Feel Your Way Through

When I sat down to write this, I intended to focus on depression and the misunderstandings around the issue. However, as I gave it more thought, I realized that sadness or feeling low is so much more nuanced than a simple label. It effects us all, yet in very different ways. And so, something new and personal emerged as I began to type. What I want you to know about depression is that it can creep up at any given time despite your best efforts to ignore it. In fact, the more you try, the bigger the feelings become. Imagine a pressure cooker. You pile feelings and experiences and pain and stress into this tiny space until there is no room left. It's bound to bubble up to the surface and in some cases explode. Depression manifests in different ways. It isn't just laying in bed, incapable of functioning on a day to day basis. It's anger, irritability, lack of interest, crying, perfectionism, anxiety, insomnia, avoidance, pretending, self-harm, controlling behavior, physical discomfort and so much more. Some people hold it in, while others are more transparent in their suffering. In my business, I often find the ones who are perceived to have it all together, are the ones who need support most. Suddenly, they're falling apart and faced with the task of identifying the source of their low mood without hiding behind a perfectly designed persona or relying on unhealthy distractions to cope. Healing is a process. I believe in taking a holistic approach to mental health and recovery. Talk therapy is only one piece of the puzzle. Incorporating good sleep hygiene, nutrition, exercise, supplements and medication (if needed) are all part of the equation. One does not work without the other. Unfortunately, we live in a society in which everyone is looking for a quick fix. As a result, I see a lot of people suffering unnecessarily. Like many of you, I too experience periods of feeling low. In fact, I recently went through this and I find comfort in sharing that with you. I am grateful for what I know works to help manage my mood - moving my body, getting fresh air, staying hydrated, going to bed early, snuggling with my dog, limiting my caffeine intake, eating healthy meals, setting boundaries, reading, watching reruns of Friends on Netflix, processing my feelings with someone I trust, taking my vitamins and limiting my exposure to triggering external stimuli (like the news or toxic people). Life is constantly changing and it's not always rainbows and unicorns. There are moments of joy, mixed with mundane, exciting and stressful ones as well. Pretending you're in a constant state of happiness, while ignoring emotional discomfort, only limits your personal growth and wellbeing. If you're sad or lonely or feeling down, there's a need that isn't being met. Acknowledge that. Instead of stuffing it down or using something (like alcohol, sex, shopping, etc.) to avoid looking within, befriend your current emotional state. Explore what tools work for you and feel your way through.