Living with My Second Shadow - Depression

Depression is a part of my life. It will be for the rest of my days - of this I am sure. However, I am not my depression nor do I identify myself as depression.

What depression means in my life is that it has shown up in my personal body, and in my close relationships around me. I am familiar with it and understand the affects it can have on a family, a community, body and mind.

Without the blessed encounters I have had with depression; my compassion, empathy, understanding and sense of perspective would not be as pronounced. I have evolved and have emotionally grown because of depression.

I will never forget my first real depressive break down. I was lying on the floor in my parent’s living room, alone. It was my then boyfriend’s birthday. My family was away on summer vacation at our lake cabin.

And I was alone, trapped in my head, angry with myself.

I couldn’t understand my thoughts and how indecisive I was. Making a decision was a grueling task. To show up to a social event (my boyfriend’s birthday) was beyond me. I hated myself for not being able to show up.

I felt guilty, ashamed, unworthy and like a burden.

Something inside of me made me make a phone call to my parents who were in the next province, Saskatchewan. I remember how hard it was to breathe and I was lost in my hysterics. I kept repeating the words “I don’t know what to do”.

My eyes were so swollen and my throat was hard from sadness. I hated this moment. I hated what I was and what I wasn’t. I wanted it all to end.

Then, my mothers voice. My fathers voice. That feeling that urged me to call them, it was love.

They urged me to call my boyfriend, to go over to his house and not be alone. Exhausted from my hysterics, my skin raw from franticly scratching and my scalp raw from pulling my hair, I lay weak and numb on the floor. I made the second call to my boyfriend and did not spend that night alone.

The company and compassion of my loved ones saved me that night. I was not alone. I was safe and I was loved, as I am always every day.

It had been a build up to this episode. It was clear, and as my psychiatrist would diagnose: I had severe depression.

I couldn’t make sense why this had happened. I had a loving relationship, a loving and supporting family, my health and great friends. I then learned that many members of my family had also been diagnosed in the past.

Perhaps it’s genetics, perhaps I was imbalanced, and perhaps it was a host of reasons. Whatever the reason, it was my reality.

And so started my journey to healing and coping with my second shadow.

It has been eight years now since my initial diagnosis. I am proud and humbled to be where I am today from the many lessons that have come and continue to come. I am happy to say that I am no longer on medication.

My lifestyle has changed drastically to better my mental state and in times of heightened sensitivity. Though there has been a lot of work involved.

Learning to understand my triggers, what nourishment is best, understanding my abuse of substances and most importantly: finding the courage to speak up and reach out when I feel most fragile.

Food and nutrition became a huge part of my journey not only as a way to nourish my mind and body, but also as a creative outlet. I became excited about crafting foods with medicinal value that taste delicious and can heal. Creation and connection I have found are among the best therapies for getting out of a depressive funk.

Movement is a very close second. Yoga, weight lifting, running, anything that makes my body feel alive! Not only do the physiological benefits of releasing endorphins help with cognitive health and mood regulation and stabilization, but also for me - a more aggressive outlet proved to be very beneficial.

My love for adrenaline has taken place of my abusive tendencies with alcohol, which would cause outrageous bursts of anger toward others and myself. I would mask and numb my depression, only making matters worse.

As mentioned, the most vital of all has been rebirthing my courage. Knowing and truly feeling what it is to be vulnerable and open. Talking, asking for help, reaching out to those you love and who love you.

This above all has been my saving grace and is my most used tool for healing.

I urge everyone that may feel low, not to shy away and hide. This not only harms us, but it harms those who care about us. I always think: if the ones I loved hid from me how depressed they were feeling, I would want to know. I would want to be there and to support in any way that I can.

I always go back to the voices of my parents, the love in their eyes and the tender touch of their presence.

I live for connections with them. I live for connections with others that experience the same emotions.

Which is every human.

We may have different circumstances but we are all humans and we feel the same emotions.

Connecting with a smile, a friendly hello or holding the door open. These simple gestures can make a world a difference in someone’s day, because it shows them that they are noticed, cared for, valued and worthy.

We all are. We all matter to someone. We all have someone who matters to us, and we all deserve to live a vibrant life.

Be vulnerable, be brave and talk about what you are going through. This is the most self-loving thing we can do, and the most loving thing we can do for those who care about us.

My journey continues on. I still get visits from depression. However, from the work I have done internally, I know what to do that works for me, to ease the pain and to push through.

No one should ever journey with his or her second shadow alone. And more than we may know, there will always be a support system that will have your back the whole way. 

Kendra Adachi is a Certified Health Coach, Certified Raw food Chef, freelance writer, mental health advocate and passionate exercise enthusiast. When she’s not exploring her physical limits and capabilities especially immersed in nature she can be found infusing love in the kitchen experimenting with high vibe desserts. Kendra is currently expanding her knowledge in Cannabis with it's medicinal values - incorporating this work along with her Health Coaching practice. She embraces a life living in complete truth and honour; creating space for others to do the same.

Connect with Kendra:

Website : www.adachikendra.com 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/adachikendra/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/adachikendra/

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