My Emergency Rip Cord for Depression
Depression is a bitch. I’ve been fighting the onset of a major episode for the last couple weeks. Some of it is for sure biological, some of it is seasonal (why do I always forget about the fall funk?), but some of it for sure is my own monkey mind time traveling to reinvent the past or control the future. It’s real. It’s shitty. It’s just a part of who I am.
When I feel this way, my natural tendency is to hide. To disappear until I feel better…to spare people the ugliness of my mood (isn’t that martyr-tastic? I’m hiding to help YOU. I’m so thoughtful!!)
But deeply in my soul, I know that I can do better. I have tools now. I have skills. I just forget that I have them.
Here’s my magic formula for dealing with depression, anxiety and sadness. I call it the emergency rip cord.
Reach out to a trusted friend. I called my Mom. I called my closest girl friend. I listened to them tell me that it was going to be ok. I listened to them give me support and space and advice. I listened to them tell me to pull my shit together and practice what I preach. I let them hold me. I let them help me. All of us should have a group text ready to go when we need our supporters to send us energy and love. Who’s on your emergency rip cord group text?
Move my body. My tendency is to slow down. To hide. To escape the pain by going inside myself. So, for me, I need to move. I need to dance. I need to yoga. I need to walk. I need to force myself to move my precious body. The natural endorphins are essential to changing my emotional state. I need music. I need Brittany Spears, Lizzo, Nine Inch Nails. I need all the juicy moving I can do.
Hydrate. It’s my truth that depression and dehydration go hand in hand. Sometimes I just do not want to eat or drink. My friend Maria made me the best mocktail of cucumber, lemon and ginger yesterday and it not only hydrated my body, it soothed my soul. I went to the grocery store and bought all the supplies to keep this in my fridge all weekend. Elixir of the goddess.
Welcome in the feeling and have a cup of tea. I sit down and I talk to my depression. I have never told anyone this before, because when you have mental health issues, telling people about the conversations in your head feels like a one-way ticket to the fun house. But I talk to her. I ask her what she wants me to know. I offer her a cup of tea and I read The Guest House by Rumi. Then I kindly ask her to move the fuck on and let me be free.
Create. When I’m depressed, I need to make stuff. I need art. I need to write, to paint, to sing, to tap into the artist side of my soul. I need to transform the pain into something else. Something beautiful. Something ugly. Something that will never go on a gallery wall, but might just free me from the stuck feeling. I need to take the energy OUT of my body and put it into the world.
Here I am. Showing up. Being creative by writing. Letting go of the end result and enjoying the beauty of putting something into the world. I am here writing because I know I am not alone. I know you’re out there, and you may be feeling sad too.
What is your emergency rip cord? How to you heal yourself? Share your ideas. Share your strategies.
The one thing I know for sure is that everything changes. Everything is impermanent. Feelings, emotions, depressions, they will change. They will move. They will transform.
If you’re struggling with life, reach out. I’m here to support you and help you heal yourself.
Please join me to support NAMI, www.namiwalks.org/danecounty Sunday October 6th at noon. I will be walking to reduce stigma and raise awareness about how we need to support those in our community with mental illness. You can join me by registering for free here. Be on the Rebel Wellness Team!