1. Pushing things away that I don’t like about myself made them worse
So, facing my depression wasn’t an easy one. I’ve been in therapy for almost a year now and I’m coming to the point where I realize that I’ve been trying to push away my depression.
I was thinking that if I do good I could actually prevent myself from falling into another round of depressive episodes while it was there all the time. What a bummer. It made me realize that I was talking quiet a a lot about emrabcing jealousy all year long, writing articles and giving workshops on that topic, while I was at the same time denying a big chunk of myself. Kind of a double moral. Well, I couldn’t really know it, I was talking about my fear of being depressed again all the time that there was basically no space for me to even consider the idea that I was in it all the time. Anyways, my therapist kind of introduced this thought about a month ago and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since then. I know it kind of sounds obvious and if you look at it from the outside then it was kind of laying on the surface all the time. I had this thought in my head that if I was depressed then I must feel really bad. Hide in my bed, cry a lot and have some social anxiety. That’s how it felt the last time and I assumed that if I felt the same way again, the depression would be back. About a month ago I realized for the first time that it’s not necessarily something really bad all the time. It’s a part of myself and it has it’s ups and downs. It actually made me accept and embrace all my moods and emotions around it, because I got less scared that some of them might lead me into my next depressions. If I was already in it all the time then there was nothing to be afraid of, there was no bad emotion. That reminded me of my jealousy. As long as I was pushing it away from myself it felt super bad and shitty and even worse. At some point I stopped for a minute and looked at it. I started to analyze it, talk to people, write about it and give workshopson that subject. Accepting it as a part of myself which is neither super bad nor super awesome, but something in between that makes me want to work on myself and explore myself, made it easier.
2. Talking about things that scare me makes them less scary
Talking about my depression makes me super vulnerable. Sometimes people don’t even know how to respond, because most of the time people are hiding their mental health stuff. Or they don’t know how to react in an appropriate way. I thought it was embarrassing to talk about it. Also I didn’t want to seem silly since depression and anxiety are words that people use a lot nowadays. I see many articles describing it as a “generation phenomenon”, as if every person in their mid oder late twenties has or had a depression in their life. I’ve changed my mind about it recently. Since I had some very empowering talks with different people I’ve started talking about it in a very open way. Even my therapist was super surprised when I told her hehe. When she asked me why I changed my mind from “not talking about anything that happens in my therapy” to “Sharing very personal and intimate information about myself on a podacast” I said that I think it makes it less scary. Depression is something very unpredictable and also super scary from time to time. I kind of know now what stands behind it and how I can work on the different elements but I can’t make it go away. I also don’t want to. That’s who I am. Speaking out loud things that are usually taboo makes them more “normal” (whatever that means). I see a parallel to polyamory here. When I stumble upon things that are new and scary to me, it mostly gets less scary when I say them out loud. For example if I’m scared that my partner will disregard one of our arrangements at their date tomorrow it makes it easier sometimes to express my fear, the feeling might stay but it shifts from super scary to less scary. Saying things out loud can make them less scary, because as long as I keep them to myself they are limited to the edges of my brain. When I let them out, also in a metaphoric way, they get more space and more air to breathe, it feels less limiting. It is not easy to show oneself vulnerable, because talking about emotions is intime but I see a deep opportunity in sharing them. That’s why I write this blogpost. Also I think that the more people get to know different kinds of relationships the more easy it gets for people like me to live our reality.
3. I can’t control everything
Sounds kind of obvious? Well, I agree, it does, but there is definitely a difference between theory and practice. One of the main issues in my therapy is control. I have lots of anxieties and I’m trying to work on them through working on my desire to control everything. It’s all about unpredictable things that might happen to me. I don’t like them. Even changes are hard for me most of the time, even if I really like them. I can do both at the same time. No one can tell me how certain changes will turn out in my daily life or how they will affect me. That’s way they scare me a lot. People dying for example. Seriously, how do other people deal with it? There is always the possibility in life that people might just die. I’m always wondering how people deal with that fact. Anyways. It all came down to the fact that I have all sorts of anxieties that are linked to my control issues. It was just yesterday (I’m not kidding) that I decided to try one of this Breathing exercises when I got scared again. I closed my eyes, concentrated on the anxiety and tried to breathe into the pain. I know, I know, it sounds a bit like a too easy approach, but in fact it was hard to sit trough. I wanted to go right into the anxiety and let all sorts of thoughts reveal itself in my brain and in my body. But after a while it got better and then a couple more minutes and I felt a bit relieved. When I get scared in my relationships that I don’t know what will happen in the future and that there might be a scary change etc. etc. I kind of do the same thing. I stop for a minute and take a few breaths. Then I remind myself that even if I could control every single situation in my life and warn myself about potential scary things in the future, I wouldn’t want to. And also I can’t, so there is no need to invest so much energy in thinking about it (sometimes I do it anways, but it’s nice to remind myself of all the energy I put into this. It kind of stops me sometimes from doing so). Concentrating on my future issues allows me to neglect my current issues. If I want to face them, I’ll have to take a very deep breath and look at them carefully.
4. Everything that stresses me emotionally also stresses my body
While I’m going through a tough and emotionally intense period of my life, where I’m trying to face my deepest issues, I’m noticing that my body is reacting to this process. I’ve noticed earlier in my life that if I deal with tough issues my body can feel numb/stuck or my eye starts to shrug or my period stops for some time or my stomach starts to hurt. My emotional state of mind is deeply connected to my physical. It can be helpful sometimes. For example when my body shows me that I’m stressed when I’m too stressed to realize it. Or when I feel that I get nervous about something because my stomach starts to work heavier then usual. Sometimes it’s also annoying, when I get stuck and I feel that I can’t move because I’m so hurt or when I feel so helpless and every step feels like 1000 steps. Through my depression I’ve learned to listen very carefully to my body and ask my self at any time what I can do for my self care. Sometimes it’s a hug that makes me feel at home and save. Sometimes it’s hiding under my blanket where it feels warm and cosy. And sometimes I just need to clean my room/the flat to move my body around or go on a long walk to get rid of my numbness. I don’t see depression as a sickness or disease or anything, at least not for myself. It’s just another thing that I struggle with in my life and I think that there are certainly many parallels to my daily challenge of managing poly relationships.