Living with Depression

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I haven’t been feeling well of late, both physically and mentally. I’ve lost about six kilograms (recently had  a parasite which didn’t help)  in a short period of time and my sleep and appetite have not been that great.   I’m trying to determine what is going on with my life;  I wonder if I’ve overstayed my welcome in Nepal, is it still the place for me to be at this point in my life?   Or is it just a series of circumstances that have put me here?

In May 2015 I was excited to be able to write some proposals and then be offered a job to stay in Nepal.  I left for one month and came back in July.  Things were looking so very promising, I had a new job and although she didn’t live here, I had met a woman who I really liked.  However in late July after my colleague and the woman left I was playing basketball and stepped into a crack caused by the earthquake, leaving me with a hairline fracture and sprained ankle in my right foot, resulting in being in a plaster for about six weeks.  By the end of October I was feeling much better, had gone through physio-therapy and was ready to play basketball again when carrying my bicycle down some stairs I sprained my left ankle on the bottom step.  Although I’ve gone through numerous physio-therapy appointments and my ankle is still paining a bit, I was cleared to play basketball.  But this past week I slipped on some pine needles causing the outside of my left ankle to hurt, most likely my ligaments.  But this wouldn’t really stop me from playing but at the end of a meeting I did a shoulder stand, which I’ve been doing every day through yoga, but somehow I’ve done something to my left arm, again most likely ligaments. My body is not what it was, there is no doubt about that.  But I still want to play.

Living in Kathmandu isn’t easy.  When I was living here from June 2012-March 2014, although tough, I made a home sharing a flat.  I left for one year to work in Siraha, living in a village which seemed to be good, although there wasn’t any basketball.  Most recently however Kathmandu for me has become a very polluted place, difficult to navigate, especially getting from one place to another by taking public transportation.  I haven’t really made a home for myself, living in an NGO and maybe this is part of the issue.  But now I don’t feel as if I have the energy to make a home for myself. 

I feel tired a lot of the time a combination of a wearing on both my physical and mental health. I’m doing yoga on a regular basis, although my ligament strain in my left arm won’t help that, and am trying to connect with a more spiritual side of myself going to YSS on a regular basis.  I know that I need to do much more to feed my soul, which I’ve neglected for many years, thinking I could continue at a very rapid pace.  This realization is causing me to reexamine my life and what is really important in whatever time I have left on the earth this time around.  Maybe this is also why I’m feeling what I’m feeling.

I’ve gone through bouts of depression when it’s difficult to manage things.  The last time I had a major depression was some 15 years ago when I was in daily physical pain from having, “a headache in the pelvis”.   Although I’ve been taking medications for a number of years I know that these bouts are part of my fabric, part of my heredity. 

I keep telling myself that I want to get through this and I will start seeing a mental health counselor this week, which should help.  After my divorce almost 17 years ago I went through years of mental health counseling, trying to deal with a lot of childhood stuff.  It worked pretty well and got me to the point of being able to start a new life in India.  But it’s been about 10 years since I’ve had consistent counseling and maybe I need this again.  Maybe my medications, after years of use, are just not doing the job anymore.  I’ve been self-regulating myself, trying at times to get off of these,  but maybe I need to just accept the fact that this is part of who I am and take a regular dosage.  Maybe I need to stop looking at this as a weakness and as more of a strength for realizing I need to do this for my mental health. 

I’m reading the book Caring for the Soul A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore.  He devotes an entire chapter titled Gifts of Depression and how it can be used to help us, quite a different take on thinking how negative this feeling can be thought of.  Maybe in fact there is clearing out going on and a lot of inner work taking place.  And I do kind of feel this way.  But since this is about inner work the exterior me shows a kind of melancholy.  

I know that I’m not alone in this.  I have really good friends and family who I can talk with.  I know that depression and other anxiety disorders affect tremendous numbers of people.  But there is still a certain difficulty.

Living abroad has brought me into a different way of being, a personality that I didn’t know that I had.   But I’m not feeling that right now.  I feel as if I’m not me.  But maybe I need to further accept this part of me, this shadow side which at times leaves me with not really understanding what I’m doing. 

On some level living in Kathmandu is making things tougher for me, although the services are here to help me through, most of my very good friends and my family don’t live here.  I know that people in Kathmandu and throughout the country care about me.  But I also know that people have their own family centered lives.  I also know that maybe I haven’t reached out enough during my time here.  I compare this to living in India where I lived in a joint family for three years and was part of that group.  I haven’t really looked for that in Nepal but maybe it doesn’t really exist.

I remind myself to smile but inside I’m not happy and full of life.  I know it’s not about my age; it’s about my being.  I so much want to get back to accepting this other side of me but I also want to feel happy to be living.  I know that I have to give this time and not put undue pressure on myself.  I know that I will feel differently because I’ve gone through this before and know that I can.  Going through this feeling again though is difficult.  I know that I need to feel more gratitude for just being and hopefully I can find that as well.  














Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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