Dealing with Depression? The path to Nowhere and Somewhere

I never thought I would never feel this way again. Hollow. empty.

The wind whips around me and I feel no emotion; almost as if the wind could blow right through me and I wouldn’t feel a thing, except maybe the cold chill that comes when you lose all hope. The very thing that keeps you steadfast in your inner peace.

When you have hope you have everything.

I can feel a tiny slimmer of it deseparate to break through the still blackness. But I’m too afraid to let it out now, due to years of throwing all my faith and hope into that thing that is bigger than me and only being disappointed.

What do you call that thing?… God.. the Universe… energy…me?

I’ve given up trying to name it or understand it. I’ve given up trying to even believe in it. Most of the time it feels as if it’s here just to beat you down and remind you of how small you really are.

I never really wanted to believe that. I wanted to see it only full of love and support. The Genie in my bottle. Now that hope seems to be carried away by the wind and I’m left with an empty shell.

Sometimes I wonder if I am suffering from depresssion, that ghastly affliction that leads you to the covering of your pain with drugs, comfy couches or electric shocks. But, I know I am not depressed, just a little shaken.

Dealing with Depression

A lonely place

I know what this pain means. Its just a part of life, the ebb and flow of our emotions. Not to be feared, but in a strange way to be embraced. Embraced for the lesson it is trying to teach us. Embraced for the old it is trying to help us bid goodbye to. Embraced for representing the greater joy that will soon be following it.

I’ve walked these crossroads before. I saw the two paths; one to Nowhere and the other to Somewhere. And all those years ago that tiny slimmer of hope pushed me down to somewhere. I understand my pain and even now, despite the tears and the confusion, I know how to wave goodbye to the Path to Nowhere that beckons I come walk it.

And even though sometimes I think of nowhere and the peace that must come when all your problems disappear, I know that it is not a path that I can ever tread. If I just keep walking on the path to somewhere, even if it is just a crawl, eventually the blackness will fade to light; a light that burns brightly with the hope and promise of a better day.

Part of putting the mojo into your life is understanding that emotions you feel are part of the human experience. They are not to be feared, squashed back into the recesses of your mind, or controlled by pain numbing pills. They are here to be felt and embraced in order to let them pass and open up the way for other, more fulfilling emotions to enter in. You are far more powerful than you give yourself credit for.

PS: Just to make sure my friends and readers don’t worry about me and I have been clear. I am okay and not suffering from depression.

Your Turn to Share Tips:

How do you handle your painful emotions? Do you understand their purpose?

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  • Dalene

    I wish I could 100% agree with you on this on. I really wish U could.

    In the fall of 2007, after my sister died, after my mother-in-law died, after my parents split up, and after fertility treatments failed (all of this happening within four incredible months), I was flailing. I couldn’t work, eat, sleep. I couldn’t “crawl” anywhere because I couldn’t even get out of bed. I suffered from ‘adjustment disorder’ a from of depression akin to post traumatic stress disorder.

    If I hadn’t taken my doctor’s advice and started taking anti-depressants, I might still be in bed. It evened out my emotions and allowed me to finally deal with all the stress and grief. I was previously an unbeliever in such drugs, but my doctor put it to me in a way I couldn’t argue against…she said: “if you had diabetes, you would take whatever I prescribed, right? Thus is no different.”. And she was right.

    I have a lot of depression in my family. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, it is a medical condition. It is not because they are not “strong” enough. I wish I, and they, could fight through it, but it’s not a fight that can be won without help.


    • Caz

      Hey Dalene,
      First of all I am so sorry to hear about the grief you went through during this period, it sounds horrendous and I don’t know how I would have managed through that myself. There are so many different levels of trauma that appears in our lives and we never know just when one of those might push us to to the edge of our natural strengths and abilities to cope.
      I guess this post was insensitive to those who have reached those levels and I do apologise as I never meant it to be so. I know we have such a quick-fix society that many people reach first for the medication without testing the boundaries of what they can do first. I think I was trying to reach out to those people more to help them see that they might be able to find a way to control it first.
      I totally understand that some people do try and just can’t get there themselves first and I absolutely agree then they need to take on other forms of help. I have even told some people I know before that if they felt they just couldn’t cope then to please let the doctors and counsellors help. I’m glad that it was able to give you the strength you need to push past your challenges and pain.
      I do believe though, that we are a lot more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. And, if each day we just take one tiny step forward in reclaiming some of that power back than we are walking the right path to somewhere. Sometimes we may need drugs and counsellors to help us do that and it is okay. It’s doing what you have to do to keep moving forward.


      • Dalene - Hecktic Travels

        I totally agree with you on that point – we do live in a “quick fix” society and I think a lot of people reach for chemical help when there are alternatives.

        I believe we are a lot more powerful then we think too, and sometimes, that power comes from even just admitting that we need help. There is no shame in that.


  • Dalene

    Oops, that big U was supposed to be an I. Stupid iPod! 🙂


    • Caz

      Predicted text can drive me nuts.
      Just one quick question. Do you think going through what you did previously made you a little stronger and that should some trauma happen again you might be able to deal with the stress and grief more or can you not really answer that? Also, do you think your travel experiences you’ve had now would help you with this at all?
      I’m just curious as I think if I had certain stresses and things in my life as I do now and it happened before travel, then I think I would be far less able to cope. This is just something I think about a lot. I think travel has given me so much in my life and helped me in so many ways, I just wonder if someone who has walked that path before would view it in the same way.


  • Dalene - Hecktic Travels

    Oh, I’m not sure I can answer that first one. I would like to think that I am a little better equipped as what happened 100% changed the core of who I am, but then if I think of something like losing Pete…oh shit. I think I would find a new, much lower, “bottom” to the proverbial barrel. Even with regards to how travel has helped, I’m not sure I can answer it either. Largely because I am still figuring it out….4 years may seem like a long time to still be dealing with this, but everyday is an exercise in healing. Some days I try to sit down and write about it all, but the words still aren’t coming.

    All I know from our travels is that both Pete and I are happier then we have ever, ever, been in our lives. The freedom we have, the strength of our relationship, the value we have for every moment of the day….nothing compares. And if we hadn’t gone through the trauma we did, we may not even be traveling. That taught us that life is waaaay too short to be dickin’ around in a cubicle everyday. 🙂


    • Caz

      I often think the only thing that would probably make me not get up ever again was if I lost my little girl. I’m not sure how any parent could ever recover. But you see people that do.
      Writing is such a great form of healing. I often write my crap out and I feel so much better for it. Just let it keep coming. Better out than in, even if no one else reads it.
      One great thing about pain is that it does teach you life is too short, and you appreciate happiness all that much more.


      • Dalene - Hecktic Travels

        That is very true Caz – the cliche of “life is too short” is used by me VERY often now!

        I really think that when Pete and I made the decision to travel, that “the decision” was what finally pulled me through. I needed to make something positive out of it in order to heal, and that decision was it.


  • Toni

    Ok, so time for some severe honesty (that I wouldn’t even admit on my own blog) but at aged (almost) 25 I have suffered with depression for nearly 12 years having everything from mild to severe and even psychotic. My family put my erratic & rebellious behaviour down to being a ‘typical teenager’ and by the time I was diagnosed with psychotic depression I was old enough not to tell anyone and falling into severe depression so kept quiet. It’s meant that I’ve lost the best years of my life to one of the most crippling diseases I have ever known. I pushed the love of my life away, keep my family at a distance (and they can’t understand certain life decisions I’ve made) and sometimes struggle to even speak. I’ve had therapy, been through 10 different medications, almost sectioned several times (but lied because I was so terrified my family would find out) and have attempted to take my own life more times than I would care to admit BUT you know what? I’m not sure I would change it.
    Yes, when I’m at my darkest, words can’t describe the terror and isolation I feel and the bleakness that I see but look at me. Last year, with 11 years of depression in my pocket and a miscarriage 6 weeks before my travels, I packed my bag and travelled solo around Asia for three months! It’s hard enough under normal circumstances but I did it! ME! No one else and with no one’s help. I sat Mount Fuji in all it’s snow capped glory, I learnt to dive and cried tears of pure happiness seeing Manta Rays and I climbed an active volcano to watch the sun rise. Yes there were tears on the beach and at night in bed when my past and my thoughts began to catch up with me but I achieved things I NEVER dreamt possible despite having depression. I knew I was strong before I went but since coming back, I’ve felt invincible!
    I’ve had this demon for almost half my entire existence and I’ve only come to terms with it in the past few years. It still affects me greatly and after coming home became a zombie for 6 months at the realisation I was back but whenever I have a bad day I try and remember that at 24, after 11 years of not thinking I would live to see a certain age, I travelled halfway across the world to discover the strength I had within me all along.


    • Caz

      I feel for you Toni, it sounds horrible. It must be such an amazing feeling for you now knowing that you travelled on your own, defeated your demons to a certain extent and just loved what you did. It’s amazing that power you have reclaimed back.
      You now always have those joyful and powerful memories to fall back on when times get tough. Look at all those things you did. You are powerful beyond measure. This is why I am such a big advocate for travel. It really does help to show you how amazing and strong you and it gives you so many joyful memories to fall back on during those tough times. You always have this sense of there always being something more in your life now. The light, or the path to somewhere so that when you see the path to nowhere, you realize you don’t have to take it anymore.. You understand there is better because you have lived it. And if you have done it once you can do it again right?
      Overcoming your struggles like this Toni, is really inspiring. Don’t look down on it, see it as being a gift just given to you, so that you may in turn help someone else see how they can find the power in themselves.


  • Bishan

    Hi Caz,
    Thanks for your wonderful post, and thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s a great topic and i enjoyed reading it. Thanks also for the others Toni and Dalene for sharing their stories – I have a passion for traveling too, and I am also interested in how other people handle pain and low moods.

    For me painful emotions are part of the rollercoaster of life, and I really struggle with the dips, but love the highs. When I was younger (in my 20’s) I used to ride the highs frequently, and there seemed to be less dips in my low mood. Drinking and partying hard probably helped. Traveling was fantastic for keeping me present to – in a way traveling is one of the best antidotes for low mood.

    A few years ago, after hitting 30, I went on one of the biggest adventures of my life – off to the Jungles of Sri Lanka for travel and also to do medical research (my topic was Organophosphate poisoning – and my work was about trying help save the lives who drank poison to kill themselves when they were overcome with emotion and sadness – a big problem that exists in many parts of rural Asia).

    It was an adventure for me because I’m originally from Sri Lanka and I was getting back to my roots so to speak (after living Down under for most of my life). But in the course of working people who tried to kill themselves i spent a lot of time contemplating depression and suicide. I also started getting into mediation and Yoga and through mediation I learned to be more aware of my own emotions.

    The fact that I was isolated and doing challenging work such as research without a lot of back up, meant that I often felt depressed myself and I was acutely aware of this.

    I am still looking for the answer to your question Caz – of how to deal with painful emotions.

    I knew from the patients I was helping, who were drinking pesticides (a practice equivalent to taking an overdose in the western world) wasn’t the best solution. There must be a better way to deal with painful emotions I thought to myself?

    When I looked at my own low moods, I first found that talking about my problems with those who were willing to listen was a wonderful way to decrease the pain, by feeling less alone. However one of the best therapies for me was given by yourself – ‘Writing!’ -You wrote “writing is such a great form of healing” and I totally agree. Whilst on my travels I wrote an electronic journal where I reflected on both the good times and the bad, the high times, and the times of intense low – and it was in the intense low that I found poetry. And it really helped me

    Anway, thanks again for sharing, and giving me an opportunity to write and share also! It’s nice to hear that all the stories here have light at the end of the tunnel, and some sunshine breaking through the clouds!

    Best Wishes
    Bishan 🙂


    • Caz

      What a story Bishan and thank you so much for sharing. I think being aware of your emotions is so important. Many people don’t realize that often we aren’t really aware of our emotions and what they do to us. I’ve learned from meditation and other teachings as well how to be the watcher, where you can separate yourself from yourself and watch your thoughts, feelings and actions. A lot of the time now I can recognize how some of my actions are just a reflection of the current mood I am in. I understand what I am doing and why, which enables me to control it better. It is a complicated journey to work out, but as long as we are trying to work it out, and learning what is the best way to deal with it and what are not really the best ways, as you learned, than we are making great progress.


  • Heather Thorkelson

    Oh I love this dialogue ladies! So powerful and such a common experience for so many. What I want to celebrate here is that you are showing by example how depression can affect ANYONE…even those of us who live our lives really authentically and seem to “have it all” in the minds of others. Anyone is susceptible, and once we see that/have an open dialogue about it (like we are here in these comments) the sooner more people will discover the strategies and tactics that work for them to move through these dark nights of the soul. I love the honesty and the openness here. So happy to have stumbled across this post and grateful to be a part of this community.


    • Caz

      Thank you for finding us Heather and welcome. I agree with your comments. It is great to hear everybody’s experiences. Depression seems to hit so many people. I hope we as a society can find ways to make it easier for those who go through it.


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