Depression can be a pain ... literally. But you don't have to live in fear of it.
Responding to pain is how we humans work. It’s how we are wired.
Got pain? Here are two options:
1. Recognize the trigger and carefully avoid it (warning: this can be crazy-making!)
2. Learn how to deal with that particular pain so that it’s no longer one of your personal triggers.
That second bit there — the “learn how” bit — is the reason some people self-actualize and some don’t.
Society likes heroes and heroines — people who’ve endured remarkable pain — because we recognize their extreme pain earned them a valuable life lesson. We like to feel as if we're somehow absolved from our own hard work by their heroic lessons… but that’s not how human beings learn.
We must each learn the painful lessons of our individual lives.
This is a solo gig, people; no one but you can earn your own painful lesson.
Just as it would be difficult to medicate your way to wealth, it may also be impossible to medicate your way to self-actualization. Yes, some medications can offer visions of possibility, but the idea here is that however the doorway opens to the self or soul or spirit of YOU, it’s still YOUR job to walk through that doorway and find out what’s on the other side.
Working through the pain of depression is not a spectator sport. You aren’t called to life to sit on the sidelines. You’re called to live fully, especially when it gets difficult.
Each of us can master those difficulties and feel good about it. If you are hurting, among other things, it means you have an opportunity. Use that.
One way to do this is to experience your feelings fully.
I'm not saying to ruminate on your pain forever, but to feel it once so fully that it flows through — and out of — you. Released for good.
The idea is to take on and fully experience the little pains, which improve your tolerance. The lessons become more significant as you practice, and the pain becomes more bearable.
There are tools that will help you in this quest.
For me, it is vital that I am fully present to my pain while I am in it so that I experience the full effect of the lesson that pain has for me. I sometimes use supportive music to distract my pain sensors while I learn what I need to. Other modalities can help, such as meditation, or guided, intentional breath, but any practice which heightens awareness of the present moment works well.
It's important to NOT numb the pain, because that can short-circuit the lesson.
You can learn the lessons of a particular pain — and then never have to experience it the same way ever again.
You will find that triggers which used to send you over the moon have no further effect.
So this time, instead of asking, “Why me?,” when it hurts, try saying this instead:
“Welcome aboard, pain that keeps coming to me. Let’s see what you’ve got. Give me your worst. I’m ready.”
I promise you that, just as there’s a point when you can’t laugh any more or you can’t cry any more, there will be a point where you can’t feel the pain any more.
Find that point and you will have earned the lesson of that pain and its trigger.
Start small, please!
Work you way up to the big stuff. The big stuff will find you when you're ready.
With practice, even the painful big stuff won't throw you. I promise.