My Invisible Despair

brOKen

The scary and saddest part about depression for me is how invisible it is.

I have become so good at hiding and masking my pain that even my doctors are perplexed.

See, I “want” to be okay, which to me is being at peace with my mind, body and spirit.

But my depression does not allow that as often as I would like.

Instead I am dying of emotional pain and despair on my insides while my outside demeanor shows a different story.

That ‘display’ is happy, outgoing, content and smiling.

The conflicting parts are continually at war and being honest about the truth of my actual state of being comes into question.

I was told the other day by my psychiatrist, “Courtney, you have such a happy demeanor, it’s very hard for me to tell when you are having a bad day or when you are depressed.”

When he said that it really bummed me out.

It made me realize that for OVER 20 years now, I have been a misrepresented & conflicted girl.

Why is it so easy for me to mask my pain?

If my pain were to show on the outside, I would look like a woman who has the worst rash you have ever seen. I envision it to look like I have poison ivy all over my body. Then it would be known that something was indeed up and I most likely would look like I need help.

I don’t know if it’s my pride or my ego or my shame around the truth about what goes on deep inside my mind, but all I can tell you is that this conflict makes the struggle harder.

I have set out on my own personal mission to speak my truth about suffering with Major Depression so that maybe I could possibly align my insides with my outsides.

Today I woke up feeling very low and like a 5 year old child I declared in my head, “I DON’T WANT THIS ANYMORE!” Like that would take it away. This has been going on since I turned 18. Little did I know that it would follow me around for the next 25 years like a loyal enemy.

I know deep in my heart the only thing that can help me is 100% acceptance of what is and my what is with depression is: low days, emotional pain, struggle to show up for my life, deep sadness, sickening despair, dark thoughts and unexplained dread.

That is why the stigma around Mental Health breaks my heart.

If you saw the brain image of a person with depression and an image of person without depression, you would clearly see there is no choice in this.

This is not a sign of weakness, laziness or craziness.

I consider myself a warrior, well, more like a peaceful warrior because I fight the fight against a disease that wants to take me down. I try to fight with Grace and Love because I am completely humbled by this degree of pain.

I look forward to when the sunny days outweigh the cloudy ones and for now, any moment I get of inner peace and stillness in my mind, I am OVERLY grateful.

Love and Light,

Courtney

 

When Our Pain Defines Us

We all have them.

The stories of what happened to us in the past; the trauma, the onset of mental illness, the break up, the major job loss, the divorce and the abuse.

We tell these stories over and over and over again. We share them with friends, therapists, 12 step groups, yoga teachers, anyone who asks about us and our past, we have these stories.

The sad part is, we BELIEVE these stories.

I defined myself by all of my stories. The rehabs (I’m now a weak alcoholic/addict), the abuse at home at an early age (I am not worthy of love), the abuse from boyfriends (I will never be safe), the onset of Major Depression (I am being punished. My life is not worthy of living), my divorce (I am a failure. I don’t know how to have real and intimate relationships)  and so on and so on.

These beliefs I started to take on as my own identity stayed with me, they became me and I was completely detached from the true me at the center of my being.

It wasn’t until I did massive, massive work on myself and I had a therapist ask me, “Courtney, what if everything you have been telling yourself is a lie?”

WHOA. That one hit me like a ton of bricks.

I could actually CHOOSE to see myself differently and then I could release these negative core beliefs and set myself free.

Free from myself, my past, my stories and mainly my pain.

I invite anyone who is identifying with the pain and suffering in their life to try to see it differently.

Change your perspective on the story you have been repeating your entire life and then STOP telling that story so you no longer have to relive it and beat yourself up.

Happiness and joy are our birthright and when we get mixed up and tangled in our stories we lose that.

Release the weight the stories are carrying in  your heart sweet soul.

A Day In The Life With Depression

 

It’s my voice but it is never kind to me.

They are my thoughts but they never support me.

All is dark, I am trapped, my body no longer moves the way it normally does.

I have tunnel vision and the tunnel is very dark and very scary.

I lose my ability to feel love, I can comprehend what it means but I can’t touch it or feel it.

Small things feel like enormous things and tucking away in isolation feels like the safest thing I can do.

Others tell me to reach out for help, but every fiber of my being is telling me not to, that no one can help me, it’s me, alone and this fight is a solo one.

Retreating from the world I find solace in my isolation, there no one can reach me, talk to me or try to make me show up for my life that I desperately need to hide from.

The fear is very real, I can tell myself clichés but the words and my feelings can’t seem to connect.

There is a circuit shortage in my brain and main disconnect is between my brain, my heart and my soul.

I can recall that I have so many amazing things to live for, but they seem very distant and unreal.

I am in this space again and I am not sure how long it will take to be over.

But it will end because it always does.

“Just hold on….”Just hold on sweet girl, you’ve got this”

Some Stories Take Longer To Heal

Ouch.

I woke up in a lot of emotional pain this morning and I know exactly why.

Last night I shared my past with a new friend of mine going into major detail of the traumas, the hurt, the despair and I basically felt like I relived each event.

I felt my heart shatter into pieces like it did for the first time and today I have been unable to breathe or move.

I always read that when you can share your story without crying, you know you have healed and I was able to tell my stories without tears, but the aftermath was a much different scenario.

The utter powerlessness when someone strips you of your innocence and your open heart are difficult moments to visit.

I felt the same feelings in my body where everything goes numb and the world comes crashing down on me.

I have done so much work on my demons and to see how they can take me down just like that makes me feel like I just stepped back 20 miles on my path to healing.

But I haven’t. I know that’s not true.

What’s true is that forgiving takes time, especially the ‘biggies’ the doozies that took you down for the count, sometimes for more years that you would like to admit.

I went to that place of resentment and anger towards a person who wronged me so badly when all I ever did was love them. I reverted back to that little girl again when I thought about how much my life may have turned out different if I didn’t experience physical abuse at home. I kept thinking, “Why, why did you take the happiness I had, the innocence, my open heart and crush it?”

But that’s life and that was part of my path.

It’s just sometimes necessary to hold a space for yourself to cry, plead, question and hold yourself with compassion like you would an injured child. Because that is what we are, injured children.

We all have stories. We all have people we need to forgive.

Small things are easy to forgive, the bigger and more devastating things that changed your life in a big way take much more time and in all honesty, it make take forever.

Today I am choosing to write about this, to remind others that it’s ok if past events in our lives can take us down for a bit.

The important thing is, we get back up, dust off our beautiful hearts and see how much stronger we are because of those times.

 

 

 

Back To That “Place” Again

Sometimes it feels as though I make incredible progress with my dark emotions and past wounds and then all of a sudden I  fall right back to what feels like my very first time dealing with my depression.

Feeling disconnected from self is hard to explain.

I feel no connection to my life around me, everything seems difficult and looking at my future feels dark and dismal.

My mind takes over and my heart seems no where to be found.

I can feel certain emotions with people closest to me, but the minute they leave I am back to blank.

A blank canvas with invisible paint. Even if I tried, it would come out empty and so colorless.

All that I continue to work for, live for, find my purpose in slowly turns to gray and I am left confused and filled with fatigue.

Escaping this place is on the forefront of my mind, but I have no choice I have to walk through it with no directions from my soul.

I can bring on more suffering by trying to guess what got me back to this lifeless place again, what did I do?  Not do? Say? Not Say?

Will my mediation bring me back into connection with self? I am so afraid to be alone with my mind that seems to jump back and forth from being a friend to being a terrible enemy.

It’s the battle. It’s “that place”, whatever you want to call it, it’s back.

Always uninvited but when it goes away there is always something left in the form of a gift. Maybe it’s more compassion and less judgment of others.

Sometimes it’s more courage and bravery that I will keep in my pocket for the next time I fall.

And the truth is, I will always fall.

No matter how much I wish, pray or plead, it’s my lifelong struggle but I know in the deepest place in my heart, I am never alone.

Emotional Pain: Psychological Or Spiritual Issue?

“Emotional pain is not just a psychological issue; it is a spiritual issue. Depression may or may not be a disease of the brain, but it is definitely a disease of the soul. Modern psychotherapy has taken up some of the slack, and yet it too fails to deliver when it doesn’t acknowledge the soul work necessary to heal our emotional pain.” -Tears To Triumph by Marianne Williamson

I cannot tell you how many times I have debated this question.

Is my depression chemical or is it an issue of my soul and my past traumatic experiences?

When I fell into such a deep hole and felt my only solution was to take my life, anti-depressants made absolute sense to me to save me.

Now looking back at the tender age of 22 when I started to take medication I can see that I was highly addicted to drugs and alcohol (both depressants) I had major unresolved childhood abuse issues, I couldn’t speak my truth, I had stage 3 Melanoma, my parents were getting divorced and one of my very best friends from childhood turned against me.

Depressed? Hell yes. Was it chemical at that point? I have no clue. I believe I had a broken soul and shattered spirit.

Could I have made it without taking my own life if I never started the anti-depressants? Probably not, but now, over 20 years later I have and continue to work on my issues and fill my soul with unconditional love, but I’m scared to death to stop the drugs.

I am sober almost 5 years, meditate daily, practice mindfulness and speak my truth to the best of my ability but yet I am waking up and taking my thyroid medication which I was told the reason why my two other drugs, Viibryd and Welbutrin, were not working.

I can still have really dark days which almost break my heart worse because I feel like I am doing everything I can do be ok.

I will continue to do my Soul Work and work with others who have lost their way with their depression and anxiety.

My hope is one day I can live my life without any anti-depressants but currently my fear of falling into a deeper hole is bigger than my willingness to have Faith that it was in fact, my broken soul

Hope For When Darkness Prevails

 

innerlight

I know there is a force within me that lures me toward the light and yet there is a competing force that would keep me bound to darkness.

When I am choosing to be in a state of fear, uncertainty or self-doubt, I am allowing the darkness to remain present.

In order to get out of this fearful state, I need to ask the Universe to dissolve these unnecessary fears and then trust that the darkness will fall away.

It’s hard to tell sometimes when I am in a deep depression or if I am in a state of fear due to my own negative perception of what is happening in my life.

I understand that fear is a choice we make, but I also understand that depression is not a choice.

I feel as though I judge myself harshly when a depressive state comes on because I feel as though I must have some choice and then I fear that I am manifesting dark things my way because everywhere you read, what you think becomes your reality and that can’t be so with the disease of depression.

All I can do is try my best to walk through the dark abyss, the self-limiting beliefs that are haunting my mind and keeping me from living my life to the fullest.

I want to live in the sunlight of the spirit every single day and I know that is not possible.

When one needs to fight the thoughts in their minds on a daily basis just to keep going and showing up in the world, it’s easy to become tired and weary and filled with fear.

When darkness falls I must always keep my thoughts on the light that I know is there even if I can’t see it at the moment.

The moments in the light are fleeting, wonderful and beautiful and yet don’t last long enough.

My prayer is one day I may experience more of life in those moments than in the fearful state of darkness that seems to follow me like a dark cloud.

I am blessed because I know light. I am blessed because I know that the darkness fades and for that I keep the Faith that all will be okay no matter what my mind tries to make me think.

Love and Light xo

Acknowledging Our Suffering To Be Free

Free Happy Woman Enjoying Nature. Beauty Girl Outdoor.
“The practice of healing long-held suffering begins the moment you acknowledge the suffering is there” -The Universe Has Your Back
For so many years I carried around unnecessary emotional baggage.
I had resentments from my childhood, hurt from things that happened at school, pain from past rejection, heartbreak unattended to and so much more.
Carrying this baggage around caused me to suffer for way longer than I needed to.
We all have things we carry around that keep us stuck in negative patterns and beliefs and this is painful.
The moment we acknowledge the wounds, we are acknowledging our suffering head on and that is when the healing process begins.
The more we suppress, deny and run from our pain, the longer we will carry around emotional turmoil and chaos in our lives.
Today I invite you to see what you have been denying from your past that is keeping you in a state of suffering.
Take a moment and sit with the memory/thought/feeling. Breathe into it and acknowledge it’s presence within you.
You have now just started your first step towards healing beautiful soul.
Share with me what you have been carrying and that will not only acknowledge it but also take the weight of the pain from your head and heart and  lessen it’s
pull on you.
Love and Light,
Courtney xo

When Heartbreak And Depression Collide

heartbreak

When I rack my brain to remember the last time I didn’t have depression I realize that I was 18 years old.

Up to that point I was talkative, spirited, lively, bubbly and had so many plans for my bright future.

I never missed my commitments, parties, school, dances, sporting events or any of it because I never wanted to miss a moment.

When I fell in love for the first time I fell hard and it was with a boy I had been best friends with since the age of 12.

All of the love I felt for life I put towards him and making him feel special, handsome and filled with affection.

He experienced the loss of a parent at a young age and he was not the easiest to reach on an emotional level, but that didn’t stop my efforts or making me want to fill his void of pain with love.

That’s what young love does. You enter in with all your walls down, not a fear of the world in getting hurt because it’s the first time and it feels like a high that you have never experienced.

I baked him cookies when he lost his sport games, cheered him up if he was having a bad day, helped him come out of his shell and be silly and made sure he knew he had me by his side.

He was the person I went to when the physical abuse happened at home, I would run to him and he would tell me that everything was going to be alright and that one day we could get married and he would always take care of my heart.

I believed him because I thought what we had was true love.

When I went off to college two things happened to change the course of where I thought my life was going to go:

  1. He became jealous, emotionally and physically abusive
  2. I fell into a deep, dark, major depression

After the physical abuse happened, everything was different. It was like I completely lost myself, I became hollow and started to use drugs and alcohol to escape the pain and the shame.

I ended the relationship because my head told me it was the “right” and “respectful” thing to do for myself. I say that because when you are abused as a child, you forget that you are worthy of not being hit or hurt.

In the next week after I ended it, I was in a drunken fog and all of  sudden felt a desperate need to get him back, even though it was wrong, I would make it ok and forgive him and we could move on.

But he avoided my calls and told me never to speak, write or contact him ever again.

My heart exploded and a sadness came over me like I had never known. Although it wasn’t respecting myself, I felt like I would die of a broken heart if he didn’t take me back.

He kept that promise of never wanting me in his life again and it took me a very, very long time to swallow that pill.

More than 20 years after this happened, I had a moment of absolute clarity and understanding of my brokenness and devastation.

It wasn’t HIM that I missed and longed for and wished to come back to me for all those years preceding the breakup, it was ME, the old me, the carefree, loving, bubbly girl I was before my depression struck me at he same time as we had our chaotic split.

When I was with him in my earlier years before college, I wasn’t depressed, I was confident, I showed up for my life and didn’t think about wanting to take my own life.

I longed for the girl who didn’t live in the dark most days, the one who wouldn’t skip a day of school because I worried I would be missing out.

Sure he played a part of breaking my heart, but we all go through things like break-ups and walk away and find peace again eventually.

It was just that I walked away from that broken heart, fell into a dark hole of mental illness and never came back out the other side the same girl I was before.

I will always miss how easy it used to be, how free I felt, how unafraid of my mind I was and how life didn’t feel as though I was walking through cement most days.

But that is my path and many amazing things have come to me which will always make me grateful for unanswered prayers.