I felt major butterflies in the belly.
I’ve felt this feeling many times. I know it intimately. It’s the signal to do something even though, and more importantly because, it scares me.
This feeling reminds me why I’m here. I’m here to shine a light in the darkest places, which usually happens during Gate Passages (times when your life swiftly and unexpectedly changes). I absolutely love doing this for other sensitive souls.
Here, though, I’m shining a light in my own dark place — one of my own Gate Passages.
Over the past 2 years, I’ve been winding down taking an anti-depressant. It’s one I’ve been on for about a decade — the last time I took a break.
The first time I went on one was 1996. I was struggling with searing pain from my neck to my fingertips that started when I was a newspaper reporter. The pain turned into a disability, which ended my journalism career and also caused major depression and anxiety.
I didn’t realize it then, but this pain brought to a head something deeper. It brought to the surface something from my beginning: I struggled enormously with being a sensitive and empathic soul on this Earth and did not understand how to get along here.
With this deeper issue now front and center, I had a new normal — crying. Crying was how I dealt with everything. When I had to make a decision and felt overwhelmed, I cried. Whenever there was any stress, like not being able to find a parking spot for doctor’s appointment, I cried. When I was with someone who was sad, I cried.
The doctor I’d been seeing — a wise physician with kind brown eyes who wrote a book about the kind of chronic pain I had — suggested it. I agreed to try it. Within 2 months, I felt uplifted. The darkness and despair decreased. This felt good. Even better, though, I stopped crying and felt better able to cope with decisions and stress.
While it turned the volume down on the extremes — the intense despair as well as the intense joy, it dulled my empathic skill and sensitivity. I was fine with this trade-off at the time, because it gave me the energy to focus on heal the chronic pain.
I’ve gone off a few more times since then. I wanted to see what life was like without anti-depressants, and I also wanted to see what I was like without them.
Each time, the crying was back. The darkness in my heart and my head was back. The intensity of feeling everything was back. The physical withdrawal, like weird eye-clicking when I blinked,and vertical dizziness were back. Even though I became much better skilled at coping with life, I quickly felt like going off was a mountain I could not climb. Within days or weeks, I’d go back on.
This time, I was ready. I gave myself way more time to get off than previous times (like a year and a half more). This time, I was self-employed and my schedule was very flexible. This time, I had flower essence for support.
Aside from the physical withdrawal symptoms, I didn’t feel much change really until the final 6 months. As I went from the tiniest dose to nothing, the intensity came back. The despair came back. The crying came back.
This time I noticed a mountain of heartache and regrets. This time, I’m ready to face them, to heal them, to honor them. Art therapy is my tool of choice for this, and I’ve been diving into my studio and following the intensity where it leads. I’m also practicing things that are hard for me, like reaching out to others for help. Each week, I make myself a new Your Signature Blend Flower Elixir and pop that sucker into every glass of water I drink and right on my tongue when I need it.
This time I also notice that my empathic sensitivity is different. I’ve always heard and felt stuff, but now I’m also seeing it. This showed up in the New Moon Oracle readings I did a few weeks ago (I’ll be doing them again from June 21 to June 23 and will announce it here first).
I share this with you because Gate Passages are freaking hard.
It’s hard for each one of us — no matter how we look on the outside or what we do for a living.