It’s impossible to consider blissfulness when you’re just trying to figure out a way to make things bearable.
“Follow your bliss,” they say. This can bring up even more uncertainty, confusion, and hopelessness for those living just below the bearable line.
I remember exactly what it was like to live below the bearable line.
Last night with planetary alignments, weather patterns, and the trickle down effect that happens to empaths when the vibration of the world is in discord, I put myself to sleep with a tyrant of train-wreck thoughts that felt much harder to halt the engine on than it’s been in years. Nights like this used to be my every night. Now, they visit bi-yearly.
Anxiety and depression are two sides of the same coin. Previously, when I didn’t have time to be depressed, I’d get anxious. When I had the time, depression hit.
I’ve learned to honor the seasons of my emotional life, and I’m asking you to honor yours.
When anxiety or depression surface, I invite them, I give them room to stay, and I set a timeline for how long I will give them my attention.
Last night, I planned a whole funeral, wrote a whole article in my head about what it’s like to be cheated on, sobbed thinking about how if my son died and donated his organs, I’d always want to be near the person who had his heart.
They call this catastrophizing.
Basically, when we take a nothing and turn it into a huge, sad, something. We make up stories in the nothing, and if we don’t catch ourselves, we’ll turn those stories into a self-destructive something.
Anxiety and depression begin in the subconscious, which sucks for most people who suffer from them, because it’s a long haul to trek from your subconscious world into conscious awareness. It is, however, the most rewarding trek to take for one who’s currently operating under the bearable line.
Panic, anxiety, and depression, don’t usually come from a conscious thought. They creep up underneath the surface from things left uncovered, unanswered, and from the soils of our resistance to facing or feeling things that may or may not actually be going on in our lives.
The sh*ttiest part is the element of isolation that comes with these symptoms.
I believe anxiety, depression, and panic are symptoms, and not the problem. Isolation happens in two ways because to reach out is to admit defeat in a world that awards sickness and happiness. Anywhere in between is somehow perceived as “less than,” and maybe even weak.
Every aspect of ourselves is always looking out for ourselves, and when we can’t find a way to be happy, we literally make ourselves sick. This can manifest in physical symptoms that need to be tended to, or it can rest in the sickness we feel in our mind. Maybe, if we are sick, we think we will be cared for.
The root of this kind of sickness is to prove to ourselves that we are loved, will continue to be loved, and that we are worthy of genuine connection. Yet, to cross the line and reach out for the love we’re longing for somehow feels desperate, selfish, and stupid. Ironically, the amount of energy it takes to just pick up the phone makes it feel not worth it. So, we watch our train-wreck thoughts fly by, feeling isolated, quite sure that no one understands.
Isolation also happens when we feel violated by our own mind. The thoughts, feelings, and sensations are just too much. So, where do we go? We escape—even from ourselves, to sever the connection we have to the thoughts, feelings, and sensations we don’t like. We isolate ourselves, from our “self.” We betray ourselves by abandoning the self that feels inhabitable. This is the worst kind of isolation.
When this kind of isolation shows up, presence and power are key. They both work, they both take work, and if you’re prone to depression and anxiety, they will likely require you to visit the work you assumed was finished at least once every three months for the foreseeable future.
Even when this work allows you to retire, it’ll call you back for a job in the field. It’ll always be a part of your real work. Like a career, banging out soul work in a year, a decade, or three, will pay off greatly, but it must be attended to with a serious intent to heal.
First, let’s address the thoughts. When they come, you’ll notice your energy is dispersed, the thoughts are scattered within your energy field and popping up everywhere.
You may think the thoughts are coming from your head, but notice what happens when you collect all of the energy of your thoughts and pull them directly into your Third eye, the place between your eyebrows. Don’t stop the thoughts, let them come, but only give them one clear channel to go through.
You’ll immediately notice a sense of control because we can only have one thought at a time, and that thought will at least become clear. Even if the thoughts are unpleasant or still there, at least you know where to find them, and from here, you can derail the tracks your thoughts are flying down.
It takes 16 seconds of focus on a thought to build the momentum for the train. Essentially, when thoughts are available to us and not unconscious, when we feel consumed by a thought, it is only because we’ve entertained and invested our energy in it.
We can drop the idea of stopping the thought, simply by redirecting our energy because our energy is the thing that gives thoughts their momentum. (Sleep is the best way to stop the momentum of our negativity so long as we set an intention to wake up in a good vibe.)
Just move the energy of your thoughts into one place. It is also a good way to not abandon yourself—because your focus is still “within” you.
Now that the power of focused energy is in order, get present to what’s actually true. Are you alone, safe, in a house that is yours, designed and decorated by you and paid for by your life work? Is your kid sleeping in the other room—healthy and happy? Are you driving, stuck in traffic, but safe? Being present to what actually is while suspending judgment of how we think it should be is our greatest medicine.
We all need good therapists and healers, and we need one we love, long term. It shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a must. Not because we’re snowflakes, but because in order to create amazing sh*t with all of the energy we spend destroying ourselves, we need someone in our corner to shine a light on the blind spots of our subconscious that may be clear to them, but out of reach to us.
This is never-ending self-work and we must recognize that the morning will eventually come. This will pass, and if we trail-blaze our way from unconscious to consciousness, the payoff will be better than any drug, sex, or concert we’ve ever been to—and it’ll last the remainder of your retirement. But, as I said, we will be asked to come out of retirement every once in a while to attend to work we thought we’d left behind. It’s so much easier to work in retirement. I promise.
Counterintuitive maybe, but please, let the sensations come.
What we resist persists, and what we don’t acknowledge will always resurface for acknowledgment. Know that feelings won’t kill you and hell will not break loose. You will feel for a bit and the sooner you let the feelings come, the sooner they’ll leave you.
If you’re struggling to get to a bearable, let alone blissful place, don’t follow your bliss for now. Follow the “bear.” The bear, in this instance, being your unconscious. It’ll lead you on a curvy path toward consciousness, which is the only place bliss can experience itself.
If anxiety and depression are your typical night, the day will come, you’ve just gotta be willing to open the blinds to watch the sun come up.
Believe. It’s the only way.
Author: Stacy Hoch
Image: Holly Lay/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Erin Lawson