Like I said, I was studying and applying. Here is a list of all the psychology approaches, a summary that I’ve applied on myself. You can Google, there’s a lot of stuff out there. But here’s one point: not one single one of them works all the time. I did this gentle yoga workshop one day and I’m talking about super gentle. All I had to do was feel the contact between my feet and the floor. That’s all — and feel my breath. Within an hour and a half, I had a whole lot of suicidal feelings coming up and I was stuck with that for the rest of the day. Would you like some?
So, overall it was not a bad thing. Overall it was an indication of what I need to work on. But the point is, I wasn’t ready for it that day and that was not the intention of the workshop. I’m getting more powerful — when I’m coming out of depression, I’m feeling — Can you feel the inner Godzilla?
To summarize all these attitudes, it boils down to one thing. This natural voice that says “Sami, fight! Those emotions you feel, push them down. You ought to develop the kind of character that pushes them down and you are master of yourself. Fight!” The best analogy I can come up for depression is that you are in the sea and the current pulls you. When the current pulls you, the common wisdom is that you don’t fight it, because if you fight it you get exhausted and you drown. The wisdom is to surrender to it. Wait for the current to spit you out and then you find your way back to the shore. And that is what 30 years of depression means to me. 30 years of finding my way back to the shore.
Now some of you don’t deal well with analogies, so I’m going to show you physically what that looks like. Just one second. It’s a yoga technique. Here goes the socks, very nice socks and what is it? When I say that the current pulls you down, it actually pulls you down to the bottom of the sea. This process can last from 2 days up to a week. Walking — everything is OK or if I’m not walking, I’m standing and suddenly there’s no energy. The body goes like this. You don’t have much control of yourself anymore.
And then you find yourself on your knees. At the bottom of the sea is where I meet my monsters. And I would fight my monsters and the more I fought the bigger they got. Until with time, a lot of time, I learned to listen. And when I listened, they became beautiful creatures. And they would hand me secrets and they would point me towards the vulnerable bits in myself that I had long forgotten. And they would help me integrate.
And to translate that, it’s something like this. I’m in a therapy session. I’m feeling pain, this depressing pain and my therapist says, “Sami, stop fighting it. Try to go with it”. So I allow myself to cry. And after 20 minutes, I stop because all sorts of weird stuff is happening.
Trauma is a negative, overwhelming experience that got frozen in your body. The tears are just the ice melting. What I’m saying is there’s been a lot of crying. And a lot of surrendering to the notion that I’m bigger than this because this isn’t. Everything that is inside of me that I am fighting with, whether it is somebody has said something horrible or a negative judgment of myself, that’s a monster. A dream that has its own language where I wake up feeling horrified, that’s another language that I need to decode.
Now the stuff that happens to us before the age of five, it’s harder to access because of the formation of memory in the brain. You may get a trigger or you feel miserable. You feel you want to die but you don’t have the accompanying image to process it. It’s years of translating the lessons of the sea and then bringing them back to the land.
We need more work. Hey, thank you. I’ve grown to see my inner world as both land and sea. What I need to do is keep translating the lessons of the sea to the land. That means learning more or continuing to do some of the approaches that have worked at certain times and have patience that the seeds that I’m planting, have patience that winter will come and it will rain. Have patience that if I’ve planted beautiful seeds that with time they will bear fruit and flower.
One day I came up with the idea that I should sit on the side of my bed, get in touch with that experience of 5 year old that wanted to jump and for 2 months I would imagine I’m hugging myself as the older son while still being here. And the voice that has developed over the years, I call it, the assassin voice which says, “Come on, let’s get out of this place. You don’t really want to continue to live for others.”
With time, within those 2 months, I realized that voice wasn’t a negative voice. It wasn’t trying to kill me. It was trying to show me that I should start focusing on living for me. I rang my aunt a couple of weeks ago, and I said, “I heard you want to come to the talk. You know I’m going to be talking from my personal space?”
She says, “Yeah, I know. Why don’t you just try talking as if you are telling the experience of one of your clients-patients that you used to work with?”
I said, “There is nothing more powerful than talking from your authentic experience. People would appreciate that.”
“I know, but there would be people in the crowd who might want to put you down.” And she’s naming the negative voices in society which I think actually are not the majority. The majority are compassionate. And even a negative voice is sometimes a compassionate voice that has lost its way.
And I said, I wanted to speak, not just for myself but for other people who have been silenced by that pressure of when you ask them, how are you? And it seems to be an international phenomena especially in capitalist societies that you say, “I’m good”. There is a kind of pressure to be cool, if you don’t have issues. I mean, long time, I kind of realize that the more I share about myself, the more people tell me their stuff. And I learned to deal with that false coolness. You don’t have problems? You’re cool? I’ve got lots of problems. That’s how cool I am.