For many years I have been diagnosed with depression: at one point in my thirties when my behaviours were even more erratic than usual, I was diagnosed with bi-polar. As a human being needing to operate in the world, I have sought medical advice from doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and counsellors. I have searched into the spiritual world for ways to help my personal angst and I have sought support from friends and family. Earlier in the year, I finally was able to admit to myself that although I have moments where things appear okay, the real truth of it was, at the very best each day was a painful upheaval and struggle, and at the very worst, there was little will to carry on.
A few months ago, I hit rock bottom. All my symptoms escalated, I was not coping and had no will to deal with my day. Life was impossible and I just wanted to check out; it was too painful, too hard. I was shouting a lot, in overwhelm, crying and just wanted to end it all. These symptoms were what had led to my diagnosis of bi-polar a few years previously. I saw my GP regularly at this time, who was very caring and supportive because I was scared. I also saw some practitioners from Universal Medicine (UniMed). All suggested I get on some anti-depressants to support me and give me some space to explore possible causes for these symptoms, which had arisen all my adult life.
I am not a stranger to anti-depressants. I had been on them for many years previously and after the birth of my second child I was on an extremely high dose. So, I went on a moderate dose of the brand I had used before. I was immediately nauseous and couldn’t get to sleep at night; in fact I was unable to get any sleep. Plus I would feel dizzy and disorientated. So I kept returning to my GP who worked with me trying to find a pill that worked. We tried taking, every second day, half a pill of the lowest dose of an anti-depressant that was mild on side-effects. But still I would immediately get all the side-effects I previously described.
So, frightened and still at rock bottom, with medication that seemed to intensify my symptoms (one of the side effects of one pill listed said that suicidal thoughts could occur in the first two weeks), I turned to my Universal Medicine practitioners, who helped me try a different approach. It’s not easy to admit in one’s life that at best it’s bloody awful. But in a loving and caring approach, because they could feel I was ready to hear some hard stuff, they socked it to me… they pointed out that I had turned up for my session and presented my symptoms to them with little will to get on top of them; I hadn’t actually said – “Okay, how do I fix this?”. They pointed out that I was stuck in the story of how my life was extremely tough, blaming events and people – and I wanted to stay there. I was a little affronted at first, to say the least. In fact, to be truthful, I wanted to walk out. But I had nothing to lose because I couldn’t find relief with the anti-depressants. So I continued to listen.
Next, they asked me to contemplate if it could be possible that exhaustion was playing a part in my depression and, more so, was I maybe making choices in my life to create the drama, thereby providing myself with the exhaustion and chaos – which in turn gave me the excuse to go into overwhelm and give up?
I understand, from twenty-five plus years of suffering depression symptoms, along with other family members suffering the same, that there is a lot of research on depression, in particular on the fact that it can be the result of chemical imbalances, which the anti-depressants assist with. I have done a lot of research myself on depression and how people who suffer it lead debilitating lives, with depression being brought on by an onslaught of abuse or tragic incidences (war, hijacking, terrorism, etc).
But this was my personal experience of depression and, as I had not suffered any of these events, I became open to looking at the possibility being presented to me that maybe I was setting up choices in my life to lead to events that would bring on the symptoms. I had to admit that when I fell into a depression cycle, which went deeper and deeper into that black hole as it is often described, it almost felt like a drug, a relief to finally give in, give up and lay in bed. I’ve never taken heroin but it was almost like taking a ‘hit’ of something which I knew wasn’t good for me but boy, did it feel great.
I can tell you, it was pretty painful to even contemplate for one second the possibility that I could be responsible for creating all the pain I’d been through, and had put my family through. But with patience and genuine true love and care, my GP and UniMed practitioners, with zero judgement, held my hand and allowed me the time and space to consider these possibilities more deeply.
About eight years ago, when I was experiencing these extreme symptoms, I was similarly scared and visited a counsellor, psychologist and psychiatrist. Each independently concluded I presented with bi-polar. I immediately became even more scared. In the sessions with them whilst I was pouring out my heart, concerned for mine and my family’s welfare, they didn’t seem to really engage with me or even look at me; they made notes then delivered their diagnosis, writing out a script for anti-depressants. The experience felt cold and unassuring.
I am sure we have all had experiences when things were going bad, life felt hard and you shared it with a friend or family member and suddenly, supported by their sincere concern and listening, it lifted a cloud. They might not have provided a solution, but the love and care somehow fixed some things. This was what my GP provided when I shared my anxieties with her; I cried because I felt her genuine care – this care and talking with her felt like medicine in itself. There are many medical practitioners in the world who naturally present themselves in this caring manner. There are also many who don’t, due to stress, overwork, frustrating medical systems etc. I have no judgement of any of them; however, this time round with my depression I wanted to surround myself with a little bit more cushioning and care. I don’t just align myself to only seeing Universal Medicine health practitioners – that would be foolish. But on occasions I do seek them because I know that I will consistently receive genuine care, love and concern for my symptoms – but neither sympathy nor pandering; this care is part of their work ethos because they feel it can play an important part in the overall care and treatment of the patient. And when you’re dealing with the kind of issues I was dealing with, I felt it was advantageous to share these issues with someone in whose company I felt like I was with family or a friend – someone that cared and who knew me to be more than the mess I was in. As I journeyed through finding a suitable anti-depressant with my GP, I shared with her what I was exploring with my Universal Medicine psychologist practitioners and how it was really helping – she was super supportive of the efforts I was making, praised me for confronting the hard stuff and expressed to me directly that it was great that I was getting “so much support”.
Very gently, I considered my part in my life. Slowly it began to help and make sense. One of the dramas and distractions which I created and was able to look at, was being caught up in getting things done, especially since having children. Each day I created a to-do list, which set me up for failure as I put myself into a drive or busy-ness, which overrode my body telling me that it could not physically undertake such an impossible list. To compensate, I would be constantly reaching for comfort foods and felt exhausted, irritated and frustrated, which often led to rage directed at my innocent children and husband. This to-do list of mine was debilitating.
Could this be one of the ways I created chaos and overwhelm in my life – by generating circumstances and situations that made life so hard and so difficult that giving up felt like the only option? What if, for added drama, I threw in sabotaging thoughts of being a failure for not ever achieving the unachievable, plus a range of judgemental, self-loathing thoughts? And how could I profess to love my family when I treated myself so appallingly?
So, as I began to attempt each day to bring a simplicity to that day’s activities, I slowly started to see something else. Although I was making my life more simple and less complicated and my quality of life started to improve, I still was having shouting outbursts at my family. Now, my relationship with my practitioners was different, in as much as I could now go along and rather than look for them to fix it for me, I would rock up and say, “Okay, life’s better but I’m still yelling – I want to stop this, why is it still happening?”. Again, gently with no judgement, I received the possibility that I was only committing to making my life better, but not actually addressing the relationship I had with myself: my opinion of myself was still terrible and because I could still be mean to me, it was easy to be mean to others too.
So, I contemplated this for a while and BINGO! Finally a light went on; my internal voice was still running me down, judging me, chastising me all the time. So I might have been making better choices, but I was just ‘doing’ them to make things better rather than because I really felt I was worth it. Now I was getting somewhere.
I had been running two lives: a physically exhausting one, and another in my head running non-stop commentaries on how useless I was. So although I was changing the physically exhausting part of my life, the low self-worth part was still running the show: I still hadn’t committed to genuinely loving me and making that the reason for every choice I made in my day.
Stopping the merry-go-round, allowing the discomfort and pain of those unloving choices to be felt was not, and still is not, easy. But I now give myself some stillness and quiet, just to feel me. Now that I’ve allowed myself to feel my brutally low opinion of myself, I can see past that part and see the real me – this beautiful woman who is just busting to be given permission to come out into the world.
I would like to show my appreciation to Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and all its wonderful practitioners for their unwavering love and support. This, however, is not a rah–rah for UniMed; this is a rah–rah for the growing awareness of the healing power of love, which is at the core of what UniMed endorses but is obviously not exclusive to UniMed; this is a rah–rah to the medicinal qualities of love and care – the love and care from my GP, the love and care from UniMed practitioners, the love and care from my family and friends and the love and care from me. It was me that made the choice to see qualified medical practitioners, highly trained in their field of mental illness, choosing to administer their medicine with love and care – the vital ingredient which was missing from my last foray into fixing this debilitating condition. All of the above helped bring me back to ME, showing me that I always had a choice, even when I had dug my heels in pretty deep, thinking I had no choice, believing that the dramatic events in my life were outside of my control and that I was a lost cause.
I am understanding more and more the meaning of true love and what that encompasses: it is true love to gently, without judgement, lovingly help people when they are ready to begin to entertain the possibility that we are responsible for our choices and the events that happen in our lives: it is true love to present the ‘tough’ stuff – to bring people back to who they really are so they, in turn, can help others return back to who they really are. This to me is the bigger picture, this to me is all part of true love. This is what personally helped me understand my depression and my part in it.