Yesterday I fell into depression for the first time in a while.
I recognised the apathy; everything was heavy and numb. There was nothing I wanted to do. I felt like I was drifting, disconnected – I drew an image in my notebook of a figure whose pointed feet hung just above the ground.
I felt like I was insulated from the world with an invisible barrier – I didn’t want to reach out, I didn’t want to say anything to anyone or ask for any support. I didn’t want anyone to come in.
What was different this time over past experiences of depression (for about 25 years I had a mood disorder called dysthymia which is like a chronic mild depression, with occasional bigger depressive episodes) was having systems of support and new ways of doing things already set up, already practiced habits.
I’ve spent the past few years creating a circle of support of other women around me that holds me and loves me when I’m celebrating and feeling like all things are possible, and that holds me and loves me when I’m tired or doubting or cranky and my dreams feel very far away.
That circle of support being there made my experience of depression different, this time around.
It was still really hard to push through the inertia and share how I was feeling, but because I’ve created the habit of exchanging daily voice messages with several girlfriends, the habit carried me and I could tell them I was feeling like shit and everything felt hard, including speaking the words about how I was feeling into my phone.
But I did it. And I didn’t want to listen to the responses I got – responses that weren’t trying to fix how I was feeling, or make it go away; messages just saying we’re here. We hear you. We’ve got you. We love you. I didn’t want to listen, but I did. And part of me heard, and let the love in. And it’s not a magic solution, but it helps.
I’ve also spent the last several years learning to listen to my body.
So this morning when I managed to extricate myself from absently scrolling on my phone and check back into reality, my body was telling me it wanted to move.
I’ve been slack with exercise for the past few months since having a wound on my foot that I had to wait to heal, and by the time it healed I’d fallen out of the habit of hiking a few times a week and the weather’s gotten hotter, which I was using as another excuse.
But my body wanted to move.
So I put on my gym clothes and fished my shoes out of the box they’ve been in since I moved here (I haven’t worn shoes that aren’t flip flops in 6 months), and went to the gym. Just to look. Just to see. Maybe to pay for a casual visit. 10 minutes after I got there, I’d signed up and was remembering how good it feels to lift things, slowly. To feel all the muscles in my body working together. To feel strength.
And that connection with my body helped me feel less like I was floating above the earth, and more solid and attached to the ground. More present. It’s not a magic solution, but it helps.
That’s something else that’s changed for me – the recognition that there is no magic solution for healing. It’s unlikely that I’ll wake up tomorrow and have all my dreams come true. It’s more the case of overnight success that takes a few years to build. And so I keep building habits that support me, keep adding to my circle of support, keep doing the things that nourish me.
I know that doing these things consistently builds momentum; builds trust; builds an inner knowing that whatever tomorrow brings – I can handle it, and I can do it with support. Support from the wonderful humans in my life, support from my body and inner knowing, support from the beauty of the place that I live in, support from the choices I make.
If you want some of this for yourself too – let’s talk 🙂 I have space for a few new clients this month and your first session is free. Send me a message or book a call and let’s find a time. It’s so okay to have days and months where shit feels hard. It doesn’t mean you’re failing, it doesn’t mean you’re not enough. It just means you’re human, and you deserve to have support around you as you find your way.