Why am I Depressed?
I am being forced against my will to do this column. There is something taking over and making sure I actually complete this column every fortnight.
If you have read any of the other columns by now I am sure you could take a guess as to who may be making me do this?
Which part of me is “forcing” me to write this column even though I would love to just spend my time doing things of little importance that have no purpose to my life what-so-ever?
Is it Saskia or Livvy? My shitty voice or my loving voice?
If it was Saskia then I could stop doing this because I would know it was not coming from a good place. I would feel that this wasn’t right and I could walk away proud of myself for being in touch with my true Self and listening to her guidance instead of just gullibly following Saskia’s words of “truth”.
But, no! She is not guiding me to write this column. Livvy is.
Livvy has guided me to this exact thing a few times already but, unfortunately, Saskia then took over and it couldn’t become what it needed to be. Yet, in saying that, it wasn’t all her. I think I had to experiment with different ideas until this idea could be born. So, maybe I won’t blame her entirely. If, at all. Sometimes it takes many tries until the idea is truly able to flourish and shine.
And, the other part of me in this life of mine, is me. I don’t want to do this. Putting myself out there into the world where others will see me and hear me. It’s not always but definitely every now and again I would rather sit and wallow in my accustomed misery, even though that misery has all but gone. The remnants are still hovering in my existence. The habits and attitudes and lack of abilities are still owned by the memories I hold of a time when this was all I could manage. I’d rather remain invisible because that was how I always felt. No body wants to see me and my disgusting body or listen to the words coming out of my ugly face. I’m huge and hideous.
Every morning I would awaken to this misery. Perpetuated by my depression. Fuelled by the thoughts and feelings my shitty voice endlessly and unfailingly echoed inside my mind and my body on a daily basis. For decades. I was so used to hearing it and I was so used to feeling those debilitating feelings that it ended up being comfortable. All parts of me were attuned to this frequency. The receiver was frozen, the buttons were broken and the control switch had fallen off years ago leaving me no way of changing the channel. I had to listen to the same old boring one-way conversation not realising the receiver was actually a two-way. That part was covered over with duct tape.
It wasn’t until that day when another voice broke into the frequency did I realise what had really been going on.
In previous work, I have written about the day I was told I could change anything I did not like about myself. But, what I haven’t really talked about yet was what happened after that day. Yes, my life changed dramatically and I have changed so many thoughts and feelings inside of me, however, to get to that point I had to acknowledge the woman who once was. Who was I really, certainly, definitely, before this life changing moment? How did I become the woman I was and why? What was she like? What was she going through that I was unable to make sense of? What was she trying to feel that I wouldn’t allow her to feel? What was she having difficulty expressing? Where did all of the mess inside of her come from and how can we clean it up so she, I, we can be the woman we would dream about and upset ourselves over?
I had to get real with myself and stop ignoring what I had become.
I had to get real with myself and acknowledge every single part of who I was.
I had to get real with myself and support myself as the old me died and the new me was born.
The first thing I needed to do, and oh so reluctantly, was open wide the door to my depression and look inside. Switch on the light to the deepest and darkest place inside of me. This is a room I never, under any circumstances, dared to enter for fear of not being able to find my way out.
But the question I was ignoring and now ferociously determined to find the answer to was “why am I depressed?”
When I stopped to have a listen to the answers coming up from the deep and delved into the thoughts and feelings my depression vocalised, I could hear underneath all the noise a quiet whisper of honesty. A sincerity of which I denied myself over and over again. It was the truth. Fact. Reality.
I wanted to be loved.
By someone. Anyone. I didn’t care. Just someone please fucking love me!
The truth of that truth was that I was already loved. By many. In many different ways. Some of them fucked. I just wasn’t able to see it. My fucked up thoughts and feelings made sure of that. They obscured my view. Blocked it out. Shone a spotlight on the emptiness of my heart so I could only focus on what was missing. This went on for decades.
A few days ago I came across the diary I kept from just before I turned fifteen until I was sixteen. When I got to the end of reading about my teenage misery the common theme of each entry was about being loved. Mostly from a boy. I was desperate for a boyfriend who would love me and be all that I needed someone to be. I was boy crazy. I was quite annoyed with myself actually that the majority of my diary entries were about fucking boys! Ok, I was not actually having sex with any boys. I know how that sounds when you say it. That was not the case at that age. I was just boy obsessed because only a boy could ever love me like I wanted. My family life sucked so I romanticised being swept away from my horrible life as a Cinderella and rushed off to the castle on a white steed for my happily ever after. I wanted, and needed, to be saved.
As embarrassing as this is here is a little bit from May 1991: I get sad a lot. I don’t know why. I wish I had a boyfriend (sometimes) or just a good friend to talk to. To tell them what I feel.
I was almost fifteen. I was fat. Hated myself. Hated my life. Wanted to be anywhere but where I was. I sometimes contemplated ending my life because my life was not important. No body seemed to think my life was important so why should I?
My dad didn’t care. My mum didn’t care. They had their own pain and trauma to deal with. Things they were not able to heal. I can only see that now. When I was in it I couldn’t understand why the two people who brought me into this world couldn’t love me properly.
They didn’t know how to love themselves so it was hard to pass that on to their children.
Now as a mum myself I know the childhood pain won’t end until you let it. Until you work through it and keep going and find every single way possible to heal the trauma.
As a child, though, when all you want is to be loved and then that love comes and goes, then it appears then disappears, it hides away as the grown ups are reliving their experiences right in front of your face but yet they don’t know it; well, their pain doesn’t matter. Only my pain did. That pain had no where to go but inward and downward. Buried under more and more pain. Buried under a mound of “why bother”.
Why bother feeling anything if it is only going to lead to more pain.
Why bother loving if that love is never good enough.
Why bother holding onto myself when I am not deserving of anything good in my life.
I may as well forget all of that and just be miserable because THAT is all I deserve.
And, THAT is where my depression came from. Love. Or lack of it. Not just from others but from myself.
When love is taken away from you as a child you don’t know how to hold onto to the love inside of you. You try. And you try but eventually the love inside of you disappears until one day you wake up and it has been replaced by hatred. Self-loathing. Misery and depression.
This is what my life became for the next 30 years.
It infiltrated my thoughts, my feelings, my actions, my behaviours, my character, my experiences. My whole fucking life!!! I couldn’t do anything without it being right there. I wanted all of these things for my life but when they appeared I did not know how to enjoy them. Not fully. Not completely.
Thankfully and with some relief, I had fleeting moments of joy.
Thankfully and with an unknowing reassurance, Livvy was there with me the whole time. She never let me down. Only I did.
I travelled the world, I lived in some amazing places, I met some wonderful people, I met the love of my life, I have a beautiful home and the most incredible daughter but I was not able to truly enjoy any of this because the misery emanating out of my depression was too strong. I got almost everything that I’ve asked for and I could not find gratitude for any of it because my depression dragged me further and further into my hole with only a sliver of light peeking through. My hole darkened my view. It obscured my vision. And, the thoughts floating around in my hole guaranteed I stayed stuck to the one spot. My face locked in position by an invisible force ensuring I continued to see my life from this one fucked up perspective.
This is why, when that voice lovingly told me I could change anything I didn’t like about myself, I had to continue to battle this force for the next few years. Its grip on my psyche was ridiculously strong. I had to find something inside of me that was stronger. Something that could penetrate this force. Something to weaken its grip on my mind, my emotions, my thoughts and feelings.
This is a diary entry from March 2022.
I don’t want to go into a depression again. But being happy seems so hard to reach. It doesn’t stick around for very long. I have been working so hard these last few years but the progress is slow and and unnoticeable. The fight in this family is too much. I am fighting for something alone. We don’t seem to want the same things. I want to talk about it but it has gotten me nowhere in the past. What good would it do now?
This was about something very specific which I won’t go into but its a good example of how the “bad” things in life can send you straight back to where you started. I kept doing that my whole life. One little thing that didn’t fit into my perfect vision of healing would have me falling straight back into my hole. Depression back. Now doesn’t that feel better?
Yes. And no.
It felt better because that was all I had ever known. It was comfortable. Healing was not comfortable. Healing was torture because it opened wounds that had been covered up with a cheap band aid and forgotten about. When the attention was on the wound the pain would reignite. Flaring up to a throbbing and distressing agony. Who would want to do that to themselves? Not me!
But, I had to. There was no way out of it. If I wanted to feel better, to rid myself of all of the shit I was feeling then I had to give it my attention.
So, that is what I have done. Whenever an old feeling has popped up I talk to it. Ask it where it has come from. What does it need. Why is it there.
You know when kids are begging for your attention. They want to say something or show you something but you are busy so you keep fobbing them off. In a minute. I’ll be there in a minute. But more than a few minutes pass and they are still calling for your attention. Eventually you give in and see what they want. You give them your attention for a minute or two and then they happily wander off and keep playing. Well, that is your feelings. Your emotions. They only want your attention. They are there to tell you something. To show you something. What is this thing happening to us right now? What is it telling us? Give them the attention they need and then let them go so that you can go back to playing and having fun and enjoying your life.
All feelings are important. Even the shitty ones.
This has truly been my saviour. Making sure my feelings felt important enough for me to acknowledge them. Even when the answer was too scary to hear. Even when the feeling was overwhelming. Even when I lost hope in ever feeling good again.
There was one more very important part to dragging myself out my hole. To filling in the hole as I moved toward the opening. To packing that dirt tight so I would never sink so low again; and that is determination.
I have always had a strong and silent determination. So this time my determination gave me the strength to keep going. To believe I was good enough for this process. To believe I was deserving of everything good in my life. Of all the good things I had already done. For all the good things I already had and all of the good things I was about to receive.
What can you find inside of your self to help you dig yourself out of your depression?
Doing the work may seem hard in the beginning but it does get easier. I promise. You are worth it. Whatever any one has ever said to you in the past you most definitely are worth it. You have a beautiful place here on earth. Look around you and see the beauty. Know that all of that beauty is inside of you, too. If you allow yourself to at least acknowledge it then one day you will begin to see it.
My body may not be the perfect skinny vision that I have held onto for my whole life, it may not be where I envision it to be in the next twelve months, but it is me. Now. I can love this me now. I can give her what she needs now to keep healing. To rip off the band aid and see what is underneath. To trust in myself enough to WANT this for myself. I deserve to be here. I deserve to enjoy my life and welcome so many good things into it. But, most of all I deserve LOVE. Not from any one else. From myself.
I can do that for me. I am doing that for me. I have done that for me.
And, when a dark day comes and I feel my depression grabbing a hold of me and pulling me into my hole, I have my determination, my good feelings and the love for myself to keep my feet firmly planted on top of this beautiful world. It might seem hard, it might feel as though it isn’t worth the effort, it might be easier to give in to what I have known for thirty years but the next thirty years of my life are worth the struggle. They are worth the effort. They are worth every fucking ounce of determination I have to establish a new comfort. A new place to live inside of my mind. A place that is kind and loving. Fun and joyful.
I commit to giving myself the chance to live the next thirty years without depression reminding me of all I am NOT. I get to remind my depression of all that I AM. I am allowed to do that. I am allowed to see myself as a woman who is worthwhile. Who is enough. Who is fucked up in so many ways but she is using her fuck-up-ness to drive her passions and drive her determination for a more fulfilling and rewarding life. I get to do that for myself. I get to change everything I don’t like about myself. I get to do that. I get to be that. I get to have whatever my heart desires.
Why? Because I fucking deserve it. And, so do you.
That is why Livvy “forces” me to write this column. She knows this column is my way of healing and that it is important to share it so others can see that my fucked-up-ness is ok. That your fucked-up-ness is ok. That we are in this together. That we are not alone. That we are all worthy of the best life possible. That our thoughts and feelings don’t have to determine our shitty lives anymore. We get to do that.
If you are in a depression right now and have lived in this state for too many years ask yourself this “am I worthy of something better?” Listen. Quiet your mind and listen. If those fucked up thoughts pipe up, just yell “SHUT THE FUCK UP!”.
Listen. What is the true answer? What does it feel like? Does it feel right but scary? This is the truth. You are worthy. Don’t take my word for it. Ask your own loving voice. She’ll tell you.
As always keep on shouting… SHUT THE FUCK UP!
Your only exercise this week is to ask the question “am I worthy of something better?” And listen. Feel your way to the truth. It is there waiting for you. Ignore the voice that tells you why not. Listen to your loving voice as she tells you Why, YES!.