Healing from depression through spiritual awakening

Dawn mistWritten by:  Mica Akullian

Almost everyone is challenged with depression at some point during their life.  For many people, depression is a passing phase that comes and goes according to life events, and generally subsides on its own.  For others, depression can be a debilitating experience lasting for weeks, months, or even years.  I have experienced both forms of depression, and have come to understand that there are multiple factors involved in depression, stemming from the layers of the human experience: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.  These layers are profoundly interwoven, affecting one another in ways that modern science is just beginning to uncover.  By understanding each of these layers more fully, we can cultivate the ability to transform depression back into joyful life energy.

My Descent into Depression

My first experience with depression occurred when I was 12 years old.  I was just starting junior high when my father was killed in a car accident.  Over the following months and years my perspective on life took a nosedive.  Becoming cynical, anxious, angry, and frustrated, I closed down to life, feeling more and more alone and isolated.  Holding in the pain from the loss of my father caused me to restrict my energy in numerous ways.  I lost an interest in everyday life, becoming very introverted and withdrawn.  Physically, I became tired and lethargic most of the time.  My chest sank in, and I began slouching when walking.  Continual anxiety and stress caused me to develop recurring stomachaches and panic attacks.

Eventually this repressed emotional energy manifested as disease in my body.  By the time I was 21, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease of the intestines called Ulcerative Colitis.  The symptoms of U.C. put a major damper on my life, and included frequent diarrhea, blood in the stool, abdominal cramping, depression, and anxiety.  I was prescribed medication to be taken three times a day, with the occasional dose of prednisone for when my symptoms got really bad.  My life became focused on survival, and I continued to become more depressed and removed from the everyday joys of life.

My Search for Meaning

After 8 years of living with this disease, something shifted within me.  As my life became seemingly more empty and hopeless, I developed some self-destructive patterns, such as binge eating, drinking, and using sex and romantic relationships as a means of escape.  Life seemed like a bad movie, and I was the main character.  Out of desperation, and amidst all of the internal chaos, I began to search for greater meaning and purpose in my life.  After coming across the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, I started a practice of mindful awareness, watching my thoughts, emotions, and the mechanism of my ego.  Over the course of a few weeks of diligently observing myself, I began to go through a deep process of unraveling, and thus began my journey of healing.

As I watched my ego, I began seeing the layers of negative thoughts and emotions that were constantly repeating in my mind like a broken record.  I saw how the root cause of my suffering was not due to the events of my life, but rather my thoughts and reactions to life.  I realized that I was the one creating this suffering within myself.

Waking Up Spiritually

Something significant happened during this time, which culminated one day during an introductory meeting for a counseling internship I was about to begin.  While sitting in this meeting I suddenly “woke up,” and saw these truths about myself so clearly.  As I was getting ready to introduce myself at the meeting, I saw how my entire identity was based on mental concepts and beliefs about myself, and had very little to do with who I really was—It was at that moment that something within me cracked.  I excused myself from the meeting, and as I stumbled outside I began crying, and was amazed to see beautiful colors emanating from the trees and buildings around me.  I felt this huge weight being lifted from my body, and felt a joy, bliss, and love that I had not experienced in a long time.

The next two weeks were spent in this indescribable peace and joy, and I spent most days walking the streets, just so happy to be alive and experiencing life.  My mind was very quiet during this time, and I felt a deep connection to life around me.  A miraculous side effect from this awakening was that the symptoms from my disease disappeared.  Negativity in my mind and emotions were being released, and my body was healing as a result.  Throughout this process I also intuitively began eating healthier, drinking fresh vegetable juice everyday, and performing periodic fasts when my intuition guided me to do so.

Though the initial joy and peace from this experience subsided, and my mind slowly became more active, I had been given a glimpse into the possibility of experiencing heaven on earth.  The subsequent years following this awakening have been a time of deep learning, observing which thoughts, emotions, and actions return me closer to that state of unconditional love, and which do not.  With greater self-knowledge and self-awareness come greater responsibility, and I am continually learning how to act in harmony with life, and how to offer my energy in service for the highest good of all.

What I have learned through the process of healing has been invaluable, and has created a new depth to my life.  Though I still experience moments of depression or anxiety from time to time, I have learned the tools to quickly move through it, reconnecting to love and peace.  It did not seem like it at the time, but my struggle with my disease was actually a blessing in disguise.  For me, illness served as a doorway into a richer experience of life when I was finally ready to heal.  I am grateful for the lessons that I learned from these experiences, and I feel blessed to now be able to support others along their journey of healing.

 

Photo credit: Ray M

 


Mica AkullianMica Akullian
offers holistic counseling via skype and by phone http://holistichealth-counseling.com, and is also a contributor for Answers.com in the healing category, http://healing.answers.com/.  Mica enjoys yoga, meditation, singing, and ecstatic dance.

 


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Comments

  • Bob Brotchie

    Hi Mica, thank you for your courage, and for sharing your beautiful story. I think we may be ‘spiritual’ brothers!
    Your life and experiences, and perhaps more importantly, the recognition of the gifts received during your life are something I recognise so well. I suspect you are also someone who enthuses with his clients, as I do, that this is how we can positively move through the pains, the challenges, seeing them for what they are.
    It’s not lost on me either, the inextricable link between mental and physical wellbeing, so crucial, such a relief when we understand this.
    Your wonderful story has further reinforced my belief in my own personal journey, and that of ‘our’ inter-connectedness.
    Mindfulness and present moment awareness is key and something I share with anyone willing to consider, this wonderful way of being, clearly you do too!
    Thank goodness for these teachings, wherever they are given – and received.
    Warmest wishes Mica, Namaste.

    • Mica Akullian

      Sorry it has taken me a year to respond, but I was unaware of the comments being written in response to my article. Thank you for your response! Yes, it is so wonderful to share this information with others and contribute to our collective awakening. Blessings to you Bob! Do you have a website that I might look at?

  • Linda Graziano

    Hi Mica,
    I resonate so well with your story! I have Bipolar Disorder and have struggled greatly with severe depression. At the same time I experienced the depression, I would also see that the world is truly a beautiful place! A particular book that helped bring me out of the depths of one of my depressive episodes and into a place of peace, joy, and beauty is Conversations with God, Book 1 by Neale Donald Walsch. I don’t know if it was actually from reading the book or just that it was my right “timing” to find my spirituality…..maybe a mix of both.
    I also find being aware of my ego, thoughts, and feelings very helpful! I know that just because I have a thought, it doesn’t mean it is true! 🙂
    My connection to spirit/God and the love I have for myself now has helped me greatly…. I find that Self-love is a pathway to happiness! I now coach others with bipolar disorder to connect with their self-love and to overcome stressors, so they can maintain their wellness.
    I, too, am grateful for my experiences of depression because they have taught me so much…. helped me to be so very empathic toward others and to see the world as a positive place!
    Thanks so much for sharing your story!
    With Love & Blessings, Linda

    • Mica Akullian

      Hi Linda! Sorry it has taken me a year to respond, but I was unaware of the comments being written in response to my article. Thank you for your response, and thank you for sharing your story! I am happy to hear that you have healed and are guiding others through their journey of healing! Blessings to you!!

  • Derek Cameron

    Congratulations. When you write, “observing which thoughts, emotions, and actions return me closer to that state of unconditional love, and which do not,” have you actually found any helpful thoughts? I haven’t, BTW.

    • Mica Akullian

      Hi Derek, sorry about the delay in response, i was unaware of these comments. Yes, our mind is totally useful and necessary for our functioning. The more we dissolve the ego through mindful awareness practices (which takes time) then the more we can use our mind in service of our Heart. It is an energetic difference that you will feel within which will let you know if the thought is in alignment with your Heart or not. Blessings to you!

  • Michael

    We are one whole, and taking care of mind, body and spirit is absolutely necessary to maintain a balance. Sometimes, though, the source of depression is a spiritual influence or disruption, and it can also be helped by spiritual means: http://gershnubirg.com/spiritual-protection/

    Many people get help this way, especially when something is wrong and you don’t even know the problem is, or when nothing is working, or relationships are failing, Kabbalistic wisdom can show a way out. It does not cancel other treatments of course, but is known to have helped a great many people.

  • Petrovich

    I have to go to this job interview tomorrow, and its making me so anxious. i’ve been wanting a second job now, for a long time, but i’m not sure i can go, cause i have such bad anxiety. I can’t flake out though, cause I know i would hate myself for it. i get nauseous just thinking about it, and I won’t be able to sleep tonight because of it. I already […], and i probably will do it before the interview tomorrow, just to help release the stress. i feel i’m sufocating and can’t breath. Everything is so hard for me, cause of my anxiety. I wish i didin’t have to deal with this. I get so depressed when i have really bad anxiety.

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