so the thoughts don’t keep spinning around and around making me feel worse. Getting it out helps me to let it go.

I realize these tips won’t necessarily help for the major soul-sucking mind-frick. And I hope it will help you stop it before it gets that far.

Blessings,

Mary

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Depression, Demeter, and Gilmore Girls

Demeter Mourning for Persephone Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1906)

Demeter Mourning for Persephone
Evelyn Pickering De Morgan (1906)

She snuck up on me.

She’s been quiet, dormant, mostly unresponsive. Then suddenly, I was hit by a wave of it. Depression. The Great Mother (Demeter) is depressed.

It reminded me of the time after the birth of my second child. It was a challenging labour – five hours of pretty much continuous contractions. I didn’t hold my baby right away. But I thought everything was good. He was healthy and thriving, and I was healthy. Things were good.

Then the Public Health Nurse that I saw every week at the moms group I went to asked me if maybe I had postpartum depression. I said no. Everything was fine. She kept asking though, and one day I actually looked inward, and wham! I was depressed!

Last weekend I went down to the first rehearsal for Spring Mysteries Festival. We spent the evening before at the Tab (the Mother Church). Bella, the ArchPriestess, kept asking me if I was ok. My immediate response was yes, everything is good. Because, well, things are going fairly well for me right now. Sure, I was heading into mediation for work and we could be doing better financially, and I feel confident that a solution is coming for that.

So when she asked me again the next morning, I was confused. I looked inward, and couldn’t find anything that was really troubling me, and yet suddenly I was holding back tears. She asked if I was going to cry, and I said, “Well, I am now!”

She grilled me for a bit, like a good friend does when they think you’re holding something back. The only thing we could find was Her. The Great Mother is sad and depressed. She misses her daughter. And because of my connection with Her, I have been depressed.

Looking back, I can see it now – wanting to just watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix (what a great mother-daughter relationship, except for when Rory went to live with her grandparents, that was like the trip to the Underworld a bit), not feeling motivated to do anything, keeping myself busy with whatever is right in front of me, wanting to hibernate. Classic signs of depression for me.

Thankfully, my experiences with depression have all been fairly mild. And simply being aware that by aligning myself with Demeter, I am going through what she is going through makes it easier to separate my own emotions from Hers. I can give myself the space to take it slow. And keep watching Gilmore Girls. 😉

Blessings,

Mary

What do you do when life is challenging you?

I didn’t get any housework done yesterday. Nor did I get any homework, or grading, or costuming done. In fact, my personal to do list remains pretty much untouched. I accomplished a lot, though.

LiveThere are a number of people in my spiritual community right now who are not well, or just lonely. What started out as a visit to a friend in the hospital ended up being a tour of ministering to the ill.

It could have been depressing, seeing all those people who are suffering in one way or another. But it was actually uplifting. Seeing the joy I was able to bring just by being present, and truly listening to what was going on for them in that moment, and having no other purpose than to be there for that person was very fulfilling.

It’s days like this that I love my calling. There may not have been any financial compensation, but the reward was well worth it.

I’ve had a lot of discussions with people lately who are having a difficult time, either with their physical or mental health. I’ve even had my own challenges!

My theory is that as we move through this evolutionary change, and work to raise our vibration (or bring through more light, however you want to look at it) we’re going to face increasingly more demanding experiences. Just like when you were in school – the tests you were given in grade 9 were more difficult than the ones you were given in grade 5.

This in itself could be a depressing thought – life isn’t necessarily going to get any easier.

I encourage you to change your perspective. It just gets different. Each test you pass means you get to learn ever more interesting and complex things! You get to grow and have more fascinating experiences. You get to move up to the next level of the video game.

If you think about life like a video game, you know that each level is a little tougher than the one before. You build up slowly, increasing your skill as you go, until you master it and overcome everything it throws at you.

Whatever challenges you are facing right now, know that you are not alone. The Universe will never give you an experience that you are not able to handle. You may just need a little shift in perspective.

If you are struggling, I encourage you to reach out to your support team, the people who love you.

If you feel you have no one to talk to, or would like a little extra help with changing your perspective, I am now offering one-hour single-session consulting to help you shift your mindset and find the positive in your challenges.

One Hour Change Your Perspective Coaching Session

Of course, you can still sign up for a free 1/2 hour sample life coaching session. The choice is yours. You are not alone, and you don’t have to suffer. It lifts me up to help lift you up.

Love and blessings,

Mary

Changing My Mind to Change My Reality

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

In coming out from my trip to the Underworld (otherwise known as emotional breakdown, depression, freak out, etc), I remembered this quote from Einstein.  If I really want to change my circumstances, I need to change how I think about them.

Change My MindI had two conversations last week with friends that helped me get more clarity about what it is that I am really wanting. (Incidentally, both of them are Peaceful Women.) The first happened by synchronicity – because it certainly wasn’t planned, nor was it an accident.

I was on the Peaceful Woman conference line because I thought there was supposed to be a group call.  Only three of us ended up being on the call, so we started to share what had been going on recently for each of us.  I listened to the exciting things that the other two had been doing, and I almost didn’t want to share. I did anyway, and one of the women asked me a question about my situation that many have asked before about why my husband doesn’t do something different.

My first thought was, “Great. Here I go again having to defend choices my husband and I have made.” I briefly explained, and she simply answered, “OK. That’s the vision that I will hold for you then.”

I was shocked. I thanked her right away, and told her how much it meant to me that she didn’t question me or my choices. She just accepted me, and told me she would hold positive space for me. It helped me realize that part of what contributed to my meltdown was having to defend my choices from other people’s suggestions. I was craving this kind of support – acceptance of where I am, and assistance in holding the vision of what I want to create.

Later in the week, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with another Peaceful Woman who is also an amazing Life Coach.  She helped me find even more clarity about why I was feeling so stressed (by uncovering exactly what about my changed circumstances at work was challenging my values), and why I was sabotaging myself from continuing all my positive habits (because they are things I have control over, and I was feeling very out of control in other areas of my life). Simply having the higher awareness of what was really going on for me opened up the space in me to shift my perception.

She also acknowledged me for the growth I have experienced, and for the steps I have already taken to change my perception. I have spoken my truth more fully, and I am beginning to integrate this visit to the Underworld into my entire being, in support of positive change. By crying out to the Universe for help, and being honest that I don’t know what the next step is, the Universe has placed at least three new opportunities before me to provide the help I was asking for.

That’s another interesting shift for me. I don’t feel bad or regret having this meltdown, as I might have done in the past. It is not a sign of weakness. I know that this is part of a cycle towards my own spiritual evolution.

And so I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about myself.  By getting such a clear message about what I don’t want, and taking the time to explore what led me to this place, I am so much more clear on what it is that I do want. I’m not all the way there yet. And I feel so much better about how I’ve begun.

Blessings,

Mary

Visiting Ereshkigal

I know, you’re probably wondering who or what exactly is Ereshkigal, unless you’re up on your Sumerian Mythology. 🙂

Ereshkigal is the Queen of the Underworld, who the goddess Inanna goes to visit in her most well known saga, the Descent of Inanna. Inanna decides she wants to visit Ereshkigal, to go where no human or god has ever returned from.  Inanna must lay down all of her adornments that identify her as the Queen of Heaven and Earth to enter the Underworld.

Once there, Ereshkigal hangs her on a peg, where she withers and dies. Inanna witnesses Ereshkigal’s misery and pain as she labors to give birth.

EreshkigalAfter three days, two tiny creatures arrive to rescue Inanna.  They moan and groan and sympathize with Ereshkigal, who is shocked – no one has done this before.  In gratitude, she offers them a gift.  They choose Inanna’s corpse, and bring her back to life.

There is more to the story, but this is where I was this last week: moaning and groaning and crying out in misery. Several events had combined to pull me off my normally positive center.  I felt stuck, trapped, and I couldn’t see a way out.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I just couldn’t bring myself to take the one action I knew would bring change because I don’t know for sure if it will bring a positive change.

For three days I quivered and cried, and wanted to shut myself away from society. My despair was so deep it even pulled my husband and children in briefly.

And then I remembered the lesson from the myth that has been speaking so loudly to me the past several months.  I sympathized with Ereshkigal.  I felt her pain to my very core. And I allowed myself to just be there. I scheduled some time off from work, and nurtured myself.  I took the time to actually figure out what had sent me to the Underworld, and began taking steps to clear up some incompletions.

I still have some more work to do, and I can feel that Underworld energy running below the surface. Just like Inanna needs Ereshkigal to be complete, I need my shadow to be complete. I am on my way back out, and I am starting to feel a lot better. I will keep investigating the mysteries of Ereshkigal and Inanna, because I know there is much more there for me to discover. And I know this is a cycle that will come around again.

Blessings,

Mary

PS. This quote helped me as well.  I have no idea who said it.

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long.