The Taboo of Sadness and Depression

Confession Time: I have been thinking a lot about transparency and how much is too much to share. Also, this notion where we don’t share our down days because we don’t want to be judged or perceived as weak. However the latest focus on suicide has me want to speak up even more around the taboo of sadness and depression.

So here goes my stream of consciousness share in an effort to be more transparent and honest. (Disclaimer: I am not sharing for support or comfort, but merely to normalize and be in community around this conversation).

Admittedly I have been somewhat in hiding because I am going through a bout of this myself. I have been opting for my cave over the world at large. Sure I have been social, yet my heart wants to close shop and go on a long sabbatical. (And that may be necessary as I contemplate a sabbatical from social media for the summer). It is a concerted effort stay open and connect when my natural Inclination is to protect myself and sort through my emotions.

I’m in a stage currently that some would call a “contraction”. It’s a time of being closed, inward, down, heavy, in pain. Not that unlike the contractions that happen during pregnancy. They are not forever and they almost always follow an expansion (dilation), which of course means that they are always followed BY an expansion.

But in these moments (of contraction) none of that is remembered or relevant. I definitely experience these semi-regularly, as most people do. Thankfully I have not reached meltdown mode in a while … it’s been on the milder side this time around.

Yet there is always a fear, with every contraction, that I am teetering on a treacherous edge … and I have no idea when something will snap and I go careening towards territory I may never come back from. I feel crazy in these moments. Wondering “What the fuck is the point of any of this?!” “Does anything truly bring us happiness or peace?” “Have we all been bamboozled into believing success and achievement is the only way and Love will come eventually if you work hard enough?”

In these moments I am tired. Bone achingly tired. I don’t want to do a damn thing. I can’t even fathom exerting any effort on anything that isn’t solely focused on maintaining my sense of sanity.

This place can be such a scary place. As the daughter of a man who committed suicide and also as a woman who has lived through the attempted suicides of two of her closest friends, I am extra scared. Scared that I may slide down that slippery slope myself.

This place, of sadness and depression, can also be so confusing. What do I need to do to snap out of this, if that is even possible? Do I take medication? Do I talk to someone professionally? Do I reach out to friends? Do I meditate and move my body more? And how do I do that when there is zero motivation?

I share this to be transparent. I think we ALL struggle and have so much shame in admitting this very normal and valid human experience. I do know in the past things for me do shift eventually, a lot of times of their own accord, on their own timeline. Before I realize what has happened, I am in expansion again.

Maybe it is the mushy phase between caterpillar and butterfly I am feeling … or maybe I am simply sensitive and feeling the weight of the world and my own community. Maybe it runs in my family to experience depression and there’s nothing to be ashamed of? Or maybe I had something really fucking shitty happen recently that has me tending to my own tender heart? Who knows?

Yet maybe if we had more compassion for ourselves in this place (the same compassion we would have for our best friend or our child or our nieces/nephews), the less suffering there would be around what I am coming to discover is a very natural phenomenon. And maybe if we felt like we didn’t have to hide our messy, sad, confused parts from the world, they would have more light and nourishment and love. We would get the very thing we crave and the very medicine that would help to soothe the hurt.

I am finding for myself with this latest round of contraction that compassion and connection (with myself and others) are essential and serve as the healing balm for my weary heart. I may not feel better per se, but I do feel a bit lighter, a tad more hopeful, and able to rest more in the knowing that I am OK, just as I am.

There’s no need to fix or change anything… Just to be and allow myself to be loved in this messy, insecure, and confused place.

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