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Healing & Coping With Depression - A Holistic Approach
By Alison Stormwolf


Soul in MeditationAlthough 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 healing...

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 Poetry pages.


Related Wisdom Quotes:
- Wisdom Quotes about Difficulties, Depression
- Wisdom Quotes on Fear, Courage
- Wisdom Quotes on Self-Worth, Self-Love, Self-Esteem


So, What IS depression?

It is the result of anger turned inward! And it comes from feeling power-less.

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 mechanism)

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 calling.

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 know?


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 and distorted.

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 do.

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.

Medical treatment

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 spirit.


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 without you...

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 you.


Practising Gratitude and Self-Nurture

So your parents or your family or your partner/s failed to nurture you?
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 life?
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, Self-Love, Self-Respect


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.

star sparkleSuch 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 With Spirit:

      "Your sorrows and challenges
       Are your gifts from the Spirit"

       Do not withdraw and curse them
       Embrace humanity, your pain and live!"

Show me a person who has sailed through in the lap of luxury and I will show you an un-evolved soul.


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Inspirational Quotes of Wisdom
Inspirational Poetry



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Artwork courtesy of & copyright Daniel B. Holeman,
Visionary Artist - Awaken Visio
ns.