My journey to inner peace wasn’t easy, and although I now have many more “good days” than “bad”, it’s an ongoing practice. There were days when I wanted to give up, call it quits, run away, crawl into a hole, or snap my fingers and make all my inner struggles disappear. It was frustrating, confusing, difficult, and exhausting. I’d attend a workshop/have a therapy session/take a psychedelic/read a book, have a breakthrough, and think, YAY! I’m healed! I figured it out! And then, a few days/weeks/months later, something else would trigger me and pull me back into a funk, and I’d begin the process over again to figure out the source of my new pain. Rinse and repeat.
I wondered if I had become addicted to self-help, and feared that I would never access the peace I craved. I wanted my inside to match the outside because to the outside observer, my life appeared to be pretty good. I went to college, got a good job, had lots of friends, got married, had two kids, and was living in Silicon Valley. My husband had a good job, so once the kids came along, I had the choice to work or stay home with them, or do a little of both, which is what I ended up doing.
I opened an art studio where I taught expressive art classes, created and hosted a TV show about art, and sold lots of my work. How blessed I was! I had everything I thought I wanted, it was a good life. So, when I found myself locked in my bedroom, curled up in a ball on my bed crying my eyes out for “no good reason,” with my kids standing outside the door asking if I was ok, it made no sense to me. I was very confused about why I was so sad, so I didn’t share my depressive episodes with anyone, at least, not for a while. These feelings stayed with me all day every day, but I was good at covering them up. I put a smile on my face, took care of my kids, went on vacation, hosted parties, and tried to push down my pain. But as you might guess, I was unsuccessful. As they say, what we resist, persists.
It was years before I found the courage to begin therapy and explore other ways of getting to the root of my pain, so I could break my patterns of negative internal voices. During this process, I discovered there were others who experienced similar thoughts and feelings, so I felt less alone, less damaged, less messed up.
One of the reasons why I felt “crazy” and that my feelings were not valid/logical, was because I was married to someone who had never experienced depression so he just couldn’t understand why I was feeling so bad. And at the time, I was unable to properly express how I felt, nor ask for what I needed, as far as support. So in addition to negative thought patterns about myself, I began to think negatively about him. Why wasn’t he being more supportive? If he would just be more attentive/loving/understanding, all my pain would go away. I later learned this is a common pattern of someone who is codependent, a word that was not in my vocabulary at the time. I began the cycle of blaming someone or something outside myself for my internal pain. It wasn’t until much later that I realized the flaw in this line of thinking, but at the time, all I could focus on was “it’s all his fault. If only he would change, everything would be ok.”
My pattern of thinking became as follows: “I’m not happy in this relationship. But, I am not happy with myself either. Therefore, any relationship I might enter into will end up being the same. I will be unhappy. So I should just stay here, because he’s a good guy, he loves me, and I didn’t want to break up our family.” But there was a part of me that wondered if this was really true. I kept coming back to the same question: Is it ME, or is it US? Am I capable of being in a happy, healthy relationship? Am I capable of love at all? Did I love him? What does love even feel like? What does love mean to me? I questioned everything, and I’m still seeking answers to those questions.
At some level, I knew that if I were to ever find the solution to this rubik's cube, I’d have to start with looking inside myself for answers because as I wanted it to be all his fault, the answers weren’t “out there”, they were inside myself. That said, I needed help, so I began my quest.
Psychedelics have been a catalyst to heal the depression and anxiety I have struggled with for most of my adult life. I hope that sharing my story of transformation might help others to find the courage to heal their pain and find a path to self-love, acceptance, and inner peace. Thanks for reading.
Forbes article about Toad Medicine