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Easing the Weight of Depression

My personal experience with depression strongly influences my healing work today. Here I share my story and the unexpected gifts that came from hitting rock bottom.


person standing under stormy clouds looking at lake

I’m sharing my personal experience with depression as a way to help others. It’s my intention to provide you with support, inspiration and hope.


How it all Began

My first experience with depression came in my teenage years. It was an increasingly heavy feeling I didn't understand and didn't know how to handle, and it completely overwhelmed me.


The trigger for my depression was the painful ending of an important relationship. It was an incredibly difficult time for me and I grieved deeply, but life had big lessons to teach me and it was only just beginning.


I didn't know it then, but the intense pain I was left to endure alone would shape my role as a healer in the future. I learned first-hand the importance of healing in connection to others, while being seen and heard without judgement.


Feeling Misunderstood

What followed the intense heartbreak was a very real feeling of abandonment by all the important people in my life. Being so young, I was unaware of the support available outside of my family and friends. I had no one to help me understand my feelings, and no knowledge of how to process them safely.


Family and friends responded with well-meaning, yet completely unhelpful advice and I was told to just “get over it.” Feeling alone, confused and like something was wrong with me, I gradually slipped into a heavy depression.


Yet the deeper I slipped, the more I tried to “put on a brave face.” In an effort to avoid the hurtful and unhelpful advice I was getting, I began to hide how awful I really felt.


On the surface I appeared to be happy, but it was just a mask I wore everywhere I went. I tried to act normal, to smile more, but deep down I was hurting to my core - now dealing with rejection and abandonment as well as heartache.


The mask I wore and the dark clouds of depression weighed over me, until I could no longer feel or see the light in life. I lost hope and I lost my sense of self.


In all my emotional confusion I had lost my sense of self.

The Question that Gave Me Hope

Feeling exhausted from the intense efforts of masking my pain, I gradually noticed that I was no longer sure of who I really was. This realisation was the catalyst for change.


At some miraculous point in my journey, the pain of who I had become, hurt more than the pain of the heartbreak and abandonment. I began to question “Who is this person I’ve become, and who do I want to be?”


With nobody to offer me guidance or ease the weight of my depression, I decided I'd have to figure it out on my own. By the grace of spirit I was filled with a sense of courage and determination to find myself, which pulled me forward with the desire to live life on my terms.


Easing the Weight of Depression

It was a long road to recovery, but I slowly moved from hopelessness into determination. I had shifted my focus away from my suffering, and instead towards questions like “Who am I, and why am I here?


The emotional baggage I was carrying was weighing me down, it was time to travel lightly.

I looked at all of my thoughts, feelings and actions and examined them from a new perspective. I decided to release anything that didn’t support the “new and improved, authentic” version of me.


It was a gradual process that included letting go of people who no longer resonated with me, ideas that were outdated, inherited beliefs that were holding me back, and all of my negative self-talk.


I instinctively became more mindful of my thoughts, feelings and actions which was life-changing. Being mindful and honest with myself also helped me to notice when another episode of depression was approaching, allowing me to proactively deal with things before they became overwhelming.


The Gifts of Divine Storms

My experiences with depression have been the most challenging periods in my life, yet I can look back now and feel gratitude for all that they taught me. The toughest experiences usually do provide the biggest opportunities for growth and development!


I'm grateful because my experience with depression has made me a better person. I reclaimed my power that I had given away to others. I came out of it with a keener sense of who I am. I became more conscious of my thoughts which made me more compassionate towards myself. Out of that grew a deeper compassion towards others which has fuelled my desire to help those in need.


I want to help you. You matter. You are totally unique, and the world needs your unique perspective and your unique talents!

Getting Support for Depression

You can access some great tools and support from mainstream mental health care organisations here and here.


But using my own uniqueness, I’d like to support you in a way that is an authentic expression for me: through a trauma-informed lens, with respect for who you are and what you believe, with a positive outlook for your future, and with holistic practices that honour your being as a whole.


If you seek support from me, you'll be respected and treated as an individual while we work together as a team. You'll be empowered through knowledge on your healing journey. We consider how your heart, mind, body and soul are relating to each other and what is needed to create a sense of wellbeing.


Self-Awareness for Healing

Understanding where you are now is a great place to start. Keeping a private journal is an excellent way to understand more about yourself, and like I did, you may decide to change some things that are no longer serving you.


Through your journal you can explore questions like:


Body

  • How do you take care of your body with nutrition and exercise?

  • How well do you sleep?

  • How does your experience of pain affect your life?

  • How does your body respond to your thoughts and emotions?

  • How do your feelings affect your behaviour?

  • How does your behaviour shape your experience?

  • What are you doing that isn’t supporting your goal of wellness?


Mind

  • What thoughts dominate your inner dialogue ?

  • What tone of voice do you use with yourself?

  • How do you communicate with others?

  • Could trauma be influencing your thoughts?

  • Are you often over-thinking or worrying?

  • How are you responding to your "negative" emotions?

  • How are your thoughts and beliefs affecting you?

  • How has past experience affected your beliefs?

  • What thoughts and beliefs are limiting you?

Soul

  • How do you nurture your soul?

  • When are you of service to the world?

  • How do you connect to your spirit or intuition?

  • How could you express your authentic self?

  • In what ways does your intuition guide you?

  • What could you do to help someone else?

  • Do you know your life's purpose?

With love and gratitude,

Charisse





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