The missing link in healing depression

Written by Amie on September 5, 2010 – 11:33 pm -

Implode or Explode?

Even though I have written so much on here about learning to feel emotions, I must write about it again. I do believe the missing link in really healing depression (and the cause of so many problems in our world), is learning to allow ourselves to really truly FEEL. And I mean something besides anger and grief. Even these two emotions are ones that we are taught not to reveal. Most of us have been conditioned to hold back our emotions. We have been taught that having emotions is not necessary. We have learned to swallow our feelings, hold our breath so that nothing can escape our bodies. In my opinion, this is at the top of the list as to why so many people are depressed. From a young age, we are taught either verbally or non-verbally that our “aliveness” is not ok. We learn that in order to get through our lives, we must hide who we are, and most importantly hide our emotions. Most people don’t even know what a true emotion feels like because they are so accustomed to doing whatever it takes to hold it all together, hold all of that emotion inside. Sooner or later, all of that energy either implodes or explodes. We either turn it in on ourselves (which turns to self-hate), or we lash out and release it on another person or multiple people.

OCD, Panic Attacks, Depression

Humans are emotional beings, we feel things in our bodies. When we are asked to turn this part of ourselves off, we may as well be dead. Holding back our emotions deadens us. Some people (seemingly) manage to live their whole lives holding back their emotions. However, the emotions push their way out even if the person doesn’t want to allow the emotions to express. Some people become ill physically. Cancer and other diseases are on the rise. Some people have OCD, panic attacks, depression, or another “condition” that is labeled. This energy will find a way to escape. We can only drug it out for so long (via prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or any addiction that is chosen). Many people choose to never acknowledge their past wounds. Some remain baffled as to why they always get sick, or why they are suffering with mentally challenging issues. Some people go to the doctor to get medications to make these things go away. And sometimes they do. At least temporarily.

Teach me to breathe?

One thing we are never taught is to breathe (we don’t need to be taught, right?), keep breathing, and allow ourselves to be fully human. What do I mean by breathing? Well, I mean actually feeling our breath move in and out. Noticing when we are holding in our breath in order to avoid feeling an emotion. Becoming aware of my breathing has been a huge breakthrough for me. It is amazing how often I was holding my breath instead of allowing myself to FEEL. Holding my breath was making it easier for me to ignore my true feelings. I would hold my breath until the feelings went away. Breathing has everything to do with feeling our emotions. Emotions express themselves physically. It is the story we tell ourselves about the feelings we are feeling that make emotions become “mental”. Our ego tries to protect us from feeling emotions because we have been taught that they are bad or wrong. Therefore, a story becomes attached to the physical feeling we are having, and the rest is history. If we can allow ourselves to feel the physical feeling, and breathe through the feeling, it is allowed to pass through our body and sometimes be done right then. We can move on from there. If we have been holding back for years, well, then it will take some practice and a lot of compassion for ourselves.

Tears threaten to sneak out of your eyes

But practice and compassion for ourselves helps us get better and better at this. How many times have you been involved in an activity or watching a movie, or even viewing something beautiful when tears threaten to sneak out of your eyes? And, what is the first thing we are taught to do? Wipe them off quickly before anyone else notices. How many times do we see a child fall down and start crying, only to be told, “oh, you’re fine, let’s get you up now”. I have seen this so many times, I have lost count. What message does this send? It is the beginning of teaching the children to shut down, to shut down their human side, their emotional side. They learn that who they are is wrong or bad. They learn to shut off the part of themselves that makes them feel alive. More messages just like this get sent to children all of the time. Hushing a baby or small child, telling them they don’t “feel” a certain way when they just finished telling you that’s how they feel. Most adults learned these same messages when they were children, and they keep passing them along generation to generation. Until someone stops the cycle. So, basically most adults are walking around as children in adult bodies. Still trying to get their needs met and still trying to figure out a way to show the world who they really are. Something to think about………

This is Michael Brown, the author of The Presence Process (incredible book,btw)

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