Healing Depression
I wish I could give you a one-size-fits-all approach.  THIS ISN'T A GUIDE. Just don’t give up.

One time in my thirties, depression hit me hard. I didn't leave the house for two months. It was about all I could do to get up and get dressed. 

It was then I learned about the power of small steps. My mom encouraged me to walk with her before dawn.

Just one block. It was winter. Nothing about going out in the cold and dark appealed to me. 

But reluctantly I agreed.

My shoes. My garden. My journey. Photo Credit: TYME Media

 Every day, we would step out. My ears would zing with frost. The steam from our breath would reach out in front of us as if to light the path. One block turned into two. Sometimes one block turned into many. 

The chill invigorated me.

 The conversations with my mom created a space for self-reflection and intimacy. She shared stories of her own journeys and listened to my struggles. 

 With the help of nature and the cold, my mother loved me back into life, one block at a time. With every new day, strength returned. 

Now, when I am feeling blue, I ask myself: "What is the tiniest thing you can do for yourself?" 

The magnificence of nature. Took this photo on a walk.

It reminds me of this famous saying by Lao Tsu. 

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." 

I don't struggle anymore with the kind of depression I had in my twenties and early thirties — triggered by a traumatic event in my third year at university. It was a trauma that was one too many traumas.

 Along with drinking and a broken heart, I fell apart.

I wasn't suicidal. But I didn't want to be on this earth and often I wished it was my time. 

"I can't live like this for another 50 years." was a recurring thought. 

I cried so much over those years. And when I didn't have work I wouldn't get out of bed. I didn't know how to be around people. 

It was this unbearable feeling that began my journey to healing.

New beginnings (35 years old)

A few years later, I got sober, gave up cigarettes, meat, fish, eggs and dairy. 
I didn't do these things to heal my depression. Something HAD to shift.

  • I got sober to save myself from doing something I'd regret. 
  • I gave up smoking to get my lungs back so I could breathe. 
  • I gave up animal products so I could reclaim my humanity. So I could heal the spiritual damage caused by killing and causing suffering.

I didn't know it when I did it, but these decisions went a long way to balance my chemistry. 

In that same summer, I started my first self-help books:

+ "Shadow Work". Working with Your Shadow: An Imperative on the Spiritual Path by Lazaris
+ Better Boundaries: Owning and Treasuring Your Life BY Jan Black 

+ The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck

These books empowered me to own my life. I threw myself into daily practical exercises. 

This was the summer of my awakening. A book called 'The Key to Immediate Enlightenment' crossed my path. I wanted a spiritual teacher. And I found one. 

 From the moment I read the first page, I knew I was in the right place. This book explained meditation and the different roads we can take. It affirmed my decision to change my lifestyle. 

I immediately arranged to learn how to meditate. 

The heavy part of my depression lifted. And, with patience, a holistic approach and time, my depression eventually healed. 

I do still feel overwhelmed by life sometimes and can feel low. 
I've learned over the years how to manage it when those lows hit. Life can be hard at the best of times.  

I often wonder where I would be if I hadn’t had the love and support from family and friends. And where would I be if I had continued to drink, smoke and eat meat. I especially wonder where I’d be if the right books hadn’t come along at just the right time — especially the one that introduced me to THAT specific meditation.

I know many are not so lucky.

I look back sometimes and know my story could have had a very different ending.

I’m tremendously grateful for every person who has shaped my life. I walk on your shoulders.

I don’t know what will work for you. What I can tell you is that I didn’t give up. And I spoke to anyone who would listen.

If you’re struggling right now or if you want to share what worked, share your story below.

To your love and healing...

...So much love


Copyright 2022

Jo Ntsebeza is a qualified professional coach, facilitator, trainer and lay counsellor.

All works are copyrighted. You may quote me or use no more than a paragraph with a link to the article on my website. 

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Hi, I'm Jo, a qualified coach and facilitator. Host of the Dare To Love Club. Creator of The FreshStart Love Journey. I'm lover of love, a relationship explorer. You can find out more about my story and my professional qualifications and experience here.  xo, Jo

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