Before I share what I’ve been going through this week, I want to write a disclaimer. This is simply MY PERSPECTIVE, and if another perspective feels more helpful for you, feel free to ignore absolutely everything I’m about to say. I’m sharing this to help my future self, as well as anyone else that might resonate with the message.
I suffer with depression, and have been feeling a lot of what I deemed to be unbearable pain recently.
A few days ago I finally had a breakthrough. There is such an emphasis on getting rid of or minimising suffering in our society, and being a perfectionist I am particularly prone to this way of thinking.
It absolutely makes sense on one level to try to eliminate painful emotions, as deep down we all want to feel happy. However, I have found this approach to be incredibly disempowering. Whatever the cause of our pain, thinking it shouldn’t be there can prevent us from trusting our own emotions, which can lead to all sorts of problems (believe me on that one!).
But pain has a way of creating more pain. Logically, we want to be happy and break free from this vicious cycle. We can feel stuck, because we want to feel better, but we realise that we don’t want to push away our emotions.
I have dealt with this seemingly impossible conundrum in various ways in the past. Switching to focus on something positive often worked for me. Not just because it made me feel good, but also because it showed me that perspectives existed that were different from the painful one I was experiencing.
However, there was still a part of me that silently suffered when I did this. So other times I let it take me over. I would sink lower and lower, until the point I realised how destructive my behaviour was becoming. Then I would snap out of it and move back into my ‘happy’ self, banishing and denying that darker part of me.
Then recently something changed. Over the last few years, I have been working on believing in and becoming the best version of myself. I believe that infinite possibilities exist, and I knew that amongst those possibilities there was a ‘me’ that would deal with this better than I was in that moment.
I have used visualisation to expand myself and achieve success and satisfaction in various activities, such as singing, yoga, making jewellery, and many others. I have also used this powerful tool to change my emotional state countless times.
This time was slightly different. My intention was not to change my emotional state, but to feel empowered enough to contain it. My suffering felt unbearable. I asked myself if this could be true for my infinite self. I had my answer. It was not true. My suffering was very real, but not unbearable. As a limitless being, I could hold this suffering and not be overwhelmed by it.
This was a very useful realisation for me. It may take years to unravel the root cause of my depression, or I may never understand it fully. Many people are able to identify specific events in their past that explain the pain they experience. For me it has a lot to do with being highly sensitive and dealing with this in unhelpful ways.
While I learn and develop better ways of responding to the world around me, I absolutely need to be able to bear the suffering I experience. I need to be that infinite version of myself that neither diminishes nor becomes taken over by pain.
So in the interest of not diminishing suffering, I decided to write this post. I share lighter things that inspire me all the time, and for me this was an inspiring experience. It may not be as positive as a lot of the things I write about, but the theme of overcoming limitations is the same.
You may not be able to relate to my experience if you haven’t personally suffered from mental illness. This is not a blog about depression, but I hope it helps you to get to know me a little better. I don’t intend to make it a common topic on my blog, because travel, adventures, creativity and the beauty of nature are much more fun to write about. But I wanted to be authentic and share some of my darker moments too, because in my experience, being open and honest about our feelings is the best policy.
These darker emotions are an important part of an infinitely bigger picture, and the more we can see ourselves as the infinite beings we are, the easier it is to experience suffering without being overwhelmed by it.