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by Leslie Donnelly
Recently, someone close to me reached out for some advice concerning anxiety and depression. They stated, “I am finding it harder and harder to get out of bed.” Here is the first piece of advice I offered concerning facing depression and anxiety:
“You stand at the edge of the universe when you are feeling as you do. You can stand still. It is ok to stand still. You can dig in the dirt. It is ok to dig in the dirt. You can jump. It is ok to jump but you might have to repeat the same lessons, because if you jump and are not sure of the fact that the Universe can help you fly, you will eventually fall back down into the darkness. However, if you jump and you are sure you can be helped to fly. You will eventually soar.”
Sometimes we must stand still. There really is nothing we can do except let life’s punch knock us back for a bit. For example, life’s punch might be when a loved one dies, a marriage ends, or the promotion doesn’t happen. These are situations that force us to feel low, and some people will do anything not to feel low. They may drink, start an affair, gamble, or go on a shopping spree. The crux is avoiding pain will lead to more pain. The quickest way through the pain is to let it come and wash over us in waves. Be still. When you have been brave and strong and let the pain come, you do not have to be still any longer.
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Sometimes we must dig. There really is no situation wrong enough to be bringing us so low. The subconscious is trying to send us a message or messages and we have either not listened or listened and decided not to take in the meaning. We are therefore brought “low” to be forced to slow down. Communicating with our subconscious is like communicating with our soul’s knowledge. If we seek answers from our subconscious, which is a part of our soul’s map, we will always find them even though some answers take more digging than others. The best time to dig for answers is when you first awake from your night’s sleep.
Instead of getting right out of bed, allow yourself a few moments to see where your thoughts lead. If you have a depressive thought like this, “I do not want to get out of bed.” Do some digging by doing some self-talk. Ask yourself, “Why do I not want to get out of bed?” The answer may be a surprise to you or the answer may be something you have not wanted to admit. The more gems of knowledge you dig out of the dirt of your subconscious, the more power you will have over depression and anxiety. Self- knowledge brings power.
Situational depression and anxiety bring a spiritual aspect and that is the opportunity for growth and gaining more self-knowledge and power. Depression and anxiety force us to get up close and personal with our thoughts. The more we actively do this and don’t beat ourselves up for not having all “good” thoughts, the more we can learn about where our soul is illuminating a way for us. We are not meant to suffer unnecessarily with situational depression and anxiety. Our subconscious is there ready to open the doors to the Universe for us, but we must put in the soul’s work.
What if we are not ready to dig? Then be still. Try not to run away from you. Honor yourself as you would if taking care of a friend who is not feeling their best. Let yourself take a bath with candles. Just because. Go pick some flowers and put them on your table. Listen to some of your favorite songs. If you do not feel like mowing the yard, let it wait another day. Don’t dig if you don’t feel like it, but also don’t force yourself to wear a Superhero cape and pretend everything is ok. Allow yourself some pampering and some life luxury in whatever way you can afford in your life.
But, what if you have been digging and you are getting some messages from your subconscious that you are not sure what to do with or you feel considerably worse? For example, say one of your messages from you taking the time to listen to your thoughts, first thing as you awake, seems like something insurmountable like, “You know you are still in love with your ex.” If you can’t do anything about this situation because your ex is now married, then devise a ritual to honor where you are now in your life.
Your ritual can be as big or as small as you want. Rituals are powerful tools to put our wishes, thoughts, hopes, or releasing of pain and fear, into action. Here is a ritual I did long ago when I was sad about having so many dead-end relationships. I wrote down the name of every romantic person from my past. I wrote down all the ways I felt they had let me down. Then I wrote down every way I felt like I had let them down. Some issues that came up, I had long put to rest. On the other hand, there were a few that I had not realized were still nagging. I sent out to the Universe that I was ready to let go of past relationship pain and I was also ready to accept responsibility for my wrongs. I was at the edge of the universe feeling like the abyss was about to swallow me. What did I do? I jumped! I went right to the center of my pain with my writing ritual and I did a cleansing. Three weeks later I met my husband
What if the messages you are getting as you listen to your thoughts are messages of just pointing fingers at how you are just not good enough? Messages like how you need to fix this or that about yourself, or how you failed at this or that. Let’s put these types of messages into 3 categories: body image, unfinished business, and character flaws. First, if your thoughts are of how you are “too fat” or “unfit”, these are body image thoughts and the beating up on yourself comes from lower frequency thoughts. Making positive change in your life is almost impossible when you are ridiculing yourself or bulling yourself. Are you causing your depression by ridiculing yourself or is the depression causing you to ridicule yourself?
It doesn’t matter because if there is a fire, you put it out first before you figure out the cause. Loving yourself is vital. It is not always easy. I struggled with this as someone who had been abused by multiple people in my childhood. Each time you have a negative thought, catch it in the net, now ask yourself is this a low frequency or a high frequency thought. If that thought is a “bullying” thought to yourself, change it and replace it immediately. Here is an example of how to do that: “I am going bald and I hate it.” Now, here is a way to change that thought to a higher frequency thought. “Yes. I am going bald, but this does not mean that I can’t still be attractive.”
Second, you may be having “unfinished business” messages. For example, “I never finished college. I’m a failure at life” Ask yourself if you are truly upset about the unfinished business or if you are placing a label on yourself because of the society you live in and the people in your circle of friends and family. If it is unfinished business that you can eventually make right, then know that the sadness is there because you know you can do better. However, if you truly do not want to complete the unfinished business, like perhaps going back to college, then the issue is you reaching a point where you are happy with you no matter what society expects or pushes.
Third, what if the messages are messages of character flaws? “I am too impatient. I am too judgmental. I am a pushover.” Your depression and anxiety are telling you that you can do better, or you wouldn’t be forced to slow down and take notice. The subconscious is very efficient. It does not allow you to be in pain unnecessarily. You can be in situational pain because there is a comparison between something ideal and something not so great. If you just happen to be stuck in the not so great (or shadow) aspect of your personality, there is a better you waiting to be unveiled. You decide what is a better you. You inherently have within you your soul’s map that has marked what you value as treasure. Some value patience. Some value assertiveness. One of my treasures is empathy. Working to improve something about your character is considered a journey and not a final destination.
The hidden treasures of depression and anxiety are found in the knowledge that your subconscious may be trying to tell you something for your soul’s growth and needed joy. The hidden treasures of depression and anxiety are found when we choose to dig in the not so pleasant places of our psyche and find out what needs cleansing, what can be improved upon, and what just needs to be put to rest. The hidden treasures of depression and anxiety are found when we are forced to admit that there is something about us as an individual that can be changed for the better. The pain we feel is the future us calling back to us saying, “Hey, there is better up ahead. This is why your present self is hurting so bad now. Do the soul work. You will never regret that you did.”
About the author:
Leslie Donnelly lives in Alabama and fantasizes of one day moving to a cabin in the Colorado mountains where she can curl up with good books and watch wildlife from her front porch. Her Bachelor of Science is in Psychology and Master’s is in Educational Leadership. Also, she became a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. She teaches Medical Assisting and Psychology at the college level. However, her favorite teachers are nature and animals.