Greetings to you all! Happy almost Fall.
Those of you who are regular readers will know that I am a potter, but what you may not know is that I have recently moved through a period of depression, courtesy of my PTSD.
You often hear about people ‘battling’ depression, and I have often used that phrase in the past.
However, this time I have
experienced it differently.
This time, I have allowed myself to experience it and not try to hide it or cover it up. And there were some good lessons in that for me!
What did sitting with my depression and allowing myself to experience it without judgment look like? And more importantly, what did it feel like?
When I would ‘battle’ my depression, I had a never ending and ever growing to-do list, only I would cross less things off. Then I would feel like I somehow failed, because I was falling behind, which of course would make me feel worse, broken, inadequate and ashamed. It’s a pattern I’ve been aware of, and have known is not healthy.
Even in the incoming fog of this depression, which was building up towards our last lockdown in late Spring, I knew I had to try something different.
This time I allowed myself to feel the depression.
I did not try to hide it with an endless flurry of activity.
I did not try to brush it under the carpet. I allowed myself to feel it, without attachment or judgement. I tried to not allow it to be a weapon I turned against myself. If you’ve got a stomachache, you don’t punch yourself in the gut, and mental health is no different.
I was able to do this by communicating with my family and friends openly. By not hiding what I was experiencing. By speaking my truth. Being able to do that, letting go had two big effects.
The first was to help me realize how incredibly lucky I was to have the support and love of people around me. Thank you wonderful people in my life, and pets!
The second impact was being able to let go of shame, and the feeling I was broken. The acceptance that the depression was a part of me, just one part of many, allowed me to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Overall, choosing to sit with my depression and allowing myself to experience whatever came up was positive. However my pottery did suffer without my usual focus and drive, and so did the quality of this blog, so my apologies and thanks for hanging in there.
I’ve had to revise some of my goals for the year
But you can help me reach one of them and win some great pottery in the process. I’d like to increase my subscriber base for my newsletter. All those who subscribe, will be eligible to win a ‘Great Pottery Gift Basket‘ I am putting together. The more people who subscribe, the more items I will add to the basket.
You can subscribe to my newsletter here, and see what is already included in the gift basket here! And don’t worry, I only I send a newsletter out once every few months, so you’re inbox won’t be filled with spam!
Please always remember, that if your depression is severe and you have thoughts of self harm, always seek professional help.
This is just my experience of what worked for me this time. I make no claims that it will work for anyone else, but maybe putting my experience out there may help someone else in some small way. 🙏
The increasing willingness and ability to share mental health concerns, feelings of depression, disconnection, and sadness are unexpected silver linings of the pandemic. These experiences are part of being human, and a struggle many endure. Doing so in silence, or fighting against them in the way you describe only makes it harder. Thanks for sharing!
I am familiar with depression, and have dealt with it in various ways. In my case, the source of depression was and is the fear of the emptiness, of the total emptiness. If you can, and you have the courage and perseverance, ‘the only way is through’ is a very healthy response. For growth and acceptance. Love.
As with most things, the only way to get through something is to actually sit in it and experience it until you are on the other side. Thank you for sharing.
A great stance to take on depression and an important read for me as I have just been diagnosed with ‘mild depression / high anxiety’ after surviving a struggle with bowel cancer – thanks for the help a feature like this gives to me and undoubtedly to many others too.
Thank you so much for sharing.
I got my first diagnosis of depression about two years ago. It was scary, but knowing that I was in fact NOT “broken” was a huge relief to me. Facing it, feeling it, recognizing its insidious little attempts to move back to center stage are all part of what has been a huge time of growth in struggle for me.
Spot on. Your courage in facing depression, accepting it, and getting through it is commendable, and a beacon for those enduring this uniquely painful form of human suffering.
Being open with our depression takes courage – thank you for being so. Emotions are like tunnels. We have to go through them to get to the light on the other side. If we resist we get stuck in the dark. 🙏
Thank you for your courage and honesty. I wish you good luck. It sounds like you have a great support system in your family and friends. Moreover, you have the art and craft of your pottery to give you strength. What a blessing that is.
Hope you read this🙂
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I am currently teaching a course on positive psychology. One of the tools is the Buddhist concept of equanimity (acceptance), and I have provided a link to this essay as a perfect example of it in use. Thank you.