Have you ever experienced depression so heavy that you hoped would go away on its own, but it didn’t? Have you tried to heal from it and felt like nothing was working? That was my story.
At the start of the pandemic, I began to feel this unexplainable numbness about life. I felt disconnected from myself and the one thing I loved doing, which was running my publishing business, I lost interest in. The only desire I had was to sleep — and buy plants. Going to plant nurseries brought me glimmers of joy. I eventually had a house filled with greenery, and started learning the ins and outs of ceramics to make pots to put them in. It was all therapeutic; but the feeling didn’t last long.
After some time, my mental health started to decline more. The lingering feeling of “blahness,” as I call it, morphed into full-on depression. Before I knew it, I was having thoughts that were borderline suicidal.
I did not want to be here and I could find no logical reason I felt that way, at least not consciously. I eventually tried to overcome the feeling by traveling, but when I returned, the depression came back and it was worse than before. I felt more raw, vulnerable, and emotionally exposed. The healing ceremonies I did in Tulum, Mexico, the extended vacation I took, nothing worked.
I decided to seek help. As I was looking, I received an email about a healer who uses frequencies and massage to release trapped trauma in the body, namely the muscles. I responded, noting that I was interested. I then let fate decide if we were meant to work together as her availability was limited. As luck would have it, a spot opened.
I booked it, paid the steep $300 fee and hoped that this would be the thing to stick – to truly help me heal. I have done most forms of healing: EFT (emotional freedom technique), distant or in-person healing with shamans, journaled, talk therapy with body code healing, and energy healing. You name it. Everything felt like a temporary fix that just scratched the surface or peeled back a layer. And while I’d heard healing is like an onion and can take a lifetime, at that time, I couldn’t wait much longer.
So I showed up for myself. I laid on the healer’s table and she began using a tuning fork (a two-pronged steel device that vibrates when struck to give a note of a specific pitch — sometimes used in sound baths) and then she rubbed my legs. Afterward, she returned to using the tuning fork.
I found myself shaking.
I was becoming scared and wanted to stop the process of whatever was happening. Suddenly, I started to have flashbacks of being in a temazcal in Tulum (sweat lodge – a “hot box with coals,” herbs, and sage for deep healing) where I ran out because my emotions were overflowing uncontrollably. But this time, I decided as I laid there, I would face whatever came up. I soon began to process my trauma through crying and allowing myself to feel everything without judgment. I had three moments of great release: I cried tears of anger, hopelessness, and powerlessness. Each engulfed me and then released me into feelings of empowerment.
All emotions released encompassed grief and sorrow. What was interesting about this method of healing was that was there was no vision or flash of memory in connection with the emotions. In retrospect, I believe each had to do with my mother’s passing, the injustice we experienced fighting gentrification in our community before her passing, and the court case I have been left to fight on her behalf. Those were the only times when I felt I had to be my strongest and couldn’t succumb to crying. I believed that if I broke down, I would feel depressed, defeated and disempowered. But I realize now that my attempts at being positive were toxic. Each tear I didn’t shed weighed me down as it stored in my muscles and mentally shook me.
When I left that day, I felt lighter and clearer about the continued work I needed to do. I started to get proper support through therapy and practicing healthy routines. Now, I no longer find myself depressed, and when some heavy feelings do return, I face them and move past them much quicker.
As women, as Black women, as businesswomen, we unconsciously feel we need to be strong because our emotions can be seen as a form of weakness. It may feel like what is on the other side of tears is a woman who can’t handle life or is not in control. And while I’m now in a place in my life where I wouldn’t recommend using sound healing as a way to induce crying or healing, I learned from finally facing past pain and trauma that what we don’t properly process will collect, store and then manifest in negative thoughts and feelings until you can’t recognize yourself anymore.
How we show up in the world, our inner conscious thoughts and our emotions, are signals of what is going on underneath the surface. It is up to us to do the work to monitor our behavioral changes and feelings so we can catch ourselves in the moments of decline. And how we get out of it can be as simple as a good, healthy cry and having some support when we experience it. This is not a weakness, but rather, a part of who we are and we are wired to need it.
So when someone asks whether you’re going to cry about whatever has been weighing on you or “put on your big girl panties” and deal with it, I say there’s no shame in doing both. Let the tears fall.