A More Comprehensive Guide To Overcoming Depression -- Be A Free Thinker!

December 13, 2013

Forgiving Is Like Giving Birth (Without The Epidural)

Forgiveness is a concept that it's really hard to understand, unless experienced first hand. I've struggled with it for a very long time, before I was able to fully understand what it means to forgive, why it's so important that we do forgive all the wrong doings, and how to apply this incredibly healing tool. 

I used to ask myself: "How can I forgive when it hurts so much???

I thought it was simply impossible to forgive all the pain and suffering I had to endure, especially in my childhood. When I finally understood that the only way to free myself from such pain was through forgiveness -- my perspective had changed entirely. It became obvious to me that the question "How can I forgive when it hurts so much?" was out of context. The more accurate question was: "How could I not forgive when it hurts so much?" The moment I understood that forgiveness was (to me, at least) the only way to heal, was the moment when I realized that if I didn't want to keep experiencing the pain, I really had no choice, but to forgive.

From all the pain I've experienced, the rejection hurt the most. And of course, it was the hardest to forgive. As they say, hatred is not the opposite of love -- the indifference is. Being unnoticed, unrecognized, ignored, and completely neglected is a feeling that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. 

Not surprisingly, such emotions were the main reasons that were hiding behind my several suicide attempts. What was surprising to me, was that I've discovered this only after I overcame my suicidal tendencies. For a very long time (several decades, to be more specific) I was in complete denial about the resentment and the grudge I was holding against my mother. I've had too much respect and too much admiration towards the woman that gave birth to me, to allow myself to see her as a human being only. Typical for a child; in my eyes my mother was nothing else but a replica of God himself. She did earn the admiration in many ways, I won't dispute that. She raised nine children, while working full time, and while struggling not only financially, but through living with an abusive husband as well. She seemed to posses the strength that not many people had. 

But that strength did not come to her for free. It had it's price. The saddest part was that her children (myself including), which she loved the most (and still does) were always the ones picking up the tab. My mother's strength (in other words love) did not come entirely from within herself, and that was the biggest problem. She was born as an "illegitimate" child, and as such, in those still very primitive times, she was viewed as a burden by her own mother. She was the symbol of embarrassment and shame. Her father, (my grandfather) still remains unknown to this very day. There is no doubt that her childhood was anything but "a walk in the park". 

Unfortunately my mother did not have the understanding that I have now. She didn't understand that in order to be able to show the love to her own children the way they deserved (and the way she wanted) -- she had to find that love within herself first. And the only way she could have done that was if she forgave her own parents for neglecting her the way they did. My mother searched for that love and acceptance outside of herself. She became fascinated with the religion and the Church. She became obsessed with it. Her daily attendance of mass (sometimes even twice in a single day) gave her a temporary high, which she interpreted as a sense of belonging. She mistook that as a source of her inner strength. Her addiction to Church became so strong, and so overpowering that she wasn't even able to see the sense of abandonment I was feeling every evening while waiting for her to come home. She put herself and her children in a risky situation of being beaten up by her spouse, who understandably so, felt infuriated by her constant absence. 

Obviously all that time I was well aware of everything that was going on, but only when I reached my mid-thirties, I was actually able to admit to myself as to where my fear of rejection had initiated. My marriage had finally shown me everything that I needed to see.

I started to understand that my constant anger towards my husband, particularly when it came to his absence in the evenings, had a lot less to do with my spouse, and a lot more to do with my mother's absence. The excruciating pain I was feeling while waiting for my significant other to come home, was the exact same pain I felt every day while waiting for my mother. The sense of neglect and abandonment was not new to me. The old sense of rejection, powered by the awful feeling of knowing that someone you love would rather be someplace else, away from you, instead of spending their time with you -- revisited me once again. At first I resisted the reality every way I could. I threatened with the divorce on a daily basis. I yelled, I screamed, and I cried myself to sleep almost every night. Nothing ever changed though. Things seemed to get worst progressively. I even begun to hate my husband. He started to resent me as well. At one point, if felt as if I was living with a stranger.

The thing was -- I cared way too much about my husband, to just sit and watch our marriage going to ruins. So I had to do what was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do -- I had to forgive my mother. I had to acknowledge first what  it was exactly that needed to be forgiven. That meant I had to abolish my child-like view of my mother. I had to become no one else but an objective observer. I had to stop being her daughter for a moment. I had to see things clearly for what they were, as opposed to what I wished they were. And I had to stop wishing that my past, and the way my mom's absence felt, would ever be any different.

It was painful. It was like being in a labor with a child that for some reasons kept refusing to come out. Same way as a woman in a delivery room might find herself hating everyone in that moment, I felt irritated by every one around me.

"You did this to me!"

Yes, I yelled that in my mind at my mother many times.

"You, and your constant freaking absence made me feel rejected, unwanted, and it hurt like hell! And I had to re-experience that over and over again throughout my entire life. I had to go through relationship after relationship where I had to endure being dumped over and over again. If you didn't go to that stupid Church, if you just spend more time with me, I wouldn't be such a wreck today. I wouldn't have to feel rejected on a daily basis."

While revisiting my painful past, the emotional "contractions" became even stronger. I was in so much pain that I couldn't even verbalize, or construct any thoughts. The intensity of hatred found its peak. That's when I admitted that the grudge existed. I couldn't fight it anymore. I was too exhausted from trying to deliver my forgiveness to this world.

Finally, after a couple of months, I gave in. The usual absence of my husband felt more than unbearable. I felt the urge to punish him for the immense suffering he was causing me. Fortunately, this time I didn't have to consider ending my life. This time I knew what I needed to do. I needed to finish giving birth to my forgiveness. This time I fully understood that my past suicide attempts were in fact my attempts to kill, but not myself, but rather my pain. I also understood though that in some ways it was my way of punishing those who made me feel unloved and not accepted.

With such humbleness, brought by the utteral sense of powerlessness, something had finally broke inside of me. I was finally able to see my mother as a human being, who is allowed to make mistakes like everyone else. I was able to see her inability to find love withing herself as a condition, from which the majority of people on this planet suffer from. I could understand (and therefore I could forgive) that her addiction to Church was not different at all from my father's addiction to alcohol. Like my father, she was sick too, but not necessarily in a way we define sickness. She was sick from living in a world where two parents had to work full time in order to be able to barely feed their children. She was sick from trying to do her best, only to come short all the time. She was sick from not knowing what true unconditional love felt like, and not knowing where to find it.

When I finally understood all this, I begun to relax. The anger started to get weaker and weaker. I noticed I started to see my husband in a more tender way as well. This time, while facing the old issues, I started to react differently. While presented with the old dilemmas, I'd tell myself in my mind:

"If he's hurting you by making you feel rejected, it's only because he's been hurting within himself. Don't punish him with your cold shoulder anymore. Love him even that much more. Let your unconditional love be the medicine to his broken heart as well."

One morning I woke up with a strange sense of happiness. I say strange, because it had absolutely nothing to do with the circumstances. Externally, everything had still remained pretty much the same. And yet, an incredible sense of joy I woke up with, was telling me that I must have been doing something right! I could no longer question the fact that once we find the love (the joy) within ourselves, we no longer depend on getting it from the external world. And when we stop depending on it, we are actually able to love and receive love from others! As it turned out, the fastest way to find such inner love is through forgiveness. It's a hell of a bumpy road, for sure, but like any shortcuts, it has to lead through wild, and quite often unfriendly terrain.

My complete forgiveness was finally born. It came to this world, while making me scream and cry from pain. But just as a new born child would do, once it arrived, it gave me more joy that I could ever ask for!

December 6, 2013

Free Yourself From Your Bra!

Ladies! Isn't time to free ourselves from the unnecessary and useless, some would even argue -- damaging -- "support" manufactured for our breasts -- called bras? 

Come on, I cannot be the only woman who finds these bras (any kinds of bras) awfully uncomfortable, of restrictive nature, and to be a major contributor of a skin rash (right where those bras embrace our torsos.)  

I haven't been the biggest fan of bras since well after my puberty. Before that, like almost every teenage-girl, I would steal my sisters' bras to make my chest look bigger and more full than it was. But then, as I grew older, I forgot that no other species but humans, voluntarily choose to torture themselves by wearing wires and other synthetics around themselves! I forgot I had a free choice, and that no one could stand in my way of executing such freedom to wear what I'm pleased to wear, and to be who I choose to be. For years (actually decades) I followed the "main stream" fashion guidance (for those who are new to my blog: I used to be a fashion model) and continued to suffer the discomfort and the limitations such faithful follow-ship had brought onto me. 

I'd always take off my bra the moment I'd step in my house, sometimes before I'd even take off my shoes. Then I'd spend few good minutes on rubbing my breasts - especially the underneath area - to alleviate the discomfort caused by the skin rash, created by the trapped sweat. Yet, I'd continue to wear the 'torture device' in attempt to please the public, and to avoid causing too much commotion. God forbid, someone would be able to see my perky nipples through the shirt or a dress! 

Well, recently (partially due to freeing myself from depression) I decided to end this nonsense. First thing I did; I went to buy some sport bras, thinking it would do the trick. I thought I'd be more comfortable, and that the public wouldn't feel "offended" by the display of my nipular bulge on my wardrobe. I got the most comfortable bras the store had. I wore them for a while, until I was ready to admit to myself (and to my patient breasts) that even the most comfortable bras are not comfortable at all. The only comfortable bra I've ever run into is: no - bra - whatsoever

So I apologized to my breasts, and to myself, for taking so long to free myself from this self-imposed restriction, called 'trying to fit in the society'. Why on earth would I continue to make myself so miserable so few people wouldn't have to experience feeling awkward? If anyone out there is still uncomfortable with their own sexuality, if seeing the shape of my nipples through my dress makes them distracted, then that is their problem, not mine. Simple as that. 

And so today, I went bra-less to do grocery shopping. Before I even got the chance to leave the house, I was stopped by my concerned husband. 

"Aren't you gonna put some bra?" He asked me. 

"Nope." I answered. 

Seeing the amusement on my spouse's face, I went on and on, explaining how I refuse to be a slave to the society, how not that long ago, women were pressured into wearing uncomfortable beyond belief things called corsets, and how that was finally abolished too. My husband just stood there, listing patiently to my verbal rant. When I was finally done with educating 'one of the male population', he smiled insecurely. I could read his face that said: "There is that crazy girl I married! Watch out world, here she comes!" 

At the grocery store I didn't pay any attention as to what was going on around me, so I can't tell what impact (and if any) my bra-less outfit had on others. As usually, I stayed focused on picking and choosing the organic (non-GMO) fruits and vegetables. What I did notice was the difference in how I felt while driving back home. I rolled down the window and I immediately felt the fresh sensation of having my breasts being caressed by the wind! The air flew effortlessly through the summer shirt I wore. The pacific breeze made its way all the way to my unrestricted by bra nipples. Throughout the entire ride, the fresh air I was able to feel on my liberated breasts, continued to give me a sensation of freshness and freedom.  

What a freeing, liberating and totally pleasant sensation that is! If you haven't experience it yet, don't wait.. You won't know what you've been missing, until you try it yourself.

Remember: -- it's not illegal not to wear a bra, so it's not like you'll be braking law or anything. :)  

December 1, 2013

Preventing Suicide - 1 Simple Thing You Can Do To Save Someone's Life

Suicide, (and having suicidal thoughts) is still one of the biggest taboos in the modern world we live in. It really doesn't have to be that way though.

Approximately 8 years ago, I found myself attending a free seminar in LA. The seminar organizers were offering free 3-nights lodging at a nice hotel for the attendees, so I took the offer, and I drove from Mojave Desert to the City of Angels. 

Four thousand people attended this free event! Throughout the entire seminar, which lasted 3 long days, we were asked to take numerous breaks, so our brains could stay fresh (more receptive, of course, to what the organizers were selling). On those breaks, a loud music that was coming from the speakers was energizing the atmosphere. Not able to resist the rhythm, I jumped on the stage and I started to dance. Immediately, I was followed by the other attendees who started to dance on the stage around me. This was taking place on every single break. With a blissful smile on my face, and while moving my body freely, quickly I became sort of like a sensation. 

Towards the end of the seminar, the host had asked if any of us would be willing to share on the stage something personal, perhaps something that we felt grateful for. I joined the line that formed around the microphone. When it was my turn, I took the microphone, and I told the four thousand people that were starting at me, that I felt grateful to be alive, -- that I have had survived despite that fact of having to be hospitalized several times for intentional overdose on sleeping pills. The crowd remained speechless for a while. Then people started to stand up and to applaud. 

When I left the stage, I found myself immediately surrounded by numerous people. Everybody started handing me their business cards. People were trying to let me know how moved they were by me, and by what I've said. Some lady had even invited me to appear as a guest on a live TV show. Some movie producers shared their interest in making a movie based on my life and my story. All this experience was pretty amazing, but not nearly as amazing as what happened next. 

In the midst of all this commotion, caused by the attention I was getting, I was pulled aside by a young girl. She had a look on her face as if she just saw a ghost. Her face was pale and she seemed unable to contain the excitement. Her words seemed to be leaving her vocal cords too slow to follow her aroused mind.  

"Oh my god! Oh my god! I have to tell you something!" She kept talking while directing me towards the corner, in an attempt to hide both of us from the curiosity of others. When we finally reached some privacy, she told me few things about herself. She was 18 years old and she came to this seminar with her boyfriend to celebrate their last 3 days on this Earth. The young couple have been feeling depressed and hopeless for quite some time. Neither of them had a job and they were living here and there, on whoever's couch they were allowed to sleep on. Fed up with the world and the life they've been enduring, the two teenagers decided to end their lives together. They had decided that after the seminar they were going to jump of the bridge. They already picked the time and the place to do so. But since the seminar had offered free lodging, they decided to take the offer, and to enjoy their last days on this planet. And that's how our roads crossed...

"When you were dancing on that stage, I've been watching you and I've been hating you the whole time!" The girl continued explaining everything to me.

"I was so irritated by you. I was like, what a fucking bitch! Look at her, dancing all day long, all happy, and all that. If I was as beautiful as she is, I'd be dancing too! She's probably some spoiled, rich girl who never had to work in her entire life. If I had her life, I'd be jumping like that too. And then, you got up on the stage, and you said what you said. At that very moment when you finished talking, I suddenly saw a black energy, sort of like a black Soul or something, that was floating away from my, and my boyfriend's bodies! I'm not kidding you. Look at me, I still have goosebumps on my skin!" The young girl kept shaking while I kept staring at her completely speechless. 

"And so then, I knew we weren't going to jump of that bridge. You've saved our lives! By being so honest, by sharing what you've shared you've literally saved two lives today. That's not even all. After that dark shade disappeared somewhere in the ceiling, I looked at your face. You were still standing on that stage but you didn't look the same anymore. Your face was glowing and you looked like an Angel. You didn't even look human to me! The energy around you was so beautiful, and you were soooo beautiful, that I can't even describe it! I just felt like I had to tell you all this."  

This amazing experience had taught me that we can indeed help those who are feeling hopeless to the point of considering suicide. We can share openly our own heartaches, and by doing so we make others feel that they are not alone. 

November 29, 2013

The Trouble Is - You Think You Have Time

"The trouble is, you think you have time." -- Buddha

Why do we believe we have all the time in the world to change, and why is that a 'trouble'?

I don't know how old you are, but I'll be 37 years old pretty soon. Still young, right? If everything goes the way it supposed to, I'll be on this planet for another, perhaps, what; -- 40 to 50 more years? Life expectancy is pretty high these days, and we all expect to arrive to an age of, - let's say at least - 80 years. But how much time 80 years really is? If we think of it in terms of years, it might seem to us almost as long as infinity. Especially when we are at the very beginning of that number, -- when our journey on this Earth had just begun. 

But what if we looked at it from a different perspective? What if we stopped thinking in terms of years? We know that 80 years, in most parts of the world, is made of 80 springs, summers, falls, and winters. Wow, this means we are here on this Earth for only 80 summers! And that's if we're even lucky to live that long... Can you imagine; -- our entire life contains such short number of seasons. Is 80 summers, or winters really that much? Doesn't seem like, does it, when we look at it this way?

So if Buddha was right, it means that we might be indeed in trouble here... We might think that we have more time that we actually do...So why wait then? Why do we want to keep postponing the inevitable change that has to take place within ourselves? Why do we keep resisting it with such stubbornness, while kicking and screaming to avoid the discomfort that comes with such change?

I don't know about you, but I'm done with this kicking and screaming. I am ready to be who I really am (as opposed to knowing it on intellectual level only) and I am ready to live in such new way.

What is that mean? It means I commit to the new me. I commit to always being forgiving, accepting, compassionate and loving. I commit to the Truth. I commit to feeding the part of me that has understanding for everything and everyone, instead of feeding my ego. Trust me, if anyone knows how challenging that can be, it would be me...

My ego had been bruised so many times, it's not even funny. But each bruise assisted me with liberating myself from the grasp that the ego had on me. Each pain, and each hurt was nothing but a true blessing. It brought me that much closer to remembering who I really am, -- who we all are -- and thus it brought me to a realization that the hurt (the harm) is not real!!!! That the harm is only an Illusion, like everything else in this physical world. If we look beyond the Illusion, we will see that there is nothing else but unconditional love!!! We will see that each and every single one of us is made of such love, and thus we all have nothing else but love for each other. Our fear, our anger, and even our hatred is not real. It's pretend. It's only a game that we play with each other. On a deeper level, on a level where we remember who we really are, -- fear, hatred [insert here any negative and painful emotion you wish] simply does not, and could not -- exist!

How liberating is that. But I would understand if you would start shaking your head right now, while saying things like: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's all beautiful, isn't it. Maybe for you, not for me. You don't know what it's like to be me and to live my life."

Well, actually, I do. Just because I was able to free myself from the Illusion does not me that I am the next Dalai Lama, and that bad things don't happen to me anymore, or that I don't get affected by it.

Just yesterday, my husband had told me that he wants to divorce me. I agreed to sign the papers. I agreed to move on without resisting the unwanted situation, and without putting up a fight. Of course this isn't the first time the two us have had the 'divorce talk'. Discussions that led to considering of such possibility were brought up by both of us in the past. Somehow we've learned to endure the hardships brought by the institution of marriage, and we've learned to deal with it while always trying to do our best. Still, does it it hurt to feel rejected by someone who you love and with whom you planed to spend the rest of your life? You bet it does. Is it painful to know that the person you've been the most intimate with doesn't seem to want you around them anymore? Of course it is. Have I been tempted to nourish the self-destructive thoughts, such as -- "obviously I'm not good enough"?  Yes, I have been, many times. And even though I know that the main reason my husband told me what he told me, is not because he actually wants the divorce, but it is because he hopes that by threatening with it, he will make me change -- it still hurts. How do I know all that? I know it because I did the exact same thing to him before. I've tried changing my husband while using the divorce threat, before I finally understood that the only person I can change is me.

Fortunately, I am not left without a choice here. It is up to me to decide whether I chose to be bitter, vindictive, and full of anger (hatred), or whether I chose to be understanding and compassionate instead. And so I chose to understand that the reason my husband could not love me the way I expected, and hasn't felt loved by me the way he expected, is not because we did not love each other. It was because we did not know how to love ourselves! It was because we were looking for the love outside of ourselves; -- in a partner, where it doesn't exist. We failed (both of us) to look for, - and to depend on - the love within ourselves, and within ourselves only. This understanding allows me to see the pain that my husband feels, and it allows me to understand how such pain made him to arrive to such decision of going separate ways. I cannot hate him for something he has no control over (since he cannot see it). I can only be grateful for everything he gave me, and for everything he taught me about myself. I can only be grateful for the time we've shared together, and which played the major role in my overcoming of depression. Without him next to me it would be a lot harder, if possible at all, to heal from my chronic depression, and to reach the liberation -- not just from depression, but on the spiritual level as well. He's been there for me in more ways than he even probably recognizes. He's been there to assist me with waking up, even though he hasn't realized that yet. In that sense, he gave me more than I could ask for. Therefore, all I have to do is to keep reminding myself that I only have control over myself, and no one else. And that the control over my own self, my thoughts, my emotions, and all that -- is all that I need.

So if I could tell you anything, it would be something that we were all told from the beginning:

"Love thy enemy."

Don't hate. Don't fear. Don't reject what's in front of you, as it is always there for a reason. Don't escape from your circumstances anymore. Learn to embrace them and to love them with all your heart! Don't escape from yourself anymore either. Learn to embrace every single aspect of who you are. Celebrate all your differences, and all your unwanted characteristics. Dance with it! Smile at it. Give it a hug. It needs it so bad. It needs your approval, it's been waiting for it for ages! Don't hide it anymore from others, don't give in anymore into the fear of being judged and not accepted. Don't be a slave anymore to what others will think of you, if you start dancing on the street. If you start telling it as it is. If you refuse to alter who you are so you could fit in. Be different! Be unique. Be yourself. There is not a better, more liberating feeling, than being true to yourself! Don't waist your time anymore. There is no need to wait.


November 26, 2013

WHY You Should Be Grateful At All Times!

(A Fastest Route To Enlightenment)

Do me a favor, and take a deep breath through your mouth. Now hold it in, without exhaling, for at least 30 seconds. When you start feeling uncomfortable, release the air through your mouth. 

Have you noticed anything? 

You can breath!!! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that incredible that you have a capability to breath, and that you don't even have to remind yourself to continue to do so. That the breathing -  indispensable to life - is performed by you automatically. That your lungs have so much love for you that they stay up, day and night, to assist you in staying alive! And they (almost) never take a break. Have you thank your lungs yet - for the awesome job they've been doing all those years? 

What about the air you're breathing in? Isn't that amazing that it's always there for you, and that it never asks you for anything in return? Have you thank the air yet - for the unlimited supply of oxygen; absolutely needed by your lungs to keep you alive?

What about every single organ that forms your physical body? The heart that never stops beating and keeps pumping your blood through the veins 24/7. The eyes that allow you to read what I wrote here. The brain that allows you to understand what you're reading, and what you think of it. The ears that communicate to you what's going on around you, so you can hear things without even having to take your eyes away from what you're looking at. The nervous system that makes it possible for you to experience both; the pleasure and the pain. I know, everyone seems to love pleasure and almost everyone seems to try to avoid pain at any cost. But the pain; misunderstood and hated by so many, is nothing else but an 'alarm system' announcing that something is wrong, - thus whenever experienced - it allows us to take care of it.
So, have you thank your body yet, - for caring you around so you can experience what it's like to be alive, and to live in this physical realm?

Have you thank your mind yet, - for giving you the opportunity to be aware that you even exist? Imagine what it would be like, if you were absolutely amazing, but you could not know that without being aware of it, and therefore you could not experience yourself being so amazing! Wouldn't that be sad? 

Have you thank the people around you (the good ones and the bad ones) for helping you to shape who you are today? For making your journey on this Earth a lot less lonely and less boring. For sharing with you their time, their energy, their love, and everything else that relationships are made of? For the heart-aches that made you that much stronger, that much more resilient, and which taught you about the importance of forgiveness? For the wisdom you've gain through making countless mistakes with others, while often unintentionally hurting them. For the wisdom you've discovered while going through the pain of being hurt by others, who just like you, knowingly or unknowingly - simply made mistakes.  

Have you thank the stars above your head for - being there, always displaying the same pattern to you, whether you live in a "highly civilized world" or whether you sleep on the ground, in a country that's mistakenly considered to be a "Third World"? Those stars do not discriminate. They do not believe that you deserve their light less because you have less money, or because you are technologically less advanced. As a matter of fact, you must have noticed that the farther away from civilization you find yourself, the brighter they shine for you...Their love for you is just as enormous as for anyone else who inhabits this planet. They prove to you that ever single night. Those bright stars on the dark sky winkle at you, to say hello, and to let you know that your real home was never here on Earth. That you are just passing through this planet, and that where you came from, and where you will eventually return, is a place of never ending unconditional love, peace and joy. Their light continues to guide you towards remembering who you really are, and where you really belong! When you'll fully understand it, you will never be affected by that awful feeling of not belonging, ever again...

You will dance in the rain, -- and in the sunshine. You will love the bad parts about you, just as much as you love the good ones. You will "explode" with a joy! You won't be able to contain it. It will spill out of you onto others. It will be contagious. You will know exactly why you're here. You will never doubt again that you are being loved, -- loved beyond your wildest dreams, and your imagination! 

November 24, 2013

What it's Like to be Finally Depression - Free

What does it mean to overcome depression? 

The other day I was chatting with a new friend that I met through my website, and it hit me! I realized that often, people who are gifted with depression have enormously high expectations as for what it means to be depression - free. Can't really say that this took me by surprise though; I myself, - prior to my recovery from chronic depression - have had the exact expectations. 

The chat I had with my new friend gave birth to the idea of writing this post... What exactly it means, to me, to be finally depression - free? 

I'll start with something very important here. Look around you. What do you see? Perhaps you see people who are doing very well, who are "normal," who had never been depressed in their entire lives. Now, does this mean that they are truly happy, or if so, does it mean that they are always that way? Come on, you know the answer. Just because someone is not depressed, or never been depressed, does not necessarily mean that such person is always happy (or that even ever been). The absence of depression alone does not guarantee happiness. As well as; -- our happiness does not depend on whether we are free from depression, or not. If that wasn't true, then we would see all bunch of people who aren't depressed, constantly dancing around from experiencing never ending bliss and joy. And we all know that, that is not the case, at least not in the world we live in...

Now that we got that straight, we can explore further what it's like to finally overcome depression. 

First of all; we all know that depression isn't something like a tumor, which we get rid of by removing it surgically. Depression is a state of mind, and thus it is a very complex condition.

To me, being depression - free, means not to be controlled by depression anymore, or anything else for that matter. It means not to be afraid to see the world in a totally unique way (the same way we view it while being depressed), without ever apologizing for it! Without ever feeling the need to apologize for who we are, what we do, and what we "fail" to do. To be depression - free it means to stop, once and for all, trying to fit in, without feeling bad about it. It means not to feel the need to be accepted, since the self-acceptance, which matters the most; had been found. It means not to be affected by the loneliness, which is brought by our unpopular (considered by others) -- point of view. It means to have the courage to speak up, even in the face of violent opposition. It means to have the unstoppable urge to be the voice for those who cannot, for whatever reasons, speak up for themselves. It means to want to protect the weakest, to be on their side. To be finally depression free, it means to finally appreciate your own self. To know your own value, and to understand that no amount of money could ever replace you. That your worth net is higher than a $1,000,000 x (infinity).... If you understood that, you would never, ever speak of your own worth in figures, money, and the size of your bank account. You would never combine your possessions to summarize your value, your worth. You would never let your profession, and what you do or don't do to survive, to determine what is your contribution to this world. You would finally understand, that simply by being, and being just who you are, you are contributing to this world, and to others, in a more significant way that you are giving yourself credit for!

And so, you would stop listening to others, and you would start listening to yourself, for a change, like you should. You would stop looking for that dead-end job, to please or impress others. Instead, you would start doing what pleases you, what you believe in, and what you are truly passionate about. Whatever that might be.

When you are finally depression free, unlike everyone else out there, you start living without being fearful. Since you feel that because of your depression, you've missed on so many things in your life, -- you no longer give a damn whether you conform, or not, to what is considered as a social "norm." You stop pretending to be who they want you to be, and you start being yourself. You realize that it is much better to be hated for who you are, than to be "loved" for who you are not.

You are free, and you realize that you always were. You realize that the only reason you weren't acting like a free person, is because you were giving too much power to people and to events that were in you life. You start taking that power back. For example, you don't laugh anymore - while pretending to be amused, - at someone's "harmless" joke directed towards you. You don't get upset either. You remain unaffected, and completely untouched by it. You learn not to hide your feelings either. You speak clearly what's on your mind and what's in your heart. You become your own biggest ambassador. You advocate your own well being, whether emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually speaking. Perhaps, you even become the ambassador to those who need your help the most, even if it means that you simply start signing petitions online, against the injustice and those who transgress harm upon the vulnerable ones. You find your voice in doing so.

Then you start to really understand how not insignificant your are!

You discover a new strength that has nothing to do with how much money you have, or have not, or how big your biceps are, or aren't. You discover the strength and the power that comes from within you, where it always was. You realize that the only authentic power -- your power from within -- had never left you, it was always there. The only thing was; it was dormant, because you forgot how to use it!

So then, you suddenly realize that you were never a victim. At least not in a sense you were taught to believe in. You realize that you gave your power away freely, and so, that you were controlled by others, and by the circumstances because of your permission. When you begin to understand that, is when you start seeing clearly that you - and only you- have the power to allow someone, and something else to hurt you. You know that it is always your choice that you make. The choice between hating, resisting, getting even or -- loving, forgiving, accepting, and being compassionate instead.

When you overcome depression, you are finally able to see that everything, which you thought was wrong with you (as you were told by others) is actually not only NOT wrong, but it's what's beautiful and unique about you!!! And so you embrace your weirdness, your quirkiness, and every single aspect of you that might be considered as "unacceptable" by others.

Consequently, you start to understand that obedience is not a good thing, as it is considered, whether by loved ones at home, or by the society in general. You are able to see how much serious damage being obedient (not rocking the boat) had provoked in your life, and in the world in general. So you stop being obedient, and you stop teaching your children to obey the rules. You start questioning everything as you start thinking for yourself, and that is what you start doing to your children -- you start teaching them how to think, -- not what to think, and how to obey.

And so you suddenly realize -- you are finally free! And not only free from depression, but free in a much deeper sense as well. You are free from the burden that you've carried in your heart and your mind all this time. The burden that was made out of lies, in which you believed, and which formed a distorted image of you.

Finally, when you are no longer depressed, you start living in the present moment. You start understanding that the only real time, and the only real place that there is -- is here and now. You understand now that when you were depressed, it was because you were living in your past. You know that when you were feeling constantly anxious, it was because you were living in the future. If you were feeling both; depressed and anxious at the same time -- you were "swinging" between your past, and your future. You were never fully present in the moment. As this becomes even more clear to you, you begin to cherish every single moment, and you begin to stay fully present, fully engaged, even while doing the most mundane daily activities. You begin to feel peaceful.

Now -- you've reached, what some would call; a self-realization!

Once you do that, there is no going back though (I know, as if that was a bad thing...) You don't miss the old you, and you don't miss the old world you were living in. Does this mean you never cry again? Of course not. Does the tree, when pruned, suddenly stops aging? No. It continues its growth. Same way with humans; when we "prune" our false selves, when we get rid of this distorted self-image, we still continue to grow. The work never ends. But this time, when we cry, we often cry for different reasons. We might cry because we see clearly, how much pain and unnecessary suffering surrounds us. We might cry because we are still simply human beings, and that is what, depressed or not depressed, human beings do.

So don't ever beat yourself up (while comparing yourself to others, which you should avoid doing) because of how long, (you might think) is taking you to heal from depression. Keep in mind that you are not only freeing yourself from this "disorder" -- you are also freeing yourself from the Illusion, from the False World, which created this disorder in the first place!

So, in a way, if you have high expectations as to what it's like after overcoming depression -- you are right about it. Except that what you might expect it to be, and what it actually becomes, might be two different things, and that is not always a bad thing. So keep that in mind.

If you want to know more in details about my journey of overcoming severe depression and suicidal tendencies, then this article is for you: Depression and Spiritual Awakening

 Little bit about me:

Now residing in Honolulu, Hawaii, 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” – available now on

November 19, 2013

10 Natural Ways To Cure Depression

What are the natural ways that I used for speeding up the process of overcoming my severe depression? 

I'm going to list and describe them all here, so you can decide for yourself whether, and which of those natural methods could be appropriate (helpful) for you. Don't feel bad if for any reason you find it too difficult to follow any of my suggestions. Remember that you are unique, therefore what might gave me splendid results, doesn't necessarily mean that it has to be your "path" as well. The best path that there is -- is to follow your own heart. Your heart speaks to you through your feelings (sensations in your gut), so whatever you read, if you have a strong feeling that it sounds true (for example: you tell yourself in your mind; "That's what I always thought!") -- then that is what you should pick.  

Also, it's good to remember that this guide has nothing to do with self-improvement, even if it might seem like it does. I don't like that expression 'self-improvement' anymore. As I continued with my journey towards the recovery from chronic depression, I started to understand better that there really isn't anything that we should, or have to improve about ourselves! I understand now that there is nothing, and never was, anything wrong with us. Our depression is a perfectly normal, and even perfectly healthy response to everything that has been happening in our lives, and around us. Unfortunately we've been told, often from very early on, and often by the so called professionals, that we weren't "normal." And so we believed everyone else, except ourselves. We believed our society, we believed perhaps even our own family, that our behavior, personality, our characteristics -- everything about us -- was not "appropriate." We even started to believe that the labels, which were prescribed to us, such us "mentally ill", "mentally disordered" were there to identify us, so we could be helped. Nothing could be any farther from the truth though. If we examine closely the number of the 'success stories' of the so called "mentally ill" (depressed) patients being permanently cured by the so called "mental health establishment," then we can see for ourselves how futile this labeling and those type of tactics derived from it, really are. 

With that being said, I believe that in order to overcome depression, we must indeed change the world we live in. I know -- it seems easier said than done, but it really isn't that hard. We create our reality - our world - on a daily basis anyway, whether we are aware of it, or not. So why not putting some effort into creating the type of reality that will suit us the most? 

The other thing I want to point out here is that throughout reading my posts, you might notice that sometimes I may seem to contradict myself. I may say things like "Happiness is found inside only, don't look for it outside of yourself." Then in the same paragraph you'll see me saying: "To get rid of depression - change the world that surrounds you." I know it can be very confusing. It can generate frustrating questions such as; "So which one is it then? Do I have to renounce the world outside of me to be happy, or do I have to change it?" Well, the answer is - both. Let me explain. Duality exists in the Universe we live in, whether we like it or not. In that aspect, things are never just black and white. Universe doesn't function the way we've learned to function.  As the Buddha once said, there is no North or South in Heaven. We, the humans, have made it up, so it can be easier to move around, to function. Same way, to the Universe, what we consider to be 'the right thing' and 'the wrong thing' simply does not exist! In the eyes of the Universe there is only, that which -- is. The Universe does not judge, only we; humans do. The Universe has no preference, only humans do. The Universe (referred by many as God) merely responds, like a loyal servant, to our preferences! It always gives us exactly what we ask for, even before we ask for it. The reason it might seem to us not to be true, is not because it isn't, but because of something else. It's because for the majority of us, our lives are being run by our subconscious minds. And any times the subconscious is in charge, we know very little what exactly it is that the subconscious mind believes in. And if we know very little what those beliefs are, how can we change things, if the world (including ourselves) is created with our deepest thoughts and beliefs?

So let me clarify here; I may say sometimes "Do this" and "Do that," and those suggestions may seem to be the exact opposite. That is because in my new world, in my new understanding there is no black and white, you could say that there is only everything in between. There is no right or wrong, there is only that which is. In my understanding, all, what we consider 'good things' can cause harm (evil), and all what we consider 'bad things' can equally cause something good, such as healing for example.

So it's important to put the judgment, which we are so used to, aside. It's important to remember, that each and everyone of us has its own Truth, - the only real truth. The only difference is, not everyone has founded it, yet. So then my truth doesn't necessarily has to resonate your truth, and vice versa. If it does, - great, but if it doesn't, - great as well. You are the only one who can determine what is your truth, I am merely here to help you, to assist you with making such decision. You might turn your back and decide that everything I write is crap, and that's great too; 'cause my "crap'" helped you establish what your truth is not about....     

As far as my beliefs that we find true happiness only within ourselves, and that we cure depression through also changing the world we live in... Well, to me, both beliefs are not exclusive. I was able to learn to depend only on the happiness that comes from within me, regardless of the circumstances. That didn't stop me though from creating my world (including myself) exactly they way I've always wanted to be! I didn't have to retrieve to some secluded mountain. I didn't have to renounce the pleasures offered by the external world. I just had to learn not to depend on it, that's all. I just had to remember that nothing in this world is permanent, that everything constantly changes. So if the 'good' doesn't last, so does the 'evil' passes as well. And I'm here just to observe it, not to judge anything or condemn.

And if for thirty something years, I've experienced a constant misery (created by my subconscious mind), then in the world where the opposite can exist, -- I know it is possible for me to experience a constant bliss, peace and joy (created by my conscious, awaken mind).

So, here are some of the the steps I took (consciously) and applied to my life, which led me to where I am now: (I'll start with the toughest ones, then it gets somewhat easier, I promise)

1. Helping someone and doing it without expecting anything (whatsoever) in return 

As I described in my book, I went to Africa, to help few homeless children, even though I had no money whatsoever. I had to beg strangers (literally) for the money so I could buy the airline ticket (one - way 'cause it was cheaper). I went to Kenya on my own, without having the safety cushion offered by some charitable organization, without a return ticket, without the anti-malaria shots, and all that. I won't say more here because I don't want to spoil the book for you, in case you want to read it. The important part here is that helping those who had even less than I did (those homeless children could not travel the way I could, no matter how much they would beg for it) -- that such helping initiated some huge transformation within me. 

My world, almost literally, seemed to have turned upside down. My belief system started to change in a lightening speed. With all that transformation that was beginning to take place within me, the outside world I found myself living in, started to make sense. I started to see connections between things the way I wouldn't even imagine possible before. I started to notice that I wasn't helping someone else, -- I was helping myself! The outside world started to reflect that. It was as if the Universe started to repay me for what I just sown.

Even though I left Kenya after 2 months, and even though it took couple of more years to finish what I started there, I know that this experience contributed (maybe even the most) towards my recovery from depression. It initiated new transforming events within me and my life as well. 

2. Practicing forgiveness and acceptance 

This step was a really difficult one, in fact, the most challenging. However, it was the most effective with fighting my depression and with transforming my life. I've practiced such forgiveness once before (and I had positive results) prior to my trip to Africa. But nothing had set "the engine rolling" for me, the way it did, when my husband had to spend 4 long months in jail.  

Thanks to a friend, who offered me a book on Buddha's teachings, in those difficult times I was able to remember the importance of forgiveness. I had to forgive the "justice system" for taking my husband away for no good reason. I had to forgive our landlord for stressing me out about the unpaid rent, and for eventually, on my husband's return, giving us no choice but to sleep in our van. I had to forgive my husband, for making me feel completely abandoned, even though I knew there was absolutely nothing he could do to change that. For having to spend our first anniversary separate. For having to stress out daily on how to feed myself and our fur-kids. Indeed, I had a lot of forgiveness to do. I had a lot of hurt, anger, and hatred that needed to be let go of. 

By accepting fully everything that was going on, by not trying to resist the reality, I was able to complete my forgiveness. The sense of peace and tranquility, as well as the improved external circumstances started to take place within just few months from it.  

3. Becoming a vegan and doing it for the right reasons

While being all alone, and while waiting for my husband to be released from jail, I decided to become a vegan. I've arrived to this decision thanks to that same friend of mine who gave me the book, which helped me with forgiveness. She was in fact the only person that stood by me in those tremendously difficult times, in which I was "visited" by my "old friend;" - my suicidal thoughts,- more than once. She helped me understand that even more important than becoming vegan, is why it is important that we do so. She gave me yet another book to read, called "The World Peace Diet," which totally changed my perspective not just on the meat and dairy industry, but on the society and the world we live in, in general. 

I've been a vegetarian before, on and off, but this time I chose to become a vegan (no meant, no fish, no diary products, no eggs, no leather clothes etc.) for the right reasons. I didn't become vegan because of the concern of my health. The health benefits derived from a vegan diet, I consider a bonus. I became vegan to stop my participation (even if "just" indirect) in the cruelty against the innocent and defenseless animals (all animals).   

Was it difficult to cut all that meat and cheese out of my diet? You bet it was! Was is challenging to shop in the supermarket for anything to eat, especially on such limited budget? You guessed it right again... But all that inconvenience was a really small price to pay, compere to the price that those poor animals pay everyday. The price of freedom, which is taken away from them, without their permission. The price of having to watch their own babies being jerked away from them, so they wouldn't drink their milk, so we - "humans" - can have a sip of their milk with coffee in the morning. The price of having to live in some congested areas, away from the sun, only to know that their entire existence depends on, not if, but - when - we decide to terminate it. I sure as hell wouldn't like to live, knowing that I'm only good to others when I'm dead, when others can eat my flesh.  

So then why would I want to create such horrific reality for anyone else? Or why would I expect to be perfectly happy, to be depression-free, if I continued to contribute towards the creation of these more than just depressing, but even appalling circumstances for other beings?  

With my new way of living, things started to change even more rapidly. The more I ate fresh fruits and vegetables, and the more I ate them raw, without processed food, the more I started to notice that my level of awareness kept increasing. My intuition, which I consider to be the language of my Soul, started to be even more keen than it was before. My brain started to function in a new, much sharper way. My mind started to see the connections between things that I would had never even consider to look at! The world finally started to look a lot brighter, and everything started to make sense. 

Inspired by those positive changes, I decided to take it even farther. I decided to go organic! And so I stopped buying anything that might even contain the GMO's (genetically modified organisms). Holly cow, if I ever thought that it was difficult to shop while being vegan, try shopping for GMO-free produce in this country (USA)!!!    

So, my future goal is to grow my own food, but until then; I'd rather eat less, if I have to, instead of putting a poison ( 'cause that's what GMO is) into my body.     
4. Reading about inspirational stories, and or, watching on TV inspirational movies based on true stories

Throughout my depression it was pretty hard to read, but what was easy for me, was to watch TV. I found out quickly that watching movies, that are based on true stories, was not only entertaining, but it was also giving me a strength, which I desperately needed to continue on with my life. Seeing how others were able to overcome their biggest challenges in their lives, served me as a guide, and it showed me that I could do the same. My motto became; "If they could do it, so can I!"

In our house, for a good period of time there was nothing else to be watched on TV. The "estrogen channel" (referred in a cynical way as such by my patient husband,) dominated our household, often driving my spouse insane. The only shows that could yield to those 'true movies' were the ones that made me either laugh, or left me amused. From watching the endlessly amusing reality shows, I learned what not to do, and what not to be like. I learned also not to be so quick to judge. I've "seen" myself more than often in others that were part of those reality shows.

I purposely stayed away from anything that was negative and depressing, such as the News. Apart from that time when the presidential election was approaching, I avoided the News the way devil (if he existed) might try to avoid the holy water.

I still don't watch the main stream News, since I believe that the main broadcasting agencies are owned by few corporations, whose sole goal is not to inform, but to influence others, and therefore to have a control. But to talk about my perspective on politics and how the government functions, I would have to write a different post, I guess. I won't contaminate this one with it.

5. Taking home a homeless kitten, and or a homeless dog

There is nothing in the world quite the same, as to know that because of your existence, and because of your doing, someone else's life is much better. That if you didn't exist, someone else (be it a dog, or a cat, or a goat) wouldn't be as happy. It is very crucial though to treat those animals as equal to us, human beings, because they are. We do a tremendous disservice to them, and to ourselves, when we start looking at them as "pets." They're not ours! We do not own them, even if considered legally, may be so. You cannot own someone else's Soul, which is there to roar free, and animal's Souls are just as real, and just as untouchable as our own. Animals, - all of them - are our gift, but not to be eaten or used, but to be celebrated. I believe that animals exist so we wouldn't have to feel so lonely on this planet.

My 2 German shepherds (one of them still missing, click here to find out why) and all of my 4 cats, are not my pets. They are my fur-kids, if you will. They are not just my companions. They are the best spiritual guides I could ask for!  Through watching closely and observing my dogs and my cats, I continue to learn about myself. The relationship I have with them shows me the kind of relationship I have with myself. If I am patient and loving with my kitty that just happened to pee all over my bed (cats do that to let us know that something bothers them) then it means that I am also patient and loving with myself. If I consider their natural needs, and I build them a tree to climb, it means I am considering of my own needs as well. If I neglect them by ignoring them or their natural needs -- it means I'm neglecting my own self, and my own needs as well.

If I am committed to my animals, and I take them with me everywhere I decide to move, it means I am committed to myself. It means I don't abandon myself when things get tough. And so on, and on...

Sometimes it's really hard to see ourselves, and so our relationships with others (including animals) are the best mirror in which we can see the reflection of ourselves. Am I kind and loving, am I considerate and compassionate, or am I the opposite? Are there some things I need to work on? My animals always tell me the truth....

6. Getting good sleep and taking 'power naps'

OK, if you're depressed, then you know that getting a 'good night of sleep' is not an easy thing to do... You also know how important it is for your recovery though, that you do get deep rest while sleeping. I've tossed around in bed for many, many years before I was able to conquer this issue. What helped me with it, was applying the steps I described above. Particularly forgiveness and acceptance are the best "sleeping pills" I could had ever asked for. And I don't have to be afraid of the accidental overdose from it... You won't get any more 'natural' way of fighting depression, than that!

When you wake up all tired, in pain, and you're all cranky, because you weren't able to sleep well, -- good luck with feeling anything but being depressed.

There are 4 components that help me assure a good rest at night. All 4 of them have to be combined, in order to be effective:

1 -- I cannot allow myself to worry anymore. Worrying does never resolve anything, it only keeps us awake, or half a sleep at night.

2 -- I cannot allow myself to get upset anymore. Getting upset does never resolve anything, it only postpones us from finding a solution, which often isn't even needed in the first place. Often everything is, and was just fine, and we got upset for nothing. Plus getting upset also keeps us awake, or half asleep at night. Additionally, as I found out first hand, getting upset creates bladder problems. Yep, when I stopped my habit of getting upset, I immediately noticed not just that I was sleeping better, but also that my overactive bladder stopped being overactive! What a relief. Only a person who knows what it feels like to have a constants need to urinate, and to have a painful sensation while having to postpone the trip to the bathroom, knows what I'm talking about...

My not getting upset should not be misinterpreted as putting up with crap. Not getting upset doesn't mean to allow others to walk all over you. In fact, since I started to practice not getting mad, I started to articulate myself better than I've even done before! I became more assertive than I've ever been. It's really hard, if possible at all, to be assertive, and to let someone know not to cross the line, when you're boiling inside. When you're depressed, it means that the healthy boundaries in your relationships have been broken, and have been overstepped by others, more than once. It means you feel (righteously so) enraged by that. But you can't repair those boundaries by yelling and by getting all worked up. You repair them with your assertiveness, with your calmness (while remaining firm), and with your compassion.

3 -- If it doesn't come to me naturally, for whatever reason, I force myself (if I have to) to focus on what I am grateful for. When I shift my focus onto things I'm thankful for, (that includes being thankful towards my own self) - I noticed it is virtually impossible to stay mad at anything or anyone. Gratitude, besides calming my nerves, also speeds up the frequency of the energy, which forms me and the world around me. Thus gratitude speeds up the process in which the desired physical "things", such as circumstances for example, "appear" in my life. It's always a win-win situation when it comes to choosing gratitude.

4 -- Acceptance. I believe that this is THE most important aspect of this 'method.' Without fully accepting everything, everyone, including myself for what it is, -- all that not getting mad, not worrying, and being grateful, seems to be pointless. I've done all the other 3 steps, without accepting everything the way it was (in other words; I kept wishing that things would change), and I still couldn't sleep well. My bladder kept disturbing me; I still had to urinate every five minutes. Once I added the acceptance to the equation, I started to sleep like a newborn.

Acceptance means love. With all this experience, I started to understand what the phrase from the Bible meant; "If I had everything in this world, if I did all kinds of charitable deeds, if I prayed on my knees every day, and if I still had no love in me, -- I'd be nothing but an empty vase......"

'Power naps'

Especially while going through depression, and while doing all these kinds of new changes, I found that taking as many 'power naps' as necessary is highly beneficial. Our body and our mind can get very overwhelmed, very quickly when we throw so many new things at it. That would explain why babies need to sleep so often. Well, it's the same thing when you're trying to overcome depression. You're making all these changes, which are not only new to you, but also very difficult, so you need to rest your mind as much as possible.

7. Discovering your own desires and fulfilling them 

I don't know you, but when I was depressed, I had no clue as to what was it exactly that I wanted from life. Sure, I knew I wanted a home filled with love, and that I didn't want to have to struggle, and all that. But if someone would have asked me specifically; "What would you like to do with your life? What is is exactly that would make you feel fulfilled and happy? And what do you think, you could do to make that happen?" -- then I'd just scratch my head, without knowing what to say.  

Since I was little, I knew exactly what I had a passion for, what I loved doing the most, but then, with the painful events that took place in my life, I lost all that knowledge. The longer I continued to stay depressed, the less clue I had as to what I wanted, and don't even try imagining if I knew how to get it...

With my depression, I had lost something priceless: -- I had lost my ability not just to identify my deepest desires, but also I had lost my power, which comes with knowing that you can be, and you can do indeed anything you've ever wished for!

How did I regain my power then? The steps I described above led me towards this self-empowerment. Helping others, even in the smallest ways. Forgiving everyone and everything, and accepting it without any reservations, without trying to force a change. Replacing fear with love. Becoming a vegan. Caring for my fur-kids.

All that was great, but to me, food, was one of the biggest tools, which I used in awakening my dreams and desires. Food wasn't always just something that I loved throughout my life; food was something I was addicted to! I was, what you would call; an emotional eater. Particularly cheese, sugar and any carbohydrates were my choice of drug. Anything that would frustrate me, would get "resolved" by my trip to either the refrigerator, or the kitchen's cabinets. I was well aware that sugar, in particular, was only masking temporarily the symptoms of my depression, and that in reality it was actually contributing big time to my mood swings, but what was I supposed to do? It was "fixing" the problem at least for an hour, wasn't it? That was better than nothing. Plus, - eating, rather than being bored to death, - also seemed more logical.

So what made me change my self-destructive eating habits? Becoming a vegan, and eating organic produce. With making such (difficult) decision, I started to eat consciously. I started to take pride in my physical body, while starting to take such good care of it. My body became more than just an instrument that carries me around, -- my body became my temple.

At the very beginning the 'junk food withdrawals' I was experiencing were super intense. That is when the 'power naps' came really handy... But I learned something incredible through these withdrawals. I observed that while I wasn't numbed by that junk food anymore, while I was in so much pain, craving it like crazy, - I was finally able to see very clearly what was it that I wanted! I was able to identify my dislikes, and therefor my likes (desires) as well! Not just that; now that I knew what I wanted, I also had a clear mind telling me what it is that I needed to do to obtain it! It just doesn't get any better than that...

8. Making peace with depression, - seeing depression from a different perspective

Accepting depression (making peace with the fact that it's gonna be there for a while, before it can be completely released) was an absolutely crucial part of my recovery from it. As I described in one of my previous posts, we cannot change something that we resist. In fact, the more we try to resist it (trying to change it by force, at any cost) -- the more it will persist (continue to affect us).

I know it can get really confusing. It was for me too. Again, this is because of our old way of seeing things as black and white, left and right, etc. It made me almost pull my hair out of frustration. I was like: "God, so do I have to stop trying to get better then? Do I have to accept this depression, and live depressed like this for ever? So then what good would this acceptance do? Why would I have to even bother making peace with something I've hated all my life?" It took awhile until I understood what it meant to accept my depression, and to stop hating (resisting) it. Finally, what I did; - I copied my own previous tactics of forgiving others (and myself) and I started using those same tactics with the forgiveness towards my depression. I kindly explained to myself that for the time being, until the forgiveness (acceptance) was completed, I would still have to continue feeling depressed. I had to have faith, that my depression would let go of me indeed, once my hatred towards it was gone completely. And it did!

What helped me with the acceptance was my new way of viewing my depression. Here is a more descriptive post about it that I wrote: 7 Secret Facts No One Tells You About Your Depression

9. Developing, and practicing even a more compassionate way of being 

This one was a big one too, in treating my depression. OK, - if you have read my book, or if you saw my video from Africa (on the About page,) then you'll agree that I've always been a pretty compassionate person. Well, turned out, that wasn't enough... To cure my depression I had to learn to be compassionate not only towards people who happened to be less fortunate. I also had to learn to be compassionate towards everyone else! Even the "jerk" that just cut me off on the freeway, or even the psychiatrist whose arrogance had hurt me in the past,  - all those people deserve our compassion. We don't really know what's behind the person's 'social mask.' How can we tell, if someone who's being rude to us, hasn't been suffering for a very long time? We really can't. When we look at everyone through the eyes of compassion, is when we start loving everyone unconditionally. And when we love everyone - we love ourselves! And vice versa; - when we truly love ourselves, we love everyone!

Like the Buddha said: "If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another."
When we start loving ourselves, for real, we stop hurting ourselves and others, by using harmful judgment especially.

10. Actually doing everything it takes, and not just dwelling on it

The final step for me was to actually start implementing everything that I've learned over the course of my life, instead of just keeping on dwelling on it. When I reached the point where I could no longer continue to live the way I was doing, I was ready to 'roll the sleeves' and to start getting dirty. I begun to put into daily practice everything that I've learned from the books and from my own life experiences. It was time for me to stop indulging myself with the thinking, and to start doing all that I've been thinking about all those years.

I would tell myself: "OK Elzbieta, it's time! Like they say; knowledge is like a paint, - it's useless, until applied."

So, I'll leave you here with yet another quote by Buddha: "However many holly words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you, if you do not act upon them?"

Photo taken by Pam Davis 

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