As a burgeoning life coach, I was hesitant at first to let you know that I suffer from the illness of depression and have been treated for it most of my adult life. On the other hand, my goal is to help you achieve authenticity and how better to do that than to demonstrate it myself?
First of all, I believe that clinical depression is a serious medical illness that needs to be addressed by psychiatrists and professional therapists. I am neither of those. However, I am someone who has personal experience with recurring major depression as well as coaching skills that allow me to come alongside you on your journey.
If you have a plan or thoughts of hurting yourself or others, I encourage you to call 911 or to contact your doctor for a referral to a medical professional who treats depression. There was a time in my life many years ago when I thought of suicide as an option. However, it is no longer an option for me for many reasons which I would be happy to share with you as long as you are being evaluated and/or treated professionally as well. Coaching is a very helpful adjunct to treatment, but it is not a substitute.
I believe that the goal in life is not to escape from our pain, but to move through it with courage. The reason for our struggles is to face them and in the process, become stronger, wiser, and more compassionate toward ourselves and others. Depression is an indication that something is wrong and our responsibility is to determine what that is and to help ourselves heal with the grace of God and the assistance of other people who care about us.
Although my depression is thankfully very much under control now, I still experience low moods from time to time that threaten to drag me down. I have learned through a couple of excellent life coaches that it is important to acknowledge our feelings and uncover the fears, hurts, anger, and unmet needs that may be behind them. Discussing these underlying issues with a coach, therapist, or caring friend can help us to gain clarity about what triggered the current feelings of depression or sadness and begin to offer ourselves unconditional love in the midst of them. A coach can mirror unconditional love and acceptance to us until we are able to give it to ourselves, acknowledging that our feelings are real and valid. Often this level of being “heard” becomes the healing balm we need to raise our spirits.
One final thought that I learned through 12 Step Programs and that my mother often reminds me of is that “This too shall pass.” All feelings and circumstances of our lives are temporary. They will not last forever and a day will come when you will realize that the darkness of depression has lifted.