My Depression Diary: Find Peace, Slow Down, and Don't Fight Being Human
***The following was written several years ago when I was trying to find a way to process what I was going through with my on-going depression. I found that writing about my experience in a diary format was very therapeutic for me. My writing helped me to come to some conclusions which I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. If you are going through your own times to the well, as I call my periods of depression, I would encourage you to express yourself through some medium whether it be music, art, or writing. I guarantee it will help move you through these difficult times.
I was thinking about my journey to the well. I visit the well of my emotions often. It almost seems a mandatory sentence. In order to rise up again it seems I have to feel that pit of despair to know what feeling good really is. I know that my belief system might be challenged by many, but it is what I do believe about myself. I have lived with myself long enough to know. I also believe some good things come out of the journey to the well. I just get scared sometimes that I won't be able to make the trip up and out. But sure enough, I always do.
When you feel sadness like that...it slows you down. Your thoughts and physical movements become more controlled and more deliberate. And time seems to warp into some other dimension. You either lose ability to tell how much time elapsed or else you are too keenly aware. You literally feel as though you are in a different realm. It's like that dot of narrow light on the TV screen as you turn it off. Everything narrows down to that one pinpoint of light. You feel the tunnel vision of your own mind.
As I was rising out of the well recently, I thought about all those feelings and thoughts at the pinpoint of narrowing light. And strangely enough, those same feelings are also present during peaceful moments. When I am at peace, I slow down. I can feel my breath. I will hyper-focus on sensations of color and light.
This is very difficult to articulate, but I will try. What brings me peace is an attraction towards simplification. So much of life is this frenzied blur. We are rushing to meet all these expectations that inevitably bring us hardship, disappointment, and despair. We create our own entrapments. We think that a certain outcome will bring our happiness and so we keep upping the ante of the conditions we need to meet in order to feel happy. When you have lived long enough, you begin to realize that this doesn't work. Right here, right now, this moment is where you will find happiness. You won't find it in some future which doesn't belong to you. And you won't find it in other people who are not here to meet our needs. The world does not operate to please us or to make us happy.
Yet we keep expecting the world to operate the way we wish so that it does make us happy. It doesn't work that way. We struggle our whole lives to test that hypothesis.
Peace is a slowing down. It is also a letting go which we tend to associate with loss. That is the greatest irony. We trick ourselves into thinking that we can keep our power by holding on. Yet by holding onto our expectations of how we want life to be - by feeling the guilt of blaming ourselves - we believe in the myth of omnipotence. None of us are gods. We are human. Yet we fight it. We hate it. I hate it. I hate my vulnerability and my neediness. I hate the black hole in me, which on some days seems like an endless vault of pain. It would be easier to be inhuman and not need anything or anybody, but that is just an angry wish.
I think to keep your power you have to admit that you are powerless. The old serenity prayer is still so valid. So much of despair is fighting the wave. Standing there and fighting it and getting knocked flat. Wouldn't it be better to ride it? Acceptance is so difficult because it appears on the surface like defeat. Yet it is the strongest act that one can do. There is great strength in vulnerability.
We fear so many things. We fear being weak. We fear intimacy because we feel that we are giving someone the knife with which to stab us. And they might just do that. It is all a risk. I can live in fear of that and close all doors, shutting out the possible hurt but also shutting out love. I can allow the fear to make me continually up the ante of conditions of future scenarios of what would make me happy or I can start to live today. It is all a choice.
I don't want to be a leaf in the wind...or a rat in a maze. I want to live consciously. I want to be deliberate. I want to slow down as I do when I am sinking to the bottom of the well - but this time I want to choose peace instead of the despair. I want to go to the bottom willingly and without a fight. It is different when we feel it is our choice instead of being pushed there.
There is a comfort for me of being grounded. I visualize myself flat on the ground and leveled. All things appear equal and I am a part of that equality. I am not struggling. I feel my humility. I feel my smallness. I have let go. All the layers of hurt and pain and unmet expectations just fly away like blowing a wish flower. You have so much more power when you can walk away from all the conditions and expectations. And then you are free to just be. Then you can truly give.
Letting go doesn't have to mean loss. It can mean acceptance. It can be a deliberate choice- a moving forward - instead of frantic reaction based on fear.
This is how I wish to live my life.