For as long as I can remember, I've always seemed to struggled a bit more with 'life' than other people.
Growing up with my older sister, I always felt like I was the child there was always 'trouble' with. Not in the sense of acting out or being a rebel, because I was (almost) an A+ student, but I always seemed to feel everything so deeply and spend a lot of time considering and going over things in my head - day in and day out.
Back then (in the 90's) it was a lot more tabu to talk about mental health issues and, really, it wasn't a topic that anyone really knew much about from the small town I grew up in or maybe even wanted to talk about.
My parents truly did their best with what they knew how to. But parts of me felt that as much as I ever tried to explain my pain and sorrow, neither of them really truly ever understood how it felt to be me. Little Caroline on the outside, but with a pain twice as big as herself on the inside. I don't blame them - being emotionally equipped and developed enough to deal with what I went through for years on end, surely isn't an easy task.
When I got into my teenage-years it felt like I escaped my inner demons, thoughts and feelings for a few years. But they were only substituted with drinking, smoking, partying and searching for love in guys. Not your ideal scenario, but I was also a teenager coming into adulthood - well, in all honesty, I had to grow up when I was 8 pretty quickly to deal with a divorce and many other things that I won't dive into because it'll be too lengthy - so I was almost 'excused' to behave out a little bit, and I don't think my parents ever questioned that too much.
Albeit, one time when I'd been partying into the morning and I was visiting my mum (I'd moved to Copenhagen by this point), she looked me in the eyes and said; "are you on drugs?" One thing that I never ever got into that was drugs. Thank God.
But partying and drinking had become a way of numbing my pain and myself to no existence. Whilst studying, trying to build a career, buying an apartment and being an adult - all at the age of 18 years old. I was drowning and I was drowning fast.
You see, what you don't know from the above is that I was in a very non-serving relationship a few years before this. This along with a multitude of other family things and my mental health issues of depression got me to a point where I din't want to live any longer.. And so, sadly, one day I decided that I didn't when I was just 16 years old. And I'll never forget that day or those following months. Luckily, I'm still here - and thanks for my mum and doctors I got another chance at life.
I'm skipping over the above because it doesn't deserve more time or words than that. I don't regret what I did back then, because I can stand outside of my own body now and look back at that poor little girl and still feel the pain she was in. I understand why she did the way she did. Because she didn't feel like she had any other choice to escape it all. But, now I know that I do.
The above story is definitely part as to why I had my first 'run-in' with my true self. The reason why I moved to Australia in the first place. To me, Australia signified freedom and a new start to life. A place where I could potentially finally find and be myself without having to apologise to anyone for being who I was and to actually get a go at doing 'life' for the first time ever.
So, with 25 kg's of luggage I set off towards the other side of the world, and for the first time in my life, it felt like I was heading in the right direction. Australia gave me hope and I for once felt truly alive.
... I'm sorry I can't give you the fairytale ending we all grow up to be taught and believe in, because that's not how my life unfolded..
Australia is my home and I love it dearly. I've found my place in this physical world of where I want to grow roots (but never to deep to still stay free), but my almost 9 years here have been far from easy.
However, what moving to Australia catapulted me onto was my spiritual path and slowly wakening up to connecting with my true self.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was only 14 years old. I was put on anti-depressants when I was 16 years old. My entire life I've tried to numb myself from the calling that I have inside of me, but I never knew how to deal with. I will never discount the word Depression because feelings turned into emotions can become all-consuming and our ego will run with it til our days end, if we let it..
But, what I think us people who has or who still suffer from 'depression' is, are simply put 'Ultra Fine Tuned Souls' having a human experience in which the soul has taken residence in a physical shell where it's still fighting the human ego from ruling instead of it's natural born state of peace, love and joy.
I know wholeheartedly that I will always be a sensitive, all-consuming soul that feels everything so very deeply. What is up to me is whether I will let that work for me or against me - but the choice is completely up to myself.
When I take steps towards living a clean life full of fresh, organic produce, free-range animal products, natural supplements, little alcohol, self-care, exercise.. - I create a clear path of connection to my true self. It becomes untainted and strong and life becomes a little easier to deal with. It becomes less overwhelming and much more manageable - day by day.
I choose to show up every day, even though there are many days where I don't feel like it.
Trust me, my ego can always find an excuse to not get out of bed, to not train, to not eat healthy, to not be loving, to not be accepting.. And the list goes on.
But my practice, our practice, is to choose to continue to go against those thoughts and emotions, and choose to show up for ourselves every single day, so that we can continue to take steps towards finding true freedom within.
Got a niggling feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it.... Head to ruok.org.au to learn more on how to start a conversation.