This is not a blog about everything that CAN cause depression or trauma, you can find that on the google machine at any time. What this is about, is how even now, people just don't know how to "live with" or understand their diagnosis.
First off, I am a great believer of how you describe your diagnosis is pivotal. Let's start with some of the ways people talk about their diagnosis. "I battle with depression, I fight with depression, depression is a daily struggle, my depression keeps me away from....." Do you see a pattern here? From 2010- 2014 I had the privilege to work with an amazing doctor of chiropractic. During this time, my sister was traveling the path of possibly being diagnosed with breast cancer. I was scared, I wanted to help and after loosing my mom and granny to breast cancer in 2003 and 2005, I wanted to be able to figure out different options for her. I asked him, "how can chiropractic help fight cancer if my sister has it?" His response was something I had not even considered. " First off, you start with taking the words, fight and battle out of the mind. Those words are extremely detrimental to the healing of the body, it puts it in a fight or flight state and that lowers the bodies ability to enable healing." He dumbfounded me... I acted like I understood. [Cause that is just what you do when in the presence of greatness and absolute respect and you don't want to appear dumb in front of your mentor lol.]. However I had to digest this for a long time. He was challenging everything I believed about any illness, any disease any diagnosis.
I did not want to change my beliefs, I did not want to look in the mirror and have to say to myself that the 11 years I saw my granny and my mom suffer, and fight their way back to health every time cancer came back was at their detriment. I didn't want to admit that what I and my whole family believed was just no longer true. I didn't want to look at the other side of science from what the "medical field said was accurate." I mean I knew alternative medicine worked and worked amazingly well to help rebuild the body when paired with western medicine, but this... This was just stretching me farther than I was comfortable going. Growth, does not happen in the comfort zone. In order to continue growing, you have to be open to both sides of information. You have to actually hear instead of listening to respond.
Then, one year.... Years later I had an awakening. It was during one of my craniosacral courses I was at. Level one as I listened to Michael Morgan talk about how every cell has a memory from the very day you were conceived, to now, and what we tell our selves affects those cells. All of a sudden the doctors words came back to me, and I understood. I finally got what he was trying to tell me. It not about allowing our diagnosis to run our lives, but what we tell ourselves about that information that affects our lives. This couldn't be more true than it is right now and how people are responding to this world change.
Depression is severely on the rise during this time, and whether people recognize it or not, the world shut down, the world response has illicited a trauma response in the majority of people. People who have been through trauma and have moved with it can recognize it very well in people who are new to it. Fear, and the inability to think critically. When you are scared, your medulla kicks in. This is your fight, flight or freeze response. When this is active, there is no way for your frontal cortex to talk you out of it. You can see this all around you right now. The division the world has, the fear, the panic [do you have enough toilet paper to live through this world change?]. People that have lived through the other side of trauma have the innate knowledge that this will pass, that there is no need to panic, there is always an up after a down. they know it is a matter of moving with the changes, doing what keeps them mentally, emotionally, physically healthy and being a voice of reason... to plant seeds. Its about educating their circle rather than fighting with their circle.
Depression and trauma go hand in hand right now. People have lost their freedoms, they have lost their jobs, some are loosing their homes, some are wondering how they will put food on the table, some are scared for their lives, some are scared for a loved ones life. Some are grieving. No matter what spectrum you fall under here, the important knowledge to have is, how do you move out of the fight, flight or freeze response and be more logical, be more calming. You start by taking care of you. [You can not help someone else put on their oxygen mask if you do not have one of your own]. Many are now on anti anxiety, anti depressants and other prescriptions to help them cope. [I am no stranger to this way of treatment]. What I am surprised to know though is many do not know how to change their life after these diagnosis or experiences.
Alcohol. Whether or not you like the odd or frequent drink, alcohol is a huge contributing factor of regulating your serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. You may feel more relaxed and able to cope when you have a glass of wine, beer or hi ball at the end of your work day. Maybe you even enjoy 2 or 3. You enjoy this because it has a relaxing affect. It is an indulgence, a feel good reaction. I am very grateful I had a dad that taught me "you don't drink on the bad days... It will make things worse". Alcohol actually is a depressant and although it may help you short term, the next day when life has to be lived again, it actually makes you feel worse, it can make your trauma response, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms worse. It slows or even prevents the natural serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin production. ESPECIALLY if you are on prescriptions to help with these symptoms. The reason why is because it counteracts the chemical affects of your medication. It is chemistry of the two together. I encourage you, that if you are having a hard time during this world change, to start coming out of the panic, the fear, and the feelings of no control, start reducing or eliminating alcohol from your routine. https://www.clearviewtreatment.com/blog/depression-symptoms-alcohol/
Now more than ever your belief systems are being challenged. Maybe you are realizing that what is occurring is much bigger than you realized. Maybe you are being challenged by family and friends. Wherever you are in this, the next thing that you can do to help calm that primal brain which will then start calming you, is to practice your empathy. We do this by actually trying to put ourselves in the others position. By attempting to believe what they believe, to see what they see, to hear what they hear. Feel what they feel. This takes practice and I am not lying when I say this can be angering, frustrating, it can create sadness and panic. [Wait, isn't this exactly what I am trying to prevent?]. Yes, but in order to move WITH our depression and trauma we must move through it. Otherwise it will continue to hold us in one place. Remember how I said there is no growth in the comfort zone? When we practice having empathy, we become better managers, better workers, better family members. All of a sudden it no longer becomes an "I am right you are wrong" environment but a "we are both right" environment and now, you just need to focus on respecting and appreciating that you think differently, that is ok. Only then can positive engagement occur and it becomes a win, win negotiation/conversation instead of a win, lose negotiation/conversation. When things get overwhelming, stressful, ask yourself, how can this be easy, and how can we have both? https://www.nytimes.com/guides/year-of-living-better/how-to-be-more-empathetic
The last thing I want to touch on is how we talk to ourselves. Remember I mentioned earlier that when we put our body into a negative state, our body can not heal. "When the body is on fire inside, how do you think it will help you with the fires on the outside? It's won't. It CAN'T. That is like trying to put out a fire in your neighbours house while your house is up in flames." If I did not know how to talk to my body, to my cells from the very beginning of my physical, emotional and mental trauma, I would not be where I am today. That is why I am SO passionate about this one. I want to make very clear, I don't want you to never look at the negative, and live in a land of unicorns and rainbows. It is important to acknowledge the sad, angry, overwhelming, fear feelings. However it is very important on teaching our selves on how to not believe them. Being in fear, negativity, aggressiveness, defensiveness affects our hormone levels and causes an imbalance. These have a major affect on our moods and how we view the world, specially women who have 4 different hormone phases they go through every month. [Even those who have gone through menopause you are still affected every month]. It can damage our immune response which is crucial right now in this world change. Instead of saying "I battle depression" try saying " I live with depression." Instead of "I'm fighting my trauma response" say "I am moving with my trauma" or even better "I am recovering from [insert diagnosis]". The difference that just changing one or two words is the difference on whether you've told your cells to remain stuck in place, not to heal and not to change versus, getting your cells to take action by activating your immune response, increasing blood flow, increasing healing, increasing serotonin, hormone, and your oxytocin response. I know what I would rather my body do. What do you want your body to do? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-do-thoughts-and-emotions-affect-health
For some, this is BRAND NEW INFORMATION, and you need time to chew on this, just like I did many years ago. For others, perhaps you have heard, but never explained this way and you have had an "aha moment" Just like I did. No matter where you are in this journey of yours dealing with depression or trauma, it's important to know that you are not alone. I know it sound cliche, and I cringe when I hear it, but it is important to say, reach out to the hotlines, reach out to professionals that specialize in helping people just like you. Many have walked the path you're on and know how to quickly and easily get you across that bridge with out you having to cling to the ropes, climb the ladders and scale the rocks. For the rest of my life, I am committed to helping and serving people learn how to increase their healing and navigate through their diagnosis. I am passionate about helping people not to battle or fight their life experiences, but to move with them and through them. Depression and Trauma can rip a life away so easily when it hits you. I encourage you to not allow it to keep you down and succumb to it's lows, but to start taking one step on the little path that leads up the mountain. Click here for a free call to start getting your hope back https://www.elementsofwellness.org/bookings-checkout/start-getting-your-hope-back. To see whether or not I can help you. It just starts with one step.
Jodi Harty CLC, CHC, CST2, SER1, RMT, Reiki Master
AS THE PHOENIX RISES SO DO YOU