In Your Language

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Find your voice

 Photo Credit: www.valewisham.org.uk

I read a very personal story of a blogger I have been following... a very successful blogger. I felt like I was intruding on her life details, but then again, she shared it with the hopes to touch other people's lives. Consider me touched- in the abstract sense.

I find the subject of depression to be very elusive and yet so crushing. I had a mother who fought depression. I fought depression when I went off to college- the first time. I've read about depression. I've been the person to try to pick up the pieces of someone else's depression. I've been the friend who has ushered a friend to their therapy session. It is insidious and very personal.

I believe that depression works the best on people who are non-conforming... the people who are less influenced by others. I also believe that depression is a product of not giving our experiences a voice... suppressing  something so strong that it leaves us utterly fragile. Depression is good for people who dwell in denial; speaking of the people who are just sad but don't know why. Depression plagues people who weren't empowered at key points in their life.

Depression is a hard enemy to attack because it dwells in our own meat-suits (thank you, Dean of "Supernatural"). The power of our depression is the same as the power we hold if we were to turn the monster on its head and did wonderful things in our lives. Depression is the thing that feeds off all of the incidental things that go wrong in our lives- red lights, breaking things, forgetfulness. Depression lets us attribute all of those insignificant things to us being not good enough and incapable of good things.

Depression is something that cannot be buried, pressurized and produce diamonds. We have to combat it with the opposite spirit of future thinking, possibility thinking, the fact that we cannot predict future failure unless we become an active partner to the prediction. I can liken depression to the judgement stage of our every day lives. Creativity and productivity cannot come from judgment especially upon ourselves.What if we just reserve a time where we suspend this judgement in favor for just being, creating, doing.

It's funny that my answer to depression comes from my English Composition class textbook, "The Curious Writer." In it Bruce Ballenger instructs his students to suspend judgement on their writing (or in my metaphor of appraising our lives of a depressed mindset). He taunts us to first write badly as if to produce a huge slab of marble from which to chip away at and EXPOSE a great piece of art.

I will never forget this class because 1) I got over my fear of writing badly since English was my second language and 2) it was one of the few times I got an A in English in my academic career.  It was powerful to get the permission to have bad writing in my history, or a bad hour or two in my living history. The biggest travesty would be to not create, not to have a voice and not to live with some light hearted moments.

If we were truly honest with ourselves, we could just admit that part of depression is indulging in self pity and denying our blessings. That is really shortchanging our already imperfect and wanting lives. Imagine if every time we take something for granted that it would be taken away... how many of us would be left with NOTHING.

So I say that our emotions do warrant a piece of our harnessed energy. We can allow ourselves "a time" to feel depressed. It is surprising how quickly the blues go away when we only lease part of our day to negativity. Like: "Right now I have to sort through these sad thoughts. And in an hour, I will go for a walk in the fresh air." Our minds only go where we let it, unless we are in a coma.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our depressed states is to enjoy something subjective like being in nature, rhythmic drumming or painting. Subjective activity really leaves so much to the "perspective" that it is hard to really "judge" in the first place. Or else, try something repetitive and meditative; like make those dozens of cookies you've put off for lack of "time" or hem those pants and fix the buttons of your clothes that are lying around.

Have a comfort box or corner in your house. Keep your best loved things, memorabilia, pictures handy to access during your "blues." Make your favorite comfort foods and feel them banish the sadness. Write a letter to yourself the next time you get sad with the things that helped you previously get through it. Be your best friend until the sadness subsides.

Believe me, I'm not trying to sound "problem-less" as if I don't have reason to be sad. I've had my share of heart aches, betrayals, failures and traumas. But they only plague me if I look backward. If I stay in the present, then I have my wonderful family, college, large house, paid off cars, no revolving debt... etc.  And when I look into the future, I see redemption, fruition, growth, endless potential in all of my family. The lasting legacy I will leave is what I have yet to produce and not sourced from my distant past.

Pain is only for a time. Like, the pain of labor. I learned this time around that if I worked WITH my body that the pain would not last as long and that it would be more PRODUCTIVE than if I fought with it like the first time around. So- I went from an 18 hour labor to a 4 hour labor from just working with the pain. To me, 4 hours of pain wins out hands down every time. Let pain be your temporary friend for transformation.

Most importantly, find your voice...

Here I am Again

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