I have a theory about depression.
I must preface by saying that I am not a doctor or psychologist, but I have experienced depression and this theory originates from my experiences and discussions with other people experiencing depression.
According to BeyondBlue, one in six people will experience depression at some point in their lives. Linked to depression are both self-harm behaviours and suicide. I have had suicidal thoughts and I made it through it. I'm still here and I am so grateful.
Please contact Lifeline if you are feeling suicidal 131 114 (in Australia) or the equivalent in your country.
I was first diagnosed with depression, post-partum my third child, but I definitely had a lot of signs before that into my
teens and early 20s. It was recommended that I take anti-depressants, but it never felt right to me, I don’t even take paracetamol when I have a headache, so I’m not likely to have more serious medications! I did go through a lot of counselling but art therapy and journalling worked the best for me.
Anyway, back to the theory. My theory goes like this: we all live our lives following what society says – our parents and families, schools, peers and so on and that’s how we are socialised into the world. That is not to apportion any blame of parents, after all, we parents are doing the very best that we can in the world. But within that life that we live, our identity is built by external forces, starting with gender roles, expectations of behaviour learned from modelling by our parents, television and our peers and increasingly YouTube. Even our name to some extent defines who we are before we ourselves even have a chance to figure it out.
When we are driven by external forces we lose ourselves. We are not quite sure who we are. We are not quite sure who we were born as and who we were destined to be and we spend the rest of our lives remembering who we are. That’s where depression comes in. It is a place of not knowing exactly who you are in a world where you don’t feel like you have a say or have any power to change the trajectory of your life. It is a place where you feel like your life is out of your hands and you are playing a role.
It is a dark and dismal place and like all great self journeys, you have to reach rock bottom in order to find your way out. Within the darkness, we face our greatest fears, our shadow selves, negative self-talk and rid ourselves of all of those things we thought we were in order to emerge as our creative selves. If we don’t do that deep work to shed who the world told us we were, we will never be able to be our authentic wonderful selves.
For me, depression felt like my true self was trapped inside my heart and I wasn’t quite sure how to find my way out, or back or to open that door. But it presented for me as a blocking of my heart chakra with bars and chains and boxes, no-
one could get in but more importantly, nothing could get out.
If I look back on my life, when I was depressed, I had no control, no creativity and felt like life was happening to me. I didn’t feel like I had taken charge of my life.
I do now. I feel completely empowered, creative and in the “drivers’ seat” so to speak. I haven’t had a bout of depression for a long time. I have moments of sadness triggered by hormones, bad food choices or adolescent daughters, but other than that I finally feel like I am being authentically who I was born to be.
It’s strange how at 41 I feel like I have stripped back the layers of who I thought I was based on who the world told me I was and I can finally be the authentic, beautiful me that I was born to be and I AM AMAZING!
Depression, for me, was a reaction to a world where I felt disempowered and out of control of my destiny. As a mum, I have come to the realisation that despite having similar life experiences and exactly the same genes, my daughters are completely different from each other and that no matter what I do, they will be who they will be. My job is not to stifle their creativity or their authentic selves, but to create space where they can be themselves and nurture the things that bring them joy. It is a difficult thing to not put my own values and judgements on them and to find the balance to help them to contribute to the world, but not to tell them how to live their lives. It’s a hard balance. And I am not perfect. I make mistakes.
Depression is not a life sentence. It is a reflection of hiding your true self behind a mask of what is expected. Since I started to let those masks fall away I have been the happiest I have ever been. I am more creative, expressive, expansive and my heart is filled with joy every day when I wake up and am grateful for my life.
Life is amazing. You are amazing. Let yourself shine.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
*Please seek the advice of a professional if you are having suicidal thoughts. This blog is written from my experience only, if it works for you, excellent! If not, see a doctor.
Our souls are deep, throbbing entities that exist within and around us and more importantly around other people. When we connect sexually with another our energies merge with theirs and if we are sleeping with a lot of people, are we aware of where our energies are going?
We all love it.
We all want it.
But we don’t talk about it in a way that values its sacredness enough.
I have had a few one-night stands. They are not for me. I don’t think it’s worth the short term pleasure in the long-term, but that’s just me. I wish I could be one of those people who can do one-night-stands or short-term flings, but the emotional cost is too much. I give my heart fully to every moment and every person and when that isn’t reciprocated I destroy myself with mental angst.
Deep connection is what I want. Not just random sex with a stranger; deep intimacy and letting down all those barriers that we put up to hide ourselves from others. I have friends who do find deep intimacy with short-term partners and I’m happy for them, they go with the flow, are happy with being in the moment, but when I connect with someone, it’s not just for the night. I’m a deep thinker and a deep lover, I want depth. I deserve depth.
Not only that, I wish to fully honour my man who is being vulnerable enough to share with me. I want to honour the man that he is and make him feel like a God. So often we forget that fear of being vulnerable happens to both men and women and it takes enormous courage to strip back those layers and be vulnerable. I want to honour that courage. I want to honour that in a man who would be vulnerable to be loved, caressed and connect deeply, wow, I look forward to that moment!
Somehow I think that like in every area of my life, I expect others to see the world the way that I do and that for me one-night stands are sort of like junk food in a diet. You enjoy it occasionally, but it doesn’t make up the bulk of your daily needs. It’s about moderation. I have had an abundance of (particularly) younger men proposition me, but I just can’t do it. I barely know their name, let alone want them to see me naked. If I’m going to get naked with someone, I want it to be meaningful.
I wish I could do friends-with-benefits, but I can’t. I can’t just switch off my heart and pretend that the time we share in intimacy means nothing. I can’t pretend that I’m just a sexual being as separate to a heart-centred woman. I am a beautiful, sensual woman who loves sex, just like you. And fuck, I deserve an amazing lover who will be a friend as well.
For me, sex is a sacred connection between two people and it seems like our culture has cheapened it with meaningless encounters with strangers. With all the work that I’ve done on sacred sexuality with Leyolah at Kundalini Dance _in the past 12 months, it brings back into my focus that every interaction we have is a soul interaction. And the energy that we generate during sex can be transcendental for both people, so to release all that energy in a meaningless encounter seems like a waste of that build up.
We are souls connecting, and souls are not superficial, they are deep. Our souls are deep, throbbing entities that exist within and around us and more importantly around other people. When we connect sexually with another our energies merge with theirs and if we are sleeping with a lot of people, are we aware of where our energies are going?
I, for one, want my energy connecting deeply in every interaction with others, but sexually, I want to connect with just one. I want all of my energy connecting in that space with one other soul and to experience that spiritual bliss that accompanies the sexual experience. I guess that because my focus has always been my spiritual growth, why would my sexuality be any different?
We are spiritual beings having a physical experience and sexuality is the perfect union of the physical and spiritual aspects of ourselves, so why would we make it less of what it could be without the spiritual aspect? I am learning to love what is.
I am a delicious, sexy, juicy woman and I love sex. It makes me feel alive, pulsing with life force energy and until my friend, adventure buddy, companion and lover finds me, I’ll have to continue to enjoy the bliss and pleasure that I can create with my own body and the Universe because sex without connection, that’s just not for me.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
Every moment of my life has prepared me for this moment.
This moment when I am standing at a precipice of faith, trust, surrender.
Where I have let go of expectations, attachments and of everything that no longer serves me.
I am jumping.
I am taking a leap of faith into a place which brings me bliss and joy.
I said a few months ago that writing a novel is a bit like a leap of faith, you just have to start writing and the story unfolds. Even Tolkien, didn’t know that The Ranger would be waiting in the Inn when the Hobbits arrived. Every story is a bit of a surprise, but more so you trust that when you sit down and write, you will be taken somewhere amazing, as it is with life. We have no idea where we will be led and often we make plans or goals only to be taken somewhere we least expected it.
I left Australia as a 23-year-old, planning to spend at least five years adventuring around the world. My heart always fell to the UK. I spent years planning my trip, saved and scrimped and spent hours looking at all of the places that I would go. The trip was broken up into parts; I would do a trek in Thailand, work on a Kibbutz in Israel and then go to the UK where I had a job lined up in a summer camp in Scotland. I had a great trek in Thailand, made it to Israel and was terrified by the weapons and soldiers on the Lebanese border. But it was in Israel that I met a soul-sister and I travelled with her and another spunky Aussie who I had run into a few times. I had time before my job started in Scotland, so I went with them to Egypt.
Despite my well-laid plans, within months of leaving Australia, I had met a man and the universe had taken me somewhere I had never intended on going. Of course, I had hoped to meet someone on my travels, but I secretly hoped to meet a blue-eyed Englishman with a super-sexy accent. Instead, the universe delivered me a black-eyed, super-charming and handsome Arab. That was my “Sliding Doors” moment. I was faced with a near-impossible choice; to continue with my travel dreams or to see where the relationship would go. My logic was that I could always return to the UK, it was just a place, but I needed to see where the relationship would go or I would regret it. Three children, a divorce and 14 years later I have accepted that I might never get to the UK to fulfil that dream and perhaps I was never meant to go there.
I have always struggled with trusting in relationships and money, yet it has always come to me in the perfect space-time. I have everything I need at this point in my life and I wake every day and say thank you for what I have. While I wish I had been to the UK to see what would have happened, I wouldn’t swap my kids or my massive spiritual growth that my ex-husband gave me. He taught me about trust, anger, conflict resolution and he gave me the honour of being a mother I still remember the feeling in that moment of making that choice. Either way, I imagine I would have experienced the same growth and learning.
In the past few days, I have been asking myself what is missing? What is that thing that I’m not quite getting about money and relationships that I don’t just trust them to come. I spend hours worrying about both of these aspects of my life when I have no reason to doubt that everything I need is coming at the right time. What I am missing is that I probably spend too long planning and setting goals for them. Perhaps we have been told one giant lie about goal setting. It’s good to have some direction, but it’s very cerebral. It’s not following the heart. I’m not saying not to have some sense of where you want to be or go, but perhaps we need to broaden our directions then let go more and be led by what brings us joy. I loved travelling and as I was travelling I came across some amazing experiences and people and I am so grateful for all of those things. Maybe we need to have a sense of a general direction, but to be open to what is offered by the Universe.
I am writing and creating and filling my life with things that I love. I’m not quite sure where they are leading me, but I have some sense of an idea and I’m excited by that. When I worry about money or men, I fill my head up with things I don’t want instead of the things that I do want. I have taken a leap of faith by moving away from a career that has financed my life and doing things that I love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My days are filled with joy and gratitude and I can only anticipate that the money will follow when it is the right time. Similarly, I have an amazing life and one day a beautiful man will knock on my door and want to share this amazing journey with me. I cannot control it. All I can do is to be open to the possibilities that arrive and say ‘yes’ to what comes.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
I have always been “awake”. It’s strange but in some way I always had this expectation that everyone saw the world the same way I did, but it was the toughness of school that showed me how very wrong I was. What does it mean to be awake; to be aware? I was called sensitive and told I was reading into things too much, but I knew things, I could sense things, I could feel things that other people couldn’t and at the time I lacked the vocabulary to do anything about it, so I stopped speaking. I stopped speaking my truth for fear that I would be judged or ridiculed.
The first time I meditated the teacher asked what we all experienced and I replied that I felt myself leave my body and view the class from above. The whole class laughed. I didn’t meditate again for years. It was then that I found the vocabulary for that particular experience – astral travel.
Lately, I am seeing and meeting so many people that have had a somewhat rude awakening, through a health issue, accidents or some other major disaster that shows them how they are seeing the world in a way that doesn’t serve them. We also have collective awakenings; Lady Diana’s death and more recently Cyril the Lion and the babies washing up on the beaches in the Mediterranean. But I have always been awake and I am seeing more and more people starting to see the world in the way that has always felt right to me. It's so exciting! People are starting to see the world the way that I always have and for the first time in my life I’m starting to not only feel like I belong, but that I have the skills and vocabulary to share my knowledge and also to show the way. It feels weird to say that.
It’s an odd thing, but I’ve never felt like I fit in anywhere: school, university, teaching, my family of birth and especially social situations. I have a tendency to say what I think and dispense of all polite small-talk. I can think of nothing more mind-numbing than small talk! Let’s talk about the big stuff, about how we feel and be deeply honest with ourselves and each other. Honesty, I think is the most important quality in a person. I saw a quote that said something like: "you never fit in because you were born to create a new world," and it makes sense to me. I am birthing a new world, one where the way I have always seen it is coming to me and I don't have to keep trying to fit in.
According to Dictionary.com, to be awake is to not be sleeping or to have “different images awaken new emotions within us.” But it’s more than just not being asleep. To me, being awake means that you are a conscious being who is aware of the temporary nature of the human, physical experience. To Eckhart Tolle defines awakening as “a shift in consciousness” where thinking and awareness separate. The Internet abounds with plenty of definitions on the subject, but it’s ultimately more than a cognitive awareness that we exist. According to Brett Jones Perth author of the book, Awaken, awakening is “living in the moment, experiencing life as it is.”
We live in a world where we are conditioned to behave in a certain way and expected to follow instructions. As a teacher, I have plenty of experience in conditioning young people into behave in a way that society expects, often through the use of guilt or disappointment in the child, but more-so in seeing their soul, their humanity and the potential of what might be. But what I’ve learned is that people have their own way of being, but it seems that we are so confused to truly be ourselves – that is to be awakened – that we stumble our way through the world, never quite sure if we are doing the right thing and worrying about fitting in, when it should be the world adjusts to fit us. If you think of a flower or a plant, it grows towards the light, towards the open spaces and the trees and plants adjust to this new presence. So it is with people. Life is about the moments; the presence that you are.
I have recently discovered an amazing YouTuber Ralph Smart from Infinite Waters and spend three minutes watching this video (after you read my blog of course) and I think he is spot on, we have been conditioned to be a certain way in the world and none of us are happy about it but we are too scared to do anything about it in-case we “lose our jobs”. I met a man yesterday who had an awful day at work making a decision about mining activity which he viewed as something that would affect his children for decades. He was so scared of losing his job that he sat in his unhappiness. He could express his opinion at his workplace, but he wouldn’t quit that fear of not having the “security” of a job crippled him.
And I think that’s the core of what I’m saying, we are so scared of following our hearts to a truth that we know and love and of what brings us and others joy, of following our hearts to a compassionate Earth that we are starting to see emerge all because of a life we THINK we are supposed to be living.
What is “normal”? Is it normal to do what others are doing? At the end of the day none of us really know why we are here or how to do “adult” so we copy what others do. Of course that’s a great way to learn, but we already know deep within us how we want to be, the person within us that longs to write, draw, create, help others, plant seeds (literal and metaphorical) and allow that soul that is within us to shine.
On the other side of that fear is joy, an authenticity where you can strip back who you thought you were and be who you were born to be. Disconnect from the world and re-connect with Gaia, the Earth. Re-connect with yourself. Be normal? Hell, no! I am extraordinarily unique, I always have, always will be. The difference is that now, I’m not afraid to show it.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015