Healing & Coping With Depression
- A Holistic Approach
By Alison Stormwolf
Although depression can seem hopeless, there is hope! You CAN heal!
This page offers understanding, hope and encouragement, uses a holistic
approach to healing. It describes my own journey of pain and subsequent
I hope to share with you how it was for me and offer encouragement
and support to anyone thus afflicted and also to those who are
distressed about relatives, friends or loved ones with depression.
I hope to show that there is a positive side to the suffering, there
IS a reason for it and a lesson there too. I may even be extremely
controversial and say it can also be a gift... albeit in very heavy
disguise... and also one I would never want to bestow on anybody.
However, if it happens to YOU, then you have to accept it and search
for the hidden life lesson and a new direction.
This is what self empowerment is all about. It is not about paying
large sums of money to go to some fancy workshops to learn about somebody
else... it is to do with YOU conquering your inner fears, fighting your inner battles... and emerging victorious - and YOU will!
To view it any other way puts you into victim mode and is instantly
de-energising, demoralising and disempowering.
Please also visit my two Depression
Related Wisdom Quotes:
- Wisdom Quotes
about Difficulties, Depression
- Wisdom Quotes on Fear,
- Wisdom Quotes on Self-Worth,
So, What IS depression?
It is the result of anger turned inward! And it comes from feeling
Depression is a terrifying condition where all light appears to
have disappeared from your world and it can feel like you are locked
in an invisible prison and someone has thrown away the key.
However, like in so many seemingly bleak happenings, the other side
of the coin is usually a new birth into a different way of thinking.
One where we see very clearly the mistakes from the past... and
learn from them.
I am going to talk very frankly about what it was like for me.
One of depression's little tricks is to make the sufferer believe
they are alone and defective in some way, almost like they have
been born with a malfunctioning coping button.
The truth of the matter is that those who have become depressed
are mostly strong people who have kept going long after someone
of a more fragile constitution would have collapsed at the knees.
I put myself in that category. I am not going to give a blow by
blow account of my descent into hell ... that would take too long
(and probably bore the pants off everyone in the process).
About the Above Painting
I love the work of the visionary artist Daniel
B Holeman who painted the wonderful image you see at the top
of this page. It is filled to the brim with mystical meaning for
me because it says so much about how it was (and how it is). This
is composite symbolism of everything I used to help myself once
the worst part was past. (during the blackest part we have to
surrender to the knowledge that our bodies have an inbuilt repair
There is the soul, sitting in meditation... inside is the microcosm
(as above, so below). It is dark and I am alone. I see the distant
moon and galaxy and know I am connected. My totem animal, the
wolf, is there howling for me as I try to re-establish my connection
to all that I am, all that the veils of depression have tried
to rob me of, tell me was not real. I am transparent as is my
totem, for we are of spirit. In the distance a new star is rising.
A new light is rising in my sky... I am being awakened to my higher
Depression tried to take it away, but Spirit uses our circumstances
to elevate us if our intentions are pure. Depression broke the
shell of my old life and limited awareness. It burned away all
illusions I had that material things or people would make me happy.
I have a galaxy of stars in my being... what more do I need to
The Onset of my Depression
Looking back, seeing the whole picture, it really is no surprise
that I succumbed to this terrible condition. Depression has many
different causes - endogenous, reactive, post natal - any shock
or prolonged stress to our systems can trigger the brain chemistry
to change and result in a lowering of mood which effectively takes
us out of one reality and places us in another.
I write this to reach out to all those many, many people who are
suffering in that reality at this moment in time. It is a strange
place. To all intents and purposes it is just the same world as
the one we used to inhabit... only now all the colour has drained
from it. All the joy dissolves, all the pleasures in little things,
all the hope for the future.... gone.
It is like a snail deciding that it does not want to pop its head
out or to move along. It is a gradual (or sudden) withdrawal from
being a 'participator' in life. In fact some people have been known
to assume the foetal position in bed. This is an obvious physical
demonstration of what the spirit yearns to do... return to the safety
of the womb.
The human body is composed of seven different Koshas or sheaths.
Depression affects every one. It therefore interferes with our basic
psychical energy, which leads to exhaustion, sometimes so great
that the most basic functions become overwhelming. How we react
to others through our mental and emotional bodies becomes distorted.
We no longer 'see' the clear picture... our thinking becomes blurred
Everyone's experience is different. Some become completely terrified
with an overwhelming, ever present anxiety.
Time takes on a whole new meaning. In fact it slows right down along
with everything else. So every second becomes an hour, every hour
a day. There is no escape.
My depression was the end result of several years of intense stress
following the breakdown of my marriage and followed in non-stop
succession with several house moves, huge financial worries and
trying to be there for my three children as I witnessed them suffering
in a way that was beyond my help.
People often talk of those who commit suicide as selfish, cowardly,
etc. This makes me very angry indeed. Of course, those who 'stand
in judgement' have obviously never been quite so far down into the
pit, where not only has all light gone, but the self hatred and
delusions of worthlessness which torment the mind cancel out all
rational thinking about the consequences.
I refuse to be affected by anyone else's judgements of me. in fact
a good friend told me, referring to himself, "what other people
think of me is none of my business".
I am not denying that suicide is a devastating thing to happen
for all who are left. It leaves a terrible legacy of guilt, suffering
and bitterness from which families often never recover. Of course,
I could never want that for my children! I love them more than life
itself... but I will NEVER forget the times when it seemed the only
way to end, not only MY torment.. but theirs.
How the Depression Felt For Me
I felt that I was a blight on everybody's lives. I felt that as
I was obviously not getting any better (distorted time) my suffering
was bringing others down too (guilt). Certain people asked. "how
long is this going to go on?" A question I could not answer
and which made me mute with guilt for the pain I was inflicting
on others and viewing myself as weak or a hopeless case (self-hatred
and unworthiness). I often felt it was the only decent thing to
I used to suffer quite badly from claustrophobia during my childhood,
when confined spaces were terrifying for me. Now I was claustrophobic
in my physical body! That's as accurate a description as I can give.
Periods of mental pain were so profound that I desired to be unconscious
(but for a vivid dreamer such as myself the dream world held only
new torments) and this was compounded with a physical exhaustion
so great that having my shower was like climbing Mount Everest (when
I was at my worst).
Early Stages of Recovery
In desperation I started on medical treatment only to be told in
my vulnerable state by some people how they "disagreed with
mind altering drugs!" The side-effects can be horrendous to
start with and not only does it take several weeks to become fully
effective, but it can also be a hit and miss as to what will help.
So I started on a long journey of punishing treatment which was
often either too sedating (making me 'zombified'), or two stimulating
(increasing the the agitation).
Then (of course) I blamed myself for taking up the doctor's time
(guilt). I also tried to 'put a face on' to please others,
and usuaally tried to say things were better than they were in actuality.
Let's get one thing straight. There is NO set time for recovery.
It may have taken years to creep up on you and to expect it to be
'mended' like a broken bone only compounds the guilt of the sufferer.
I tried desperately to read myself better by Self Improvement
books. When I was really bad they were just letters on a page and
I was too tired to read anyway. You cannot 'take your mind off it'
by watching the television. That stimulation is intensely agitating
to a tired mind.
I tried to 'think myself better'. Knowing I create
my reality, I tried to visualise myself well but my faculties
were depleted and I did not have the stamina mentally to do it (exhaustion)
and I did not think it would work anyway (hopeless despair).
Healing Modalities - What worked for me.
Every case of depression is different according to the person
and presenting symptoms.
The medical point of view is that it is basically an imbalance
of chemicals in the brain. Medical treatment should not be shied
away from. It can and often is, lifesaving, especially in the early
and acute stages.
If you were diabetic with your pancreas failing to supply the necessary
insulin, would you listen to those "experts" telling you
through your diabetic coma that they 'did not approve of such treatment'?
Of course you would not! You would do what needs to be done, take
what needs to be tried and pray hard!
On a physical level, the brain makes connections to what it feels
at home with / is familiar with (previous input). The brain perceives
an event, and we then associate a 'feeling' or 'emotion' with it.
This is what forms our experiences as we perceive them.
So, we need to re-write those avenues (neural pathways) that have
perceived pain, terror, insufficiency, loss... and lay out new bridges
in our brains to replace them with pathways that serve us better.
It can become quite exciting and challenging stuff - but not in
the early stages!
I am NOT going back on what I say about the different energy levels
of the body - the brain, the computer, is on the denser levels.
It may need the denser treatments, at least for a time. Of course
that is not the full answer. We need to be able to understand from
an "observer's view" how the brain works and how the energy
body works. I do believe in a holistic
approach to healing which incorporates healing Mind, body and
Insight and TIME
In the early stages we have 'brain fatigue'. It is so simple to
say, makes SO much sense, but it is SO TERRIFYING to experience!
Your mind becomes plagued with so many negative things -
feelings, repetitive thoughts, music you cannot get out of your
mind, suicidal impulses, feelings that your body is disintegrating,
caught in a multidimensional nightmare of hideous illusions, taken
away from friends and family by an invisible tormentor who tells
you all the time (whispers in your tired ear) that you are totally
mad and that the world / your family / would be MUCH better off
But these are all just cheap tricks played upon a tired and exhausted
mind. Refuse to listen to them! Play some healing music....
BELIEVE in TIME the great healer.
I will never forget the wise words my yoga teacher Ian Scorgie
of Aberdeen told me many years ago, "Every cell in your body
is fighting for your survival, what are you doing to help them?"
Realise that it will take time and effort to heal.
Have patience with yourself and most of all, be kind to yourself.
Surrounding Yourself With Supportive People
Those who do not lift you up, drag you down. It is important
to have supportive people around you.
If family or friends are not understanding or are putting pressure
on you to "get a life", "pull yourself together",
"think of others", then cut them out of your reality for
as long as it takes. Sometimes they can be our tormentors with their
'wise advice' given from a place of no experience.
When you recover, you will be the WISE ONE! You will
be in the driving seat. Until then, if they cannot give of themselves
for you in your time of desperate need... get the hell away.
Avoid anyone who claims to have 'all' the answers, especially those
who have not experienced depression themselves in one way or another.
There is not one person alive who knows 'everything'. Unless
perhaps you are the Buddha or the Christ.
Faith, Prayer, Philosophy
We all need faith to sustain us. My beliefs and my philosophy helped me through and gave me strength and courage.
We are all manifestations of the Divine and therefore co-creators
in our world (regardless of how heretical this may sound to
some). We are fully supported by a loving Universe
and a loving God, and even your own Higher Self - we are not alone.
On the subject of prayer, it is true that we are surrounded by
Angels, Guides and other Helpers just waiting for you to ask their
help (the rule of free will in action). Just ask... the right
book may come into your possession, the right person may come along
with just the right words at the right time, an opportunity may
open for you, or you may hear a song with just the right 'message'
for you. There are many ways that the Universe supports you.
Spirit speaks to you all the time, and does answer your prayers.
You only need to keep your eyes and mind open to the answers.
Faith helps us to move forward even when there appears to be no
light yet dawning. I believe that God which is an almighty
power, love, intelligence possesses something so far above what
our vibrational rates of being (human understanding) can begin to
understand. We only tie ourselves in knots trying to comprehend
the infinite with our finite minds. And so my heart and soul accepts
the words of the Bible when Jesus tells us we are so well known
to our creator that "even the hairs on your head are counted".
(This is metaphorical of course)
Philosophy, or understanding of how things work, can help us turn
around the negative, limiting thoughts that bound us up.
Suffice to say, you are precious in your maker's eyes. You were
born. You are loved! You are here on this Earth to experience
the wonder of being alive, to experience joy and love and your were
born to spread that light and love to others.
You were NOT born to be depressed, disempowered, worn down, subdued,
abused, ridiculed, ill-treated discriminated against, looked down
on, cast aside of no importance, persecuted for your beliefs, made
to feel inferior through lack of education, made to feel cast out
from conventional 'religion', unacceptable because you love the
same sex, or any other thing that makes you feel 'separated from'
or 'inferior to' others, or that which does not serve to uplift
Practising Gratitude and Self-Nurture
So your parents or your family or your partner/s failed to nurture
Go and nurture others. Nurture yourself.
So your life has all gone the wrong way?
Give thanks that God has given you a door to help others.
No matter how bad off we believe we are, there is always someone worse off than you. From our own distrastrous situations
we develop understanding of, compassion for, and empathy with, those
who are travelling the hard road.
So you lost the most important person / thing / animal in your
Oh yes - how my spirit responds to this - give thanks you knew them,
and in the thanksgiving, the one who sees all will give you back
in unforeseen ways that which you grieve.
Practising Gratitude on a daily basis helps to take the mind off
thoughts of negative and into the positive. This is one of
the better things you can do to help re-wire those neural pathways.
Imagine a garden full of weeds and these weeds were stopping the
beautiful flowers coming through. To look at it and think
you must pick all those weeds out can be quite overwhelming.
However, just image that each day you picked out a few. This
leaves just a little space for a beautiful flower to pop up.
Each day you pull out a few weeds, and each day some new flowers
pop up. Over time, what a beautiful garden you will have.
Related Wisdom Quotes:
- Wisdom Quotes on Gratitute
- Wisdom Quotes on Self-Worth,
Being True To Yourself
Free yourself - loose those chains and discard all those expectations
to conform, placed upon you by society/family/friends. Dismiss
what insults your soul. Recognise that you were born to shine your
Divine Light, in your own way. Discover your own path and walk upon
it. You are unique, and you are you! Once you understand karma and the Laws
of Manifestation and start to walk the path of living authentically
and being true to your self, you will attract more joy into your
life and also more loving and supportive people, and many many more
gifts you never thought possible!
In the darkness of depression, these are just words... I know, as
I am speaking from personal experience in everything I say. I can
only throw this out as a life-line to those who feel betrayed by
family, life, religion, friends, circumstances or any of the other
shit that life throws at you.
You CAN rise up out of that damp cloak of depression and give it
the heave ho! It no longer serves you now. Trust, believe, walk
out and see!
Helping Others With Depression
Anyone who is connected in any way with depression should learn
what is happening inside the depressed mind and how unhelpful so
many comments and actions can be.
Very few people are truly 'attention-seeking!' and NOBODY would
ever wish this on themselves or anyone else. I am fully aware there
are people and situations where illness is almost courted to get
sympathy and affection. That is very sad in itself, but true depression
lacks the comfort aspect of this type of manipulation!
What people need when they enter the nightmare world of depression
is constant, gentle reassurance. CONSTANT reaffirmation that it
will pass, reassurance of loving and practical support and very
importantly, being listened to properly.
It simply is not true that those who talk of suicide do not
do it. That is bull shit! I have even been told it's the lowest
form of blackmail... well, silly threats from people who are not
clinically ill maybe... but take it straight from this horse's mouth
- the soul who thinks of suicide does not have to wait until they
have done it to experience hell. They are there already!!!
For more inspiration, visit Wisdom
Quotes about Difficulties, Depression.
The Soul Awakening
Almost every mystic and wise spiritual light on this planet, almost
every healer I have ever met (or read of) has come through some
sort of Baptism of Fire. Most Shamans have survived near death experiences.
So many wonderful ordinary people like you and me have suffered
and grown through the dark times.
It is almost a pre-requisite to the birth of a new deeper understanding
of our individual roles in this life. With this comes a new responsibility
to help one another.
With knowledge comes responsibility.
With blessing comes the need to share it with others.
In the sharing we are lifting the collective unconscious that little
bit higher for mankind.
a beautiful saying, "Practice acts of random kindness".
Those acts you do go sailing forth into the cosmos attracting such
blessings (positive karma and Divine grace), then
those blessings come winging their way back into your life. (manifestation).
All actions are ripples in the pool of consciousness. To read of
a wonderful example of this, see The
Miracle of this Web site.
To quote from my own poem Dialogue
"Your sorrows and challenges
Are your gifts from the Spirit"
Do not withdraw and curse
Embrace humanity, your pain
Show me a person who has sailed through in the lap of luxury and
I will show you an un-evolved soul.
Copyright © Alison Stormwolf Bunker. All Rights Reserved.
Inspirational Quotes of Wisdom
All articles on this site are copyright Alison (Stormwolf) Bunker,
and may not be reprinted without explicit written permission.
If you wish to reproduce any of this work on another websiteor other media,
Artwork courtesy of & copyright
Daniel B. Holeman,
Visionary Artist - Awaken