Sometimes the impact of the events in our life don’t set in until much later after the event. It can be a steady slope down into grief as the trauma of events come to life.
Twenty years ago my dad passed away. For the first month or so it didn’t seem real and I was easily swept away with things to do after his passing and then I went away to college. Coming home was really tough because it made his absence so much more real. I remember the wave of emotions that I would feel as if I were on a rollercoaster. I thought grief went in stages that could be checked off. Instead, it was more like a flash flood that would sweep me away.
Earlier this year, I lost my horse, Speckles. Since I wasn’t going to the barn very regularly it was easy to not think about it. I was also teaching my girls and dealing with the other changes that COVID brought on so I was very easily distracted. Then Katrina, my dog passed. Since she was a part of my everyday life, the grief hit me very hard because the change in my everyday pattern shifted. I tried to resume my “normal” life and return to the barn riding another horse and I began a search for a new dog to fill the void in my heart. Instead, my grief has just grown stronger and stronger as the reality of the changes in my life is setting in more.
I felt this downward slope building a few months ago, but lately, it’s been really hard to lift myself up and not cry at any opportunity I get. So, I wondered, do I need antidepressants? Which leads me to the ultimate question of what do I need to lift me up? Do I need traditional medicine or to focus more on a holistic approach?
Traditional medicine would be an anti-depressant. This very well may be needed if I or anyone else gets so far down that the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim. When I had my first daughter, I had post-partum depression and I needed an anti-depressant for both of our safety. I also wanted to enjoy the time with my firstborn; not just cry it through. Think of it this way, if you had a stroke because your blood pressure was high and you had a blood clot, wouldn’t you take blood pressure and blood thinner medication to prevent another stroke? Of course you would!
Yet while taking the medication, you would hopefully also be changing your diet, exercising more, reducing your stress level, and basically taking care of yourself. That is holistic medicine. When you have time on your side and life or death is not an issue, holistic medicine will heal you. Traditional medicine will stabilize you so your body does not shut down. These two approaches are friends and should be used together. Most importantly, you should not beat yourself up for having to take a medication. There’s just no benefit in that.
So, what have I tried to holistically lift myself out of this depression?
- Let myself grieve.
- I cry when I need to cry
- I let the people around me know how I am feeling
- I ask for comfort
- I’m honest with myself
- I give myself time
- I meditate
- I practice my yoga
- I participate in a woman’s group
- I use my EMDR videos
- I journal
- I take Vit. D and try to get outside as much as possible
- I am trying to avoid sugar and alcohol which definitely depress me
- I pray and remind myself that doors close so that other ones can open. God has a plan. Don’t rush things and just be still to hear God’s plan.
My emotions go in waves. Truthfully, talking it out, being honest with how I am feeling, and reaching out for comfort are probably the most beneficial medicines for me right now. The moment I start feeling alone, the depression sets in. We are all one. We are not alone. Dividing ourselves from others, feeling that we are different or alone, causes separation, and leads to anxiety and depression. As you talk out your feelings you will find that there is far more unity than division.
I remember a song from church that had the line in it “We are many parts, but all one body.” So true. So if my yang is pulling me down, I may need your yin to lift me up. Together we are yin and yang and a whole. Thank you to those who have lifted me up.
“And he will raise you up on Eagles wings and make you shine like the sun and hold you, hold you in the palm of his hand.” Michael Crawford from Psalm 91:1-16, Isaiah 40:27-31
Voyage to HEAL Weekly Task
Stretch: Let’s wrap our arms around ourselves and give ourselves a great big hug. Rather than hold still on this one, rotate back and forth very slightly and gradually increase your rotation as your body is ready. Let this to turn into a fabulous unwinding allowing your body to move in any direction.
Exercise: In standing or lying down on your back, activate your core, then raise your arms over your head without allowing the ribs to pop up. Complete this 10x a few times a day. Add weights as you are able to. The key to this exercise is keeping the ribs down.
*Cardiovascular exercise is also very helpful to release endorphins that will elevate your mood. So, a workout in which you get your heart pumping to a higher intensity that is safe for you could be very beneficial.
Habitual Correction: Stop crossing your arms. Instead, let them rest at your side or place them in your pockets.
Perspective Enlightenment: I allow my grief to flow through and out of me as I discover a new beginning embracing what I am feeling and allowing God to lift me up.
For anyone out there suffering from severe depression, please seek help. Know that you are meant to be in this world and your presence does have an impact. Medication and meditation are gifts God has provided to help us along this journey. Embrace what you need.
Godspeed on your Voyage to HEAL learning Healthy Everyday Activities for Life.