Well I suppose now is as good a time as any to have a conversation about high-functioning depression.
High-Functioning depression, is basically pushing a boulder uphill while doing all the life things. Life feels exhausting and hard and draining. And there is a major internal pressure to put on a happy face.
People who experience high-functioning depression have learned to slap a smile on and grind through life. But not the good kind of "boss-babe" business grind that feels empowering and satisfying. More like grinding right through you until you're raw and there's nothing left but bone (figuratively speaking). Lots of self-loathing. Lots of self-shaming. Usually there's some serious people-pleasing thrown into the mix and working REALLY hard to make sure NO ONE knows that there's an empty black void which you fear will never truly be filled within you.
The alarm clock rings... you push past the heavy frozen feeling, slap your make-up on and go FORWARD. Looking good, working hard. And feeling the kind of spiritual exhaustion that you hope doesn't show as you make your way through another day, another dollar.
I've experienced this.. can you tell?
The part of high-functioning depression that you're probably less in-touch with than the guttural emptiness is the SHAME.
The shame actually causes MUCH more suffering than the depression itself. The shame is soul-sucking. For the longest time I thought it was the depression and the emptiness itself that was making me feel like a pit of dark matter.
But what steals most of your energy from you is actually the massive amount of strength it takes to PRETEND to hold it all together. The sheer EFFORT of pushing all that hidden, electric pain down. It's become a way of life, a way of running away from yourself.
Because you're afraid of people finding out. You're afraid of being exposed. Exposed for what? Having feelings? As if it's a crime. Just another one of the many ways we torture ourselves in this life.
SO - you can heal this.
Healing high-functioning depression is about (you guessed it), FACING YOUR DEMONS. Yes, all that darkness. That heavy black dark energy that you're afraid to get lost in. You've gotta face it. And, yes - preferably in the morning.
And this really isn't that complicated. It's a simple truth. You know it. You can feel it as you read this. Of course, because it's simple does NOT mean it's easy. Because it's not easy. But, the benefits of making space for your pain far outweigh the discomfort of getting started.
What you want to do is cultivate a sacred space within you where all emotions are welcome. Where all parts of you are loved.
Here is the practical breakdown of what it means to face your demons in the morning:
1. When you wake up, wake up slowly - open your eyes and pay attention. Breathe. That frozen feeling you feel, that heaviness. Don't ignore it. Don't PUSH past it. Actually BE with it. You want to learn to bring your WHOLE self to your day. Not just the happy shiny parts (which are not really happy or shiny at all). So, this means - wake yourself up gently and just keep noticing, keep paying attention. If you feel scared, feel it. If you start to cry, cry. It's okay. I'm giving you permission to feel. Whatever you are feeling that feels uncomfortable DO NOT PUSH IT DOWN.
2. Move to a place where you can simply sit in silence with yourself, or lay down. And those uncomfortable scary sad emotions that you're trying to fight and resist and push down. Let's not do that now. Let's sit and be with ourselves. Let's invite what needs to come up to come up. And let's trust, surrender, and let go. What you are doing here is breaking the addiction to avoiding your own emotional world. There's a myriad of reasons you may have developed this pushing down behaviour - they include childhood trauma and family systems. But the pushing is destroying your health, your sanity, and your soul. Your psyche quite literally will split if you don't allow yourself room to be ALL of you. If you don't allow yourself to SEE all of you. That's what we are doing here. No distractions. Just us and us. you and you. me and me.
And here, in this place, you will find that your demons are not so scary after all. It was just remnants of despair. Pieces of you that needed a voice. Pain that needed a witness. That's all. That's your truth my love. So let it be, let it pour out, and BE WITH IT.
And then do it again tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
And pretty soon, your nervous system will start to bring more flow in. You will realize that emotions come and go. And it might just start feeling really weird holding in your truth, and pretending around other people too. You may even just get the urge to start living the life you REALLY want. Once you clear the clutter and toxicity of all that ancient pain.
But that's what happened to me.
It took me a long time to learn to face my demons in the morning. I tried to run from them all day. I tried to push the dark parts of me down and away. FAR FAR down. All the remnants of despair from a childhood of abuse and neglect. Of abandonment. And once I started witnessing my own pain, and allowing myself to really SEE my true self, beneath all that conditioned trauma and bullshit... I realized that there was nothing wrong with me at all. I realized that crying, that FEELING, is the best prescription I could ever get for depression. Because the more I cried (and I still cry), the lighter I felt throughout my day, and my life. Everything didn't feel so painful and arduous. I started to feel ALIVE, I started to access my own voice. My own DESIRE. I began to HEAL.
So, my love. Face your demons in the morning, and you will find that your demons become your friends.
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