“The Missing Piece” is a book for children written by Shell Silverstein. My teacher read me this book in grade three and I still think of it. The circular character “IT” is unhappy because IT is missing a piece. IT goes on a journey to find the piece, which it believes will complete it. IT rolls up hills and down hills, takes time to smell the flowers. IT tries out a number of different pieces along the way and at one point finds the perfect piece. IT discovers, once it is united with this piece, that it rolls so fast it flies right past the flowers, the worms and all the other experiences in life. It turns out, IT’s imperfection was the key to it’s joy and his uniqueness. IT lets the piece go and goes back to being it’s imperfect “IT” self – albeit evolved.
For the past few years (this year with great intensity) I have been looking for a missing piece. I figured if I could fill up the space in me (depression, anxiety and addiction) I could become pain-free, complete, fast and unstoppable! Unlike “IT” I never did find the perfect piece but I know how the story ends… one must go on the journey because the answer is in the seeking. For me, there may not be a particular pill or method to fill the space, but understanding myself will make me more whole.
Two things I’ve learned so far in my efforts to understand anxiety, depression and addiction are 1) learn everything you can 2) use what you have learned to help other people.
1) LEARNING: The reading, writing, talking and discovering can be empowering, uplifting and hopeful. It can also be frustrating because each person is unique. Ultimately, there is a special recipe in order for each unique person.
2) HOPE: is like faith or spirituality. It is the law of attraction in one word. What you expect, desire or believe – will be. This is how I think of the word HOPE. Helping Other People Evolve. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or stuck, the answer is always to help someone else. There is some kind of magical power we have as humans that motivates us to help others. Sometimes we can find the energy for someone else that we cannot muster for ourselves. The universe is beautifully designed this way, because as you help others, you are helping yourself. We are all connected energetically. Everything you do, effects everyone on earth, including yourself. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.
SO… I’m happy to share with you a few things that I have learned. This sharing is meant to build HOPE for all of us.
- There are countless resources out there. Doctors, authors, peers. Some are experts and some are not. Just because someone is an expert does not mean they are a perfect fit for you. Experts can also be wrong. Shop around.
- Keep reading. Here are a couple of quotes that keep me reading … ‘not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers’… ‘when you know better, you do better’…
- Be honest. The truth will set you free. When I started to share about having a mood disorder and drinking too much, people weren’t surprised. The only person who didn’t recognize the truth until that point, was me. Once you decide to do something about it, you move away from the judgement and criticism (mostly self-inflicted) and towards a community of people who are supportive and helpful.
- Be patient and gentle towards yourself. I’m all about the yoga and exercise when I’m feeling ‘ok’ but when depression sinks in the strategies are so far out of reach. Lower your expectations (sounds negative, but really this helps me). Sometimes the best thing I can do for myself (if I can get out of bed) is to watch a funny movie.
- You can change your brain. ‘Neurons that fire together, wire together’ and ‘neurons that fire apart, wire apart’. Psychiatrists say that people who have had depression anxiety or addiction are more likely to have it again, in a deeper more ingrained way. They say the first bout of depression for example is like “kindling” for the next bout. So the key is to stop the fire (of neurons) and redirect the habits. Affirmations, visualization and DOING are the way to creating change. You actually have to walk the walk – do what you say you want in your life – live what you believe. Eventually the things you are thinking and doing with effort, become effortless. They are your new habits, your new way of living – the new you.
- Face your fear. You know exactly what you need to change in your life. It is the thing that scares you the most. Once you say what it is and decide to face it, the fear starts to disappear. I look around at all these people joining bootcamps and going on diets to lose weight or get healthy. Is it exercise they fear? No. It is something else. It could be fear of abandonment, fear of failure, or worst of all – it could be fear of GREATNESS. Maryanne Williamson says it best:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
- Stop asking Why you are the way you are and start asking What you want and What you need to do to get it. Also, ask… What can I do to help? These are the questions I ask myself now. Each time I take a step, the universe gives me feedback. When I feel good, I know I’m on the right path. When I don’t feel good, it’s time to ask the questions again.
I would love to learn more about the things you have learned along the way. Hoping these pieces above are helpful to you as well.