Once upon a time, my favorite color was yellow. I was a small child and still had not taken on the strange criticisms of the world. I was confident, happy and creative. I could draw and paint and write and read for hours, sometimes days at a time. Particularly when working on some kind of oil pastel or water color painting. I had dreams and hopes and goals. I could envision a life where only good things happened and where I was good enough just as I was.
The color yellow can be associated with confidence, joy, self expression, creativity and communication. These are traits that I can recall having as a child. Then something happened. Don’t ask me what. Try as I might I can’t pin point when I suddenly felt insecure. When I lost my sparkle and glow. Along with that I decided that yellow was not a neat enough color…or something like that. I started to love the colors purple and green. The colors of magick, and healing. I still love them to this day but… I’m getting familiar with yellow again as I am trying to win back my childhood qualities of confidence, joy, self expression, creativity and communication.
You see, around the time I began to lose my self esteem and hope, I was diagnosed with Major Depression. Even though in my head I know full well that it is a real illness, it can also feel a little embarrassing. It’s lonely and it’s horrific in it’s vagueness. With Depression you don’t have a nifty x-ray to illustrate to people whats wrong with you. What you usually wind up with is many months and / or years of slow downhill spiraling into a dark abyss of hopelessness. Nothing has any real value or meaning anymore, and you just don’t know why? You feel alone, insecure and bothersome.
A couple weeks ago…I broke. Completely in half and then again into a million tiny shards that I am now trying to put back together. In doing this I am looking over my life and doing a lot of deep inner soul work. I’m remembering the highs and the lows in my life and dissecting them and my current relationship to them. One thing I am realizing is that I have struggled with the idea that since a diagnosis of Depression feels so vague and aloof, it must be something I can just shake off and get over by the mere power of my will. In other words telling myself (and everyone else) that I’m fine and trying to ignore it. Our beliefs and our spiritual practices do help with such things but in this case it’s exactly the same as trying to heal a broken leg by the mere power of thought. It can’t happen and it’s harmful to try.
It has been said that we are not bodies with souls, but souls with bodies. Being that we inhabit physical bodies we also have to deal with the fact that our physical bodies sometimes need mundane non-spiritually focused help. In this case I am referring to medication. I am all set with the spiritual, meditation, magickal stuff but my body has given me a huge alarm bell sounding out that it needs some help from allopathic medicine. Many times those of us who frolic in our spiritual and magickal practices bemoan the fact that those who do not, are really missing out.
We often throw out the idea that those who only use western medicine could get so much more out of it and life in general by adding our favorite kinds of ‘alternative’ healing. We can get so focused on that that we sometimes feel like failures if we happen to need a western medicine approach. At least, I have felt that way. It all comes back to balance though doesn’t it? The answer to many questions is often taken from many paths. To try and glean the wisdom we seek solely on the ideas of one way of doing things is like putting blinders on. We are like the owl that is so laser focused on catching its prey that it doesn’t realize it’s crossing in front of a speeding truck to get to it.
Over the last couple weeks I have talked to others who suffer from depression and I have to say it was a big help to me. Just talking to someone else who knows how I’m feeling has been immensely therapeutic. Those of us who have Depression often isolate and pull away from human interaction. It can feel safe and cozy and so very lonely as well. It adds to the feeling that we are somehow nuts and that we are stuck like this.
I am sharing all of this as an affirmation that Depression and other mental illnesses are very real PHYSICAL problems. It is no less serious than someone who suffers from any other physical ailment. I am sharing this so that others who have similar issues will know that they are not alone. This is nothing to be ashamed of and it’s OK to ask for help. A couple weeks ago, I asked for help. It was one of the scariest things I have done in a long time.
I am still a little wobbly in my heart and not feeling very steady just yet, but I will get there. In a sense I have the spirituality and magick of my purple and the abundance and healing essence of green. I just need to add the confidence, joy and expression of yellow back to the mix. To do this, I need to add some help from the physical world to the spiritual. A balance is needed. Many times when we pray and ask for help from Divinity, we expect for it to be a metaphysical answer that is given. Sometimes the answer is found in the mundane world. That never means it is any less potent or magickal.