Feeling blue? How to turn your pity party around
Depression. It’s one of the worst states of being I’ve ever been in, and I’ve experienced bouts of it since my early teens. Bedridden, unmotivated, chronically fatigued.
Back then (in the late 90’s) I was given all sorts of antidepressants which temporarily addressed the issue but made me feel numb. That was, numb to any emotion at all. It was the only option I knew. If only I had the awareness and wisdom that I have now to support my teenage and twenty-something self. Looking back the medications made me feel more stable emotionally where I was able to ‘get on with life’ but I was spiritually very sad. I felt so alone, so isolated from the world and didn’t really feel like anyone understood me. The medications may have created a masking effect but it never addressed the root cause of my depression.
Now into my thirties, I have understood what that sadness was all about and this is part of my healing whenever I’m feeling unsettled emotionally. For me it was this: separateness, competition, rules, lack of freedom and creative expression, and not following my heart. I had immense creativity that would puncture the sky if I allowed it, but no where to really embrace it. School was so confining to my imaginative mind and the life I observed of others seemed so mediocre and unfulfilling. This made me so very spiritually sad. I wanted a different path, my own path that I could create on my own terms, where I was guided by something greater than me that knew no obstacles. Hello universe.
Thank the gods, I am not plagued by depression as often as I used to as I now have my own very fabulous (and equally mystical) spiritual first aid kit on hand to support me through those deeply immobilising days. And interestingly, it feels just like when I was sixteen. As if time never passed. All because there is something occurring in my life where I don’t follow my intuition, my inner guidance and heart.
This I’d love to share with you what worked for me….
Check in with a qualified therapist
I have found when I’m deep in that black hole, I am in no mental state to sort it out for myself. I need an objective opinion. Often times I start with saying a little prayer to the universe to guide me and book in an appointment with whoever feels right at the time. Me, I’m usually straight to my kinesiologist. For others it may be their naturopath, psychologist, acupuncturist or GP. If you need the support please read about my naturopathic and spiritual mentoring sessions.
I’ll be very clear in saying that this is not handing your power over, this is the necessary step to surrender the ego (which many times would like to deny your emotions or attempt to control everything). The ego is there to protect us from severe danger however it can sometimes misinterpret information as a threat. A good therapist has the potential to help you with nutritional and medical guidance, emotional support, energetic healing, or helping you heal from previous trauma or unresolved emotions that have triggered the depression.
Reduce Stress and Inflammation
I recently attended a conference on mood disorders, and the overall conclusion was that inflammation contributes largely to depression. I agree with this also, but I feel that focusing on reducing inflammation alone is only one piece to the puzzle. Stress causes inflammation in the brain, but what causes the stress for someone? This can be emotional, mental and spiritual stress on so many levels. I talk a little about spiritual stress below. Here’s a snapshot of achievable naturopathic tips that can help reduce this stress and inflammation:
- Take supplements for Magnesium, Zinc and high quality B vitamins
- Increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids
- Ditch the refined carbohydrates
- Ditch the caffeine, alcohol and addictive substances
- Eat lots of veggies.
- Get good quality sleep
Practice mindfulness and self-compassion
This helps me immensely. When I’m feeling blue, my ego can resort to an internal dialogue that sounds a bit like this “what’s up, you should be conquering the world, you’ll be right, just pretend everything’s ok and get on with it” Thanks ego, not very helpful.
Mindfulness is a practice of bringing your awareness into the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts without judgement. It is a practice of allowing what is, and not resisting the feelings even though they can be a little uncomfortable. The more you resist or deny the emotions, the more intense they can become. If you’ve never practiced this before I highly recommend downloading the iPhone app Headspace which gives you access to a free 10 day mindfulness meditation program.
Connect to your intuition
Your intuition is your inner guidance, that deep knowing you have about certain situations and people. The best way I find to connect is via stillness, closing my eyes, placing a hand over my heart and focusing on my breath. I bring my awareness to my heart chakra and ask myself a variety of questions depending on what clarity is needed. I remain open to receiving nudges and awareness of things that my ego doesn’t want to hear. The questions could be similar to the following:
- What is not in alignment with my true self?
- What is it that I’m avoiding in my life?
- What in my life needs nurturing?
- What in my life needs to go?
- What does my spirit want to do that my ego (or others) say no to?
- What is it that would feed my spirit and make me feel amazing?
For me, depression sometimes turns up when I’m not following my inner guidance and am resisting what life is throwing at me – interpreted as spiritual stress. Times in my life where I’ve sunk into deep sadness, I tuned into my intuition and all of a sudden I’ve found myself quitting a secure job in Sydney, off to backpack around Europe for a few months then upon return moving straight to Melbourne. Once I quit the job it was like the depression was never even there. Another time I was working in a job I felt I outgrew and all I wanted was to have my own naturopathic practice. I again, fell into a deep hole feeling trapped and depressed. I tuned in, bumped up all my naturopathic supplements, had a handful of sessions with my kinesiologist and took the plunge and set up my full time practice where I currently am.
Other times are not so dramatic but more about nurturing and taking time out for myself more, or beginning a meditation practice that my intuition has been nudging me to do for months. You see where I’m going with this? I agree, depression can have a physiological cause but let’s not rule out that it can also be very spiritual, where we are denying ourselves spiritual and soul growth and not living a life in alignment with what we truly want for ourselves.
Of course it’s not really a party…
You may think I’m making light of a serious mental health condition but I’m absolutely not. Depression is real and is the cause of so much pain in many people. It afflicts all kinds of folks not to mention the carefree, happy-go-lucky types you would never have imagined could have a sad day in their life. But I hope my personal and professional tips invite you to heal those moments when they turn up, because sometimes we don’t know when they will. But I’ve found it to be so important to have a spiritual first aid kit on hand. And if you know someone that is feeling blue, perhaps share these tips with them. You may very well be the messenger angel the universe has sent to help them move through their situation with grace and ease.
And please, get the support you need. If you need a professional to guide you please don’t ignore your intuition any longer. Read more about my healing sessions to find out how we can work together to get you feeling well again.