Depression As The New Common Cold
For so long a taboo if spoken, so no-one spoke. Now that it is as common as the cold, we still find it hard to speak about. Often we don’t even recognise it.
In hindsight, I’ve lived with depression many times throughout my life. I look back at these times and wonder how I managed to get through it, without medication. I found the most accessible coping mechanisms of course – Jesus, alcohol, promiscuity, fighting, drugs, and the less offensive addiction of ‘running away’. All in the name of releasing anger unexpressed.
Yet, the more I released, the more I filled up with the very mistrust and resentment that I was causing. Emptying the well to only fill it again. To find today, it has never emptied. I still have a heap of anger. The difference is now I’m a mum, a community leader and a business woman, so I have to be much more tactical about it because I can’t just up and gap it anymore. I have responsibilities and people who depend on me for their survival. This energy that I had so fruitfully dispersed in my life previously was being forced to be contained within me, which hurt even more. So, my tactics had to change.
How to release not just a feeling but a way of life? A way of life that protected me from any further pain? Pain that started from a young age, possibly that was never even mine in the first place? I was just the recipient of someone else’s release of pain, who was the recipient of someone else’s release of pain that goes back from generation to generation. That’s the intensity of this ‘feeling’ that I have carried all this time.
The more I looked within myself at this pain, layers unravelled to reveal even more darkness. I looked for sanctity in those that had seen and sat with their own suffering. Who were willing to hold space for me so I didn’t feel alone in the dark. At times I would emerge from my sub-conscious gasping for air, telling myself there was another way, and would turn to the numbing effects of eating, tv and social media. Each time I had to will the courage to return to the darkness. I quickly learnt each time I returned, it wouldn't hurt so much, that bringing my mamae to the light, to my consciousness, would heal it.
For some this process may look like counselling, prayer, meditation, chanting, haka, yoga or dance. Finding your tool kit is the key. Tools that aid you in your work. For me, it was art therapy, singing and essential oils. For a friend, hypnotherapy and camping. For another diving and dance. Each tool bag with various tools we were each guided to, specifically for our journey.
The tool we all have in common however is our connection to our Mauri, our breath – our very essence of life. When you start coming to terms that your tactics are no longer fail proof, reconnect with your Mauri.
Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu.