Everyone’s healing journey is different because we are all unique individuals with unique life experiences and physical/psychological make-up.
I’ve come to understand that depression isn’t just about brain chemicals. It involves our thoughts, attitude, diet, exercise, spirituality, and more. (Note: Whilst religion may be how a person expresses their spirituality, I’m not talking about religion here – just the aspect of being in ‘dialogue’ with your spirit / higher self / soul.)
There isn’t one path to healing that works for everyone. I wish there were because I would tell you about it in a jiffy! What there is, is a smorgasbord of choices. You get to create your own healing journey.
Let me share some of the elements of my journey so you see what I mean.
· Acupuncture and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). These are a constant element in my health journey and I have been lucky to find therapists that are so incredibly talented. I have been using acupuncture and TCM as my main health support for more than 20 years and it has helped with digestive issues, PCOS, pregnancy, and of course, perinatal depression and anxiety.
· Wisdom from Others. Buddhist thought has featured in my choices as it gives me clarity and understanding, and has helped me foster kindness towards myself. I gravitate to self-help, self-development, mind/body/spirit, neurobiology… anything that deals with understanding myself better (link to resources)
· Audiobooks. I lost my ability to concentrate long enough to read so audiobooks became my go-to.
· Sleep Programming. I discovered this when I tried to meditate in bed before sleep. Sleep happened but no active meditation! I soon realized however, that I felt better on the mornings when I had fallen asleep with meditation music going. I particularly love Gyoto Monks chants. I jokingly say I’m becoming ‘subliminally enlightened’. I have since heard Dr Bruce Lipton talk about this time as we are dropping into sleep as the best time to retrain our thinking. (p. 49 ‘Dancing With the Darkness: Moving Through Postnatal Depression)
· Counselling. I think it’s important to not only find a counsellor you feel comfortable with, but also one who challenges your thinking. Depression and anxiety are fed by our thoughts. If we are always telling our self how bad we are at parenting, how useless we are for being so broken, how weak we must be for getting sick, etc then we need someone who can help us challenge the validity of these thoughts. Talking about our problems is an important part of healing but if we don’t learn from what’s happening and what we are thinking, then we run the risk of staying stuck where we are.
· Meditation, Mindfulness, and Breath. When I was at my sickest, meditation was impossible, but it has certainly become essential to my mental wellbeing now. Back then, I couldn’t focus at all and if I sat still for longer than 5 seconds, I fell asleep. All I could do was try to be mindful of my thoughts, of moments that made me feel easier, and breathe. Breathing is something we do from birth to death but most of us don’t fully understand its importance in mental health. Take one deep breath, feel the air going into your lungs and up into your head. Breathe out. Notice anything?
· Energetic therapies eg Reiki, Kinesiology, Networking. I find these therapies to be nurturing and calming on my energy. I love that I don’t need to know what problem to deal with or even have to find words for the energy to move. Balancing the body’s energies allows the physical body and mind to work better.
· Boundaries. Learning to say ‘no’ to extra activities / work is only part of maintaining healthy boundaries. Learning more about energetic boundaries has helped me to remain grounded when I’m around others and not ‘take on’ other people’s energy.
· Curiosity. Why did I get sick? How can I get well? Why did I act like that? Why do I feel that way after spending time with that person? Being curious allows me to see solutions easier as well as stay out of self-judgment.
· Oracle Cards. I leaned on these heavily during the midnight hours as it made me feel less alone. Asking for wisdom from your higher self or nearby angels can feel comforting. Often the words were enough to maintain that spark of hope.
There are so many therapies, recipes, tips, and wisdom out there that can support our mental health. The more we share this information, the more ways we can explore to heal. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and would love to hear what you find helpful to support your healing. Leave a comment or tip below.