I’ve Got This—My Most Remarkable Accomplishments after 20 Years of Depression
“Darling, you did it! You got through, you soared, you crawled, you laughed, you cried, you stuttered, you roared, you stumbled, you ran. You danced. You overcame. You softened. You powered up. You braved it. You kept on. You felt. You felt it all. The true definition of hardcore, soulful living. And with 2016 now on your doorstep, I have four words for you … You got this darling! Oh yes you have.” ~ S.C Lourie butterfiesandpebbles
S.C. Lourie of butterfliesandpebbles published a meme with the above quote at the end of 2015, which was a very big year for me with some significant changes. Several times in my life I’ve completed a year-end review on myself, similar to an annual performance review you would receive in your job. Assessing, and more importantly, documenting my achievements and progress is a great practice as it helped me to really understand and give myself credit for all of my accomplishments.
Often, I don’t realize how much I truly have accomplished until I take the time to actually put thought into it and write it down. Plus, it’s very fun to go back and read prior year’s reviews and see how I’ve grown over time.
In looking at all of the items mentioned in the beautiful quote from S.C. Lourie above, the most remarkable accomplishments in 2015 for me were these:
They say you should stay close to anything that makes you feel alive. Dancing literally brought me back to life—one weekend at a time. Although I was miserably sick for half of 2015 and could hardly keep food in my body, it was rare that I missed an opportunity to dance.
It’s truly a release for me. A genuine stress reliever, and one that makes me feel free. Even after my dancing group fell apart and I had no one to go dancing with me, I still danced. Minutes after a lover left me and again after I moved my things out of my ex boyfriend's house, I danced. Alone. People have told me. "Here's how I knew you'd be ok. Because you went dancing, even after those terrible things." Of course! It was in those moments I needed to dance more than ever before.
Most times when I go dancing, I am by myself—not a friend in the bar (although there are many acquaintances and friendly faces). It's not about meeting people or getting picked up by a man. It's really about dancing.
I'm often asked why I don't dance in my kitchen. I do! But dancing on a full dance floor with others is a completely different experience. There's so much energy. I love taking it in. It makes me smile. And, it's great exercise.
I also do not need liquid courage to dance. Sometimes I drink, sometimes I don't. If I drink more than three drinks in five hours, I don't drive home—simple as that.
I'll close this segment with my favorite quote from Olivia Pope, "Now you can dance with me or get off my dance floor. I'm fine dancing alone."
In 2015 I overcame a shit-ton of things. It's hard to even wrap my head around all of them. But here are a few of the biggest things I overcame in 2015:
- Depression and anxiety. I suffered from depression and anxiety for most of my life. I also to a cocktail of scripts to treat them for over 20 years. Thanks to a ton of physical, emotional and energy work, I am free from these terrible dis-eases. I am also free from the psych meds that took years to balance.
- A job elimination. While the event was somewhat shocking, it truly was a blessing as it gave me the push I needed to pursue my passion sooner than I planned. It did "jar" me a bit because of our innate tendency to define ourselves by what we do for a living. For a while I was undefined. I also had a strong belief that as long as you provide enough value for your employer, you will never lose your job. Believe me, I provided a ton of value, so my "self" was shaken—for a few brief moments.
- Two chronic illnesses and a major surgical intervention.
In my SHFT Tribe on Finding Your Purpose, I was asked to identify the blocks that were holding me back from unleashing my strengths and moving forward. Following is my response:
"Hopefully nothing now. I have systematically removed all the things that were blocking me.
- Other people's expectations and lack of support
- One-sided intimate relationship and feelings of insecurity
- Unsupportive friendships and other relationships
- Enabling my adult child(ren)
- Calling on too many coaches/therapists/experts instead of my own intuition
- Searching for outside validation instead of my own truth
It's onward and upward from here!"
This is a big one. After a lifetime of clinical depression and literally spending seven years in bed, I woke up and started living in the last 18 months. I lived. Part of living includes feeling. I'm not used to feeling. I'm used to being comfortably or uncomfortably numb.
Quite honestly, until about six months before writing this piece, I did everything I could to "numb out." I numbed my feelings with food and other substances or actions (including sleeping or shopping) so I didn't have to feel them. Every day felt very much like the day before it—pretty boring—no ups, no downs. I was just going through the motions of life. That's no way to live. It's simply surviving—and barely surviving at that.
After my surgery, I really cranked up the "living" part of my life and began feeling more anxiety than I'd ever felt. I'd always been more depressed than anxious, so this was very uncomfortable for me—and quite honestly, difficult not to numb. My very wise coach said, "Welcome to the world of the living. When you spend all your time in bed, there's nothing to be anxious about. When you interact with the world, anxiety happens. So does love, excitement and all the other beautiful emotions of being alive." Damn, was she right!
I have felt emotion so raw and real it brings me to tears because I'm so happy. I have also felt sadness that is 100 times sadder than my most depressed day. The beauty though, is these feelings were both temporary and not facts. They passed and were replaced with something new. Whereas depression is the same ole, same ole day after day. How boring and exhausting. No wonder I was in bed all the time.
Which actions stand out to you for in the past year? I encourage you to spend some time recounting your accomplishments last year. You may find that you accomplished more than you thought. Are there any actions that you want to concentrate on for the rest of 2017? May I suggest dancing? Dance Days are the best days in my week! Dance on my friends.
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I've Got This and I Remember Me—Let’s Dance!
This article previously appeared on BlogLovin.