I’ll admit that these past few days I’ve been sad, I mean really sad. I’m not sure if it was the absolute shock of learning that Robin Williams had passed, or finding out the way he chose to leave this expression of life. I imagined the pain and anguish it must take for a person to end it all. And in all honestly, I know what it’s like to be TIRED; I mean soul-level-tired! You see, it was less than 6 years ago that I healed my life from a life-altering bout with depression. Before then, there was a real part of me that still subscribed to the less than tolerant, “Snap out of it!! Get over it!! Don’t you have faith in God!!?” ignorant and rigid mentality.
Depression is COMPLETELY Normal. Depression is NOT normal.
Yes, depression is normal. In fact, it dates back to the Biblical days of David and Moses who BOTH had bouts with depression. Sometimes, depression is so subtle that as one of my coaching clients reminded me recently, we don’t even realize that we were depressed until we are on the other side. When the lights of our soul come back on, we see just how far we drifted from ourselves. Set-backs, betrayal, relationship pain, and anything associated with loss can trigger depression, as it is one of what Psychologists term: “The 5 Stages of Grief.” And yet, TIME is what determines whether depression is healthy or not. So if you, like me years ago, find yourself STUCK for too long in unhealthy thought patterns that leave you debilitated, isolated and paralyzed from living a normal, healthy, day to day life, seek help. Too often shame, which is another profound emotional trigger, causes us to isolate ourselves when we need help the most. As for those of us who come from a traditional Christian background, we may face another layer of religious shame because like my less than intelligent days of screaming: “Get over it!” to depressed people, we often categorize people who struggle with mental illness as being “weak or lacking faith.” As time goes on, depression becomes chemical and physical. It’s often not something you can “pray away.” Therapy, medication, professional help and seeking lay-counsel all may help; so, seeking that help is NOT optional. It is mandatory. We do not deserve to suffer.
Self-Compassion to Recover Our Lives
We often rush our healing and are LESS than compassionate with ourselves when it comes to emotional trauma and pain. Would you be patient with yourself after a heart-attack? How about after a stroke, as you regained strength, motion, and mobility? Likewise, a wise, whole woman will create a safe place within her own heart to heal completely. Compassion is needed. Healing has many layers. We are worthy of showing ourselves love and kindness when we need it the most.
One of my favorite quotes is by bestselling Japanese author Haruki Murakami and it states:
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
Depression is self-suffering. Depression blinds us from truth. My heart breaks to think about what heights of suffering Robin Williams must have faced in those final hours and moments. I hate the thought of human beings suffering. Unfortunately as a society, we often downplay mental struggles; yet, depression is real. It is a profound dis-ease of the mind, body and soul and it must be treated with the same diligence with which we would approach a life-threatening disease; after all, doesn’t prolonged emotional pain threaten our lives? I read in an article recently that Robin Williams had many regrets on how he lived his life. Maybe he struggled with replaying old mental images, painful memories, events, and losses that he couldn’t erase from his mind. I know how that feels. Do you?
The reason I am SO passionate about emotional mastery is because without it there is no WHOLE life. There is no true freedom without residing daily in authority over our thought lives. This is no easy task. Self-mastery is a life-time goal.
And while we are human and will always experience set-backs and even sorrow, when we are whole, healthy and healed, we begin to outright refuse to self-suffer. I believe worthiness teaches us that we do not deserve to suffer. We deserve better. As I was recovering from my depression and rebuilding a life anchored in peace, calm, abundance and joy, I would place my hands over my chest and repeat this Buddhist mantra to myself daily:
• May I be free from suffering.
• May I be happy.
• May I be healthy.
• May I be wealthy.
• May I be at peace.”
On certain days, the pain was so profound that all I could mutter was: “May I be free from suffering.”
Nobody wants to suffer. We ALL want to experience a life of happiness, joy and fulfillment; and this is our birthright. Yet, most women I engage with are familiar with depression. Maybe our places of worship and friendship circles have not created a safe place to honestly express this, but most of us can say, “I’ve been there.”
Over the next few days and weeks, I’ll be exploring the topic of mental, emotional and physical health much more. We have to live with ourselves; we cannot escape who we are. We spend more time with ourselves than with anyone else. And there is NO greater priority than our own sense of emotional wholeness and wellness.
I am beyond grateful to be on the other side of depression, and yet I am grateful for the pain. I am grateful for my “dark night of the soul. It was the birthing ground of my calling. I vowed to God that once I recovered from that season I would use my journey, my healing lessons, and my Divine insight into the area of wholeness to empower other women and people. I’ve spent my days since then doing just that.
My heart is healing from the loss of Robin Williams, so I’ve had some sad moments this week; but, I’m ok with that. Wholeness makes us strong enough to experience ALL of what it means to be human: dark, light, good, bad, up, down, happy, and sad. No judgment. Self-acceptance is the pathway to healing.
My heart goes out to Robin Williams’ family; my heart goes out to him. I am grateful for the laughter, joy and beauty his life gave to us. There will never be another rich smile or laugh like his; and yet, for us, life goes on.
I am determined that MY life will go on free of self-suffering and self-inflicted pain. I hope you’ll join me in the mission to live WHOLE, to live free and to live fully! YOU deserve nothing less.
Although this article is directed towards women, of course men suffer profoundly with depression as well. One quick glance at history, or even in our own friendship circles and families, reveals that. But I wanted to speak to women, as we tend to be harder on ourselves (and unfortunately at times, other women). So, the next time you encounter another woman, smile at her and send her love because you NEVER know what is happening in her heart. We judge people by their public image, but God sees their private pain. And that’s exactly why I love God because just like the Hymn says: “He looks beyond the flaw and sees the need.”
Ultimately, Robin Williams had a profound NEED. We all do. Nobody wants to suffer. We all desire happiness, significance, safety, connection and most of all… love. R.I.P. Robin Williams; may Divine love cover and comfort all those who loved you.
Thank you for reading this! Please share your thoughts and know that I love you, I appreciate you, and I’m on the wholeness journey with you!
Blessings and Much love,