For those who us who venture out to the uncharted waters of self-rediscovery, we are luring in a path of complete uncertainty. And while I have voluntarily (or perhaps only recently voluntarily) been on this path for five years, this last month I went through yet another deep, dark lesson. While 2019 has challenging for me in general, I suddenly found myself stuck in a complexity of depression. I want to say rut, but the ruts I normally find myself in are typically short-lived. This one was unshakable. I couldn’t course-correct. It seemed like one thing after another was purposefully holding me down.
And this time, it was different.
I felt as if I needed to be able to self-diagnose and get over it. For gods sake, this is what I am coaching others to do, I better be able to do it for myself.
But I couldn’t. No matter what I did - yoga, meditation, journaling, mindset - I couldn’ t climb out. I couldn’t feel joy. I cried. I let it all out - that usually helps cleanse my emotions. But it didn’t. So I just cried. Every day I cried. Each morning I kept my eyelids closed and scanned my body, eager to feel relief. But, I didn’t.
After a few weeks of this, I began to lose hope. My heart was sinking more each day. My spark for life was gone. I searched everywhere for it, but I couldn’t find it. Not in my family, not in my friends, not in delicious healthy food, not in yoga. Nothing.
“Had I finally lost it?” “Would I ever be happy again?” I began to feel the cold tap on my shoulder from the deep, dark looming depression I thought I had “cured” five years ago.
This shouldn’t be happening.
I don’t belong. I don’t matter to anyone. I am alone. I was not meant to be born during this lifetime. I began to feel more comfort, rather than fear, with the thought of death. I was in that seductive place again that was luring me in to giving up.
My husband felt helpless. And that made me feel bad. I try so hard each day to align myself, and I was completely out of ideas.
Towards the end, I did something I have never done before. I posted about it on social media. About being depressed. And I posted this on my new business account as a fresh new business owner. What the fuck was I thinking? TOTALLY amateur move… or was it? Or more so, did I really even care?
This is when my lessons began to pour in like a dam that had just been broken.
I felt the urge to immediately apologize for my depression. And certainly for voicing it. And certainly as a business owner. I wanted to say sorry for the way I came across. For not being my “normal self”. For being a burden to others. Who was I to feel bad?
And all of this. While it normally would have taken me out and I would have deleted the post, I kept it. And I got curious. And I leaned in even further.
What was happening within with this battle of exposure of my raw feelings?
Why was it that as authentic and open as I am, I immediately felt the need to suck my words back in? For the fear of making someone else feel sorry for me? Why did I feel so shameful that I have these feelings? And how dare I voice them. Voicing them over and over and over to my husband. To my friends. And now social media. Every time, I felt like a was a burden. That these people wouldn’t want to be around me. That people only liked me when I was happy and positive and put on a smile. (It is important to note - this was not portrayed by anyone - simply the story I was telling myself).
And soon I was in even richer inquiry.
I have shown up like this for the majority of my life. For most of my life, I have hidden half of myself. My shadow side. The side I didn’t want anyone to see.
For fear of being rejected.
As people began to comment on my post with support, I felt shame. I felt weak. I felt less than. I felt vulnerable. But, I pressed on. I didn’t delete.
I didn’t delete because not only am I ready to challenge this facade that we all have to be okay all of the time, (or at least show up that way). I am ready to help coach others on how to show up in the way that they want to.
Because the fact of the matter is - we are all human. We all struggle. Being authentic and real is the highest act of self-love and acceptance. It connects us to others. We can’t relate to people who “don’t struggle” because it isn’t real. When we see that, we feel disconnected. When we speak about how we truly are doing, it is a chance to connect. To put words to our pain, our struggles, to validate what we are feeling is indeed, really real for us. While vulnerability is far from easy, it does get easier.
What gift you can bring to yourself and others by speaking your truth… good or bad…instead of hiding it?
How could you show up in a little more of yourself today?