Depression is a sneaky bastard. I have experienced it all my life, and because I didn’t know how to handle it, I was even suicidal for years … until 20 years ago when I found EFT, the Emotional Freedom Techniques (in case you’re wondering, find out about it here).
As I began to use EFT, I learned that you have to ask the feeling – in this case, depression – what the hell it wants.
It’s there for a purpose. You can’t just say ‘go away!’
Once you figure out what it wants, you need to decide whether or not you can give that thing to yourself.
Recently, with this virus thing, I felt depression creeping back in again. So I asked it, what do you want? It said sleep. So I gave it sleep. A lot of it – like, 3 naps a day.
One day I got fed up and decided to sleep all day. I did that for 3 days, until, on the fourth day, I couldn’t even think about it. I was done with extra sleep. The depression backed off.
The next time, it wanted me to have more money. This was a bugaboo. How was I supposed to do that?
I made a list of every last thing I know how to do. EVERYthing. From sewing my own clothes, to writing and publishing books, to designing and publishing books for others, to painting, carving, drawing, illustrating, graphic design… you get the idea.
The list made me feel both proud that I could do everything on it … but overwhelmed, too. How was I supposed to choose what to do with my time?
A question popped into my mind: what if I died right this second, what would I regret not having done?
In the very same second that I asked, one word came to mind. Painting. I have kept saying for a long time that I wanted to know how to paint better – especially portraits – but I wasn’t taking action.
I started looking on Youtube for tutorials. I found the Forger’s Masterclass and then – gold-mine! the Portrait Artist of the Year series! So now I’m watching and painting right along with them.
I don’t expect people to buy the new works – they are practice, after all – but what surprised me was requests for greeting cards, pillows, tote bags, etc. As well as requests for graphic design and book creation.
Then I had to decide where to put my time – I can’t be in painting ‘school’ mode ALL day, because then I couldn’t do the book and design work people are asking for!
So I decided I’d put a specific number of hours of painting in each day, and work during the other hours. That’s working great.
Next the voice of depression said it wanted space and comfort, because although I now live in a much nicer house than I had in Hawaii, I don’t have a place to carve or make pots. I have no yard, or garden.
To have the space to do my stone carvings – to make dust and noise and a mess – would be so awesome! And room to create a beautiful garden I could go out and sit in? Heaven.
So now I’m in the process of searching how to give myself those things. As long as that process is in place, the ‘depression’ stays away.
Depression is really the voice that says, ‘I don’t believe I can have something better than what’s happening now. I’m helpless. I’m powerless.’
You have to argue with that voice, because it’s the voice of defeat.
The longer you accept defeat, the more crushed you will feel, the more you even want to just give up and die.
We are not here to die. We are here to live an expansive life! To love, be loved, enjoy life, make art and music, and beautiful things, to give love and joy – and if we are consumed by defeat, those things are impossible to fulfill. No one wants that. No one.