Anxiety or Depression?
by Diane Linsley
Seven years before my divorce, I had a dream in which I was told
that I would soon have to make a choice between suicide or getting
divorced. That freaked me out.
In retrospect, I see that the dream wasn't about physical suicide.
It was warning me about the death of my true self, which was
being crushed by the marriage. The thought of divorce was anxiety-
provoking, but staying married to a narcissist was worse.
Facing a Dilemma
I managed to put off making the decision for a long time by doing
many other things, including some pretty intensive spiritual work.
But ultimately, there was no escape from having to make the final
Soon after my kundalini awakening, the precognitive dreams came back more intensely than before. My soul wouldn't let me rest in complacency. It was calling me to make a choice. I could stay and die in a marriage where I wasn't allowed to live my life purpose, or I could leave to face the world and achieve what my soul came here to do. Three days after my kundalini awakening, I had an OBE in which I talked to a spirit guide about my dilemma. Speaking as my soul, I told him how frustrated I was with Diane's life. I was ready to leave that life and move on.
He said that there was still much that I could learn as Diane, and I needed to go back. So I reluctantly returned to my body. Six months later, I realized that I really needed to get divorced. I was extremely anxious, but I moved forward one day at a time. Each day, as I faced new challenges, the inspiration for what to do and the courage to do it came to me as needed.
Hollis says, "The daily confrontation with these gremlins of fear and lethargy obliges us to choose between anxiety and depression....Anxiety will be our companion if we risk the next stage of our journey, and depression our companion if we do not. Psychological or spiritual development always requires a greater capacity in us for the toleration of anxiety and ambiguity....Faced with such a choice, choose anxiety and ambiguity, for they are developmental, always, while depression is regressive."
When I read that, I understood why I was torn between staying married (even if it meant dying) or getting divorced and losing everything I'd ever known, including my house and property (with a 3-acre garden that I'd been creating for 12 years), my religion (which had become meaningless in the face of my own spiritual experiences), and many relatives and acquaintances who didn't approve of my divorce. I gave it all up to follow the path that my soul had planned for me.
I basically lost everything I'd worked for during the first half of life in order to pursue meaning and purpose in the second half of life. For me, it was truly a death and a rebirth into a new life.
Choosing Between Anxiety and Depression
I chose anxiety over depression. I've had episodes of depression before, but I've always tilted more towards the anxiety side of the spectrum. Gee, I didn't know that was a good thing!
Depression is a state of being stuck when we aren't challenging ourselves to grow. Progression is always accompanied by some degree of anxiety as we face our fears.
James Hollis says, "Standing up to our fear is perhaps the most critical decision necessary in the governance of life and the recovery of the soul's agenda in the second half of life."
But too much anxiety can be paralyzing. I was paralyzed for nine months after deciding to get divorced because I didn't know how to proceed. I was also going through the grieving process. I felt like I was on a roller coaster - swinging between intense anxiety and heartbreaking grief. I felt like I was crashing along the bottom over and over.
James Hollis says, "Grieving is an honest affirmation of the value of the original investment of energy. No grief, no true investment occurred."
I spent a year in therapy working through the grieving process. Meanwhile, my ex-husband started shopping for a new McMansion just 3 weeks after I told him that I was considering a divorce. His behavior confirmed what I'd been experiencing for 26 years but had been unable to admit to myself - that the marriage meant very little to him beyond enhancing his ego facade in the world.
Changing the Map of Reality
On top of the grieving process, my map of reality was going through a major overhaul because I was learning so much in my coach training. I was being exposed to new ways of thinking and acting that I'd never heard of before. In spite of the hopefulness of this new paradigm, it required me to change deeply ingrained patterns and a lifetime of unresourceful beliefs.
That's not easy to do at any time! But there's no better time to overhaul your map of reality than when you need to :)
In spite of all the help I was receiving, I was still fearful. Could I trust my soul? Would following my soul's guidance really be enough? What kind of life was I going to have now? My ego was terrified.
James Hollis says that the ego and the soul will always be at odds. Ultimately, we have to choose between the two.
Understanding my Soul's Journey
A turning point in my understanding of the soul came when I was diagnosed with Graves disease in 2016. I was bedridden for the first month, so I used the time to catch up on some reading. This is when I encountered the amazing soul journey books by Michael Newton.
The timing couldn't have been better. I was finally able to piece together everything I had experienced thus far - the OBE's and lucid dreams, the premonitions, and all the disparate parts of my life that just seemed like a jumbled mess before. It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and suddenly seeing what the whole picture was going to be - even though it wasn't finished yet.
You'd think that having clarity about one's life purpose would alleviate the anxiety and depression once and for all, right? Well, it doesn't quite work that way. There's less ambiguity, but I still have to cope with emotions. The good news is that I have a map of reality that puts it into perspective.
James Hollis says, "The way out of a depression is through it, asking not what I, the ego consciousness, want, but what the soul wants."
Anxiety and depression are normal reactions to many of life's challenges. If these feelings go on for too long, we may need professional help. But most of the time, these feelings are barometers for how we are handling our challenges. Am I avoiding growth and new opportunities? That leads to depression. Am I moving forward and challenging myself? Here comes anxiety!
Anxiety and Goals
John Assaraf says, "Feel the fear, and do it anyway." Bill Harris says, in his success course, that if your goals don't scare you, they're not big enough.
This reminds me of a dream I had shortly after my divorce, which showed me where I was ultimately going in my coaching career.
At the beginning of the dream, I was sitting in my massage therapist's office, and she was consulting with an unfamiliar man about how to help me. They decided that I needed to "learn how to ski." I knew this was a metaphor for doing something I'd never done before, which seemed scary.
The man looked into my eyes, and I felt my brow chakra buzzing. The room went dark, and I heard his voice booming in my head, saying, "Are you afraid?!" I replied, "Yes." I was terrified, but I was also determined. My third eye was activated, and my vision returned.
Then my massage therapist said, "Stand on my hands." As I did so, she activated my kundalini energy, which ascended through all my chakras to the crown of my head. I flew out of her office, and I went out into the world where I proceeded to perform my life's work as a coach.
I often think of this dream and other dreams that pointed to my path, and it gives me courage. I know I'm on the right path. I don't need anyone else to confirm that. But I still feel anxious sometimes because the path that my soul has chosen is very challenging for me as Diane (the ego).
Anxiety is normal, but too much anxiety can lead to adrenal fatigue, which can cause depression, along with physical health problems. I'm certainly not advocating pushing yourself too much. There's a fine line between challenging yourself and unconsciously allowing the voice of the Pusher to run your life. I practice Voice Dialogue to get clear about which inner voices are running my life.
Since I often choose anxiety over depression, I need ways to cope with anxiety so I don't get paralyzed or burned out. Here are some of my favorite coping mechanisms. Keep in mind that I am not a medical doctor or a psychiatrist, and this is not meant as medical advice for any person. This is just what I do in my own life, and it works for me.
Coping with Anxiety
1. I do lots of meditation: Holosync, chakra chants, guided meditation and tonglen. EFT also helps. Research shows that people with anxiety disorder (a severe form of chronic anxiety) always have brain lateralization, which is an imbalance between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This can be corrected using binaural beat technology (Holosync), which synchronizes the hemispheres by balancing the brainwaves. 2. Compassionate self-talk: I reassure myself that my feelings are normal for a person in my situation. I comfort and encourage myself. 3. Regular, moderate exercise. Dr. Mercola says that exercise is the most effective treatment for depression. It also helps with anxiety.
4. Breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing has beeen associated with increased anxiety. Relax your shoulders and expand your abdomen when breathing. Focus on breathing down into your solar plexus or even lower.
5. Take an afternoon nap. Laying down for an hour (sleeping or not) helps to renew the adrenals. I listen to Holosync during my nap, and I start out every nap with 30 deep, conscious breaths. I often fall asleep before I get to 30, which is great!
7. Eat a balanced diet with adequate protein and healthy fats for balancing blood sugar. Take vitamins and herbs that calm the nervous system: B-complex, calcium & magnesium, lemon balm, passion flower and chamomile. I like Muscle Cramp/Tension Formula by Pure Encapsulations. A high-potency multivitamin is essential. I take Nutrient 950 by Pure Encapsulations. Here's a video that explains why nutrient supplementation works better than drugs for most mental health problems.
8. Do something fun every day :)
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