We’re all dealt cards to work on in life and mine for this life time has been the navigation of intense patches of depressive / suicidal lows would paralyse me for weeks at a time. Periods of total blackness and the most intangibly debilitating states I have ever felt in my life.
My journeying self over the last 10 years has been one of fierce love and conviction, guided by a deep listening and knowing that there was a different way of exisiting in the world beyond the confines of the label and prescribed numbness to medicate the condition of ‘Bipolar Type 2’.
I’m not taking away from the clinical system/ advice - its amazing and it saved me a good few times but there was something that wasn’t fundamentally ok for me in that picture. A 22 year old putting 6 pills in her body a day with blood tests once a month to monitor lithium toxicity.... all in the quest for feeling less and ‘normality’.
No one at the time told me there was another way... but at the core of my being I always knew there was. So I followed my gut and concurrently sought out supporting natural therapies until I could gather the strength and courage to step out of the confinement of the label and clinical system.
LIFE BEYOND THE LABEL AND NUMBNESS -
4 years ago almost to the day I swallowed my last pill and chose me... all of me. The light and especially the dark. The path of learning to just be (all of it) and get to know every inch of the spectrum / feeling / expression that is my unique humanness in the world.
Was it easy? No - it was and still is one of the hardest yet most liberating things I have and will ever commit to.
Practically speaking it requires daily attunement and awareness to the states of my feeling and being using all the tools I've embodied over the last 10 years.
WHY AM I SHARING THIS? -
I’m revisiting this and sharing candidly again because from April to August this year I met a deeper layer of this spiral and life again brought me to my knees. The feeling like I was oscillating between 30-5m out from the edge of the cliff. To be frank,it's the hardest patch I’ve faced in the 4 years and I want people to know as much as I’m reminding myself as I am writing this... that you’re not alone. I am not alone.
THE MEDICINE -
THIS is a puzzle and I am not proclaiming to have all the answers, but I do feel called to own and share what works for me when I can feel the edge of the cliff coming or if I have plummeted off and taken the dive.
1) PERMISSION - IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK -
I innately know the difference between a bad day and a depressive one. Acknowledging (as opposed to avoiding / denying / bypassing) that within myself is always the first step.
2) OPEN THE CLOSET -
Trying to navigate these intense feelings of depression with suicidal thoughts on your own is hell. As hard as it is to reach out is at times, we need to connect. This state of being thrives on isolation, but when it’s out on the kitchen table surrounded by compassion, love and a cup of tea it turns down it’s power to combust and self destruct.
As a subset to this - there are a handful of people I have in my life that when I say ‘I’m not OK’… they know exactly what that means. They also know that to meet me in that space based on previous discussions I’ve had with them - ie I don’t need to be fixed or forced, in those moments I just need to met in acceptance, compassion and non judgement. Sometimes words aren’t even needed. Just being in the presence of someone is all it takes.
3) SUPPORT NETWORKS -
As much as I’ve stepped out of the clinical I acknowledge it as an important part of my overal care plan for myself. Know the pathways to support that’s all I will say here.
What I do advocate and recommend is having established connections with other healing professionals you have an ongoing relationship with and can call on - for example I have a woman who I will see for core unmet needs therapy, I have a theta healer for energetic work emotional clearing, a tantric therapist for shadow / regression work, and I have nautropath and aromatherapist to help me with natural blends to calm and stabilise my nervous system etc...
And most importantly family and friends. The people in your life that can surround you with what your yearning for the most.
4) DESCEND & EXPRESS TO RISE -
Let go into the feeling, stop fighting it. There is so much suffering in the forcing of self to feel something that we are simply not.
For me the greatest gifts have come in the free fall; into the abyss of nothingness bumping only into the pockets of emotion that need to be released.
Practically what does this look like?
I move the emotion in the body that seduces me to stay in bed, paralysed with my head under the covers. On my own or with the support of a sister or brother to witness me / hold space for the process - I go into the sadness, the fear, the rage and the anger… I scream into and bash pillows, I shake my body, I allow the well of tears to flow with my chest open to god, I hold myself, or I asked to be held, I journal with all aspects of myself - allowing all of the parts of me especially the little girl in me to speak… and most importantly I ask myself what I need and ask myself how I can practically meet them (including asking for support).
The essential key in all of this is meeting all of the above with awareness, love and compassion and also being aware when the ‘express and release emotion loop’ needs to stop. For me this feels like the observer in me… the part of me that is witnessing myself run the energy and clear it from my body. It’s the part that says OK baby - you’re safe, you’re ok, it’s time to take a moment; breathe - deeply into your belly…. soften and relax your body through what ever the state of being is (especially contraction and closure).
It’s where the alchemy happens.
5) SELF CARE PLAN - DAILY RITUALS -
For me, it is the little things that are done every day that make the biggest difference holistically in this as much as life.
There is magic in rituals for self care - regular healthy and nourishing meals, meditating, dancing, movement - more so walking to move the big leg muscles, being outside in the sun, connecting my bare feet to the earth, meditating, using oils and aromatherapy to support the softening of my body, expressing and releasing, physical touch, present loving connection and a regular sleep cycle is so important.
I notice the difference in my attunement and ability to self regulate when these daily rituals slip.
DOES IT GO AWAY? -
The label has for me but the depths that I feel to doesn’t … The reality is, this is something I will give attention to my whole life.
So, the big Q….
AM I CRAZY?
And it’s the crazy that makes me brilliant and makes me shine so bright. It’s where I write from, it’s where I move from, where I love from, where I create from, where i facilitate from and it’s the depth of humanness and permission that I unshakably meet people in.
So to the people reading this who relate or have someone in their life that is struggling and finding hard to put words to the intangibility of what they feeling, share this with them.
Know that we are all in this together.
Know that we all have cards we are dealt.
And know that you are divinely perfect, life is divinely perfect in it all.
And the feeling… it always passes.
Even on the days you feel it won’t.