My Companion, Depression. Part 2.
Fast forward a few years from my first brush with depression and from the outside it seemed like I had picked up the pieces and re-stacked them nicely. From the outside, all appeared well. Now a single Mum to my 7-year old I had purchased my second property which was a beautiful and spacious 5-year-old home in a semi-rural location. I had a high paying management role in a career that I had been steadily climbing the ladder in over the past decade. I was travelling a lot for work, both nationally and internationally which I enjoyed, but as a parent, it wasn’t ideal to be working such long hours. The commute through Auckland from home to school, to my office, was a 1.5-hour journey, each way. The stress piled on and again I started to indulge in a little too much wine in the evening to “relax”. It was less a task in relaxation and more a band-aid for the inner turmoil and desperation I was feeling.
It was this year, 2015, that I opened up to family and friends about a secret I had been holding on to from my youth. I will go into that more in another blog sometime. It was something that had been brewing in me to be released for a few years and boy it released itself like a bomb. Speaking my truth was a catalyst for an entire life upheaval. A week or so after this revelation I went to see my GP to explain what was going on for me. I was told that I was again suffering depression and needed to seek talk therapy ASAP.
That week I resigned from my job, put my house on the market and made the decision to move back to Taranaki. This was the place where my Mum lived and the city where I felt most at home. Before long my 4-week employment notice was up, my beautiful house had sold and I found a little house for two to rent in Taranaki. I ordered a big moving truck, packed up the house and that was it. My daughter and I made the move to our new home one week before Christmas in 2015.
At the time I felt very responsible for the outcome of this move because I was making a choice not only for myself but for my daughter as well. I had good support but I felt quite guilty about taking her away from family and friends. Even though I knew that she would have a much better and stable life on the path we were headed. I would make sure of it. This was one of the hardest and best parenting decisions I ever made. We both agree wholeheartedly on that now.
Once we arrived in New Plymouth I sought out a counsellor that I felt comfortable with and I struck gold, I will call her Pam. Pam showed me the way to open my mind and I was able to really start doing the work on myself. Pam is a lovely, kind woman who I felt very comfortable with and who showed me a lot of patience and grace as we set about rewiring my thinking to a more positive, and less reactive, mindset. After a month or so of weekly appointments, Pam referred me on to a psychologist for a full assessment. It is then that I had a 3-hour appointment which resulted in a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I had no idea what this was but it felt great being able to put a label to the problem and learn more about what exactly this meant for my present and future self.
I have tried a lot of different holistic therapies along this journey.
Some I felt were helpful, others not so much but I definitely learned something from all of them. If you have any questions about any of them, because you are curious to give one a go, send me a message and I will tell you what I know about it – from my experience.
Tools I have used during my depression:
- Talking with my therapist
- Practising Mindfulness
- Practising Meditation
- Practising Yoga
- Exercising, particularly group fitness
- Journalling each day
- Using a daily gratitude journal
- Talking a LOT with friends and family
- Drinking Herbal Tea
- Eating a clean diet focussed on fresh whole foods
- Reading a LOT of books about mental health and wellness
- Surrounding myself with people who were positive for my mental health
- Cutting ties with toxic people in my life
- Shakti Mat
- Massage Therapy
- Floatation Therapy
- Spending time alone and creating space for myself
- Relaxation meditation music for sleep
- Listening to music I enjoy
- Contemporary Maori healing – Whitiwhiti Korero
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Limiting or avoiding alcohol
My therapy sessions were weekly for the first year, then fortnightly and finally, toward the end of the second year, they reduced to monthly. I felt quite comfortable that I was on the right track and had set some healthy habits for myself and could take it from here. I had a lot of changes in my thinking. A lot of things I had been taught by different people over the years, their beliefs and opinions, which did not align with me, which I had previously gobbled up as the truth, had been well and truly thrown out the window. I had finally taken my power back and I felt a whole new sense of self. A calm sense of self. Willing to learn, willing to hear information and take from it what I needed. I had developed a higher understanding of empathy, compassion and the importance of my own boundaries. At this time, I felt well enough in myself to go to my last therapy session to say goodbye. It was beautiful and not sad at all. It was more like a celebration than a sad detaching.
If anyone has the opportunity presented to speak with someone about their emotional wellbeing, like a therapist or holistic practitioner, I highly recommend taking the first step and trying it out. The worst that can happen is that you learn something new about yourself and the best that can happen is that you open yourself up to learning everything you can about yourself.
Fear held me back for the longest time. Fear of judgement and a fear of what might come out in therapy. I have learned that there isn’t anything to be scared of. The truth is that there aren’t any surprises, this information, it’s all already inside you. All therapy does is help you to learn to cope with your experiences in a more positive way which can only help you grow as a human and enjoy your life more of the time. We can all do a little growing, each and every one of us, each and every day.
Regular old fashioned talk therapy isn’t for everyone. We all feel comfortable in different ways. There are so many options available for all kinds of comfort levels/zones. The list above should give you a suggestion of at least one thing you would be willing to try. If anything piqued your interest, google it, look further into it. give it a try. Send me a message and ask about it. Happy to help.