Depression's Super Power
For most of my teenage years and adult life I was deep in depression.
I felt that I had no choices; I was limited by my circumstances.
In 2015 a rock bottom moment propelled me into therapy where I was diagnosed with depression and ADD and medicated for both while continuing therapy sessions allowed me further insights and inner work.
When I came out of my depression, I realized I had choices:
I wasn't a victim to my circumstances.
I read Caroline Myss' The Anatomy of The Spirit, and books on the Tao.
I dove deeper into yogic philosophy and kundalini yoga teacher training.
I came to resonate with the idea that I chose my parents; I chose this body, this nose.
My soul decided that these circumstances would be ideal for the evolution of my soul, and I came down willing.
That's certainly a war cry away from "I didn't ask for any of this!"
When I decided to get off anti-depressants, I had a startling realization driving through Middletown RI – I felt the angst and despair of the people around me; of the land, the trees. It felt overwhelming. I knew that depression was more than just feeling sad – it was a window of empathy – and without understanding how to discern between your own energy and what belongs to others, you can become wrapped up in turmoil and the despair as if it’s all yours.
Next time you're feeling hyper-emotional or super sad, ask yourself, "is this mine?"
It's possible that it's not.
So how then, do we know what’s ours and what isn’t ours?
Reiki is one of the tools that we can use to navigate this sensitivity. "A daily practice of reiki helps you to know what's yours and what's not," explains Jana Mason from Heron Brook Haven in Vermont.
Set the intention for any negative energy to be transmuted to the light.
Set an intention that you are sending any energy that's not yours to be transmuted into the light for the highest and greatest good.
It helps some people to visualize the violet flame burning all around them - cleansing their aura.
Another way is tuning into the body asking to be shown only what's yours. The body is conscious - your cells are conscious. Talk to your organs! Talk to your body.
Scan the body from head to toe, for tension, and breathe slowly into the tension you feel.
Get quiet and ask - what's THAT about? if you feel something "off" - pay attention to what comes to mind.
If you hear the voice of the Inner Judge, well, maybe the inner judge is a part of what caused that tension.
You can become aware of what's being "said" without taking on any shame or guilt about it.
Notice it. Observe it.
I recall feeling so sad during quarantine in 2020. I fell to the floor on the laundry room sobbing. I had a feeling that the emotional anguish wasn't mine, yet I continued to feel it. an hour later I learned that a close friend's dog had been killed by a hit and run car accident. It clicked that I was feeling her pain.
I was saddened for her, and also I realized how sensitive I was and how REAL our empathic abilities are.
If we can feel the pain of people, animals, the trees, the waters, we would want to take actions to help shake things up and "change the world" right?
We change the world by mastering ourselves and our energy, and also by smiling at strangers and being kind in small ways to life around us. It sounds simple, yet many people have difficulty pulling their heads out of their butts to see that it's this simplicity in action that matters because there are ripple effects.
Depression may be more of an empathetic superpower than modern medicine realizes, and if you're prone to depression, it may be wise to begin to seek ways to learn what's yours and not yours.
One of the first things that can be done is to create a habit of meditation to practice neutral mind.
Here's how to do it.
Sit comfortably with an elongated spine.
inhale deeply - first into the belly, then move the breath to the chest.
lift the chest slightly so that you bring awareness to your heart center.
Suspend the breath: HOLD IT. For as long as you can before feeling anxiety.
This holding helps you achieve still point.
Release the breath with an exhale beginning at the chest and then the belly.
Hold it out. This holding helps you achieve still point as well.
Repeat for a minimum of 3 minutes.
Still point is the place where you can plant a seed of intention - even if that intention is "observe".
As thoughts come to you, treat them like clouds. Let them come. Let them go. Notice them. Do not hold on to them.
Neutrality is the ability to look at a thought and let it pass. Don't judge it, but It's there.
Mindful neutrality in action can look like thisL
You're feeling really emotional about something, and you take a moment to treat the emotion as a cloud.
It may be yours. It may not be.
Don't hold on to it, though you can recognize how you're feeling.
Emotions = energy in motion. Trapped energy that had to go somewhere. It's moving through you now, and perhaps you can find a new way to move it through you besides letting it rule your life in that moment.
Can you howl like a wolf?
Put on music and sing?
Kickbox for a bit?
Go for a run?
What's working for me these days has been cold water therapy - either in a body of water or a cold shower.
If it induces roaring, even better!