I was diagnosed with depression as a teenager. I haven’t been medicated for it since the mid-90s and I’ve been able to manage it well through diligent self-care practices. However, every now and then, it occasionally pops up and reminds me that it’s still there.

What’s interesting though is that my depression isn’t sadness. It’s numbness.

And while that may not sound that bad at first, being the kind of person who typically feels emotions very intensely, nothing makes me feel more NOT like myself than feeling nothing at all. Big emotions feel quite normal for me … numbness does not.

I’ve yet to experience an emotion that’s as disconcerting to me as this numbness. Unlike sadness, anger, fear, it’s a pain I can’t name and can barely describe.

It’s like someone has sucked all that makes me me out of me, like I’m quietly fading away. It feels like I’m floating, drifting, lost, without purpose. It feels like nothing, an emotional black hole. Like I’m no longer human. The world is dull and colorless. I can’t cry even though I really want to.

It’s the strangest feeling — like I’m the living, breathing, walking, talking shell of myself. As if all that makes me sparkle has evaporated and I’m slowly disappearing.

I won’t tell you that yoga and meditation have cured my depression and anxiety. And I’m not here to tell you that these practices will cure yours either. Additionally, the absence of mental illness is not a marker of someone with an advanced practice — it doesn’t work that way.

But I will say this: these practices have given me lots of tools. And one of the most valuable tools is the understanding that, while depression and anxiety are part of my human experience, I am more than just those things.

I’ve learned thru practice to notice them as they arise without letting them drag me under or swallow me whole. As I sit and breathe, it’s clear – there’s more to me than just this feeling.

Yes, I’ll have moments of nothingness and numbness. But in between are moments of joy, grief, rage, worry, and fear. I am not these feelings.

I am more than this. And so are you.

For five days (October 26-30, 2020), I’ll be leading a daily 15-minute meditation practice to share these tools to help support your mental health. No prior experience required.

Join me HERE.