When Sadness Knocks, Greet Her With A Smile
I really thought I was past my deep sadness. I thought I had matured and put into place the practices, people, and thoughts that could keep my depression at bay. I was wrong.
This year has been an acceleration of all facets of my life. From becoming a first time film-producer, signing the dotted line on my third company, sitting in the ICU on Christmas Eve with my mother as her brother awoke from the surgery removing the cancer from his mouth, to cremating my grandfather suddenly in India, it's been one of the fullest years of my life.
I handled it to the best of my abilities, but there's not much that could prepare me for the inevitable slow down. July hit and summer had arrived. The e-mails started slowing down, as did the requests for meetings. It's been a time where I can't fully turn off as there is still work to be done, but it's not a full-swing time where I function best.
So what's a girl to do?
Cry. A lot. And greet my dear old friends as they knock at my bedroom door. Oh hello depression, anxiety, and sadness, it's been a while.
This is so hard for me to write because part of what brought me to this moment is disengaging from my true emotions, feelings, and thoughts. And to face them head on, feels like my chest is breaking open, it feels like I can't breathe.
My guilt for being sad is not solely rooted in everything else being okay. It's true, I have a loving partner, and a family that throws it on the line to support me everyday. I have a squad that has earned the use of #squadgoals time and time again. I meditate, I moderately exercise.
But sometimes you just need to remember to feel, and I forgot how to do that in a way that honours me. Sometimes you just need to greet that sad stranger in the mirror just long enough to remember to say, 'I love you. I am here for you. Forever.'
Last week, Mitch held me as I cried. I looked at him and I whispered, 'I don't know why I'm so lonely. It hurts so much.' I had forgotten how to love myself. I had forgotten that I am the greatest company I could possibly keep.
It's hard not to play the scenes of Inside Out in my mind. Joy and Sadness coming to the realization that they are not 'others' but mutually exclusive. One belongs to the other and vice versa. There is no enemy here, there is only the acceptance of this moment. Of this grief, and having the reminder that it will get better. That taking that next step is critical to making it to tomorrow.
This is a natural part of life. It's also a natural part of being an: over-achiever, start-up founder, empath, 'insert buzz word here', bottom-line human being. And it's amazing to talk about it.
In the past few days I've reached out to the ones I love, or they've reached out to me to give me nuggets of wisdom to pull me forward.
My sister reminded me that being alone working at home for hours a day doesn't have to equal loneliness, my mother reminded me that patience, and rest are critical to my success. One of my team members reminded me of my why by sending this video, my friend shared this story of depression and start-up culture, and a stranger professed her admiration of me last night and it made my heart smile. YouTubers I love shared their insecurities that made me feel less alone, and my mentor reminded me what it could look like to be authentically me again.
One of my favourite songs is 'Lesson Learned' by Alicia Keys, she sings, 'fallin' down ain't fallin' down if you don't cry when you hit the floor.'
I had been in denial and resisting this experience. Feeling it all sucks so much, but it's through facing it that I can move forward. Sometimes, when I hit these lows, even moving my body feels impossible, getting out of bed, or speaking to another person seems daunting. But we must. We have to keep pushing. Not aggressively, but with mindfulness and kindness towards ourselves.
Sometimes sadness is just what we need.
Last New Years, I made a resolution to be my own best friend. A year ago, I felt like I achieved that goal. With my rollercoaster of life this year, I forgot what that looked like. This low has brought me back to that richness and that gold in my life. I don't know how long this is going to stay with me, but I do know I am taking steps to shake-up my energy and to nurture myself back to health.
I booked my flight home to my parents, I am getting my body moving again, I am going to meditate today, and I am going to remember to breathe. This world is a beautiful place full of beautiful people, and I am one of them. With rest, breath, and love, I know I will get back to me. My work is my salvation, but my health is my foundation. I can't have one without the other. The work will always be there, and now I need to make sure I can serve myself and this world in the best way possible.
Earlier today, I wrote this in an e-mail to Erin, my business partner, and one of my many soul mates.
"It’s okay for us to feel whatever we are feeling. It’s odd, but I likely needed all this time alone to prepare for so much time together when I am in NYC. I needed to be reminded of my loneliness so as we work and create work of impact, I can help bring this message to more people. I needed to stare my depression in the face to say, I love you, and thank you for all the teachings you bring to my life, but today, you are not serving me. I needed to remember why moving my body, and nourishing my soul matter. We are exactly where we need to be."
With so much love,
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and although what I have stated above includes tools and practices that have worked for me to work through depression and sadness, each experience is unique and requires the attention it deserves whether professional or otherwise. Here is a site to explore if you want to talk to a professional about what you're feeling.