It took losing my mind to find myself. Bit of a bold statement, that. And I'm certain it's not the only way to find yourself. Probably not the recommended way to find yourself. A little 'Eat, Pray, Love' trip probably would have been more enjoyable (and maybe even cheaper when I consider the months spent un/under-employed).
I didn't exactly find myself in the exhilarating euphoria of mania, but I found something. A lot of power, anyway. And fearlessness and boldness and an inner knowing that whatever I envisioned could eventually come to be. Mania gives zero fucks about what anybody else thinks. Mania has you biting police officers and scratching security guards and belting out "Roxanne" by the Police very loudly and incessantly to a full hospital emergency room. Not particularly things that I'm proud of doing, but as an agreeable female raised to always 'be good' and 'behave', those were some shackles that definitely needed to be thrown off.
The obvious and fierce rage I connected to around being forcibly and chemically restrained has helped me to tease out some of the more subtle simmering anger I have long repressed and shoved aside and denied. Is teaching me to work with it, to use it, to allow it to fuel me into action and resistance.
Anxiety and panic has taught me to listen to my inner world. To pay attention to emotions that needed to be acknowledged, respected, validated. Anxiety brings lessons of gentleness, of vulnerability, of the tenderness of the human heart.
And depression, oh, depression - the most strict teacher of all. Depression shows you all your shit, and doesn't back down or put up with excuses. My shit around my productivity being my worth, my perfectionism, my harsh self-criticism. Depression is the shadow aspects of self brought to the forefront. Depression asks the hard questions - if life isn't fun or productive, where is its meaning?
If I'm a drain on society, on my loved ones, wouldn't it be better if I'm not here?
Being depressed is an incredibly brave thing to do. There's nowhere to run, there's nowhere to hide, there's no looking away. When it has you, its grasp is complete. And the only way it lets you go is if you start to learn what it's demanding. It demands surrender. Demands self-love and self-compassion and self-care. It demands trust. Trust in the intrinsic value of each and every person. Trust that this being human is a process. Trust that this shittiness provides good, rich compost for the next cycle of growing and creating. And trust that these challenging experiences are changing us, shaping us, and helping us connect to the most authentic versions of ourselves.
I'll be exploring this topic in more depth on Sunday, May 6th from 2-4 pm at hemma.
Self Discovery for Mental Health is now open for registration, $25 before April 29/$30 after.
Call 250-294-0434 or online here.
Mad love, folks.