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The beauty of the rain is how it falls - A journey with teacher depression.

The words from the Dar Williams song The beauty of the rain kept repeating in my mind as I vacillated about whether or not to share the fact that for the last year, I’ve watched myself fall, it’s been a journey of spiralling deeper and deeper into severe debilitating depression.

There, I’ve said it. Can’t take it back now….

The one thing I know and always hold is that I must act from a place of integrity and authenticity, for me at this time that means that I have to acknowledge and share this part of myself, even if I am ashamed of her and wish I could hide her from the world - like all shadows by bringing her into the light and honouring my journey with teacher depression I hope to make an ally of her someday and perhaps in that, I can be an ally to others who are walking this dark and often much too lonely path.

Depression is something I’ve navigated my entire life, and when this one hit about a year ago I thought it was just my usual pattern of seasonal depression that comes like a predictable wave around the end of November and usually subsides again around the end of January, I’d ridden this particular wave for most of my life, so I wasn’t overly concerned when it hit. A little frustrated, because I had experienced a few years of navigating it more gently and with the deep spiritual, physical and emotional journeys I had initiated through since 2018 it was a little unnerving to have it come up again… but this time it didn’t subside, when it came it hit me hard.

For anyone who has ever had the misfortune of navigating severe depression, you will know the sensation - you're just carrying on merrily with your life and then suddenly out of nowhere the slightest little thing will happen and it’s like an invisible punch in your gut. One moment you’re fine and the next you can feel the oxygen being sucked out of your being and the walls close in around you. Little by little everything begins to change, colours are less bright, food no longer tastes the same, your whole body feels both utterly overwhelmed and hyper-sensitive and completely numb at the same time, everything seems more difficult than it did before, even simple tasks become complex. You can’t focus, but you can’t relax either.

That initial statement is another thing that anyone who has experience with depression will understand - “I’ve watched myself” because that is the sensation, the experience of being somehow severed from yourself, not in the deeper more powerful experience of self-observance or meditative witnessing of self, nope this is like becoming imprisoned within oneself, like being locked in, you watch your body go through the motions of everyday life, but it’s like a puppet show and you are the wooden toy, not a real girl anymore just a facsimile of somebody that you used to be.

Then of course there is the prevailing insta-narrative that once we have any form of spiritual practice or “awakening” or live within the understanding that we are co-creators of our reality that low vibrational things like depression become a thing of your denser 3D past self… please note that I say this with incredible facetiousness because it’s bullshit, as long as you are in a human body you will navigate the journey of being a manifest human, there is no escape hatch and looking for one will only bring you into states of delusion and further from the brutal beauty and medicine of this human initiation.

I do see the brutal beauty in this experience, I see the humbling initiation that I am moving through once more, the reminder that we walk this spiral labyrinth of life tracing our footsteps in the same ground over and over. The things we naively or egoically think we’ve healed come back around so that we can dance with our demons and shadows in a different way so that we can be humbled and learn deeper states of compassion, empathy and awareness.

I’ve watched myself deepen into this hole over the last year, watched my body put on an extreme amount of weight as it attempts to protect and shield itself from what feels like the relentless onslaught of merely existing, I’ve sat daily with the overwhelming desire to end my life and daily negotiate ways not to, not because I want to keep living, but because I honour the ones who love me and because deep down inside I know I am here for a purpose and there is no negotiating my way outta that.

I share these things not to garner sympathy or seek attention, quite the opposite, I share them because I know how isolating this experience is, how alone one feels in navigating these internal chasms that threaten to devour every last bit of light and joy within you and spit you out an empty husk.

I share them because even with all the advances in understanding the human brain, psychology, physiology and spirituality, depression is still vastly misunderstood and support for those navigating this experience is tenuous at best out in the world, so the only real way to navigate it is inward.

I am very blessed that I am granted respite almost daily from myself through my work, when I am with a client or engaging in any aspect of the ritual of the work that I am called here to do, I am of service, in that time I become a hollow bone and the part of me that is drowning in depression subsides to allow Spirit to move and speak through me, for that time “I” am not really here, my body becomes a vessel and a tool for something else to utilise, something greater that exists beyond me and my tortured identities.

But as I say I am very blessed to have this as my reality, for most people navigating a journey through depression there is no respite, the onslaught is relentless.

I will come out the other side of this cycle, but until then I will sit within this discomfort and allow it to take me, like being dumped by a giant wave, I know there is no point in fighting against this ocean and the best I can do is to simply soften and wait till it spits me out and I can cough up the salt water and shake the sand out of my hair… again.

I know this will probably also not be the last time I have to navigate my way through the debilitation of depression, but I also know that every time I do, I grow - although this time it’s been growing in physical size too, and yes I am aloud to joke about it, I am permitted to make fun of the fact that I’ve become pretty fucking “femininely-chunky” as my son calls it over the last year, because I know it’s simply my body trying to layer me up in whatever protection it can muster. And yes that does have the opposite effect to the desire as the weight gain only serves to make me feel worse about myself but at the same time, it is the only way I’ve cried for help. Like I said before, depression is like being locked in and most people navigating it don’t have the capacity nor do they want to burden others with what they are experiencing.

Depression is not a choice, it is a teacher, and if you are navigating your way through it at this time or have done in the past I hope you can anchor and find a little solace in the fact that you are being gifted the opportunity to walk with a great teacher and there is a medicine that is activated within you in that process.

I hope you can be kind to yourself and know that even though you may feel utterly alone and worthless, you are not, you are worthy not only of your own love and kindness but that of the world around you. Every day you make it through another day is a Heroine’s journey and you are brave and powerful even though you may not feel it or see it now.

I truly believe that those of us that have been chosen to work with depression as a teacher are the ones who transmute and digest the pain, sadness and suffering of the collective, we are the alchemists that navigate the dark night of our souls over and over again so that we can birth lightness and life into the world, so if you are one of the chosen ones on this journey, know that what you are transmuting and processing is creating medicine that has a reach well beyond what you could ever imagine.

I am grateful to every person who walks with depression as their teacher.

If you are blessed to have a different teacher in life and don’t have to walk with depression, please reach out to those who do, let them know you love them, that they matter, that you will still be there for them on the other side. I understand that it is challenging to walk beside them, but it helps to know that once you come out of the wave you won’t be alone.

Try to understand that “no, they are not okay” but they don’t have the capacity to ask for help because the simple act of getting through a day and doing what they need or have to is already taking more than you could ever imagine and they are exhausted.

So if they withdraw, let them know they are still held, by reaching for them gently and maybe just holding their hand while they cry or their hearts from afar.

I know it’s hard and can be even harder if you don’t see reasons you understand for why someone would be so sad, or can’t understand why life would be tough for them, because you see how much they have to be happy and grateful about, please know that they know this too, which only makes the lessons of teacher depression so much harder to swallow - those of us journeying with depression know we “should” be happy, we can see how much we have and how much we have to be grateful for, but we don’t have a choice in feeling our hearts breaking with every breath.

I don’t have the answers to this, I cannot leave you with some inspired wisdom or some tantalising quotable little quip that’s gonna make it all okay because there aren’t any, I can share that during my year of spiralling severe depression I continued to work, to serve my clients, to create and successfully launch a beautiful and powerful new course, Alchemy Through the Medicine Wheel, to run another cycle of Alchemy Sacred Feminine Activation with magical inspiring women, to be a mother and a wife (even though not the greatest one) to move house… again, to navigate a completely unfamiliar place and community, to meet new people and create even more beautiful offerings that will launch next year and to redesign and rebuild my website, twice….

So yes it has been a debilitatingly hard year and I am truly on my knees praying to every Goddess that’ll listen that I am permitted to not journey with teacher depression again next year, but all in all, I want to remind those of you that are suffering, that you are still a creative force in this universe and in your own life and you deserve to acknowledge what you have achieved under the weight of the sadness you carry and the darkness you transmute.

Remember - the beauty of the rain is how it falls - your fall can be powerful, cleansing and beautiful and you will rise again.

In Alchemy

Isa Ka Ra

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