If depression won’t go away; thoughts and body sensations

Written by Amie on August 10, 2014 – 1:36 am -

Depression is IN the body

I remember a time when I wasn’t aware of my thoughts. That may sound strange, but I think it is more common than not. Most people are sort of on automatic pilot so to speak. I know I was. Before I became aware, I would have said no, I don’t have negative thoughts about myself. Oh my goodness was I ever wrong. I’m not judging myself, I just wasn’t aware. My thoughts were in control, and they had been in a continuous loop for so long, I didn’t realize how mean I was being to myself. When there is an accumulation of emotional pain in the body, our thoughts begin to match the pain by telling us how bad we are that we can’t make it go away. We blame ourselves for feeling so bad. We beat ourselves up because nothing seems to help. I want to talk about one of the main reasons, in my opinion, why depression won’t go away no matter how positive you may think you are being. Many of us try to feel better by fighting the negative thoughts. We try to block out the “negative” thoughts. While I do believe it is a very very good thing to begin saying positive affirmations to yourself, I also believe you can’t stop there if you want to truly feel better. Depression is IN the body, this is why our thoughts don’t make it go away.

Incessant thoughts…..keep you distracted from the emotional pain 

Depression will not go away until you are ready to feel your body. What do I mean by this? I want to explain it, because there was a time I didn’t fully understand what this meant. Thoughts are one thing, feeling in the body is something different. When I was deeply depressed I wasn’t aware of my body. I didn’t notice how my body felt when I was having an emotion or when I was thinking about things. When I had an emotion about something, my mind quickly took over and would start leading me down a path of trying to figure it all out, or trying to tell me what I was doing wrong, or or or……thoughts would follow thoughts would follow thoughts would follow thoughts…. I had no idea these thoughts weren’t true, nor did I have any idea that I could control my mind by first becoming aware of my body sensations. Incessant thoughts are there to keep you distracted from the emotional pain you are having in your body. In some way, thoughts are helping you cope with the pain by giving you something to think about. Even though the thoughts are not making you feel good, they are keeping you busy while your body is in anguish. Thoughts will not make depression ease up. If you are feeling horrible right now, try an experiment if you can. Try saying to yourself, “I am a beautiful person.” At the very same time, pay very close attention to your body. How does it feel? Is your stomach tight? Does your head feel like its in a vice grip? Please don’t stop saying the affirmations, they will start to feel true at some point. But I just want you to become aware of your body.

Depression is the messenger

It is so very important to become aware of your body sensations if you want to discover the truth of who you really are. You are not your depression. Depression is the messenger. It is telling you that your truth is inside you, the truth that you are a beautiful loving soul who can, in fact, feel happy and joyful. Our bodies hold emotions if we aren’t able to express them at the time an event happens. Therefore, our bodies are storing many many emotions that are waiting to be triggered or felt. Feeling them is the antidote for helping them leave the body. When something happens that triggers the repressed emotions, our first reaction is to “figure it out”. Which, guess what this does? It takes us away from feeling the emotion in the body. So, the emotion will remain in the body until it can be expressed. I need to also say this; it is important not to push yourself to feel. Just become aware of your body, and you will feel as your body is ready. Staying aware is most important, and being gentle on yourself as things come up to be felt and processed.

what I mean by “triggers”

Becoming aware is so important because it is the beginning of having more control over your mind. As you process the pain, your negative thoughts will lessen a great deal. I don’t believe they will ever completely go away, but you will become better at just observing them and noticing they are thoughts. You will also be able to feel in your body that negative thoughts are not the truth. If you don’t have the body triggers, then the thoughts don’t affect you so much. In case you aren’t sure what I mean by “triggers”, I will give you an example in my own life. When someone in my life tells me I should forgive someone, it still triggers the hurt place inside me. Not nearly as much as in the past, but it still does, nonetheless. What does this look like for me? Well, I first notice a tightness in my stomach, a clenching. It feels like my stomach is trying to hold onto something. This is a past reaction I am still working on. In the past, I would be on autopilot, and I would become angry in my head, but ignore my body. I would “think” I am a bad person because I can’t “forgive”.

Act as though nothing happened

My pattern was to get angry, but not express how I felt. I would hold it in because I wanted to be a “nice person” by agreeing to forgive. The back story, or where this came from, is this: I learned the definition of forgiveness is, “forget that someone hurt you without taking any responsibility for their actions. Act as though nothing happened, and then pretend that you are fine.”  So, until I process all of my feelings around my learned dysfunctional definition of forgiveness, I will still be triggered (i.e. my body will still react). So, my job is to feel and process my emotions each time I am triggered until my body no longer reacts. Awareness makes so much difference! With awareness I am able to remind myself, “oh, look, I am being triggered by this right now, just allow it to be there.” And, then I allow myself to feel my body without going into a story. Thoughts will control you if you don’t stay aware of them. And, it is so important not to follow the thoughts. Always check in with your body. If you are anxious, feel the body sensations rather than following your thoughts into the story. Keep going back to your body.

Please be gentle on yourself. Nurture yourself as much as possible. You will feel better the more you feel and the more you learn to love yourself. You DO deserve to feel good. Love is your natural state. Feeling will get you to the truth inside. It will be painful at times, but keep reminding yourself that the emotions are just energy moving through.  Stay with your body. Thank your body for getting you to this day, for getting you through the pain, for helping you cope. Give yourself a big hug from me. 

Listening to this makes me feel calm and makes me feel the truth of who I really am. I hope it makes you feel good too.

 

 

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Getting past the pretending to discover gratitude

Written by Amie on December 16, 2011 – 5:41 pm -

“When we understand that the ability to live with any situation is not in what happens, but in our relationship to ourselves and our own minds, we are free. Absolutely, breathtakingly free.” ~ Geneen Roth

 

I seemingly “had everything I needed”

When I was feeling depressed and hopeless, gratitude was very difficult for me to even consider. I did not feel grateful for much during that time, even though I seemingly “had everything I needed”. It made me feel guilty when I couldn’t get to the feeling of being grateful for everything I had. I thought I should be the most grateful person in the world. I used this as just another way to beat myself up. I would tell myself things like, “you should be grateful, how can you not be grateful? You have such an easy life.” Now that I am on the other side of depression, it is clear to me the pattern I followed my whole life. I kept pretending everything was okay. The pattern was set early in my life. “You have everything you need, so don’t complain. Just smile and get on with it!” I did this for most of my life. I did the things others expected of me, and lived my life in pretend land.

“if you can’t be happy in this situation, what is wrong with you?

I had even convinced myself I was happy. Then reality hit. My heart and soul would no longer agree with the lies my mind was telling me. My heart and soul started getting louder than my mind. Something was way off. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. I tried to continue telling myself the lies that had worked up until this point. “You are so fortunate, you *should* be happy.” Then the voice of the judge took over to tell me how bad I was for wanting anything other than what I had, even happiness. “There is something terribly wrong with you if you can’t be happy in this situation, what is wrong with you?” On and on went the mean voices, trying to convince me *not to* explore any further. The mind does not like to be questioned. This is the ego, (or the “pain-body”, according to Eckhart Tolle) and it is very strong. Once I started questioning everything, my mind would try to push back against me, trying to convince me not to question my life. The mind (or ego, or pain-body) likes being comfortable; which means, “keep doing the same thing you have always done.” It really is like fighting a separate person for awhile. However, the more I kept questioning, the quieter and quieter my mind got. The more I questioned, the more I needed to process my feelings around the things I questioned. This doesn’t mean having to figure anything out. I just had to *feel* my feelings about the things that came up. There were times when I felt worse before I felt better, but slowly the mind started to quiet down.

don’t worry so much about “getting it right”

I sat down to write about gratitude today, so I am going to skip ahead to that now! I want you to know, I didn’t go from being completely depressed for years to suddenly feeling gratitude. I have written about my process in past posts, and will write about it in future ones. I know it can be very difficult to feel gratitude if you don’t love yourself. So, please be gentle on yourself if you are “trying” to feel gratitude but you don’t feel it is genuine. Just keep going through the exercise of thinking of things you *could possibly* be grateful for. Don’t worry so much about “getting it right”. There is no “right”. If something makes you feel good even for a split second, say to yourself, “I’m grateful for that”. Please, please, please don’t use this exercise as a way to beat yourself up. Everything in this process of waking up from depression is part of the journey. Nothing is right or wrong, it just “is”. So there is no need to try to do it right. Just be grateful for yourself in this moment, be grateful for your breath, be grateful that you can stand, or walk, or sit, or see….start with the seemingly “small” things that will at some point feel like the biggest, most important. Just say it and let it go…I’m grateful for…….the gift of……..YOU!

“fake it til you make it” 

The true feeling of gratitude will come in time. I now feel gratitude every single day. I really *feel* it in my body. I used to just say it, but not feel it. Now I feel it. I want to share with you what I do each day because it is so powerful in my life. In this case, I do agree with the “fake it til you make it” saying. I do think it is beneficial to find things to be grateful for each day, even if you can’t get to the feeling of it. Keep trying, but without judgment of yourself. So what if you can’t come up with anything except the blanket covering you right now. It’s all okay! One day, you will start feeling gratitude, and it will feel so good!

my process

Each day I sit down and write one whole page of what I am grateful for. I just make a list. Some days I have the same things as the day before, but I still write them out new each time. Some days I may have a completely new list. Some days I may have trouble coming up with a whole page, but I keep at it until I fill my page. And I always feel better when I finish. The other day I started writing the words, “I am grateful for, “the gift of” , instead of just writing the words, “I am grateful for”. I can’t believe the difference in how this felt in my body. Just adding the words “the gift of” made me feel even more grateful. It was amazing to me how different it felt to think in terms of receiving a gift. It was a new perspective to me. I feel surrounded by abundance. I receive so many gifts each day, every moment. Right now I am receiving the gift of connection, the gift of breath, the gift of sight, the gift of warmth, the gift of feeling vulnerable, the gift of the sweet taste of chocolate, etc etc. These are all gifts to be grateful for. I wanted to put this out there in case in helps you in your process. Let me know what you think!

***you are loved….you are perfect as you are…..I am grateful for the gift of your presence……all is well…..breathe…..receive the gift of yourself……you are love…..***

“Being Ourselves”

 

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