Tomorrow I celebrate my personal Independence Day… freedom from fear, from depression, from death.
Seven years ago, I was driving home from a business meeting that had gone terribly awry. I was crying and imagining how it was going to be when I got home. My husband was out of town. I would be coming home to an empty house.
And I was planning to end my life by committing suicide.
This was a not a snap decision. Nor a momentary idea borne out of excruciating internal pain from my current situation.
But rather, I had been considering this a long time. I had visited this dark solution in my mind often.
In my childhood, I felt unseen. In my teens, I felt alone and unsupported. In my twenties, I clung to a poorly chosen husband and felt unloved. In my thirties, I pondered my unfulfilling life. And in my forties, I tried my very best but it was never enough.
Shortly after my 40th birthday, my [new] husband and I started a new venture together. A business that allowed my perfectionism and people-pleasing to fully develop and crush me from the inside.
I fell back into that deep chasm. “The Pit”, I called it. An abyss where you are so deeply enveloped in darkness and isolation that you cannot even imagine that there is light.
At the bottom of The Pit is where absolute lies are told with the sincerity of the truth. Your mind listens to them and becomes paralyzed and ashamed. You are unable to reach out for help as you believe that you are unworthy of it.
That’s where I was that day seven years ago. At the bottom. In the dark. Believing that I had no value to offer the world. That my exit from it was my only option.
And then my mind changed. It sounds ridiculous as I write it, but it happened that fast.
“Go to the place that soothes your soul,” said The Voice,
"You know where that is … go to the Ocean, to the Beach.”
I cannot say with a 100% certainty if it was God or my guardian Angel (I now firmly believe in both) who prompted me to seek comfort. But my mind shifted in an instant from extinction to self-preservation.
I wish I could tell you that the way back to wellness, to wholeness, was a smooth transition of confidence and ease. It was not.
There was sadness, grief, soul searching, separation, confusion, weeping and seeking.
And eventually, tiny tendrils of joy. Creeping up out of the muck, very gently and slowly at first, bringing a freshness to my outlook, and returning hope back to my heart.
And now, Hope holds permanent residence there, along with its other companions: Peace, Joy and Love.
This is my Before and After story.
Before, I was afraid. I operated out of fear.
Afraid I would not be loved.
Afraid of being alone.
Afraid of not having a purpose.
Afraid of being seen and judged.
Afraid to stop and care for myself or I would lost the race.
Afraid of failure.
And now I am living in the After where I focus on love, truth, joy and peace.
I love my husband who loved me when I thought I was un-love-able.
I love my friends, who held my hand and gave me safe haven to figure things out.
I love my family, who always loved me and believe in my potential.
I love my mentors, who have held space for me to grow and guided me.
I love my purpose, which is to guide others along their path.
I love myself by caring for my body with movement and nourishment.
I love myself by seeking wholeness and wellness.
I love myself and who I am becoming.
I seek truth as I listen to my Inner Voice, knowing that I can trust it.
I find joy and miracles in the minutia of daily life.
And, when I remove myself from all of the noise,
I find peace waiting for me.
On October 13, 2009, I thought it was the end.
On October 14, 2009, I began again, re-birthed through pain and sorrow, seeking the light.
The anniversary date has become a day of remembrance, tearful gratitude and celebration.
I call it Independence Day, not because I don’t need anyone or anything, or because I have overthrown an oppressive ruler. But because I have embraced true freedom: the infinite abundance of living a continuous string of Divinely-infused moments.
I am free from the illusion that I was alone, unloved, unworthy and without purpose.
I am free to live as God designed me - as a vessel of light, love and unlimited potential.
And tomorrow, I am going to the beach.
This story is dedicated to two of my friends (you know who you are) who shared your own Before/After stories with me; and for all those women out there who battle depression and wonder if they can ever really feel hope, love, peace and joy again. You can.