The Winding Path

Counselling Services provided by Barb Zacharias

June 2023: Essence

Posted on Jun 23, 2023

June 2023: Essence

My healing journey this month took me on a detour I wasn’t expecting. At first, I assumed it was just a depressive episode hovering, waiting to land, due to having dysthymia (a low mood disorder with major depressive episodes now and then). While that may still be the case, there was a trigger: Father’s Day.

In the meantime, I managed the hovering depression with physical labour (working on projects for my 1926 fixer-upper house) and music. I also was open and up front with certain people about what was going on for me. Normally I turtle. I hide. I isolate deep within myself until the episode passes. Not this time. I wasn’t worried about making people uncomfortable or trying to fix me. They simply understood where I was coming from and respected any boundaries I may have set. I wasn’t pushed to be anything other than what I was in the moment.

As I write this, I realize that was an emotionally corrective experience for me. In the past, my depressive episodes were considered a weakness and not to be acknowledged, something to overcome and get out of the way as quickly as possible. Other people were not to be inconvenienced by my depression. Yet, depressive episodes are not “all bad.” When my depression was its worst, before it was diagnosed and medicated, I was the most creative. I wrote poetry and short stories. I made attempts to draw and paint. That creativity has dimmed as I’ve aged; but it’s still there, dormant. Or emerges if there is a practical application for creativity. I have yet to rediscover being creative just for the sake of being creative.

Depressive episodes are also times of deep reflection and introspection. If I pay attention, depressive episodes have potential to heal cavernous inner wounds. That is, if I don’t get sucked in to the shame messages that also lurk in the darkest shadows. But if I pull those shame messages out of the murky depths, then I can inspect them and decide if they get to stay or not. In the better times, they get thrown out and the depression lifts—maybe not completely, but definitely the darkness lightens.

It took about a week to let the depression “do its thing.” I spent quite a bit of time yesterday journalling. It didn’t completely clear the air; but the depression is hovering a bit higher up. Reminding me to keep paying attention. To try different coping strategies. To be open to emotionally corrective experiences, giving people a chance to respond differently than I’m used to. I’m going to have to sit with that one a bit more: the idea that I don’t have to worry about people being inconvenienced by my depression. And yes, that does tie in with Father’s Day as a trigger.

My family dynamic history is far too complicated to dive into for a public blog. You will have to wait for my memoir/self-help trauma recovery book for that. I will write it when I’m ready to write it. I recognize I have a few more healing hurdles to overcome. Suffice to say, being depressed was not “allowed” around my father. Still isn’t; but it’s the past tense of that condition that negatively impacted my development. I couldn’t control the depression. It was simply a part of me that I learned to hide as best I could in all contexts. But I was quiet and withdrawn. I have no idea if that was the depression or my personality or trauma response, or all three.

Now I try to use friendliness to hide my social anxiety and overall insecurity. I have not yet found that place within to hold myself safe and secure. But it’s coming. Lately I have had reason to look through photographs from 20 to 30 years ago. The darkest days of my existence. I pull away from that girl, adolescent, young woman. So much shame attached.

In talking with a client recently about our essence, I realized I need to explore that more for myself. I need to look at those photos and see the essence emerging and/or hiding. The essence that I am connecting to these days is the same one buried within my younger self. I have to unlearn hiding my essence (my True Self as it were or the Divine Spark), and discover ways of expressing my essence. We are all bio-psycho-social-spiritual-sexual beings. As such, our essence has a myriad of avenues to be expressed via our human bodies.

There is, of course, much more that I touched upon in my journal writing. However, to unpack it all will take some time. Hopefully as I do, the depression will keep lifting and my essence will burn that much brighter. As the uncredited image and quote assures me: In times of doubt and confusion, the phoenix symbolizes strength, transformation, and renewal. For only from the ashes of who we were, can we rise up to become who we’re to be.

How profoundly accurate. Rise up my fellow phoenixes. May your essence burn brightly today.


    • Thanks Wendy! BZ

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