‘These pains are messengers, listen to them’ (Rumi)
My first diagnosis of depression was when I was 17. Depression and anxiety run in my family, genuinely The black dog (https://youtu.be/XiCrniLQGYcdog) was following me. I’d been on a handful of antidepressants that made me worse (unbeknown to me I had bipolar and not depression) being in and out of counsellors and psychiatrists over the years (and hospital) I expect this will continue.
My previous mindset (that too from family and psychiatrist) was if he find the right medication – problem solved to manage it. But that mindset takes away a positive from a negative: depressions ability to induce change.
Depression is a little lying trickster, but it also does tell you a truth. And that truth leads to change. My mental health worsened as I worked full time in care, I ate unhealthy, barely left the house after work, put on weight and began to not care about my appearance as I was pooping paracetamol for the constant headaches I was getting.
Emotionally ashamed, for being by now bipolar, and ashamed for disliking my job. Why didn’t I want it? Yes it was stressful, but I used to enjoy it but it became overwhelming. I looking in black and grey whilst the rest of the world were seeing in colour, I believed. One evening I just couldn’t go to work and broke down sobbing.
I had been trying to kill the messenger. I wanted to silence my depression, as if I could put my hands over my ears and make the noise stop. But instead, I needed to listen to what my depression was telling me.
Pain is also a messenger, as the stone weight of depression, heavy to push away, both were tapping me on the shoulder where I was avoiding them until they got there way.
I took up yoga after a friend recommended it told it would calm me more. I learned a breathing technique. I had been trying to kill the messenger. genuine pain and temporary discomfort. Genuine pain is a messenger of change. Temporary discomfort is a passing phenomenon we all experience at one time or another.
t’s like exercise at the gym: it can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, even though you know it’s good for you. In contrast, some pain is like breaking an ankle. You have to take time to heal.
Yoga concentrating on my own bodily practice taught me some pain is like breaking an ankle. You have to take time to heal. It also taught me to stop trying to figure out my depression. Attempting to intellectualize how I felt was a fool’s errand. I had to recognize my depression in a visceral, bodily way.
When a stove is hot, you pull your hand away so you don’t get burned. It’s irrelevant if the stove is gas or electric. None of that information will prevent you from getting burned. It’s happening; the exact causes don’t need to be figured out to act accordingly.
My depression had led me to make a decision and that was I could no longer carry on working with innocent young children with behavioural and emotional problems I got too affected by them and societal caregiving – feeling week originally admitting that I could not do the job, it became a strength. By all means I’m not saying just quit your job without a plan, but what I am saying is listen to sensations, how something makes you feel and be honest with yourself because the only one your lying to is yourself.
Although I have bipolar I try and feel each polar opposite and try to determine is this one episode environmental or biological.