I was searching for something deep and meaningful to help me understand my purpose for being on this earth. The frustration was that I just couldn’t figure it out. What was the meaning of life? Why was I here?
There was an emptiness. Imagine having a cool drink on a summer’s day, but it never quenching your thirst. That’s how it felt. Why did life feel so empty? I think it was at this point that my soul started talking to me. It needed nourishment, but not of the physical kind.
I had turned away from religion some time ago; was it calling me back? But then again, this emptiness wasn’t a religious need. When I tuned into my internal dialogue it kept telling me ‘this conversation is from your soul.’ My inner teacher (intuition) was communicating with me, and it felt so right. But a soul? My logical scientific brain wasn’t ready to make this giant leap.
At this stage, my depression was still around and during my lowest point I visited the doctor. But I wasn’t considered ‘depressed enough’ to be on medication, so she sent me away. It felt as if I couldn’t even be successful at being depressed. The negative automatic thought machine had a field day, churning out more twisted thoughts about my non-diagnosis. Some of which were: “Yippee! A medical expert thinks I am fit & well.” And “It’s worse than I thought. A medical expert thinks I’m making the whole thing up. Am I a hypochondriac?” and the worst one, “I’m such a failure. I can’t get anything right. I’m never going to feel better.”
I was leading a double life. Hiding my depression from work colleagues during the day, then becoming a nervous wreck in the evenings. It became incredibly difficult to ‘fake’ being OK; when in reality I was on the verge of tears. Meryl Streep eat your heart out, I gave Oscar winning performances on a daily basis.
I soon became desperate, so I took myself down a path that I hadn’t considered up until that point. If anyone had told me during my early twenties I would lap up all things spiritual and ‘woo-woo’, cruise the aisles of self-help bookstores and write affirmations to lift my depression, I would have laughed in their face. But once I’d picked up a self-help audiotape and heard the prophetic words “You are the message” there was no turning back. I needed to get well and I needed to do it now!
Self-help gurus leapt off bookshelves; they became my friends, confidantes and teachers. I had never read titles on positive thinking before, let alone finding your soul’s purpose or finding your inner child. Each author had something quite unique to say and I felt they were talking directly to me. Eureka! I’d found my soul food.
Pursuing spiritual growth activities lifted my mood. In fact, this is one of the reasons I then became a therapist, to encourage others to hold on and not to give in to the darkness. If I could help one person, then this gave my mental health difficulties a purpose.
The bookshelves at home groaned under the weight of Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, The Road Less Travelled, The Celestine Prophecy, Personal Power audio CDs and many others. But it was when I came across You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay that I discovered the power of spoken and written affirmations. I felt a bit daft at first repeating positive, self-esteem building statements, plus writing them on pocket-sized index cards. But I now realise the immense power of re-programming negative thoughts because affirmations are invisible healers.
It’s easy to mock new philosophical ideas when they seem scary (or just plain daft!) But if they take you from your place of hell to well, what do you have to lose? As Oprah’s favourite guru Dr Phil used to say: work out what the pay-off is for staying ill. When you do this then you’ll find a solution to your problems.
So what did I conclude about my depression? That I feared success. I wanted it desperately, I didn’t know how to achieve it, then decided I could never have it. Staying ill was the perfect excuse for giving up, and giving in. Unfortunately and unbeknownst to me, this was also the perfect breeding ground for the seeds of depression.
Nowadays I cultivate quiet spaces in life. I’m rubbish at traditional meditation, but walking meditations and relaxing audio tracks work for me. And affirmations still rock! I’m also happy to report I’ve found an inner peace that comes from acknowledging that I have a soul. And it needs nourishing, wholesome soul food.
I still get scared, I still get anxious and I still get down, but the difference is I know what all the emotional drama is about. My inner teacher can’t always speak to me, so it lets me feel my unhappiness. Then I have a choice. I’ll let you decide whether it’s best to (a) be dragged kicking and screaming towards change, or (b) acknowledge your inner messengers, and find solutions that help you grow, expand and embrace this thing that Human Be-ings “do” called LIFE.
Written by Joy Langley
First printed by http://everebooted.com/articles/14009065
(thank you: Jo Taylor)
Joy Langley is a Wellness Activator who runs a private practice in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire using recognised psychological and emotional processes that help you get from “hell to well”. Life is full of unforeseen events & stresses that can quickly switch from being OK to devastating. Watch a video of Joy here www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQfRKbVt7EU. Joy has eight years professional experience where she has used therapeutic conversations to restore your innate wellness and joy. She initially used counselling techniques, but now incorporates cognitive behavioural therapy and life coaching.
Joy works face to face or via skype, with teenagers, adults and couples experiencing a range of relationship issues. Joy is also a fully accredited BACP Counsellor www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/karen-joy-langley, www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk/therapists/in/10c5d1/…/karen-joy-langley.
Contact Joy for a relaxed (free) 20 minute initial consultation to give you an insight into current issues disrupting your work and private life. She will restore your hope and belief that you can get back to feeling happy and back to the old you. You can contact Joy by phone 07779 957410, websitewww.catchathought.co.uk and via her social media pages herewww.facebook.com/catchathoughtpackages and here @JOYcatchthought.