In my youth, I deeply struggled with depression. A smile and a laugh were the ultimate mask that had most people fooled, including myself.
It took several years with progressing symptoms before I was actually able to look at it, name it, and want to change it. It took a shocking event to shake me, wake me, and empower me to step into a life I truly wanted. That, and coming to an age where I could legally make my own choices.
Over a decade later, I am all-in on life. My feet are firmly rooted in my authenticity, wholeheartedness and integrity. I have learned how to say no so that I can say yes – yes to the life I truly want to live and that I continue to create.
However, as the seasons change going into winter, I begin to taste something old, familiar and unwanted – a bit like tasting blood at the back of my throat after a nosebleed. As the sun sets earlier and rises later with each passing day, a feeling of sorrow, hopelessness and isolation wants to crawl out of my shadow and take shape in the darkness of this time of year.
More than anything else, what keeps this creature at bay is connection. Connection to nature, to horses, to people, and most importantly to myself. I envision my horse heart beaming so brightly that I am fuelled to create joy. It makes up for the sun not shining.
There are many effective treatments for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which I encourage everyone to check out, even if you don’t think the seasons are impacting your life. I am also aware that many suffer much more than I have – whether it be SAD, depression, or any other mental disorder. What works for me could have little impact on others, and in no way do I minimize their struggle.
What I am doing is sharing a piece of my story, adding to the global conversations about mental health – shrinking the shame and hopefully increasing the connection.
Perhaps, if we’re lucky, my light can reach you, too.
How do you shine a light into dark places?
This is part of a continuing story, click here to start from the beginning.
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