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20th January 2018 

Writing from my own personal experience and from my work as a counsellor

Have you ever been depressed?

Depression might feel like looking at the sun but shivering inside, not feeling the warmth in your heart, not feeling the heat on your skin.
Depression might feel like seeing the bright blue sky, but feeling a storm brewing inside of you, your head full of thick, dark clouds and you are scared- of what's going on right now, of what it's yet to come.

You wonder why it's devastation on your planet, why everything is lifeless, no colour , no light, no sound! Where is the joy, the laughter? Where happiness is gone? WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME?

Depression can affect anyone, at any-time. Anything can trigger a depression- everyday life stress, relationship problems, difficulties in the work place, redundancy, retirement, parenthood, bereavement, loss, health problems. Sometimes depression can be deep-rooted, adverse childhood experiences can have life-long lasting consequences.

Admitting to be depressed it's a hard thing to do! We live in a world where others' "happiness" is posted everywhere. Social media laughs down on you if you don't have the perfect holiday, the amazing boyfriend, the clever child, the dream job. There is pressure, there is competition to have it all, to reach perfection.

I know it from my own experience with depression that people get scared when you talk about it. Friends will stop texting, they do not want to know that you are overwhelmed with sadness, that you don't want to get out of bed or that you do your job or fulfill your responsibilities feeling like a robot. You start to feel different than others, rejected, abandoned, worthless. You feel alone, so alone and isolated!

You might start having sleepless nights, panic attacks, anxiety. At this point, things can escalate, you might turn to alcohol or drugs to numb the pain, you might start think that life is not worth living. Or you might start to fake it, dismiss what you feel, pretend to be happy. After all, you want to belong, you want to be accepted, to be connected. You might think that buying a new pair of shoes or a handbag will do the trick, having a haircut, buying a red lipstick, getting a new boyfriend. Anything will do, as long as Planet Dark is left behind!

For a split second, you might feel better, but deep down inside there still are feelings that are not explored, unprocessed, not integrated. DEPRESSION IS LURKING BENEATH THE SURFACE! Out of the blue, you might start feeling again low, because there are unresolved issues, bottled up feelings. Untreated depression will come back like an uninvited, unwanted guest. Will sit with you at the table, will go with you to bed, asking you, demanding to do something about it. And you might be scared, so frightened, angry, frustrated and resentful, thinking that this guest will never leave, that you are cursed to never feel the sun on your skin, to never see the blue sky or hear the songs in the trees. WHY ME?

You might be stuck in a vicious circle, you might start buying shoes again, but you might start feeling that old tricks are failing. You are so, so scared! Your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, you're covered in cold sweat. WHAT DO I DO?

Maybe it's time to face the music! Seek help, find someone who can help you with your feelings. Depression can be managed, recovery is possible! Learn what happiness is for you and stop comparing your life to others', we all have hidden skeletons in our cupboards! You are not worthless, you are not different, leave the shame aside, let yourself be brave! Start re-writing your story, impossible is nothing!

Amazing Amelia

Amazing Amelia is the girl whom everyone thinks has it all.

To all she looks happy and enjoying her life, not a cloud on her sky to block the rays of sunshine. "I am so jealous of you!", her friends will say, "I wish I could swap places with you, if just for a day".

What people don't know is that in her heart, she does not feel happy, or angry, or sad. She feels nothing, she's numb, a dead woman playing alive!

She learned as a girl to smile and be nice, no matter how many times they hurt you and try to make you feel like you're worthless, that you may as well die!

She tried so hard to make it in life, to get a good job and a husband who comes home at night. Her childhood days are long, long gone, but it feels like the past is alive, alive in her heart, alive in her mind.

Amazing Amelia, the girl whom everyone thinks has it all, is feeling confused and asks herself, what it will take to break the spell? It feels to her that she's got strings, she is not free - free to be, to exist! The past is holding her down, with a foot on her head - no chance to a life in fulfilment and joy, to love in peace or to enjoy a clean breath of air! Her lungs are filled with pollution from the past, her head feels like a cloud full of dust and her heart has got holes from the ashes that burn since she was a little, little girl.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) can have a long-lasting impact and can make you stuck as an adult and can lead to mental health problems. Physical, emotional or sexual abuse, on-going neglect, bullying, parents divorcing, bereavement, toxic levels of stress, addictions within the family, multiple losses and physical or mental illnesses are all factors that can throw children off balance. If support is not offered, the child might learn to adapt to an environment that is hostile and chaotic in order to survive, but powerful feelings of rage, anger, resentment towards self or/and others, hate and aggression will always be part of that child's life and these feelings will be carried into adulthood. A heavy weight to carry, and you feel slow to get ahead in life, your shoulders start to drop, your feet fell like are made of stone! YOU MIGHT START EXPERIENCING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES.

An ACE study was conducted in America in 1985 in Dr. Vincent Felitti's obesity clinic in California, and the findings identified a direct link between adverse childhood experiences and adult chronic illness, as well as emotional and social issues such as depression, domestic violence and suicide. People with multiple adverse childhood experiences are 460% more likely to experience depression, and 1220% more likely to attempt suicide, than someone with no adverse childhood experiences.

Breaking free from your past can happen only when you start being aware of the unconscious drives that dictate your existence. START EXPLORING YOUR PAST!

Breaking free from your past can happen only when you start giving a voice to the unbearable pain you tried to dismiss with layers and layers of defences. YOU CAN'T CHANGE YOUR PAST, BUT YOU CAN LEARN TO RELATE DIFFERENTLY TO IT!

Breaking free from your past can happen in counselling. Give yourself the chance to grow wings, to learn to fly. Learn to love yourself and be gentle to yourself. Learn to forgive and let go, cut the strings and be free! FREE TO BE, TO EXIST!

Start re-writing your story, be the one who's in charge of your life and put the ghosts from the past to rest, stop the haunting down! START LIVING IN THE PRESENT!