Depression: Birth Of A Healer

Guest Post: Elzbieta Pettingill ( ‘Life Realized’

Have you been affected by prolonged depression, or any other “mental disorder” for that matter? If the answer is yes, then you, my dear are a very, very special person.

It’s time for you to know what an incredible gift you are to this world. You didn’t come here by chance. You weren’t born in this particular physical body, with those particular genes that made you predisposed to depression or some other mental “issues” without a reason.

You came here to heal yourself and to assist others with healing. You were not born to lose this battle — you were born to win it! YOU were born to HEAL. Your existence is absolutely crucial in the healing of this crazy world we found ourselves living in.

It may sound overwhelming but it really isn’t. Besides, if anyone can tackle well the feeling of being overwhelmed, it would definitely be you! A person that deals on a daily basis with depression, suicidal thoughts and all kinds of other mental disturbances, becomes more than proficient in enduring adversities.

You my dear, are that person, aren’t you?
Your life, and whatever circumstances you found yourself in (created by you, although mostly subconsciously) had prepared you very well for your job. Nothing that happened to you, or with you — was ever an accident. There is no such a thing as “accident” in the language of the Universe and you, above all other things are not, nor ever had been an “accident”. You were never a mistake even though there may have been times when you were made to believe so.
In fact, you were made to believe a bunch of things that was just a crap, nothing else but a pure crap. For example, you were made to believe that you were insignificant and that you didn’t matter, but nothing could be any farther from the truth!
Chances are that when you were little, the good people that took care of you then, always seemed to you to be too busy, and too preoccupied with fighting with their own issues. Consequently, they never took the time to listen to you, to REALLY listen to what you had to say, and to hear you out. By doing so, unknowingly they inserted  a message directly into your subconscious that said — y o u      d o n ‘ t     m a t t e r.
But this isn’t a time to blame anyone for anything. Your parents, your grandparents, or any other guardians and significant role-models from your childhood, they all did their absolute best considering the understanding and the awareness they had at that time.
Now it’s the time to alter your beliefs. The time has come when your entire belief system has to be re-examine, and this self-examination has to be done thoroughly. I won’t sugar coat things for you: this WILL hurt. In fact, it will hurt like hell! But you, my dear, have been to hell so many times already, you probably can’t even recall when was the last time you weren’t in hell… Am I right?
The only way that I know of (that worked for me) and which leads out of this mental hell is by going THROUGH that hell all over again, but with a different set of mind this time. This time you will be armed with proper tools. That’s why I’m here, to share with you the tools I’ve used in the process of healing myself.
There is no doubt in my mind that this is gonna be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do, but guess what, if you don’t, things are not gonna get any easier anytime soon. In fact, things will continue to get worse until you’ll reach the breaking point and you won’t be able to resist any longer the necessary shift that has to occur within you. That’s exactly what happened to me. This is what I would tell myself: “If the only way out of this storm is by powering through the very center of this tornado, then no matter how much it’s gonna hurt or how scary it will get, lets just walk though it and be done with it once and for all! I’m done with living in this constant fear and I’m done with this constant misery!”
This storm, this tornado is within you. Some religions may refer to these things as demons, or devils. But all those scary “monsters” are nothing else but your own unwanted, undesirable emotions that have been waiting for ever to be validated. They’ve been waiting to be accepted, in other words to be loved. And you are the only one who can do that. You are the one that has what it takes to feed those hungry “monsters,” in other words those painful emotions that refuse to leave you in peace.
You start by acknowledging them. To do so, you need to learn to observe your emotions very closely. Chances are that you will need to stop numbing your feelings first. More likely than not, in order to survive, you’ve learned how to avoid the emotional pain. You distracted yourself from it by engaging in different self-destructive habits such as overeating, drinking excessively, watching too much TV, or even working too much and too many hours, always trying to stay busy, you name it. The habits that are usually considered to be the “good habits” such as working out, working many hours to catch up with the bills, or even constantly doing things for others are the most dangerous of all, because they are the hardest to acknowledge.
Now you will need to stop trying to run away from all your emotional pains and you will need to learn to face it instead. Next time you’ll feel depressed, ask yourself: “What kind of emotional pain is responsible for bringing me down in this particular moment?” Then examine the answer very closely. Are you angry, for example, because of what someone did or failed to do? Watch the anger and try to remember whether this feeling seems very familiar to you. Have you experience the same kind of rage when you were little? If so, who were the people that brought such emotion in you at such early age? In your mind, revisit them. Let yourself feel the intensity of your anger directed towards them, as much as you can. Exaggerate if you need to. Feel the pain without looking for a way to alleviate it. Allow yourself to feel the intensity of the hatred that’s in you towards these people that hurt you. Allow yourself to cry, and perhaps even to scream at them, but do it in the privacy of your own room. Don’t start picking up the phone and don’t start calling your parents or your ex, to let them know how much they’ve hurt you. With this inner work you are starting to heal yourself from within and the outside world needs to be left alone.
Take as much time as you need to go through this process, just remember not to remain stuck in this step, and to move forward whenever you’re ready.
The next step is even harder than the first one. Now you will need to consciously forgive that person which upset you in the present moment, as well as the people in the past that caused this particular pain in you when you were little. Force yourself if you have to. I had to. You will encounter resistance, which it’s very normal, but don’t get discouraged. In some instances it took me days, in other it took me months before I was ready to forgive a particular pain. Just remember, the sooner you’ll forgive — the sooner your healing will be completed.
A very important thing to remember is that a true forgiveness comes with a total acceptance. You can’t forgive if you can’t accept whatever it is that you’re trying to forgive. You absolutely must stop trying to change things outside of yourself. For example, if your significant other reminds you of one of your parents, and keeps driving you nuts, — stop nagging him or her, hoping it will force a change. Keep reminding yourself that your spouse is acting the way he or she does only to show you your old unresolved issues. Be grateful then for this reminder and have faith that once you’ll heal and let go of that hurt, the situation in your marriage will get resolved on its own. It will.
Also, remember this; forgiveness takes time. You can’t just snap your fingers and declare that you forgive everything and everyone. It doesn’t work that way. Be prepared to be tested because you will be. As a matter of fact, as you’ll begin this process you will start noticing that things are getting even worse. And that’s a good sign; it means you are doing it correctly! It means you are not slacking on your homework.
Reminding myself that all this pain was temporary and keeping faith that whatever issue I was facing as well as the emotional pain that it was bring in me, would go away soon enough, was absolutely crucial to me.
When you start experiencing deep sadness, be very glad. No, don’t try replacing your sadness with being joyful, or anything. Feel that sadness with all your heart. Be glad — because that deep sadness you are starting to feel is a very first sign indicating that the forgiveness in you has started to take place.
One of the most useful tools that helped me with forgiveness was having compassion and trying to put myself in “other people’s shoes”. We’ve all done things that have been done to us. The fact is that more than often when we fail to forgive someone, and when we judge that person harshly, we become just like that person.
If you struggle with letting go of something that seems too big to forgive, remember not to try to find any kind of explanation for what happened. If you were abused or neglected like I was, you will never find a good reason that would explain why it happened. You will never be able to make any sense out of it, and that’s OK. Make peace with that.
The more you’ll forgive — the more understanding you’ll have. You don’t need to understand everything while forgiving. The understanding and the clarity comes after forgiveness is completed. And with this new understanding it will be very easy for you to see your own set of beliefs, how it got there in the first place, and most importantly how to replace it with a new one that will serve you, and not against you.
Finally, while going through this painful but also very rewarding process, it’s very useful to start teaching  our mind to generate visualizations on how we want the things to be. At some point you will need to stop focusing on what you hate, dislike, and how you wish it was different, and you will need to make the effort to focus on things that you desire, and your focus will have to remain on those things only.

Polish-born Elzbieta Pettingill is a former fashion model, author and survivor of depression. She suffered abuse and rape in her childhood, and was subsequently diagnosed with a depression that followed her from childhood through to adulthood. Let down by the medical and psychological establishments, and realizing that only she could change her mind, Elzbieta overcame her depression in her 30’s through a process of conscious spiritual awakening, a story that forms the basis of her book: “Life Realized” 

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