Note: The first couple paragraphs of this post are intended for you to understand depression… or at least the kind of depression I experience. If you want to simply read about the treatments I’ve been doing to help it, please skip to the fifth paragraph. Or just jump to the bottom for the video, and skim the content for what can help you!
Happiness, a subjective emotion that no matter how I resist I always end up questioning it. Like an inquisitive child asking “but how do you know this red is the red everyone sees? If you see purple but call it red is it still red just because everyone else calls it red… is it still red, or is it a confused red?”. Answer: “This is called being colour blind, and sometimes there is no difference between two colours for someone, just a different shade or tone, and they might have difficulty differentiating between them”.
Happiness. What is that? Is it what causes me to laugh or smile, or is it the peaceful feeling I get towards the end of my yoga practice? Is there an acute happiness, for instance: say I’m in my normal state (NS), and someone makes me laugh… is that just acute happiness, and once it dissapates I will return to NS? And chronic happiness? Where does this come from? Is it the repetition of many acute bouts?
These questions arn’t to sadistically turn happiness into a sickness, but to help you see where I am, and where I believe other people may be who also suffer from depression. Depression is my NS, and it has been since before puberty. I experiece acute bouts of happiness; a laugh will come spilling from my lips with certain people, a smile will frame my face when I see someone I enjoy being with or who is kind to me, or even when I’m doing something I enjoy. If I chose to I can distract myself from NS, this usually includes copeous amounts of work, weeklong Netfix binges, and heavy food or, alternatively, a complete lack of food as it is hard to feel anything else when you’re hungry. Although I don’t take these routes any more distractions can and have included vasts amounts of alcahol, drugs, sleepless nights and varrying relationships.
Like someone who is colour-blind I have trouble differentiating my emotions. Acute sadness, momentary frustration, passing embarrassment, and let down get as confused as his red and her red. I see other people’s apparent happiness and realize that my happiness is what they may call loneliness, sadness, or being quiet. How do they find these chronic states of contentment, happiness, and fufilment?
I’m a go-getter and there is nothing greately wrong with my life. Absolutely I have experienced trauma, and not only have I discussed that in other blog posts but I have taken many steps to address and heal from these traumas… My life is not bad: wonderful dog, all the luxuries that are normal in Western Canada, sucessful sisters, a loving mother, roof(s) over my head, many different skills, lots of opportunity. The only thing I can conclude is that there is a true chemical imbalance in my brain.
The 10 days prior to doing the following exercise I was between a 7/10 and a 10/10 every day (see next paragraph for scale), spent 5 days in bed without leaving and told everyone I was sick.
I refuse to let this hold me back anymore. I want to feel “normal” happiness. I MUST find and develop a new NS.
I did my first PEMF treatment last tuesday. Previously I was in a bad place, 5 days in bed bad. No teeth brushing bad. So here is my experience so far. Read about what PEMF is here.
Depression rictor scale:
0 (happy) 1 2 3 4 (anxious) 5 (depressed) 6 7 8 9 10 (contemplating suicide)
Tuesday, March 28th – Day 1: 30 minutes on the mat with light therapy and sound therapy. I went from a 8/10 on the depression rictor scale walking into the appointment to a 3/10 walking out. It was the single most effective one-time treatment that I have tried to date. I was buzzing when I left and felt more energized and awake than I had felt in months.
Wednesday, March 29th – Day 2: No PEMF today. I still feel good from yesterday’s treatment. My mind feels clearer than it has for a while, however as the day progresses I start to feel a familiar lonley sensation, and somewhat naseated by the evening but I think I spent too long in a hot tub so that may be completely unrelated. I get up to a 4/10 by bedtime.
Thursday, March 30st – Day 3: No PEMF today. I get through the day, I’m back at a 7/10, uncertainty is the most common emotion I feel at the moment. By 9pm: Tears. This is good, I havn’t cried properly since October, I’ve felt broken but it feels good to sob, it has been a needed release. Clarity follows the river of tears.
Friday, March 31st – Day 4: No PEMF today. Breakfast with my brother at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. I have a vegan, gluten-free sandwich with soup, he has eggs benny. I start taking CBD oil (see below), it tastes like a high dossage of hemp hearts. Not idea. Me and Maggie May head up mount doug for a hike; I spend a few hours in solitude, I feel guilty because I “should” enjoy it, but loneliness plagues me, failure seeps into my heart. Another unsucessful relationship, money issues… the dialogue continues. Back up to a 7/10. No, this can’t happen. I reach out: girls night. Homemade dinner, chats, yoga, hot tub. Why didn’t I do this weeks ago? The world is beautiful, how can I know that with such a heart? I try to tap into it with creativity. Back down to a 5/10
Saturday, April 1st – Day 5: No PEMF today. I start the day teaching yoga. I feel great: the day is mine and I’m going to turn things around. Phone call: Marie, one of my friends, a dear Elder from Tsartlip First Nations Community, a dedicated Chair Yogi, passed away last night. Heart break. I go back to the house I’m taking care of, cancel everything. Mum and Carol come by – its wonderful to see them but I have trouble connecting. 6/10.
Sunday, April 2nd – Day 6: No PEMF today. Today will be better, I know. I wake up early and clean the house, the owners are coming back today and I want to leave it nice. Beach with the dogs – they’re happy, wich makes me happier. Power flow at the Yoga Loft, I’m teaching, mum comes… its a tough class but we have fun. I head back to mums and pass out for a few hours in a way that has been needed for months: deep and uninterupted sleep. My hour long nap feels like a full 8 hours. We head to our friends house to pay our respects to Marie’s family. Dinner, relaxation, some computer work.
Monday, April 3rd – Day 7: 9 am PEMF Treatment. I wake up feeling motivated – if I can be productive in the morning my whole day follows suit. Meeting with my new Digital Altitude coach at 7:45am. I’m organized and head to my appointment. The PEMF makes you feel like your buzzing a little. Its a good feeling. I had bad menstraul cramps when I walked in, 30 minutes on the PEMF and I walked out pain free. It was, however, my first day back at real work in a couple weeks and I work with people I love dearly. This is a gift, but it also makes hiding depression difficult because hiding things from people you love feels like lying, it makes you feel like you can be more open, more vulnerable… not helpful when you work with high school students and need to get things done. I spend the day quiet, tearing up only twice. I get through the day and head straight back to mum’s house, I’m not ready to be physically alone and spend the night at home.
Tuesday, April 4th – Day 8: I feel clearer. My mental state is easier to control, my emotions are easier to chose and differentiate. The combination of treatments is working. I start my day with a DA conference call, a meeting with my coach and by writing down my goals for the next month. Two goals with clear timelines, completed perfectly.
By the end of the month I will have retrained my brain to think about what I want versus what I don’t want or don’t have.
By the end of the month I will have created an exercise routine: 4 days of studio yoga, 2 days at the gym, and 3 hikes a week (more if its nice or Maggies feeling energetic).
I make a list of things of two things of high priority that I want to do, and I’d like to do them by 12pm:
- Post Office: mail Karina’s bracelets to her (this needed to be done already), and send the case back to the busdepot.com (vw vanners… they’re service is impeccable!)
- Compelte step 11 of the Aspire program in DA
If those two things are done, today has been successful. Everything else is secondary, bonus, extra, and awesome.
Wednesday, April 5th – Day 9: No PEMF today. Scale back. I took to much on (classic) and have to cancel a few things. Yesterday was pivotal for my mind state. I’m moving towards 2-4 work days.. as opposed to the 14 hour days I was working last year, on average. Last night I gave myself a temple and head massage with weed oil: best sleep of my life.
Thursday, April 6th – Day 10: No PEMF today. My mindset is clear, positive, and determined. I’m looking back at what I’ve written so far and I find it interesting to see how far my mind state has come in just under 1 week.
I can’t get in for another PEMF treatment until Monday, but so far the combination of what I’ve done is incredible. I’m very much looking forward to my next appointment and the days after that. For the weekend: advanced teacher training and adventures on the mainland.
2. CBD oil. Honestly this is a shot in the dark. I know there’s a lot of reasearch about how it can help for the maintenance and repair of the myelin sheath around the axons on the brain when treating for MS. I know it has been shown to help in the recovery of concussions in football players. My inner logic says that the depression I experience may be a chemical imbalance or maybe the there’s simply a firing disturbance in my brain. Either way I know something isn’t right up there… so I’m going to give it a shot. When it comes to self-treatment my intuition is usually on point. We shall see.
Last and most importantly: The Secret
3. The Law of Attraction.
Now that you know how I have felt, and you’re welcome to go back and read my previous posts to understand a little more about what I’ve come from and my past, but now that you know, I’m not going to re-iterate it any more.
In yoga we talk about manifestation, the creation of peace, happiness, joy and prosperity from our inner being. What you put out comes back. Well the law of attraction is no different, and I truly believe that. I’ve heard it over, and over, and over again, but it took me hearing it just one more time to really understand that I have to make a change.
The “depression rictor scale” has served its purpose, and is no more. Now the only number that matters is 10/10 on the happiness scale.
Books that inspired todays blog: Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-hour workweek, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, and Tuesday mornings “Wake up Call” conference call hosted by John Lavenia and Joel in the Aspire program of Digital Altitude.