Somewhere imprinted in my mind was the message that if I am not needy, I wouldn’t get attention. My neediness; my victimhood; my despondency was the way I got people to notice me. And so, inadvertently, this became my identity. Think Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh. .
As I grew up, I became afraid of asserting myself, or using my voice, or helping because I would just be laughed at: “As IF…!” I was incapable of having intelligent thoughts.
I knew I was incompetent for leadership. I knew there was no reason for me to offer encouragement, or to share my thoughts, or to maintain a stance on something important to me because whatever I had to say was utterly invalid. I had zero credibility.
I’m not intending to bog you down with my gloomy past. But I want to make a point about finding solutions to the things that cause us to be less than our potential. And quite frankly, I want to make a point about finding solutions to the symptom depression – of course from my point of view.
When someone lives a life that feels like she has no credibility, it’s depressing. When someone feels invalid and incapable of intelligent thoughts, it’s depressing. When someone doesn’t even feel worthy enough to offer encouragement, it’s depressing. It’s supposed to be! No person was created to live that way. If this is you, know that your mind and body are blaring clues that something needs to change! There is absolutely and utterly and clearly nothing wrong with you or your mind.
I hope that is freeing to you. When I read Lost Connections by Johann Hari, (a book I think everyone needs to read) I was given an entirely new perspective. When shit happens that causes us to be depressed, we’re supposed to be depressed! It’s not something wrong with us! It’s a physiological – and often body – response to something bad.
So, here’s my very bold and blunt point: Covering our correct feelings with things that numb us are not helpful. And will not cause us to live our best life. There is a chance some of us will always struggle with depression, but in my mind the best solution is not numbing it, but acknowledging it; validating it, and learning ways to change our circumstances.
If you know me, you know I’m a huge believer in exercise as medicine. Gym-time has probably quite literally saved my life. It is the place that has given me purpose and meaning and goals and community. It helps me connect mind, body and spirit. It gets me outside to experience what I think is ultimate freedom: running on the trails. Gym-time has taught me how to cross mental and physical barriers. It connects me to others who want to improve themselves. Gym-time challenges me beyond comfort zones. Gym time is the thing that gave me confidence to challenge my old tapes -the rehearsed damaging thoughts- and change them to winning beliefs. The metaphor of getting stronger in the gym, making me stronger in life is real to me. And the comparison of conquering obstacles in the gym to conquer them in real life is truth for me.
If it sounds like I’m suggesting you follow me, you’d be right. I’m not being dogmatic. just strongly hinting. I believe in the magic of the mind/body connection for everything that ails us. Getting intimate with your body; connecting muscles with agility and balance and strength to mind and spirit and words that elicit healing, there is no substitute.