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Jennifer Boykin Headshot

Should I Die Or Should I Go To Work?

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So, as it turns out, I have depression. Well, actually, I "HAD" depression, but now that I'm "all better," I can tell you about it.

The reason I didn't know I was depressed was because I was happy. Or, at least, I felt like I "should" be happy. After all, we're in our dream house now. I've never lived anywhere as beautiful as this.

And, my work is going really, really well. And I'm thrilled and humbled and blessed beyond all expectations to be able to show up and serve Beautiful You in the way that I do.

Thank you for that, by the way.

But, even though I was intellectually happy, none of it was sinking it. I felt flat. Like joy just wouldn't stick to me. The idea of joy would come to me, but then it couldn't get any purchase and it just sort of slid down the outside of me -- never really getting in.

After some months of this -- it takes me a while to stop trying to fix things myself -- I went to the doctor. And found out I was depressed.

This isn't my first dance at the Depression Ball. I remember, back in my single mom days, thinking this for a while:

"Should I die? Or, should I go to work?"

Not kidding.

Anyway, I recognized that thought as being "outside the norm," and got the help I needed.

But this time was different. Because THIS TIME, I was told that I would ALWAYS have a propensity for depression. In other words, it's gonna come back.

Even though I'm happy.

I'm a trauma survivor. And some of that trauma happened when I was very very young. The doctor explained to me that early childhood trauma is particularly damaging because your brain is being "built" at the same time. It builds itself around the trauma and thus, for the rest of your life, your brain reacts to what would otherwise be "normal" trials, with a heightened response.

This is going to sound really funny, but when I found out about this brain trauma, I was really really depressed.

And mightily PISSED.

I mean, my whole early life, the one conviction that got me through is that "they" weren't going to "break me." Whoever "they" were.

But, as it turns out, "they" did!

I've always tried to be tougher than I feel. Sure, bad stuff happened. But lots of people have bad stuff happen to them. For me, these are the highlights: Alcoholism, abandonment, dead baby, divorce -- other than the death of my daughter, there's not so much here outside the "norm" of sad stuff.

So you see I had my feelings -- which were just feelings.

Where I get into trouble are my feelings about my feelings. In other words, my judgments. (click to tweet)

As a kid, I was always ridiculed for my sensitivity. You just gotta toughen up, right?

But here's the thing: I kinda sorta really dig my "oversensitive" nature.

It is true that I feel things really, really deeply. And it is true, that that trait has sometimes caused me more pain than it seems that others feel.

But it is also true that, because of this, I notice stuff. Really, really IMPORTANT STUFF -- like underlying truths, patterns of behavior, false motives, manipulation, beauty, spirituality -- I have a deliciously heightened sense of awareness of the glorious stuff of life.

And I also suffer more acutely than others I know.

You take the "good" with the "bad." My task is to learn how to protect my beautiful heart without blocking off the gorgeous connection it allows.

And I'm still learning how to do this. I expect this will be a lifelong journey, and I'm okay with that.

Because that skill/ defect/ "oversensitive" soft spot is also why I can show up in the way that I do to serve Beautiful You. Finally, it all "makes sense" and I seek to embrace my gorgeous "oversensitive" heart -- not amputate it.

The price for that, though, is that sometimes, my feelings get "stuck," and I need a little help getting back to equilibrium.

So be it.

Here's the thing -- Whatever we resist persists.

The quicker we come to terms with the reality of our current life situation -- whatever that may be -- the quicker we can embrace solutions to the challenges before us.

I am told that depression is a pretty common "problem" for women at midlife. I'm sharing my story with you to help normalize it. I want to use my experience to serve you because I've learned that sharing the tough stuff mitigates it.

If what I've share sounds familiar to Beautiful You, if you feel "stuck" emotionally, please reach out to your medical provider.

There is no reason to suffer. And, once you lift the veil of depression, remarkable things become possible again.

Note: If you're stuck because of sorrow, worries, regrets and the like, please join more than 4000 of my readers and get your free copy of my book, Breakthrough. How to Get On with It When You Can't Get Over It. And please share this link with others who might also need support.

Photo: Flickr, Kevin Dooley

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