There is a tight fist forming in my chest. I wish to retreat to my shell. Curl up and disappear. Thoughts pound their way through my head. I wish to rip them out, but all I can get within my clutch is my hair. Something impermanent that can be shed. I wish memories were the same. But we must deal. We must.. heal. I don’t know where to start. I don’t want self pity. All you have to do is start..right? Fuck. I have to try. Because, I’ve tasted the sweetness of life. Felt prana fill up my lungs and a breath slip from my lips along with all my worries. Trust. That is all I need to do. I will always return to who I truly am. There is no finding myself. I already am. Deep within me there is a knowing.
It is hard to even build up the desire to heal, because you really don’t feel anything. The most important thing to remember when you feel this way, is that nothing lasts forever. There is sort of an inner peace that comes with realizing this truth, at least for me. The second most important thing, is never feel guilty for the way that you feel. You can not force happiness, although it is a choice, that is not always easy to see. The feeling of being depressed is almost like being in a dark cave. It may be an empty and lonely cave, but you just feel all this tumultuousness in this small space. Loud thoughts echoing throughout this place. It seems there is no escaping them, trapped. There is a way out. Every cave has its opening, but depression is just this wall in your mind that all the shit you’ve been pushing aside “for later” has built up. And by shit, I mean those feelings that you don’t want to deal with because they are unwanted, but emotions aren’t there to screw with you and make you feel vulnerable. They are there to tell you about yourself. They are there to show you what you truly want. Take moments to feel the emotions you get when in different environments, or when you are surrounded by certain people. Your emotions are trying to teach you, tell you what is right for you, what you desire, what will make you truly happy. When we push our emotions aside, we end up in situations we do not want to be in. We end up doing what we think is right and normal, because we are listening to other people and not ourselves.
- Show yourself some love in some way: Nurture your mind and body. When you are depressed, be present with that emotion. Do not focus on trying to get rid of it. Acknowledge it. Sit with it. Have a glass of water. Focus on feeling the moment wholly. Being in the moment, I find makes depression fade quickly. Focus on what you can do now and not what needs to be done later. Take care of your body. Go for a walk. Get up and stretch. Breath deeply. Do something that exercises your mind. Read a book. Write about what you are feeling. Give yourself time to do something you love. Maybe that will be playing a guitar, cooking, or cranking up some music and just dancing around. The most important part here is to give time to yourself. Take care of yourself first. This is the only way you will be able to give to others. I understand this can be difficult to do, when you are required to be places and have responsibilities, but when all that is done, don’t go running around trying to help everyone else, when you can not even help yourself.
- This next one goes hand in hand with the first, because it is about nurturing the mind and the body. The only difference is that this next “tip” is for nurturing your soul too. Meditate. Yeah, that word can kind of turn people away. To some it seems near impossible to “quiet your mind” or to even gain control over your own mind, but after all it is your own mind. Consciously think any thought you want right now, make it a happy one. See, control. That is another thing you can do when depressed, replace negative thoughts by consciously thinking a positive one. Change your thoughts; change your world. You really do have control and you really do have the capability of looking at the bright side of things. All it takes is the belief that you are in control. Back to meditating, there are different ways to get started. Just find what works for you. Guided meditations, where someone is telling you what to focus on, can be a good way to ease into it.
- Smile, even if you are not happy. Smile and think about someone or something that you truly appreciate to have in your life. It can be anything from your dog, food to eat, your best friend, or simply the air you are breathing. Consciously walk with pep in your step, even if you are fatigued. The most important thing is to try. It may not completely change how you are feeling, but it is a step in the right direction.
- Find something that will make you laugh.
- Look at photos and remember the people you have in your life, and all the great experiences you have been given in your life thus far. Accept that you may not be having the greatest experience right now, and that there are highs and lows to life.
- Open a shade. Let in the sun. Or, go outside, even if it is not the perfect day. Get some fresh air. Relax and appreciate the life that surrounds and embodies you.
- Movement. Try yoga or just a couple of light stretches. Go for a jog without the idea that you must do it, so you may look a certain way. Do it for you.
- Start replacing all bad habits, but especially ones that bring on feelings of depression. Replace those habits with good ones. When you get the desire to do something you know will hinder you or make you feel bad in the future, switch your focus to a different task. Sit down and meditate, get some chores done, go for a walk until the feeling goes away, whatever works. Try anything you feel may help.
Lastly, do not feel alone. For a while I was not very open about my emotions and was embarrassed by the fact that I would get depressed. I denied it, which only made it worse. Acknowledgment is key, so is acceptance. You will work your way through it. Trust in yourself. Everyone can heal. Everyone can change. I truly believe that. All it takes is believing you are capable.
the only craving my body use to feel was in my stomach
the only part of me i knew was empty
i did not realize that the entirety of me was empty
now i feel my entire body
my entire being
and my body craves the movement i denied it of for so long
bed rest – g.c.
The worst period of my life began right around the time I was getting ready to go into high school, so when I was in 8th grade. And, it continued up until the end of my sophomore year.
When you get into 8th grade, this is the time you start to worry about your future. This is the part of life where shit gets real. Let’s say I did not handle that too well. I began to overthink and form negative thinking patterns (I got anxiety, and I got it bad). My mom always called me a worry wart, but I think the amount of anxiety I was getting in 8th grade even made her worry. I began to think that I had reached my peak and that it was all downhill from there. Well, my life did start to go downhill, hence the picture of the rollercoaster. Yeah, I was at that point in my life at the age of fourteen. Good news is, and I didn’t realize this at the time, that after you reach the bottom you go back up to the top, and then you might come down again, but that is just the way life goes, for a while. Eventually though, you will be able to get off the rollercoaster and become grounded. The ride ends, once you realize you are in control. Well, you will still have those highs and lows. They give life balance. Maybe not everything in your life will be in your control, but at least you’ll have control of your mind and be rid of the constant cycle of self sabotaging thoughts and depression.
There is nothing wrong with the choices my parents made, but looking at their lives scared the shit out of me. There was no way I would ever be satisfied continuing on the stressful path of going to school, getting a degree, choosing a career, sticking with it, finding a husband, and raising children to live the same kind of life. I wasn’t certain of what I wanted and felt I lacked purpose. I did not just want to fit in. A part of me knew life had more meaning. Life could be more than this. It should be more. This cycle of living simply and secure had to end. Good thing I had an older brother who deviated from literally everything that was considered normal.When I was only fourteen, his refusal to conform was truly shocking to me. I looked down on him for it, honestly. But, he was two years older. I didn’t understand, yet.
I was trying to figure out who I was, which is hard, when everything you do is to fit in and gain popularity. I had no idea of what I wanted to become. I feared what would happen if I didn’t get into a good college.I feared mediocrity. I hated the idea of going to college to be more stressed and getting a 9 to 5 job to be even more stressed.
At this time, I also had family issues that I avoided. One of the most important bonds I have now is with my brother, but at this time he was my enemy. There was a lot of chaos and basically, I couldn’t handle it. So I drowned it all out and “went to sleep” or “shut off”, whatever you want to call it. I was depressed. “Sick” was the term I liked to use. I never felt good enough to go to school. Either my head or my stomach was always bothering me. My family liked to say that I was sick as well, but I don’t think any of them truly believed it. But, it’s better than admitting someone is lost and empty, and you don’t know how to fix them. The only person that could fix me was me, and I did, kind of. There will always be room for improvement, but I love the idea that I am constantly growing, changing, learning. There is always some way I can live my life better today, than the way I lived it yesterday.
I still have my days. I occasionally fall into negative thinking patterns, but instead of resisting this aspect of myself, I accept it. I am human. I feel. One thing I learned coming out from that period of my life was that it is important to let yourself feel. Feelings are there for a reason. They tell you about who you are, what you need, and what you desire. They give life purpose. Our emotions are an important source of inspiration. They connect us to our creativity and connect us to one another. We should be encouraged to express our emotions freely, not suppress them to the point where we don’t feel, we don’t desire, and there is no emotion to ignite a passion for life.
i must learn to love you,
for i do not know how
you take away the day,
make my bones shiver,
then constrict my body in so many layers of clothing,
that i lack the freedom of movement
you keep me hidden inside,
you steal the ability for my feet to dance across the bare primitive earth,
for two old souls to say hello
i must say,
on the rare occasion that i do say hello to you,
i am in awe of your beauty and wish to meet again
when i was a child,
we used to meet so often in the layers of the pristine white blanket that you lay,
you’d nourish my soul,
when you’d land on my begging tongue,
watching pearly flakes melt from their crystal shapes
i hide from the colorless confetti,
because i have lost my taste,
and only crave warmth
wishy washy – g.c.
He pours a store bought frozen meal out of its tray, onto a clean plate. The plate isn’t necessary. It is there to remind him of a home cooked meal, to remind him of a time when someone thought of him enough to make him one, and he did not bare all the burdens. There was a time, when life was a little more than a microwaved meal. It was more than a moment’s rest on a worn couch, awaiting responsibility to call his name. There was a time, when he got kisses and laughter in return for his labor, when he got to delve into his imagination and pretend to be the wondrous tickle monster. The giggles his love stole are now stored away as distant memories. All that is remaining is the memory of a happier life, these memories, buried under the consumption of practicality, responsibility, and hopelessness. He was dragged into a cycle that seemingly begins from nowhere and awaits a seemingly unknowable uncontrollable end.
I, with wondering eyes, watch this creature of habit. My brain is entwined with maybes and whys, and I sense the end is the goal for far too many men.
awake mind and aching bones
empty stomach groans
memories fall on me like heavy stones
picking skin off my lips until they bleed
as words dance across my mind so fast i can hardly read
just to feel the frustration of tired so deep
just to feel at all
in the numbing coldness that ends fall
depressed winter rest – g.c