Ultimately, we choose how we experience our lives.
The need to refocus, constantly because we live what we create.
What we create comes from our choices: subconscious and conscious and where our focus is placed.
This is the first time I am writing about my experience with depression, because it has illustrated so clearly to me, the importance of choice. My own choice affected what I felt about life and how I lived my life. Choice had and has the power to change my whole perception and experience of life.
Depression showed me that I had a choice in how to experience my life: I could either continue to wallow in sadness, guilt and despair or decide to live, think and feel differently.
I chose the latter after two dark years of post-natal depression.
During that period, nothing could change the way I felt: heavy, always tired, listless, bored, lost, hazy: my brain was slow and felt dead, I put on weight and found caring for my daughter a challenge. There were times when I was very happy being mum to my bunny, but it would not last and I would inevitably sink into a quagmire of self-hate, guilt and sorrow.
Here I was, able to be a full time mum by choice, a loving husband, and receiving complete unconditional love from a small but beautiful little being, but yet, I was unhappy!!! Miserable! How and why? I wondered myself but I just didn’t have any answers for it.
Nothing my ex or anyone suggested worked for me either and I had excuses and myriad reasons to counter and undermine all that they said: nothing convinced me to experience life differently and how I felt about it: I was a complete and utter disaster!
For two years, I muddled through, with varying states of deep darkness, occasionally contemplating suicide, then feeling guilty about it. Sometimes I would break through the surface of my dark depths and I would experience deep joy but these were few and infrequent. I did not talk about this openly or freely with anyone.
One day, I woke up, after a few months of eating lots of cake (because I felt like it) and decided that I had had enough of feeling this way: I was sick and tired of feeling washed out, tired, miserable, powerless and colourless. Changes needed to be made.
I made a choice to change how I felt and chose to make changes to support me.
I knew that diet was a major part of creating change because I had been suffering from constipation and back aches for a few months. I found an article about a raw food chef in the Observer magazine and went on to investigate this further. It seems that even a 50% raw food diet would aid better health.
So I decided to change our diet from predominantly organic meat based to raw vegan, with the exception of cooked fish and eggs for my daughter and cooked carbohydrates for my ex in the evenings. We had fresh home-made juice every day and I also installed a reverse osmosis water filter in our kitchen.
Within four weeks, my mind was clearer and I no longer suffered back pain and constipation. I no longer suffered cramps from menstruation either.
I also found more information on home schooling and discovered the large network of home schoolers in South East London and began attending the weekly meetups with the parents and children.
I am so grateful for the internet and the availability of books and information that I found my way through all this and found friends in this community.
But none of this would have happened had I not made that first decision: that choice to have a different experience of life. I wanted good health and not an achy body, dead head and constipation. I wanted happiness and contentedness, not guilt, worthlessness, despair and anxiety.
I did not want to feel unhappy and low all the time, only concentrating on what I found wrong with life and missing all the beauty which was so obvious around me when I decided to open my eyes it.
I also craved higher energy levels to enable me to play with my daughter and to continue to breast feed beyond the age of 2.
I wanted to have more fun and to enjoy my family and myself and to watch my daughter grow and thrive and to relearn about magic through the eyes of my daughter’s innocence instead of my own jaded ideas from my childhood and later years.
So I chose life instead of destructive, over indulgent self-centeredness.
No one can make decisions for us, there is no one else to blame for our experience of any situation we find ourselves in, no one else can convince us to think or perceive life differently. Only we can.
Depression taught me this and for this I am grateful. It was a horrible lesson and I would not want to repeat it! But it has forever impressed upon me how my choice determines the outcome of all my experiences.
However, it has taken hindsight to truly appreciate what depression did for me and a greater awareness of the importance of choice and choosing where to concentrate my focus this year through attending Ryan Pinnick’s and William Whitecloud’s workshops.
Only we can decide if we want to be happy and I do not deny that at times we have to allow ourselves to feel the exact opposite and everything in between.
Being human gifts us the whole range of emotions and thoughts: joy, rage, boredom, murderous: but it is our decision if we allow these to pull us down, to commit murder or to be deliriously happy.
It is completely and utterly up to us.
Ananda is a crystal-crazy therapist, an