I’ve Decided to Stop Fighting My Depression
Hi. My name is Tanisha and am a depress-a-holic.
I have said, and it’s true, I have largely overcome the depression and self-hatred that I somehow endured practically 24/7 from childhood until I was 28 years old. (I was told I had a chemical imbalance, ironically only a few short years after internally rolling my eyes at a high school classmate who said she had the same thing. Karma?)
Even though I have come a long way, I still have to watch myself daily, as it’s so easy for it to creep in and flatten me. My lows are just as low as in the past, with the wish that I could not only die, but stop existing in every way altogether. But my “normals” and highs are much higher and much more often.
In fact, my “normal” is indeed normal—it’s my general state of being, and it’s generally full of positivity, drive, and fun. That was a foreign concept when my “normal” meant depressed all the time.
Aren’t I too short for this ride?!
I generally claim that I’ve overcome depression because I have. But I thought that being an effective life coach and kung fu master and instructor meant that I could never be depressed and have such horrendous lows.
With that type of belief, you can imagine how much worse I felt about myself when I struggled with depression over the last two holiday weeks of 2014, when I had extra time off from kung fu classes, coaching appointment, or networking events. I planned to get a huge chunk of work done in my businesses, but instead spent most of my time crying in bed wasting time binge-watching Netflix. (Kind of like the Martha Stewart story I shared on a particularly hard day during this period, from which I rose up beautifully like a phoenix.)
Those two weeks were a massive roller coaster with some crazy awesome successes, but still littered with these intensely deep lows. Those successes included yet AGAIN breaking through my income ceiling in my belief system and in my literal results by topping both my biggest single day and week (in only 5 days!) of income generation. I did things that took me out of my comfort zone on some specific personal development areas I’ve been working on and had amazing experiences doing so. I made some health upgrades with so much ease, it was almost as simple as breathing. I mean things were (are still) really progressing well for me!
But the yo-yo back into the lows made me feel like “What the hell is wrong with me?!”
This is not normal for me. That down side is something from my past and the worst part about it was feeling like a hypocrite when I am all about empowerment, being happy, and living the live you love, but here I was hating myself again the next day.
Perfectionism Rears Its Ugly Wolf-in-Sheep’s-Clothing Head
Until I remembered that being a coach, kung fu master, and a person who loves herself and others never meant being perfect and never having lows. I remembered that my deep-feeling, analytical strengths come with the potential for hyper-sensitivity, over-self-evaluation, and heightened emotions most of the time. I would never give up those strengths that allow me to so effectively coach others and myself, and to bring people down to their wall-less core so they can communicate truth and needs to each other, and so many other benefits, for the freedom of never being depressed again.
And besides, I am not like I was my first 28 years—I can manage my depression. I normally do. I am normally everything I portray with my positive outlook and friendly and happy spirit. That is my normal. This is just a low I have to deal with sometimes (this one came with more consecutive days than usual), and it’s okay to be that way. In fact, it’s not just okay, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because it means my dreams and goals are bigger than they’ve ever been and that scares the little girl inside who is still getting used to the idea that I matter. It’s beautiful because I can love ALL of me, the best and the worst parts of me.
But here comes the coolest thing ever.
I read an article somewhere about some guy’s battle with depression and how he still managed to go to school and get a job and create some good things in his life. There was nothing really spectacular about this article, but it showed me what I needed in that moment—it reminded me of this truth as a metaphor for life…
When it’s time to go on stage, we do it even if we’re scared. We don’t have to eliminate the fear in order to perform on stage, we just need to do it regardless of how much fear we feel.
Our lives are our one stage production with no dress rehearsal, and we are living it even if we are depressed. If it’s okay for the actor or speaker to perform with fear underneath, then it’s okay for me to live with depression underneath.
The INSTANT I realized it was okay for me to be depressed and I didn’t have to “fight” it or hate myself for it, I wasn’t depressed anymore.
The moment I realized it was okay if depression won me over once in a while, 90% of the depression got knocked out of me, and a song came on that hit me just right with its empowering base and touching harmony that knocked the last 10% out of me. (It wasn’t even a song of hope or motivation, it was just a regular song with the right tones, vibrations, beats, and harmonies for me in that moment.)
I returned to my normal self-honoring and self-respecting place with ease. There was no pain or hard effort, just pure acceptance of either choice, which led to my ability to make the better choice. I didn’t even have to actually make the choice, I merely set my subconscious (which makes 99% of our choices for us anyway) up for success through my realization, and it responded with the best choice, and that was it.
The pressure and negativity was simply cleared away and what was left was the real me.
I spent the rest of the evening listening to a new empowering playlist for 2015 while organizing areas of my home, dancing on the stairs and being me.
Whether or not depression is “bad,” makes no difference to me at this point because it’s far more important for me to love myself through whatever I go through than to tell myself to “stop being bad,” which only makes me feel worse about myself and pushes me lower.
Besides, going through lows and feeling terrible isn’t bad. It is just part of each of our cycles, and we all go through them differently. Of course I don’t want my life to waste away sinking into a depression I can’t get out of, but when most of those low moments are riddled with self-beratement for being depressed in the first place—when that stops, the depression is free to stop as well.
Um, hello?! Live the life you love, of course! What all of this is about in the first place. Growing and embracing our best selves.
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Until then, enjoy the roller coaster!