By Melinda Carbis-Reilly
I closed the door behind me as I left work and let my forced smile drop. I continued to hold back the tears that were burning my eyes in an effort to control the unbearable sadness that filled every inch of my being. I stood at the door trying to find my calm, gripping tightly onto the handle as though it could offer solace and help me find peace in my heart. I slowly released my grip from the handle after it offered me no refuge and walked defeated and full of dilapidated energy back to my house, only a few steps away, praying and begging, ‘I can’t take it anymore. Please stop challenging me; I need a break. Just give me a break please!’ By now, the built-up tears were streaming down my face, and my whole being felt depleted and drained. I had nothing left to give, yet everyone still needed so much from me. I couldn’t see the end, I didn’t feel hope, I was overcome with despair.
This overwhelmingly sad and defeated feeling was becoming a regular sensation for me. After spending much of my life seeing the light and finding the positive in all situations, I was lost as to how I got to this place. My usual mantra, ‘There is no such thing as a bad experience. It is either awesome or a growth opportunity,’ was nowhere to be seen as I struggled to feel joy in things that usually gave me so much pleasure. I felt disconnected and alone even when I was not.
I walked into my home and collapsed on the lounge, crying.
I thought to myself: I am depressed. Not just sad but truly, deeply depressed like my soul was crushed and the life I once felt inside of me was zapped out and a miserable, colourless zombie had taken over. I kept this feeling to myself. I was ashamed of how I felt. How could I be so self-centred, and what did I have to be depressed about?
At this point in my life – I was 35 – I had just opened the doors of my dream workspace, a wellness sanctuary right outside my front door. It was everything I had imagined and more. I was a practising naturopath and felt absolutely driven and passionate about my work. It wasn’t work for me – juggling my time, helping people take control of their health and teaching fitness classes for a living. How incredible! What a blessing! Albeit, it was a new business, so I didn’t make a living from it; but you get my drift. I also had, and still have, the most amazing husband. He loves me unconditionally. He lifts me up, holds my hand and inspires me to be everything I am supposed to be. He is my best friend and my soul mate. He is a huge blessing in my life. My not-so-tragic story continues as I share with you that I have two beautiful boys that I adore and three lovely step-children. I couldn’t be more fortunate with my parents and siblings either.
But here I am, sobbing. I was ashamed of how I felt. I had no right to feel this way; how can I not know how to fix it? I was lost as I searched for answers.
Depression isn’t always about what your current situation is presenting to you. Past wounds that haven’t healed or an inability to reconnect with your true self have a large role in this debilitating condition. Your dark side can present itself with little to no warning and take you quickly into the pits of despair. It was in my most fortunate years that I suffered the most.
This wasn’t the start nor the end of my journey through depression. This wasn’t my darkest day or the day I started to heal and recover; it was just a day, a day that has stood out in my memory because of my prayer. I didn’t pray for guidance or be thankful for the learnings I was to receive. I was begging for a break from the pain I couldn’t bear any longer. I was fighting what the universe was trying to teach me, what God, or whatever you like to call your higher power, was trying to show me about myself. I had healings and freedom awaiting me, but I couldn’t see it. I could only feel the pain and begged for it to go away. I was closed of to my spirit and didn’t realise it.
My prayer for reprieve was not granted. The pain got worse over the coming months, which in no time turned to a year. It has been one of the toughest experiences I have gone through, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. I reflect on it as a beautiful evolution of my soul. Without it, I would not have the empathy for the other 45% of Australians who, at some stage in their life, have or will experience anxiety or depression. Without my experience with depression, I wouldn’t have been given the opportunity to look deeply into my soul and course correct where I had started to detour away from my path. Without this illness knocking me to my knees, I would have continued to take my life for granted. I am eternally grateful for my eyes opening this way.
I write this book now in my quest to help others defeat this debilitating and life-threatening condition. An illness that is understated and under recognised. A condition that isolates its sufferers and leaves them feeling ashamed and alone. I want to share what I learnt and how I have come to see the sun shine once again. This book is a combination of tools to assist your physical, mental and spiritual well-being to help you heal your body, your mind and repair your soul. If I only help one person recover from this soul-sucking condition without reaching the levels of despair that I frequently visited, then every word and second spent writing this will be worthwhile.
I write this with love to you from my heart. I am with you in your journey, and I hold your hand now as you bravely take back your health or help a loved one take back theirs.
*This is the introduction from Melinda Carbis-Reilly’s new book Diggin’ Your Dark Side, New Holland Publishers RRP $26.99 available from all good book retailers or online www.newhollandpublishers.com