“Yahoo! I am depressed!” is a thought I had well after I had been feeling super down for a while. It took me having to experience a whole lot of feels for me to realize my sadness was actually a gift.
What we don’t realize is that depression can sometimes be an amazing gift. I am not talking about a diagnosed ongoing mental condition. I am talking about moving through the world when all of a sudden sadness hits you like a ton of bricks and the next thing you know you are plastered to the couch with blankets and wine sobbing as if you could cure the California drought with your tears. If only. The latter happened to me.
But here is what happened right before, see if you can guess what may have added to my emotional demise:
- Viewing sleep as a waste of time, I took no more than 4 hours a night.
- Every time I got thirsty my mind erased the fact that water existed and only coffee could fit in my cup.
- I stopped taking vitamins.
- I did the same things every day.
- I saw exercise as a threat to my couch and forbid myself to contemplate more than a 20-minutes of yoga.
I’ve been here before. I’ll be there again. It’s a human thing. But what happened, as a result, was that each and every heavy moment became unbearable and slowly but surely I started losing perspective. I also had a ton of old sadness inside and it was time to come out. So after I sobbed off and on for about a week, one day it was over. I was done. I really was.
Then I realized I was ready for a new normal. I think the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself, opened the door to some old lurking sadness and it came out like a tear exodus. And you know what it was great because I was able to clear space. I always tell my daughter that tears clean your heart, but even I forgot that.
After I had cleared enough space to move in the Eiffel tower what happened next?
- My next steps
- New ideas
- New perspectives
- I grew!
Does a snake cry when it sheds its skin? We do not know, but we know it becomes a new version of itself. I can imagine that is not a comfortable process. Nor can it be for any being. The same way we shed layers of ourselves through embracing the sadness and authentically getting real about what is happening in our lives – our tears help us to shed the what is limiting our growth.
And if I view my life as fertile soil my tears watered it and grew a new version of myself that was ready to be born.
So here is my suggestion. Don’t wait to dehydrate yourself, don’t become a professional sleep-deprived zombie, find a way to recognize that where there is sadness there is a part of you longing for growth. Emotional and experiences live inside of our cells, we literally have to release them. When you are feeling the volatile energy taking hold, go into it and honor it. Embrace the dark to release the light.
I have always said that the human body can only take on so many experiences before it explodes. We have to connect and release so we can make room for the new. Have you been feeling sad, or like you desperately need to unwind? Chances are you need to detach and release.
If you are looking for some help on doing this:
Rent a sad movie and just start the tear train moving or put on your favorite melancholic playlist and grab a pen and start to write without restriction. Dive as deep into your feeling as you can. There is something very powerful waiting for you on the other side.
You can also check out The Creative Jumpstart which begins with a wonderful meditation aimed at releasing what you no longer need energetically. And the 21 Day Meditation includes a release for the sadness in your hearts. They are wonderful ways to get started.
Whatever you do, remember you are worth gold. Honor each and every part of you, especially your feelings.
Elizabeth Tuckwell is the founder of Art With Intention a site devoted to creative expression and personal peace. She is also an accomplished Abstract Artist and her work can be viewed at Elizabethtuckwell.com.
Also published on Medium.