I've decided to “out” myself as someone who has been depressed more than 50% of my life. I'm coming right on out of the closet because the truth always frees me and, it may have values for my listeners.
For the past year or two, I've been walking towards my depression, realizing
that judging it or considering it a weakness ISN'T WORKING FOR ME ANYMORE. What happens if I criticize myself for being depressed, is that I add shame to depression and then I am doubly lost.
Now I'm asking questions like “what if depression has been the true birthplace of my compassion and creativity? What if depression were a “good” thing, an honorable thing? What if depression has been the catalyst for my emotional work and spiritual development all these years? What if I were to stop judging it, or even tolerating it, and instead as in Rumi's “Guest House” poem – I opened my arms to it?'
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, meanness;
Some momentary awareness
Comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be sweeping you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.
Depression, my curse, my place of self hatred, (the old self talk)
I'm really pissed off at how much you show up in my life, how much you take over. I've had it with you. Get lost! I should be more resilient, stronger, more capable of using my skills to get past you – to feel happier. I should be happier!
I certainly don't love you, sometimes I hate you, Patricia
Clearly, this approach was not working. The end result has been that I have been further and further away from my true self and more and more isolated.
While this old pattern continues to show up now and again, most of the time I have shifted my self talk to a more redemptive place.
Hello depression, (the new self talk)
Welcome home. I'm sorry for the years of endless criticism. I know you are part of me and I have room on my lap for you. Stay awhile. I'll warm you by the fire of my own heart and put a velvet blanket on your shoulders. Rest awhile. Let all the worldly clamor recede into the background while I tend to you and let you have me. Thank you for listening, new friend and thank you for guiding me home. My heart is large enough to hold you...
I'll love you forever, (depression is either welcome or when I speak to myself with kindness. It begins receding into the background here – I am no longer at war with myself.)
I love you forever, Patricia
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING,