When we experience feelings of depression, one of the most common things we ask ourselves is why am I feeling this way? It could be the spin of life itself, overwhelmed with kids and family, jobs, or past trauma.
Regardless of what is causing us those feelings, we often come back to:
why am I feeling this way?
And how can I start to move through it?
By the end of this blog, I want to show you where you can begin, what is the first step to overcoming this.
(enjoy the video version)
Depression is a sign that we are out of connection and out of relationship with ourselves. That can mean a whole lot of things, and different for every person.
You may be one of those people who do have a flood of thoughts and emotions going through your mind and body. Or you may be on the opposite side of the depressive feelings and actually be totally numb to the situation. Either way, we need to determine what’s going on and begin to untangle it. So here’s how I recommend doing that:
You need to begin to listen to what’s going on upstairs, in your body. What thoughts and what emotions are replaying, even if they may be insignificant, even if they’ve been there for a long time.
I need you to start writing down what is going on inside your mind and inside your body. What are you feeling, what emotions are you feeling?
(Emotions are like anger, sadness, fear, hurt, guilt, jealousy, rage. What emotions are you feeling and what thoughts are going through your mind? Like, oh I’m constantly thinking about that past situation)
And right now, you might be going… well I’m not feeling or thinking anything! But you are. We’re all feeling and thinking all the time.
One of the things that happens with depression is the deeper and the longer we’ve been in depression, the more disconnected we get from ourselves. And the more disconnected we get from ourselves, the harder it is to actually pay attention to these feelings and these thoughts.
An important note: the only way that depression lasts, is the more you stay disconnected from yourself, and tuning out and feeling numb and letting the spin happen, that keeps it in place. So we’re going to do the opposite with that exercise and start tuning in.
Now, if you’re not getting many thoughts or feelings, here are a couple of questions that you can also begin to ask ourselves. It will help us begin to untangle the mess:
I am depressed about… I want you to have a piece of paper, write that on the top, and you may have multiple pieces of paper that you can write out over the course of the few days. Or you may just have a few things. I want you to write down, I am depressed about, and just let some ideas come to your mind.
Don’t judge them as foolish, or silly, or that doesn’t make any sense. Just let things roll off your mind. Give your mind space to brain dump.
What is it that you desire? So you can have a new piece of paper that you write down, I desire…and fill that page up. What is it that you desire? When we experience depression, especially the longer you’ve been in it, we get even more disconnected from what we desire in life. We stop dreaming, we stop wishing. We just are in the moment, and want this feeling to leave.
So moving out of any negative state requires momentum. As you know if you’ve experienced depression, it is a stuck state. Meaning you don’t want to do anything or go anywhere. We need to move ourselves out of that energy.
The combination of knowing what is holding us here, as well as figuring out something, anything, even if it’s super tiny, that we desire to pull us out is gonna be really helpful.
From these lists, I want you to pick one thing off of each of these lists. What is the one thing on this depressive list that you feel like if you let this thing go everything would change? Or what is it that you have the energy for? The second is pick something on the desire list. What feels like it’s calling you? What feels accessible? We want you to feel like you can win in this. So when we pick something from each list, it’s gonna help us. These can really help you to identify what are some of the first action steps that you can take to begin to move through this.
2. Step number two of shifting this is to stop reinforcing and choosing depression.
Now before you go, “I’m not choosing depression, I would choose to feel any other way but how I feel”, hear me out!
Every single day, every single minute, an action that you’re taking is either creating the minutes in your future that you desire, or keeping things exactly the same. So with every action, you are choosing how you’re gonna feel.
Do you know that watching more TV and Netflix, eating shitty food, skip that exercise class, not make that call, not clean your house, or keep doing certain behaviours that actually make you feel heavier in the end?
Are you actively choosing (most of us do) to stay in this experience by the actions you do & don’t do on a daily basis. Ask yourself, how am I reinforcing this, and holding this issue into my life?
Just to open your eyes and open your mind. You actually have control over how you feel, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, and that you can begin to shift it and create something different. But the very first step is realizing how are we actually holding these experiences in our life.
3. Get help! We all know why getting help is important. I wanna share with you the three common places that you can begin to look and open up to for receiving help, as well as some of the key differences in between them, so you can decide for you, which one actually feels like a better fit.
All three of these work together. All three of these have benefits as well as limitations.
When you’re deciding which one of these is best for you, here are some things that you want to consider: (this is gonna be the quick and dirty version of each of those)
1.If you have a diagnosed mental illness, if you have been in depression for a significantly long period of time, like going on a year or many years, if you are worried about mental illness within your family or just within yourself that you’re experiencing. I think it’s always a safe bet to have a conversation with a doctor or with a psychotherapist.
2. I believe counselors are so valuable when you have a lot to get off your chest. One of the things that I found so valuable about doing counseling over the years has been that when I had stories of childhood abuse to share. These were things I’d never shared before, a whole bunch of thoughts and experiences that I didn’t understand, & it was so helpful to have a counselor there. To listen, to be able to prompt me with the right questions, to be able just to give me the space to open up, and release on a regular basis. This helped train my mind that I also don’t need to store it all inside.
3. The third is a coach or an alternative healer of some sort. This would be the category more that I fall into. I’m not a trained psychotherapist or a trained counselor. I’d be in the coach/alternative healing work. Normally the difference here is that coaches & alternative healers are results-driven…meaning that there is a destination they want to take you to. There’s something that we are going to release or let go of or no longer experience, a new reality that we are going after.
One caution is that I am personally against is only doing the route of medication. I’m not against medication. I am against only prescribing someone with medication and sending them out the door.
What we know about mental illness and depression is there is a cause!
There is a reason why this is happening.
And absolutely chemical imbalances and things can be happening…AND
emotional challenges, mental complexities, past experiences, & life realities HUGELY play into this!
So if we’re just dumping medication on a situation without actually starting to get to the root of it, I believe not only is it disempowering for you as a client, it creates a whole other raft of issues later on.
(I’m not gonna rant about today, but it’s probably a topic for another day)
If we’re honest & look at the facts… depression is growing.
Mental illness & stress… expanding!
I believe that one of the most common reasons this happens is because of the disconnection that we have with ourselves, the lack of understanding of why we do what we do, why we feel the way we feel, in this box that we walk around with on our shoulders, how it actually works.
I would love to also hear from you in the comments below. What has helped for you? I want to create light in this dark situation and let people know that “hey, there is a way out and through this”. So if you have a resource, a coach, a therapist, a doctor, something that you have a great experience with, I would love if you would share it in the comments below.
Look at my list of categories on this page & enjoy finding another post that is calling your name…
Feeling pulled to connect with me?
If you’re feeling connected to me & feeling called to learn more about how we could work together privately. We can set up a call and have a conversation, to see if we are a fit to work together.
MAKE IT A GREAT DAY,