When depression hits, it’s like being run over by a run away train. But what if when depression hit us we could surf our depression, staying on top of the wave, rather than being sucked under and drowned in our own despair?
Buddhism taught me to surf my depression and stay afloat. I used to be sucked under and at that point my depression would have to run its course. I developed a habit of not responding to depression when it knocked on my door. Before, I would dive deep into my anger turned inward – depression – and swim around until I became exhausted and finally cried “uncle!” Then slowly I would recover.
As I became better at letting my depressing thoughts and feelings be, by not reacting to them with more anger, they stayed on the wave never sinking into my being. This allowed the depression to dissipate quickly and leave entirely.
The last time it hit me, I didn’t react at all, and just sat with it as a casual observer. It was interesting to watch myself from a no-drama point in time, rather than a snarling angry mess which I previously became in my desperation. No one knew I was depressed, because I hid it well, and turned my anger inward, adding to my depression.
As I got better at surfing, the depression was gone in 5 minutes, and I was then free to be happy and to live life without the burden of anger. It felt like a different animal all together. I had found a way to surf depression, and to stay afloat, and even overcome it.
To be fair, for 20 years I had done massive work on myself in the area of depression, and had mostly overcome it. I went from feeling depressed every day, to once a week, then to a few times a year. But although the frequency was lessened, the intensity was still debilitating, with thoughts of fear and wanting to not exist. I used no pharmaceuticals, and felt they would only add to the problem . . . I needed to do the heavy lifting myself, since somehow I had allowed the problem to take root within my being.
I used meditation and nutritional supplements, I prayed for solutions and knew they would present themselves, I used visualization to recreate myself anew. Exercise is important, too – I went vegan and gluten-free since I was addicted to dairy, sugar and bread. Gluten affects our brains and we are now understanding that inflammation in our brain is caused by gluten, and inflammation is the cause of Alzheimer’s, and dementia. Pain throughout my body dissipated when I eliminated gluten.
I used to believe depression would never hit me again, but then it would knock me down, and I was right back in it. Now I believe I may feel depressing thoughts at some point in my life, but I now have the tools – and surf board – to stay afloat, and even to thrive.
I am an overcomer . . . even though somewhere in my life the disappointments piled up, followed by anger, I found a way to live free from depression and worry.
What is, IS. But what will be is yet unscripted . . . I am free to write the script of my life as I choose, and when things don’t work out as planned, I let it go, and move on. And I can always bring out my surf board if needed and surf my depression away.