If you have things to say, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would like to present a wide swath of opinions from extreme rejection to extreme acceptanace and everything in between.
I realized recently that the past two years of my life (approximately), have been filled with mourning. When I graduated college, I lost the part of my identity that labels itself as student. This loss, has been a hard thing to let go of, and I’ve been clinging to it desperately of out fear of what change might bring. Over the past 6 months, I have been slowly coming out of this state of deep loss, and taking the initiative to be self-guided. I was keeping the doors of my life closed, and it is recently, that I have come out of hibernation and opened myself back up to possibility and love and light. It’s hard to explain in words how large this shift is in me, because it is so completely not intellectual, but it is as though, I have woken up-like I’m seeing clearly. When it came about specifically is hard to say-it’s been creeping up in various ways for several months now, but it started when I admitted to myself that I wasn’t satisfied living the life I was leading, and more specifically, that I could not continue this way. I was walking and talking and breathing, and yet I was not living. No risk, no movement, no change. A mediocre sadness. Nothing extraordinary about the melancholy, just a dullness, a deadness.
Then I started making changes, slowly but surely, and since the start of 2014, it feels like a whole new life, like anything is possible. I feel alive. I feel present. I feel connected. The paralyzing fear is gone, and has been replaced with faith-I have become much more “religious” (I was never religious to begin with), I am embracing ideas of faith, hope, belief and divinity in ways that the sceptic in me would scoff at. But belief is where magic lives, and I believe in magic. I believe in possibility and growth and change. I believe that sharing these experiences is important because when you feel afraid, it often coincides with feeling loneliness. I know I have been lonely, I still am lonely some days. Deeply so, in ways that I can’t describe here on tumblr because the experience would only be cheapened. The loneliness I recognize now as a tool, a time for reflection. For to feel connected is to know loneliness. This general rule of opposites becomes my philosophy more and more as the days go by. There exist polarities in this existence, and often the middle path, the one of balance can be the hardest to pin down, and perhaps there in is the issue we as humans often face. We try to pin down something so ethereal and fluid that all our efforts are a waste. We must ride the wave and be taken on this journey. Happiness is not a middle path, rather it is an ideal that can only exist thanks to its opposite. Life is bliss & joy only in response to life being pain & suffering, To only focus on happiness is to avoid half of what this life is. Instead, I am constantly finding my balance, walking this tight rope of fluctuating emotions and thoughts, finding the contentment in detachment, in the knowledge that my experience of life has limitations because I am a human.
L i f e i s i n f i n i t e
Never stop moving, because in stagnation, the universe will move beyond you. Always find yourself in flux & change. As soon as you think you’ve figured it out, you have begun to die. Life exists only in the constancy of change.
Great article on the causes of feeling Melancholy. Definitely worth the read if you’re the kind of person who likes categories. I found many of these (1,2,4,5,10,11 & 12) to be true for me over the past two years. Everything is a slow change, but it feels like more and more these past 3 months, I have been recognizing the reasons for why I feel sick inside. The wonderful thing is, they are all in my power to be changed! Hope this is helpful to anyone else reading who is dealing with similar thoughts/feelings/desires. We are all in this life together, and despite the disconnect often felt on the internet, we can still use it as a tool for connection, if only we extend ourselves honestly towards those we’re reaching towards. So to anyone reading this-may it be Marta, Carley, Steph, Britian, Paolo, Carly, Melanie, Olivia, Moriah or anyone else sitting at a computer right now with a face and a name that I know personally or not at all. I’m thinking of you when I post this. It’s not arbitrary. Everyone deserves to feel contentment in this life. Let’s help each other!
Here’s the article:
Many clients come to me believing there is “something wrong” with them. They believe they’re fundamentally flawed, or they’re making a last-ditch attempt at life, often with plans to end theirs if things don’t improve. However, more often than not, the root of their depression is not a biochemical imbalance or a life-sentence. Rather, it’s a result of one or more of the following:
Of all the research out there, social connection is one of the most proven ways to prevent and cure depression. However, the problem is that depression will often tell us we’re no fun and nobody wants to hang out with us, leading us back to isolation. Acknowledge that the thought does not serve you and, given your current state, and reach out. Join a Meetup group, a team, or call an old friend.
Ever been through a breakup, lost a job, experienced the loss of a family member or pet, or found yourself out of school for the first time? All of these situations are thick with grief. If you’ve experienced a major transition or loss in the past year (or longer if you’ve suppressed your grief), chances are your depression might be tied to that. Grief mimics depression, so feeling unmotivated, low, irritable, disinterested in things you used to enjoy, disconnected, unable to focus, and experiencing disturbances in your sleep and diet are likely related to your adjustment to the transition or loss.
Ever noticed how much more fragile and lethargic you are after a bad sleep? Exhaustion affects our mood, our energy levels, and our cognitive functioning. The problem is, depression can cause sleep disturbances, so it can become a vicious cycle. Speak with your therapist about ensuring proper sleep hygiene, learning cognitive behavioral strategies for managing insomnia, and, if you believe you might have a sleep disorder, consider getting a referral to a sleep specialist. Some sleep disorders arehighly-correlated with depression.
4. Missing meaning
From an existential perspective, we require meaning in our lives for happiness. According to Viktor Frankl, we can find this meaning through work, relationships (romantic and otherwise), helping others, learning, creative endeavors (e.g. writing, music, art/design), and spirituality, to name a few. If you’re in a career you despise, or feel “lost” in life, depression has likely come about to tell you that the way you’re living your life does not align with your values and desires. Take it as a positive sign that change needs to happen, and consider how your life would look if you felt fulfilled in some (or all) of the aforementioned areas.
5. A critical inner voice
Imagine how worthless you’d feel if you had a verbally-abusive friend, partner, or parent beside you at all times. Well, this is how it is for many people who are highly self-critical. Pay attention to your internal voice. What’s its flavor? If you find you’re saying things to yourself that you would never say to a friend, it’s time to make a change. Several studies have shown that learning self-compassion can be an effective intervention in treating depression. Therapy can be a wonderful place to learn this language of healthy striving.
6. A lack of exercise
Along with social connection, exercise is another variable that is highly supported in its relationship to depression. There’s no need to join a CrossFit gym or to sign up for a marathon (although you can do that, too), but you’re likely to notice a difference in your mood from doing 20 minutes of yoga on your lunch hour, or getting out for a walk around the block after work. No time? Combine it with #1 and ask a friend to go for a walk.
7. Not enough nature
Recently, several studies have supported the benefits of “ecotherapy” or “green therapy” in treating depression. It fosters mindfulness and feelings of calm. When’s the last time you got outside and were surrounded by green? Try to fit this into your daily routine—even if it’s for only five minutes! If you live in a big city, make a point to hit up a park or shoreline.
8. Poor diet
More and more research is emerging that suggests nutrient deficiencies and food allergies are linked to depression. For example, studies have shown vitamins B and D are negatively correlated with depressed mood, while gluten is positively correlated (in those who suffer from intolerance). Every individual is different, but getting a blood test and seeing a naturopath, dietician, or holistic nutritionist might benefit you.
Studies have shown that chronic stress can lead to depression. Some stress is good, but when it outweighs coping, it might be a factor in why you’re feeling depressed. If you can’t cut some of your responsibilities, consider assessing where the expectations you feel are coming from (i.e. someone else, or yourself), and take some of the pressure off. Permit yourself to lower your expectations for performance, make mistakes, quit, and ask for help. In other words, stop treating yourself like a machine and let yourself be a human being.
10. All work & no play
Many people are under the (false) impression that once we reach adulthood we no longer need or deserve “fun.” Or that we’re only allowed to have “fun” once our work is done. Well, given the fact that there will ALWAYS be something more to do—another bill to pay, another project to complete, or another load of laundry to do—chances are you’re setting yourself up for a life that’s not very enjoyable. Allow yourself to carve some time out of your daily schedule to do something you enjoy. This could be an activity, or it could be lying on the couch watching Netflix.
11. Imbalanced hormones
Imbalances or deficiencies in estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol are all correlated with depression. Consider checking out these areas to ensure the depression you’re experiencing is not related to one of these!
12. Not dealing with emotions
We have primary and secondary feelings. Primary feelings are the ones that we feel at the core—for example, sadness or anger, anxiety or loneliness. Secondary feelings what we feel when we judge ourselves for having the primary feelings. Imagine you’re feeling depressed, but then you beat yourself up for feeling depressed and tell yourself you’re broken and need to stop feeling depressed. Now you’re not just feeling depressed; you’re also feeling shameful, pressured, and frustrated. By giving yourself permission to feel the feelings that come up (whatever they may be) with compassion and without judgment, you may notice a weight lifted off your shoulders. -Megan Bruneau
It’s extraordinary to me to be reacquainted with a feeling or a way of being you forgot could be experienced.
When I was a spritely youth, looking outward towards my life, I constantly felt an openness and a joyful excitement for the surprises and newness I knew were on the way. It was an all-encompassing thing. I could taste it on the tip of my tongue and feel it in the breeze moving through my fingertips. The music I played was loud and my friends and I were ALWAYS dancing.
Dancing in parks in the middle of winter, dancing on our lunch period in a parking lot, dancing in my basement wearing wigs, and if it wasn’t dancing, it was streaking, or feasting, or sneaking or drawing or driving with the music turned way up. Anything that brought on the feeling of a thrill. We sought that feeling of freedom so actively like our lives depended on it. And they did. We had that curious wisdom that comes from being young and innocent where you focus on what really matters, because things are so simple and it’s all you know. Life was this giant amazing thing we didn’t understand and yet we were so ready for it. Any fears we had were cancelled out by our utter zest for the fact that we were alive. We had been equipped and trained to laugh and enjoy our moments as much as possible. The idea of being an “adult” was just that, an idea. We understood it a little intellectually, but there was no sense in really giving it much thought because we were young, carefree and the world was there waiting to be explored.
Now I’m a bit older. I’m 24. I remember thinking about what it would be like to be in my 20s when I was 16. I had the idea that it would be JUST like it was for me then, but with more freedom. I thought I would be traveling to amazing places, adventuring in more epic ways, acting, loving, partying with my friends, enjoying every moment. The details weren’t important as much as the feeling of being happy was. Lately, it’s as though I have forgotten what that feeling was like. I have allowed myself to be weighed down and reigned in by things that make me an “adult”. I have massive student loans, and rent and bills and jobs and ideas about success and a schedule to maintain, and good god just writing these things out makes me want to squirm.
The idea of maintaining is abhorrent. To maintain is to stay the same, it doesn’t account for movement. It is by its nature, mediocre. I’ve been settling lately in various ways, and I’m fucking done. Maintaining does not make me happy, it makes me sad and frightened and it makes me realize, viscerally what it would feel like to regret the choices I made in my life. It is overwhelmingly terrifying and incredibly motivating. Fear of not living propels me forward into embracing the fear that comes with taking risks.
To be afraid is like feeling a snake, wrapping and constricting itself around whatever it is you’re holding onto it, suffocating it, letting it die slowly. I see people around me, and they just believe in these fake things so they can continue to convince themselves they are living. They believe that they are happy, and you can see it in the way they move and the way they talk, the things they talk about, good god, the stupid, trivial things they talk about.
They stay in the lines of what this system has provided them, and they look forward to the next holiday or the next weekend, the next allotment of freedom that has been portioned out to them. What the fuck is the point if you’re not willing to risk real pain and sadness? It’s a waste of a life. It’s avoiding anything that might hurt, at the expense of never feeling the things that make it all worth it.
I’ve been thinking about what’s next for me, what adventure awaits, and as it becomes more real, I begin to become reacquainted with that amazing feeling of excitement for life.
All of a sudden songs mean more, the things I’m seeing when I’m driving affect me more, everyone is interesting and opportunities seem to be everywhere. Life doesn’t feel scary, it feels like an exciting challenge and I can’t wait to see how far I can push myself, how many fears I can overcome. The more restrictions and rules I feel trying to contain me, the more I want to break them down and laugh. This life is what you choose to believe. If you choose to maintain, just make sure you’re satisfied, because if you’re not, you might as well be dead.
The funny thing about someone rejecting the regulation of a harmless plant is, well, everything. It’s funny and also kind of cute. in a like “aw, you have no idea what you’re talking about on so many levels, how embarrassing for you” way.
In time, these rejectors can be placated. The majority will have the final say. Hopefully those who try to discredit this will one day be taken as the jokes that they are, and their true intentions will become more transparent. Those who follow, may also one day stop living in fear of things they have no understanding of. Maybe in time, they will even begin to understand themselves.
These scared people can berate the legal use of marijuana, but no one dares criticize our addiction to pleasure. Because that would mean blowing the whistle on our dealer. It would also mean being honest. and honesty, sadly, is far too difficult for many people.
Pleasure as a commodity, is our world’s heroin. Everyone is a user and many are addicts. We long to get high, and if we could, we would never come down.
We would soar above the pain and hurt and the loss and the infinite unknown that lies beneath the surface of all things.
We seek out pleasure to avoid pain. This makes sense, but when one is afraid of pain, they will go to desperate measures to avoid it, and this, in turn, makes us sick.
It is that suffering and state of uncertainty that we must draw from. Life is suffering, and this is a wonderful thing, not something to hide from. If we embraced Death, then we might begin to live.