How Low Will You Go?

Depression is like sliding down a hole in the ground.

Anxiety gets the body moving to try to stop the slide, like pulling at the roots or jamming your foot to slow it down. Anxiety gives you the adrenaline to climb up or look up towards the sky. Depression makes you wonder what’s the point of doing anything, going down is inevitable.

Your fingernails get dirty from the desperate clawing along the sides of the hole. Sometimes you’re just freefalling.

There are times when you’re just sliding along and not aware of how far down you’ve gone. There are days when you’re thinking, this is as low as I’ll go, I can’t go any further. I refuse to go any lower. It has to stop here.

Light shines through the hole at the top, but sometimes you are so far down, you can no longer see the natural light. It can be difficult to remember what the light looked or felt like.

One day, you say to yourself, this is as far as I go. Any further down and I’m going to hit a point of no return. I don’t want to hit that point, because I want to get out of this hole. And yet, it can also feel comfortable and safe when it is warm and dry. The days when it rains or when someone tosses dirt on top of your head are hard and very, very uncomfortable. Painful, really.

Sometimes you feel a rope that someone threw down. You may have the strength to use it to climb up or your hands get so tired, you cannot even grab it. Or if you know how, you tie a loop to sit in and rest.

When the dirt is being tossed down, you may yell at the people to stop throwing dirt on you! You can feel it throwing you off balance, like it’s going to cause you to lose ground and fall backwards again.

When you are too far down, people at the top yelling at you to come up doesn’t help at all. It’s a little discouraging. But as you get closer, you can see them and they have their hands out to grab you and pull you up. Then you realize that they were there the whole time, trying to find ways to help… even those throwing dirt… they thought they could help fill the hole so you could get your feet on solid ground. But since they didn’t know how deep it was, they didn’t realize they were just tossing dirt on your head and in your face.

When you finally get out of the hole, you just never want to fall back in. But there are holes everywhere… so the goal is to work hard not to fall in, but if you do, you know how to stop the slide and you know how to get out and you know how to ask for help.

Published by Sherry Yuan Hunter

Sherry Yuan Hunter is a certified trauma recovery coach and certified parenting coach. Taiwan-born American-Canadian Chinese, married, working mother of two, Sherry identifies as a Sandwich Parent, Third Culture Kid, an untigering Mom, and Recovering Shouldaholic. Based in Toronto, Canada, Sherry has been working in student success programs at University of Toronto for 20 years, supporting students, young professionals, new managers, working moms, and new immigrants to success.

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