The other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across this post:
"Depression is REAL. People can smile all day & still be broken inside!".
And I have a real problem with this...
First of all, no one is broken. I know it doesn't feel that way and, heck, I even had a doctor tell me I was broken so I get why it's so easy to believe this. But I'm here to tell you it's bullshit. Straight up, you've-been-lied-to bullshit.
Second, the fact that we have to still assert that depression is real makes me sad because it means that there are still people out there that think that having a bad day and suffering from depression are the same thing. That depression and anxiety are things that can be "snapped out of" and that if you can just figure out why and get more information you would surely see how much better life is without it.
So let's talk about this for a moment.
Depression IS real and it has absolutely nothing to do with someone's intelligence or ability to recognize all the reasons why they are suffering. This is one of the pitfalls of traditional cognitive behavioural therapy which believes that if you spend enough time exploring the WHY of it all, eventually you will have no choice but to change your mind and therefore heal.
The problem is that after 13 years of traditional therapy and 4 years of studying and obtaining my BA in psychology I could tell you all the reasons WHY I felt so shitty but I still had no idea HOW to make the changes.
I remember telling my psychologist at the time that my head knew exactly what she was talking about, but I didn't know how to make my heart believe it.
And therein lies the problem with traditional talk therapy.
You see, at the end of the day Why is a useless question to ask because all it does is satisfy our curiosity while providing absolute no clues as to How to start making changes.
But here's the cool thing: you can begin to work on the How without ever knowing the Why and find the healing you have been searching for.
When was the last time you got mad?
No really. I want you to stop. Take a moment and really think about it.
When was the last time you got angry? And I’m not talking about your run-of-the-mill mild irritation or frustration that we all allow ourselves to feel on a regular basis. I’m talking blood rushing, heart pounding, good ‘ol fashioned PISSED OFF?
Do you remember? Can you?
In fact, I want you to try to remember an actual time when you were pissed off. Can you do that? If so, I want you to think back to that time and… what do you notice? What were you hearing, seeing and feeling? Where in your body does that sensation of anger happen? Point to it. Seriously – I want you to go ahead and point at that part of your body.
And say hello to your Anger.
Maybe this exercise was easy for you. Maybe you found it a bit challenging to actually recall a recent time when you were angry.
Maybe you are so good at being a Giver that you never really get mad -- ever! You may even proud of that fact and believe yourself to be really easy-going. Laid back. Cool as a cucumber.
Or maybe you are afraid of your anger. Maybe, growing up, you were taught that anger was wrong or made you a bad person and should never be expressed.
Maybe you were even told Anger was dangerous.
That's what I was taught.
Growing up in, I was taught that love meant never being angry, always giving the benefit of the doubt and being willing to give in to keep the peace no matter what the personal cost.
The idea of getting mad used to scare the hell out of me and I used to do anything – including rationalizing and justifying someone else’s behaviour to my own detriment – just to avoid feeling my own anger.
You see, deep down I didn't really trust myself. And I feared that once that box of anger was opened, like Pandora's box, I would never be able to get it closed again.
But I was wrong.
It turns out Anger is one of the most important emotions you have because it is the signal from your unconscious mind that you are taking on too much. Or giving your Self too little.
Anger is important and yet it is the first emotion we are taught to turn off. And in doing so we do ourselves a great injustice because it leaves us powerless to get our needs met with any amount of regularity or consistency. And so we begin to wither....
This is beginning to make sense for you, isn't it? Good!
Because whatever your current relationship with your Anger, maybe it's time to get better acquainted with this part of You.