February 11th, 2013
Depression. And Living A Wildheart Life.
It’s no surprise that Montana is very different from California. That’s why I moved here. Perhaps I was drawn to the dramatic landscapes, the simple and kind demeanor of it’s residents or the surprising nature of Bozeman itself, which is a little bit urban, a little bit nature, a little bit culture, and a whole heck of a lot of fun and heart.
Up to now there has been absolutely nothing for me to complain about. There is nothing I want that I can’t find here, there is nothing I miss from home (other than friends and family), and there is nothing I want to experience that I can’t find here.
However, something funny happened to me over the course of the last few weeks. I was starting to feel really tired and lethargic and unmotivated. I didn’t feel like leaving the house. I had to force myself to get out and exercise. All I wanted to do was be by myself, lie in bed, cry, watch movies, and take naps. I was drinking more tea than usual, for the caffeine, because I was so tired. And I was generally not feeling like myself. And I started to panic.
What’s wrong with me? Why am I so emotional? What is happening? What can I do to make myself feel better? And I was confused and overwhelmed.
Today’s post is brought to you from underneath the glare of my “Happy Light,” whose job it is to “enhance my mood,” and “get rid of the winter blues.”
It’s 8am and still pitch black outside. Something I just can’t seem to get used to out here. I was warned ahead of time that seasonal depression (SAD…appropriately titled) is a total reality out here for some people, but I thought, “psssh that won’t happen to me,” and “I’m super aware and strong and healthy and can handle anything.”
But alas, it did happen to me. And as soon as I realized that I might be SAD, I got my ass on the internet to find what can be done and scurried to the store the get myself some vitamin D and a “happy light.”
Within that though, something unexpected showed up in me. I felt ashamed. Embarrassed that there was something inside me that I didn’t feel like I had control over. Ashamed to be associated even with the word “depression.” And because of that, I almost didn’t tell anyone what I was going through. I wanted to close off, not share, be by myself.
And this reminded me of the last time I was associated with the word “depression.” It was almost 18 years ago, to the day, when my dad died. And the same thing happened. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I was sad, confused, out of control of my moods and emotional state, didn’t want to talk to anyone. And my reaction was the same. I closed off, shut down, didn’t want to share, didn’t want to talk.
Lately I’ve been forced to look at the patterns I’ve adopted in my life. What are my triggers, and what are my patterned or “go to” responses to those triggers. And underneath this “happy light” this morning, I realized another big one. Being embarrassed by my truth, and not wanting to reach out for help or open my heart (in case it might get stepped on and hurt).
In the past, this ot speaking my truth just prolonged my pain. A resisted feeling creates persistence in that feeling. I know this, I coach on it constantly. And so in this case, I reached out. Told people what I was going through, what I was feeling.
And you know what I got?
The “Happy Light.”
One friend suggested it might be seasonal depression. One friend knew where to find the light and took me there. All three of us were going through the same thing, were able to help each other find solutions and offer support and love. So damn glad I reached out.
And I’m happy to report that only three days after D and the Happy Light came into my life, I’m feeling 100% better. Back to my old self.
There is no shame or embarrassment in who we are and how we’re feeling. The people around us want to help and love us. And I find that people are just waiting for us to reach out. Putting yourself out there is scary and vulnerable, but I believe it’s the only way to truly what we have in our lives.
The more time that goes by, the more I understand that living a life with a closed heart, afraid that who I truly am inside or afraid that what I feel or what I have to say will scare people away is not actually living. That I’d rather be left for how I truly feel than live not speaking it. Or that I’d rather risk being judged for my “depresseion” then live with it all by myself, alone, swirling in my heart.
This is A Wildheart Life.
Speaking truth. Sharing heart. BEING who we need to be to get what we want in life.
There will be a lot more on this topic to come. I’m starting the Wildheart Revolution. Will you join?
What in your life have you been holding in, all to yourself? In what ways do you need to change your patterns? In what ways do you need to live more as a Wildheart? Leave a comment below.
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Wildheart. What an incredibly evocative word, and so perfect for what you are writing about. I totally understand what you are talking about. I feel the same way about my anxiety. I realized how much I feel that way when I had to stand in front of 100 people in the jury selection room and tell the judge I couldn’t serve on a jury right then because of my anxiety. I was so ashamed I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I thought they were going to judge me, think I was lying to get out of jury duty. Worst, I thought they would see me as weak, and unable to cope. That was a huge realization that day. I’ve probably been hiding anxiety and depression all of my life. Probably most people know I have it, but not the depth of it and how much a part of my life it is. My clients always thought I was optimistic and happy and upbeat (which I can be). What they didn’t know was the current of sadness running behind the scenes in my head…and how good I had become at hiding it: by focusing on THEIR problems, THEIR needs, anyone else’s needs. So, yes, it is better to be in the open, but it is also really hard to step out, isn’t it? Thanks for writing about this. Looking forward to more.
Thanks mom. I’ve realized it’s my “thing.” I resonate with it more than I’ve resonated with anything else I’ve created. It’s happening.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with your anxiety and depression, and I can totally see how that could play out in asking lots of people questions. I think I’ve done that in the past (and still probably) so that I don’t have to share my heart and be vulnerable. If you just keep people talking about themselves you never have to be seen. But then I find myself drained and aching for people to really know me, but I create a whole system so that they can’t. It’s quite silly.
So yes, I do think it’s hard to step out and share. I think it’s probably a life long lesson. Something to continue to try and get better at over time. I’m working on it constantly. Like a scientist. Trying something new and seeing what happens, learning from that then adjusting. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Anyway, as always, love your addition to the discussion. Love you.
I’ve been in a bad funk lately. I am too afraid of being vulnerable to talk to those that care most. I think my friends and family will no longer see me as a strong, successful, ambitious woman….. by not sharing my feelings, I am self-fulfilling the judgment that currently exists only in my mind. This thought pattern is not improving my emotional state. I’m stuck though!!!
You’re so right, Sally, not being “real” is not living. I look forward to more posts on becoming a Wildheart. Thank you for sharing so freely. You are an inspiration!!
Hey Missus T…I totally hear you and that’s how I used to feel. That if I showed my heart and my feelings that I would not only be viewed as weak by others, but (worse) that I would FEEL weak, which is what (deep down) I was feeling anyway. I think admitting it had me realize that having real feeling isn’t a weakness, but rather in sharing them, it’s a strength and a huge act of bravery. To be honest, I still struggle with this. Dipping my toe in the vulnerable waters and then running away being like “did I say too much.” BUT, I keep going back to the water.
Let me know how I can support you and please keep in touch about Wildheart Revolution. I have a feeling you’ll be in the original pack. :)
I has a super similar expierence when I moved up to Seattle for school. It took me moving back to California and many friends and family commenting on my mood before I put it together. It’s a real thing, with real effects. I’m so glad you let your Wildheart shine and were connected with the Happy Lamp! Inspiration. Cannot wait to hear more about the Wildheart Revolution!
Yeah it crept up on me too. I only mentioned my feelings to a friend on a total fluke. I usually keep all this stuff inside, and I imagined that she’d talk to me about whatever ridiculous thing I was crying about. Instead she said…that’s seasonal depression, get a lamp or come over and use mine. Seriously! I could have been sitting with this, driving myself crazy for months until the sun came out. So glad I reached out. And girrrrrrl…you’re SO a part of the Revolution. Stay tuned.