This is the truth I never thought I’d tell.
I offer it to you as inspiration and encouragement to reclaim your health.
A winter child born with a propensity for Seasonal Affective Disorder, I used to DREAD this time of year. The 30-day window between Solstice and my birthday has been fraught with challenges.
Lest you think it can’t be that bad, here’s a sampling:
My grandfather’s suicide right before Christmas. The death of my only true childhood friend on my 12th birthday. Severe postpartum depression. Repeated bouts of suicidal ideation. Biochemical storms and precious little outer light in my favored northwestern climes left me exhausted before the season began.
This time was known only as THE GAUNTLET.
In case you’re not familiar with the pleasure, the gauntlet historically means “to undergo the military punishment of receiving blows while running between two rows of men with sticks.”
Which pretty much summed up my experience.
My heart, mind and spirit suffered more than you might imagine despite desperate attempts to put on a brave face during this “joyous” time of year.
Holistic wellness is my passion, so I’d tried every conceivable natural remedy.
I sat in front of an Alaskan Light box so bright it felt like the hand of God turning on the sun.
I diligently ingested herbs and vitamins prescribed by a naturopath while submitting to the attentions of an acupuncturist.
I dutifully clipped a Bio-tuner to my earlobes to stimulate harmonic frequencies and encourage healthier levels of neurotransmitters.
As often as I could force myself, I read, meditated and exercised.
I volunteered services, reaching out to help others to take my mind off my inner struggle.
Except I couldn’t find one.
Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you have struggled in your journey to reclaim your health.
And if you have, you’re in mighty fine company.
Each of these therapies were probably useful.
Each seemed to work – sometimes miraculously – for other people.
Yet none lifted me out of the anguish of this season.
One winter morning overlooking a normally idyllic scene from our frosted window, I realized I no longer found pleasure in its beauty or my children’s laughter.
My kids needed me.
My clients needed me.
I needed me.
But I couldn’t find myself.
My normally indomitable spirit was barely keeping me alive.
With dogged determination and more than a little shame, I raised my head to tell my husband I could no longer bear to live this way and needed help.
His response hurt my heart.
Fear flicked across his face.
He’d been burned by an amazing woman who’d struggled with manic depression and he’d never been quite the same.
My chest constricted as I realized the impact my truth telling had on this man I loved.
After a few moments, he agreed to support my efforts in seeking medical treatment…but I knew part of his spirit had withdrawn from our relationship until he could see if I truly got well.
I made an appointment with a physician outside our rural county. After all, if word got out, who would want to see a mental health counselor and life coach who suffered from depression?!
I hated asking for that appointment.
I hated telling the nurse why I needed it.
And I wept with shame when I entered the office and told my new practitioner that I wanted to try antidepressants for seasonal affective disorder.
Even though I regularly support clients who take life-saving medication for all manner of conditions, I held myself to a crazy double standard, expecting myself to overcome mental illness by sheer force of will.
The physician reminded me that insisting on choosing the hardest path when we have choice is not a wise course of action. Recognizing truth reflected to me, I decided to ease up on the shame throttle. I opted instead to hold myself with as much compassion as I could muster, and to take the advice I would give you in your quest to reclaim your health.
I’d love to say the road to recovery went smoothly and that I was instantly uplifted.
That is not, of course, how it works.
Through a process of experimentation, I found an effective combination of medication.
My mate came to trust my fierce determination to do whatever it takes to live a healthy life.
Gradually, life became less hard.
The truth is that this is how we emerge from depression.
We don’t just “cheer up.”
Life doesn’t become suddenly fun or happy.
It becomes a little less challenging.
Things that used to feel like slogging become a little easier.
Triggers don’t pack quite so much punch anymore.
A tad more flexibility opens in thoughts, feelings and behaviors…. until it all adds up and you realize you do, indeed, feel better!
In this way, I continued all the natural therapies along with my prescription medication until I found myself restored.
I made a commitment to give myself the gift of using every effective therapy I can get my hands on during the winter.
This how I’ve come to this place today, sharing the truth I thought I’d never tell. I am facing Solstice, the darkest night of the year, with frigid weather and frozen pipes while being HAPPY!
Tell me, where is truth tugging at your heart to be spoken? What is one thing you’ve resisted sharing out of fear? I encourage you to honor the part of you that is working to keep you safe while considering the energy that can be freed in your mind and body through truth-telling. This is the critical first step in your journey to reclaim your health, beauty and joy in life!