When depression rears its ugly head
Depression and other rough times rear their ugly heads to alert us that we need to tend to self-care and re-alignment of some sort.
Contrary to popular belief: tough, heavy emotions are not our enemies. They are actually a part of our human experience. I find it helpful to picture these emotional "disturbances" as "internal guard dogs."
Like obedient invisible soldiers, it's their sole job to alert us when something seems amiss in order to keep us from danger. Other than their alerts, they are quiet and invisible; but ever-present.
While these tough yet invisible guardians grow up with(in) us as a defense system to keep us safe; they could grow up ignored, neglected, dismissed and untrained; becoming overreactive or even programmed protect others (over or instead of us), resorting to incessant "barking," intense alarmist and potentially harmful behavior when threatened or ignored.
Whatever the case, these "sentinels" are just as much a part of our humanness as "positive emotions" of comfort and joy, or our five physical senses and need to be seen and integrated as such.
Like those accepted and desirable parts of our human experience, we need to mindfully train ourselves to acknowledge and befriend their service instead of disowning them and train them to discern true physical danger from perceived threats; in order for us to live with a sense of security, peace and healthy boundaries.
Since Nelson's death, I can see more clearly now, that this is a lifelong partnership with these inner guardians that I'll need to vigilantly attend to, as part of self-care to live "Happily EVEN After".
I hope that my personal account will help serve as a reminder the next time you (and I) start to see a backward emotional slide: to mindfully stop your descent into a downward spiral by using
5 steps to manage the "inner guard dog" alarm system
Distance. See yourself as a character in a scene.
Witness. Watch without judgement, investment or reaction.
Report. Acknowledge and list only observations and truth.
Process. See what happened what conflicted inside & out.
Integrate. Allow yourself the permission to trade-in the pain & cause for a way to move forward. ADJUST your perspective, thoughts, beliefs and alignment with the situation (including openly asking for help if you need it, without shaming and judgement).
My aim is to share my story with all of you in hopes it will help you, too, to encourage you to be vulnerable, in a good way--brave and reassured that the pain, hurt and challenges in life are not bad, do not make you bad, defective or tell you what to do. They simply just exist as a means for feedback about alignment.
Working through this challenging experience, it becomes transformed into an opportunity to remember that: Even when I'm feeling good, making progress, living into my "Happily EVEN After Lifestyle" ...and when I'm not... self-care practices (especially self-compassion and self-acceptance) will ALWAYS be need to be a priority; and WHEN I fall or fail to remember: I need only to stop, reach upward and take time to realign again.
I just finished hosting our intimate annual Thanksgiving tradition; and I feel emotionally stirred, spiritually reconnected & moved, as well as energetically in need of some quietude to absorb and re-integrate just how grateful I am to be so well loved, that we were able to physically come together and how lucky I am to have the ability & means to host again this year.
Happy Thanksgiving today and every day! Be well, everyone. Sending lots of Love & Light to all of you.
See you later! I'm taking the rest of the day off to breathe and respect my (sliding scale of) self-care needs after a big fall week for me.