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Travelling Lightly: Releasing the Weight of Depression

Depression is a tough place to be. Here I share my personal experience with depression and the unexpected gifts that came from hitting rock bottom.

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


My first experience with depression came in my teenage years. It arrived suddenly and completely overwhelmed me.


It began when my first love broke my heart into a thousand pieces. This was an incredibly difficult time for me and I grieved deeply. But life had a big lesson to teach me and it was only just beginning. What followed the break-up was a very real feeling of abandonment by all the important people in my life. My best friend was nowhere to be seen, falling in love herself she was happily wrapped up in her new love and had no time for me or my problems. My parents responded with well-meaning, yet completely unhelpful advice and I was told to just “get over it.” Feeling very unloved, utterly alone and deeply upset, I slipped into a dark 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 improving. I tried to act normal, to smile more, but deep down I was hurting to my core - now dealing with abandonment as well as heartache and rejection.


The dark clouds of depression weighed over me until I could no longer feel or see the light in life. I lost hope.


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

This gradual realisation was my catalyst for change and at some miraculous point in my journey, the pain of who I had become, hurt more than the pain of the break-up and abandonment. I began to question “Who is this person I’ve become, and who do I want to be?”


Being young, I was unaware of the support that is available outside of friends and family, and I decided I would have to figure this out on my own. It took me a long time, 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?” I looked at all of my thoughts, feelings and actions and examined them from a new perspective.


The emotional baggage I was carrying was weighing me down, it was time to travel lightly. 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, beliefs I had inherited that were holding me back, and all of my negative self-talk. It required me to be mindful in my thoughts, feelings and actions which was life-changing. Being mindful helped me to be aware of when another episode of depression was approaching, allowing me to proactively deal with things.


This experience with depression has been the most challenging period in my life, yet I can look back now and feel gratitude for all that it taught me. The toughest experiences usually do provide the biggest opportunities for growth and development! I am grateful because it 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 the Support you Need

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 wellness journey. We consider how your heart, mind, body and spirit are relating to each other and what is needed to create a sense of wellbeing.


Understanding where you are now is a great place to start your healing journey. Starting a private journal is an excellent way to understand more about yourself, and like me, you may decide to change some things that aren’t in your best interests.


Through your journal you can explore areas such as:


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?

Spirit

  • 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