Breathing Deeper

Whatever you put it down to, be it the end of Mercury retrograde, my period arriving or the heatwave and summer storms coming to an end, but something has changed in the last few days. I feel like I’ve emerged from the depths, cool waters parting as I surface from the down deep. The world seems brighter, the edges sharper (and no, I didn’t get new glasses) and I can breathe more deeply.

Emerging from depression

It wasn’t a sudden change; it’s taken me a few days to begin to pin it down and put a name to it. It’s like when you’ve had a ghastly cold for days and days, and one day you wake up with clear sinuses and don’t even notice straight away. Everything is back to how it should be and how you know life is, so you don’t realise just how muffled everything was before.

Muffled is a good word for it. My world has been dull, dark and quiet. Not as in the duvet fort you built as a child, warm, cosy and a safe kind of darkness. My world has been grey, washed out and disconnected. I’ve been watching someone else operate my body and live my life for months, and they were only going through the motions.

Now, I’m stretching myself within this shell I had forgotten was mine. I can really feel myself, all the way down to my fingers and toes. It doesn’t feel quite like me yet, now that I’ve realised how not-myself I’ve been for so long. I’ve said many times in the last few months that at times I’ve felt like a stranger in my own body, trapped behind misted glass. That other person was sad and angry, cruel and dismissive. I recognise her from years ago, when medicine trapped me in this little glass box for the first time. This time, there was no medicine. There was sadness, pain and fear, and from it I fled. I stumbled back into this box where I could hide, let her run the show for a while. Except I couldn’t get out. Negativity, suffering and rage kept me there, and only acceptance of where I am and how I got here has opened the door again.

I didn’t even know there was a door. I’ve been so tightly wound in my safe, angry space that I couldn’t even see the way out. So crammed in was I and all my unexpressed, unaddressed emotions that I couldn’t even conceive a way out. I considered escapes of all kinds. I considered acting on some of them. To love another is the most enduring gift one can be blessed with.

I have always held myself to higher standards than I hold others to. “To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean by the frailty of its foam”. For a long time I have seen only the foam and so been lost beneath my own waves. I forgot that tides mean change, and all life and is ever swelling and growing, only to crash down upon the beach. There will always be storms, but to focus on the lows, the foam on the sands and the murky depths is to forget the power of the waves and the calmest days, where the sea is a mirror for all the wonders of the world.

For me, depression is to be lost in the sea of the self. I’m not out of the waters and in truth I may never be, but I’m beginning to remember how it feels to be myself, to crash upon the shore and to embrace the stillness of a calm day. It feels like stretching, remembering just how my body fits together and what it can do. I’m remembering who I am, little by little. By way of proof, I very nearly titled this post “Coming Out Of My Cage (And I’m Doing Just Fine)” so my crap sense of humour is as in tact as ever.

Emerging from depression Khalil Gibran

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