Anxiety, Depression


A follow-up on my process of emerging from the dark hole – that’s the suggestion I received for this Chat.

Please click here if you missed the previous Chat

Before I unravel bits from my experience, I do want to stress the importance of seeking professional help should you find yourself in that dark place. You are not alone and reaching out is the wise thing to do.

For me, my breakthrough in thinking really did spin me 180 degrees around. Perceiving an outcome of little or no hope, led my mind’s logic to conclude that there was, therefore, no cause or need to care any longer, about anything. And because of that thought I suddenly felt free. No care meant no fear, equalled being free, to be me.

Intellectually that deduction still makes sense to me. Living it though, is the process that takes practice. Changing old patterns of belief, and thus behaviour, requires patience, and any new resolve takes time to settle and solidify as it were. But that re-acquaintance with the carefree me was a powerful drawcard that encouraged me to persist in climbing up the slippery slope.

We may, more likely will, lose our foothold on occasion. Mood swings occur with short intervals in between them that are confusing and scary. One minute you can feel ‘I’ve got this’ and the next minute ‘Not so much’. That bright and bold resolve may start to melt. It feels like the ups and downs of life are on steroids.

Opposing emotions fuelled by internal raging debates can be exhausting.

That’s when we look around for something to grip onto, to steady ourselves and reaffirm the direction we have chosen. Some grip holds are generic while others are very much of an individual nature, for you to discover without judgement from yourself.

                   It’s a case of letting the real you go with your natural flow.

We all have our own unique idiosyncrasies, and nuances of character which contribute towards who we are. And it’s these that influence our preferences, colour our expressions and bring us home to our unique essence.

Finding out what brings you peace or what strengthens your resolve in boldness is a valuable journey of discovery.

Writing is naturally a ‘go-to’ for me, but I’m not alone on that one. Writing out the emotional turmoil in morning pages, and any-other-time pages for that matter, is hugely beneficial. This practice brings incredible clarity, allowing the light to penetrate the dark fog. I had much to sift through but rather than trying to navigate through the emotional soup, I floated along with the current to new shores where what had previously been labelled as wrong, no longer mattered.

The flotsam of perceived aggrievements and despair mostly disappeared over the horizon of influence, leaving only me in the middle of nothingness.

Daunting and wonder-filled.

No noise from the busy chase of life.

There were times when I needed to share the raw and not so pretty emotions when they surfaced, not to garner pity or sympathy but rather to allow verbal reflection and thereby perchance to gain some clarity. The compassionate and non-judgemental presence of close and trusted friends allowed me to air and share. Connection is important especially when the terrain of existence feels so slippery.

                  Personally I’m a great believer in drawing on nature for guidance and comfort.

Shinrin-Yoku, the Japanese practice of forest bathing, reportedly improves physical and mental well-being. That I firmly believe in, but we don’t all have the excellent healing environments of forests or the sea on our doorstep. Fortunately though, just standing or sitting on soil or grass with bare feet can shift internal energy states. It’s called earthing or grounding. I spend at least 10 minutes there doing nothing else but appreciating it.

Staring into a flower is immensely peaceful, or watching a bee do its thing. Birds at the bird bath, butterflies, lizards basking in the sun, spiders weaving webs……

And then there are my dogs. I can’t imagine life without them, never mind those times spent in the valleys of emotion. I tap into their pure energy and unconditional love – it’s an infinite source so there’s always more. It’s not a time to intellectualise the energy infusion, just to feel it.

Body poses and movements are very reaffirming as the neuronal feedback loop from muscles to brain reassures one of whatever the adopted pose or movement implies. So, much as my withdrawn state didn’t want to co-operate with this exercise, I began gently and gradually to exaggerate ordinary moves with flair and boldness. I love dance and creative movement, so using that to help me makes sense. As I continued to carry out everyday tasks and chores with flamboyant panache, the feedback loop to the brain started to relay impulses of strength, conviction, and bold, bold, bold. Sound daft? Maybe, but it was uplifting for me.

Try any outlet of expression with which you feel a connection such as splashing paint on a canvas, throwing clay on a board, gardening, singing or playing an instrument. Gently ease yourself into it

A bolder core enables a degree of risk-taking and experimentation, and through that exploratory phase I rediscovered what felt warm – it’s an odd description but that’s the way it felt to me. Warm meant an inner growing glow allowing the capacity to be interested to reawaken.

Going with my warm-to-warmer internal barometer brought my trust in life back to me reinstating the value of the present.

As with many meaningful processes, “baby steps” is the way to go.

One day at a time is all we ever need.