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Light In the Mist

“Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient:
it knows how to survive in hard places.
I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression.
In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed.
My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered.
But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness,
I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die.
That something was my tough and tenacious soul.”
Parker Palmer

A dear friend sent me this today, saying it reminded her of me. I read it and got teary and smiled. Knowing that someone who has seen me in my very darkest moments thinks of me as tough and tenacious, is truly wondrous. It was like a big, squeezy hug for my soul.

For the past 2.5 years I’ve struggled every day with Depression. It terrified me for I felt both guilty (if only I were strong enough this wouldn’t be happening) and powerless. I couldn’t summon up willpower to overcome it or make myself busy enough to ignore it or talk myself out of it or think on enough happy things to dissipate it.

I had to go through it.

And try to love myself in it.

It is desperately hard to see any value in yourself, let alone love yourself, when it feels like you are the very worst version of yourself that has ever existed.

I felt both wildly out of control and sluggish in mind and spirit. As if an outside force was behaving for me and I was stumbling along behind thinking, “What just happened there?”

Every act took supreme effort, from getting out of bed and asking my husband about his day to feeding animals and remembering, well, anything.

I tried all I could to go through it with grace, without poisoning everything I came in contact with. Sometimes I managed it, other times I failed miserably.

I ate healthy.

I dragged myself out of the house to connect with nature and breathe fresh air.

I reached out to people even though every interaction was fraught with anxiety, panic attacks, and absolute assurance that it was all going to go horribly wrong.

I stuck to a routine that helped me keep life on a functioning level: get up, make breakfast, write article, feed animals, make lunch, etc.

I went to counseling.

I got to a place where I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I needed help. So my doctor put me on a trial run of anti-depressants. What a gift. It was like I’d been imprisoned in a dark cave and suddenly a door opened and I was lead out to a light-filled meadow, lush, green, full of life.

I couldn’t believe it. Those lovely little pills reminded me what Real Life was like, what it felt like to be awake and alert and aware. How unutterably glorious it was to feel connected to people, and myself, and the world again, to not be in constant fear and anxiety, to actually be at peace.

They gave me hope. And much courage.

So I pressed on. The changes were small at first: sleep better, pain diminished, thoughts clearer. And then the healing continued in earnest.

I was finally able to do all the self-care I’d heard about but never had the strength to do. And what a difference it made. I began to see myself with eyes of love and patience and compassion instead of judgment and condemnation. I could forgive myself and cheer myself on in all good things. I could love my husband without fear of failure or rejection. He is so happy to be getting his wife back.

This month I was able to get off anti-depressants completely, and I’ve been celebrating in my heart every single day.

I’ve also been quite emotional this week, not with grief or sadness, but with unabashed gratitude for healing, for life, for hope. I have to keep hugging Bear – much to his amusement – because I see now just how much he has endured over these past couple of years.

He has shown me true unconditional love, love that keeps hoping, keeps believing, keeps caring even in the darkest moments. I’m so glad he believed that I would come back to life, and that he waited for me.

This morning I took the goats out to the mist-shrouded woods.

At first the world seemed dark and indistinct with fog blanketing everything. But when I looked closely, there were exquisite vignettes of beauty, even in the darkness. Dew bejeweled cobwebs, feathery lichen, drenched foxtails looking like starbursts.

As I thought about my own Great Darkness, I saw moments of wondrous beauty there too. Moments of illumination, assurance, healing, and growth. I never, ever want to be roomies with Depression again, but I will forever treasure the things I learned from her: compassion, patience, gentleness, love. She has made the Light very precious indeed.

Wishing you a beautiful week, and light in your darkness. XO

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Nancy - You really are tough and tenacious Krista. Your words and pictures as always are magnificent x

sedona - Meditation and Dharma work is what saved me from years of debilitating depression and
after being on anti-depressant for so long.

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/dharma_in_daily_life/dharma_in_daily_life.html_1791347032.html

sedona - What an inspiring post! So much courage to share this with us. I thank you for that.

Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids, Mate » Rambling Tart - […] and I have been going through some rough times lately dealing with scary health issues that are stressful and send life topsy-turvy. We’ve […]

Jamie - Your story is mine, and mine yours and I wonder how it is that those of us who bury our head under the blankets, in the dark, fearing all end up traveling halfway around the world and settling in a new country, a new life. I know part of it (if not all) is trying to run away from that darkness. But happily something has worked. And thanks to the love and support of good men we will make it. <3

Kyrstie Barcak - The images in this post are truly stunning and very moving. You are strong woman, I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling well again Krista.

Tracy A. - How very wonderful that you looked after yourself in every possible way. You have so much to be proud of!

Cathy - Krista this is a stunning beautiful post that I have found so moving 🙂 Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts my friend xx

Joanne (eats well with others) - I’m so glad you’re back to a happy place again!!

Bethany Bassett - Dear you. I’ve had this post open for the last two days, reading it slowly over and over. You’ve written so well here about the realities of fighting depression, and I can identify with every word of it in a way that makes my heart feel heavy and light all at once. I’m so happy that you’re out of the mist now (and that if it ever comes back, you’ll know exactly what to do). A BIG hug from me to you.

Tandy Sinclair - So glad you have moved forward Krista 🙂

Hotly Spiced - Thank you so much for sharing. You must have endured a lot of difficult, dark times. It’s wonderful to hear how you sought help and have been help by the medication prescribed and by the lifestyle choices you made. I do wish you a total and complete recovery and I’m glad Bear is such a support xx

MyCustardPie - Thanks for your honesty. I’ve been plagued with depression for most of my life and it’s so difficult to admit to or explain. The feelings of worthlessness and guilt are the worst. Celebrating with you – you share such joy.

Anna Johnston - Yep, I agree with your friends words, I don’t know you personally Krista, but virtually, I have watched, read and seen the massive transformation. Your light is so bright, I can see it from here. You my friend have inspired me to keep trucking and believing, because if you don’t give up, you will get ALL you want and dreamed of. Thanks for this post lovely one, it pleases me greatly to know just how well you are doing. Hugs and happy Wednesday to you. xx

Karin@yumandmore - So glad for you Krista, having been there time and time again. It helps to write about it unashamedly as you have done and I as well on my blog occasionally do. Keep your spirits up, as my analyst used to say the soul is like a zipper it goes up and down all your life but sometimes it gets stuck and you need help to fix it. Glad you got the right help and got your husband stuck by you. Right you are to hug him xox

LindyLouMac - Oh Krista, what a beautiful and emotional post, as you know my thoughts are always with you. xx

thefisherlady - (but I will forever treasure the things I learned from her: compassion,
patience, gentleness, love. She has made the Light very precious indeed.)
This… and the rest, is so intimately beautiful

Glamorous Glutton - What a lovely, honest and uplifting post. Thank you for sharing such private thoughts and beautiful pictures. GG

Liz Posmyk - Krista darling, thank you for this beautiful post… I’d love it if you have the chance to listen to this podcast, which I heard in the middle of the night http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/embracing-difference-and-disability/5529228 I thought is sounded very interesting! xox

Wendy - Wow, such great photos, and I had no idea you have suffered through what I believe I’m currently, and have been for the past…ions…? suffering through. I can’t afford therapy, so I continue to do it alone through books and meditation and the like. I’ve always been hesitant of going on any sort of medication, but the way you described life once you went on it sounds like a dream. I read up on and take some natural vitamins and minerals, like B complex, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Zinc, as well as a healthy diet, and I get plenty of exercise and sunshine with my work and living in southern Cali. Inspiring to hear you’ve pulled through and made it to the other side! Leave a light on for me, hope to be there soon myself one of these days.

Jackie Smith - Krista, the words and the photos in this post are some of the most riveting, moving words I’ve ever read. I have a good friend who is struggling now with depression. I am forwarding this one on. And blessings to you for much continued happiness ~ no one deserves it more than you!

Gourmet Getaways - Happy for you, Krista! When you have the courage to tell all these things, it means you are fully healed with grace. Keep it up!

Julie
Gourmet Getways

Krista - Hugs to you, dear Val. XO I’m teary after reading your words, so thankful you’re in my life.

bellini - How well said and encouraging for all of those people that suffer in secret, in darkness, and alone Krista. You have found your rock both physically and metaphorically and have climbed to its tallest pinnacle. Bless you sweet, dear Krista.

Krista - I’m so sorry anxiety is giving you so much grief right now, @cmkim:disqus XO I’m so glad you found hope here. Wishing you much courage and strength as you press on. XO

cm kim - Thank you for your beautiful honesty. I’ve been on a roller coaster with my anxiety and to read about your strength and resilience gives me hope as I struggle through this into something brighter.

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