Shaelyn Christiansen – Living with Depression

January 30, 2015

Shaelyn Christiansen – Living with Depression

ShaeI’ve suffered from my self-diagnosed depression since I was 13.

Looking back, there were definitely rapid, consecutive, and what seemed as life shattering events that led up to my thirteenth year of life. It’s clear to me now that was when my thoughts, feelings and actions took a dark turn. I consciously chose to internalize things, though I probably didn’t know any better at the time.

I had always refused to get that “official second opinion”. The closest I’ve got to an official diagnosis was when I was nineteen and suffering from post-partum depression after having my son. For years prior my dad asked me to get medical help for my “anxiety”, but it wasn’t until I had the motivation of caring for the new life that came into my world that I decided to get over my pride and ask for help. I finally received what to me seemed as a medical stamp of approval. I was indeed depressed.

After six months I weaned myself off Prozac against doctors orders. As time flew by, just a few years later I found myself sitting on a therapists couch three months after being sexually assaulted, and that’s putting it politely. Stack that experience on top of all of my others and that seemed to be the straw on the camel’s back.

I needed help!

I attended both group and private counseling to deal specifically with the issue that had just occurred. The beautiful thing that ended up happening was being able to freely talk about all of the other things I had kept in my dark cloud, while getting the validation from a therapist. In her professional opinion, I was a miracle.

It still baffles me how I can go from sunshine to pure hopelessness in what seems like seconds. Any confidence that I’ve engrained quickly escapes my body and I lose any desire to be the well functioning part of society that I usually am. I’ll convince myself for a few hours (or at worst, a few days) that I am maybe not who I thought I was or who I sought to be and it’s just me sitting in my darkness.

With that said – I’d like to think of depression as my gift, oddly enough. My ability to connect with so many other people, whom also find themselves maybe secretly hiding in their dark clouds of destructive thoughts and feelings. I’ve always had a very loud intuition that pushes me to speak up; now I speak my truth even if it makes for an awkward or uncomfortable environment. My depression has led my vulnerability, and when I open up, it seems as if others can’t help but do the same.

The biggest challenge with depression is accepting it for what it is, and the part it plays in my life.It’s seemed after I’ve accepted the disease, I am more able to love myself when I’m “in it” and find ways to cope with its de-habilitations as I evolve.

Coming from a place of pure transparency helps me cope with my depression.

From the beginning years up until fairly recently I found several different forms of abuse, instead of healthy coping mechanisms. Alcohol, cigarettes, high sugar foods, sex, relationships…. I filled my body and soul with abusive levels of poison to solidify the feelings I was having.

But then, I made a change. And another, and another. Lots of little life changes and habits. Instead of looking for ways to numb my pain, I sought out things and people that made me feel good. Books that made me feel good, that made my intuition say “this feels aligned.” Still to this day that is my daily practice. I’m always checking in with myself to see if the present moment feels good, and even if it doesn’t, what is my desired feeling in this moment.

It’s okay to feel bad, but it can be heavenly to allow yourself to feel good too.