Depression to Bliss

Play me first.

“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

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I cry a lot. Ever since I could remember, I’d always cry about the smallest things. Happy, sad and all the ridges and crevices of human emotions. I feel a lot. I dream a lot. I wonder a lot. I’ve always been profoundly emotional about everything. Always thinking and feeling a little deeper than others. Always letting everything move me, the beautiful and ugly parts. When you feel and experience life with depth, everything is intensified. Everything is pulsating, as if it was connected to your own veins.

I have a pretty sunny perception on life. But I wasn’t always like this. I was actually the complete opposite.

Maybe it was teenage angst. Maybe at the time, it was my relationship with my mother. Maybe because I completely hated her husband and I missed my dad. Maybe it was genetic. Maybe it was because I came from a broken family. It was a lot of things. Whatever it was, when you’re depressed you just don’t see anything else around you. Your mind is bleak. Everything is just gray. You feel gray. You see gray. Sometimes there are colors, but they fade away quickly when the dark clouds come.

But as I sit here now, alive and happy, alive and thankful, alive and stronger than I have ever been, I’m okay with telling you this. I am stronger now. Braver. With that I can be completely vulnerable and open. Through being vulnerable we can show others our wounds, we can show them that we all have the same ones. I want you to see that there is always hope, that there is always light around us, and that we are ultimately much more resilient than we could have ever imagined.

I’ll tell you the story. I haven’t told many. But I’m doing this because I would like to show you my scars. And how it made me.

The depression started when I was 14 years old. It had been a few months since we migrated to the California from the Philippines. I was adjusting to the life here, to living with my mom again, to living with her new husband, to adapting to the American culture. Long story short it was the ingredients of teenage rebellion, angst, emotional and physical abuse, a broken home, unstable minds, cultural expectations and differences, brewing in the melting pot of the dark and chaotic mind of a self destructive young girl. I hid it most of the time, only a few close friends knew. I just showed the shiny surface to everyone else. I dealt with the pain through carving a razor through my flesh, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, screaming at the top of my lungs at the tip of isolated hills and mountains, standing at the edge of cliffs and almost jumping off, and writing my emotions on paper. I’ve kept journals since I was a little girl, and throughout my teenage years, writing was what saved me. Ink and tears would mix, a lot of hatred, a lot of despair, a lot of anguish and hopelessness. Writing was my haven, a space that I always came back to when the pain was too much to bear and I needed to drain it out through ink and fibers.

Despite all of that I was a hopeless romantic, desperately loving the idea of love more than actually loving someone. On my first year of college, I fell in love for the first time. I thought loving someone would save me from myself. The most dangerous notion any human being in this world can ever have. So I loved him, I loved him so much I clung onto him with dear life as if letting go meant I would fall into the dark abyss below me. I never wanted to let go. Ever. I thought if I did I would shatter into pieces and off myself. Love is a beautiful thing, but I loved madly with a foundation of despair, unhappiness with oneself, self-loathing, and dangerously addictive attachment. When you love that way, whatever you build is ultimately doomed, waiting for the day it crumbles into ruins. It went on like that for three years. When we loved, we loved with all our hearts, when we fought we fought with all of our demons. We brought out the worst in each other, physically and emotionally. I was willing to kill myself because I didn’t want to be alone. Then one day I woke up. Depressed and weak, something in me, a tiny little light was telling me that I needed to get out of this. I had no other choice but to follow it. So I took a look at the man I loved with despair and knew that we can’t keep living like this anymore. We couldn’t even if we tried, and we’ve tried too many times. So we broke it. Our mad love perished.

I tried to stitch my life back together after that. I wasn’t sure how but I knew what I didn’t want anymore, I didn’t want to live my life unhappy. That was all I needed to know. I didn’t want to rely on tangible things for happiness anymore because all it was doing was filling a bottomless bucket. I knew that it had to be done.

When I left, everything felt painful. However innately I knew, that it was the exact kind of pain I needed. I pummeled my way through it. I started practicing yoga again. I read more books about spirituality, one in particular, called The Power of Now, changed my life. Then I started meditating. Ever since then, my life was shifted radically. The depression, suicidal thoughts and tendencies went away. I became stronger. When I was sad, I allowed myself to feel sad and cry but I didn’t have that cloud over my head anymore. Whenever troubles would come my way I would deal with it with strength and courage. I knew that even if it dented me I was able to mold myself back together. It would shake me up a bit, but I kept my feet on the ground and I gained strength from the stillness. Things weren’t gray anymore. Everything was more vibrant. I felt alive. I felt as if I had woken up from a deep dark slumber. I reset my mind, body, soul through meditation. I’d drift away into a different realm, out of my body, into a space where I felt utter bliss, into the tunnel of colors spiraling into stillness and out of love. And so I knew, no matter whatever thoughts or emotions come to cloud me I can always go back to that state. I can always go back to stillness and everything would always be okay. I was comforted by the notion that everything is always in it’s perfect place. Yes, everything. No matter what, everything. I would burst out of tears of happiness when I’d look around and see the beauty and magic that vibrated all around me. I was in pure bliss just by being alive. I found peace and contentment in solitude.

Most importantly, I found happiness within myself.

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Tolstoy tells a story of a beggar who sat out in the streets every day begging for pennies from every passerby. The beggar was so caught up in his own misery and poverty mentality that he lived his whole life unaware that the pot that he was sitting on everyday was actually a pot full of gold.

I reckon most of us live our lives this way. Begging for happiness. Seeking it. Trying to inject it onto our veins as if it were a drug, as if the only way we could get it is if we buy it. As if we can find it somewhere through someone else’s kisses, through someone else’s life, through an emblem of a car, through the digits of a bank account, through the tip of a needle, the bottom of the vodka bottle, or something, anything that is physically tangible and can satisfy us only for a blink. It’s like drinking salt water when you’re thirsty. If you keep taking it eventually it can destroy you. It’s enough. We must stop paving this self-destructive path with instant gratifications. Stop pursuing a path that continuously leads to illusory forms of happiness.

Because the truth is, everything is golden and we can touch it if we choose to see it.

After you read this. Close your laptop. Go take a walk. Stroll under the trees. Walk on the beach. Go for a bike ride. Gaze up at the stars. In solitude. If you feel sad and lonely just keep breathing. You don’t even need to begin meditating sitting in a lotus position. Start by simply breathing and live purely in the present moment. Be aware of every breathe you take. Then look around you. When you take a walk, be aware of each step. The leaves cracking, your feet shuffling beneath you, let the movements hypnotize you. When you stroll under the trees lift your hands up, look up with a smile and tickle the leaves with the tip of your fingers. Imagine a golden light beaming from the earth’s core, to the tip of its roots, all the way to the tip of its leaves, making its way through you. When you walk on the beach feel every single grain of sand touching your skin and let the waves kiss your feet. When you go for a bike ride I want you to feel the wind. Really feel the wind, dancing with your hair, look at the faces, places, faces, the world flying past you and keep looking with an open heart and wide eyes. When you gaze up at the stars I want you to feel everything, feed on the idea that you and everything around you, the atoms all around you came from those very stars you are looking at. Now remember where you are. You are living on a beautifully carved rock spinning in a galaxy among billions of other galaxies suspended in infinity. Your worries, addictions, flaws, wounds are nothing but a minuscule speck in this vast, perpetual space. Just the fact that you are living in this unfathomably beautiful planet is a miracle in itself. Take a deep breathe and be thankful that you can still do it because alive is a beautiful to be.

Dare yourself to live a little deeper. Feel a little more. Drench yourself in the grandeur of being alive.

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I want you to know, whoever is read this. That it’s okay. It’s okay to feel things deeply. It’s okay to have darkness. To have scars. To know pain. To know hurt. To know struggles. It’s okay. It’s more than okay actually, it’s a pretty damn beautiful thing. Trust your struggles, be proud of your scars because it is what makes you. If you are still seeing gray, know that it won’t last very long. Nothing ever does. When you catch a glimpse of light hold on to it and keep it in the palms of your hands.

It’ll find its way through you. It’ll find its way through your cracks, through your wounds, it will eventually shed light on all the shadows until nothing is hiding anymore, until truth seeps out through every corner of you. Then suddenly, the light will spill through everything you touch. And you wake everything up bringing all that was once darkness and all that was once gray, to sheer golden light found in each waking moment, each breath, each heartbeat.

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79 thoughts on “Depression to Bliss

  1. And now, I will share a little of my story. I was depressed as a little kid. Since I was 5 I seemed to see the world with all its pain and suffering. It wasn’t that I was in such pain, but I could see that life was filled with it. I would cry when I watched movies and my Mom would say, but “it’s just a movie” and I would say, yea , but it’s life. The holocaust was incredibly painful to me and I felt I died in it in a past life. My vision is that I went into the showers and deeply inhaled the poisonous gasses because I wanted out of this miserable life.

    Depression allowed me to feel deeply and there seemed to be some value in that. I remember thinking that there has to be something worth living even if you are a quadriplegic…..and I wanted to know what that was.

    I wasn’t a kid who people would say, He Loves life! I rejected all concepts of God as a Kindly Father and realized those were the beliefs of the very scared. I had fantasies of going over a bridge with my family in the car and hoping everyone would survive except me. Somehow I would be the sacrificial lamb. At a young age I was looking for something deeper. I was a seeker before I knew what that was.

    In high school I disrupted a few peoples belief systems by challenging their simplistic notion of God, before I realized that wasn’t kind. I think they were ultimately better off because they were bright enough to find something deeper.

    I was 18 when I met the woman I would eventually marry. Being with her took away the loneliness and suddenly there was more fun in my life. I dropped out of school and traveled for 5 1/2 months on 2-3 dollars a day. I would go in the military, we would marry, we would go to Japan, we would come back, go back to the university, and have some extremely powerful spiritual experiences that gave me what I had been looking for.

    I thought we would be closer than ever before and six months later we were separated. God, the Universe pulled us apart, because we needed to learn more. I was strong before and surrendered a lot of my strength, but regained it when I was forced to be alone. I did yoga and meditated and had some of the most profound experiences of my life.

    By this time, I am about your current age, maybe a little older. Probably 24-25.

    An interesting thing a friend said to me when I was depressed, he said ” Mark, yes what you see in the world is true, there is a lot of suffering and pain, but you are missing the other half and therefore missing the greater whole” Of course he was right. In spite of having spiritual experiences I floundered about what I was supposed to do next on a practical survival level.

    Finding right work helps to anchor us. That is not always easy to find. Keeping your heart open and doing the best you can and being kind and staying alert and not being naive, are some tools for life. Also, know that life calls on us to be increasingly patient with ourselves and others. 

    You are a sensitive and courageous young woman. Once again, I applaud you and wish you the best of adventures and may you love and be loved.

    • That was so beautiful Mark, your story resonates deep within me.

      The thicker the mud, the more beautiful the lotus. I can attest to this. Pain allows us to feel, it opens us up, keeps us raw, and even if it’s unbearable pain it still makes us feel alive. When we’ve known so much darkness and pain, whatever light, beauty, bliss we will thereafter is heightened. All our senses are heightened. That’s why we feel a little deeper, live a little deeper. I’d rather know deep pain and deep beauty than hover over the shallow surface and feel the lesser sense of everything.

      Thank you for your words, for this. I wish you love, I wish you light.

  2. Beautifully written. I feel like I share a similar path with you. As I was reading thru your words, I think back to the time when I was in a very dark place. I was depressed, cynical and, thinking about suicide just like you. But one day, something changed inside of me. I think I had enough of being that way. I made a choice to become positive and see the light. From then on, I’ve put in the effort to improve myself and to this day, I’m grateful to be where I’m at now. Thank you for sharing your story :]

  3. SERIOUSLY i feel like i relate to you so much. Not just to this blog post, but to what I know of you. I was going through tough times and I read Power of Now & it changed my life. I love your words. I love what you stand for. I love your openness and honesty & i treasure that you are using it to encourage others.

  4. Happiness within oneself is the most important thing we can do for ourselves ❤

    And beautifully written! Thank you for sharing.

  5. “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” These are the most beautiful and touching words I’ve ever read.
    I can relate to your story so much, being an extremely emotional person, parent’s divorce, mother’s husband who didn’t accept me. One day it was too much, he said too much. So I moved out. I’ve been having health problems since then. It was few years ago, we are all ok now. It took some time, but we learned to forgive and moved on. My health…is getting better, I’m getting there 🙂
    But there are moments, those dark moments when my demons wake up, bringin back all those hard memories and pain. And for such moments your beautiful posts are so soothing. And those words about cracks, wow. Something has changed within me after reading them. Thank you.
    Greetings from Poland,
    from your distant soulmate.

  6. It takes a certain type of bravery to share your demons with strangers. I’m glad that you did, it shows strength from which others can learn. I hope that it was as healing to you as it is to your readers.

  7. Thank you for being so brave and writing this. I have been struggling with depression on and off over the years. It is good to read something and feel like someone has looked inside your head and understands how you feel. x

    • Why be like me when you can be yourself, the beautiful, raw, unique you 🙂

      I’ve learned that we shouldn’t seek ourselves. Seek truth and unravel it yes, but we can create ourselves. We can create our lives, our destiny.

      Sending you love ❤

  8. Thank you for your words. When you talk about felling things deeply I understand you completely. Not everyone has this amazing possibility, even though sometimes people doesn’t understand it. I’m happy to find out you’re the same.
    Looking forward to the next. X

  9. Beautiful and true. I can totally relate, even though I was never depressed and my life has always been very easy to live -everything has always been magically provided-, the feeling is the same.

    Having too much joy -and not having to struggle for anything = being uncomfortably comfortable- is pretty similar to being in too much pain. In both cases you end up asking: “Why is this happening to me? Why can’t everybody understand or share this feeling?”.

    You crave for MEANING. What is this all about? The moment your basic (and not so basic needs) are covered you start realizing there HAS to be an answer to this enigma of being alive. And then, we feel the urge to get the f*ck out and travel, anywhere, wherever, the further the better. That’s how I ended up in Sri Lanka, but that’s a different story 😉

    I feel the answer, the meaning, my purpose for being here is making myself better everyday so I can help my surroundings and people to do the same.

    I can see you are also doing the same and that makes me feel that reading your words is a bit like looking into my own head. In the end, we are all the same 🙂
    I’m happy and excited to see that we are all awakening to understand the importance of our own life as a message to the world. Our own mindful and conscious actions and daily decisions are our biggest and most powerful tool.

    Love & Light! ♥

    Ps. At some point in my life I also came across an Eckhart Tolle’s book that helped make my vision brighter and clearer, he’s something special.Though my Number 1 is Autobiography of a Yogi, I also recommend Dolores Cannon’s books if you feel you are ready to really bend your mind and worldviews.

  10. Thanks for sharing! You don’t write that often but when you do, it really captivates me. I worry about a lot of things these days and as much as I want to keep my head up and stay positive, something within me drains the life out of me. I hope I could get through this really soon. I know this is just a phase. Thanks again for those beautiful words you shared. Keep on wandering!

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  12. This is very touching, and I’m so happy you shared your personal story with all of us. I know there are many people who go through these periods of grey, and it’s helpful for young people especially to have strong role models such as yourself. Keep up the beautiful, heartfelt writing.

  13. I’ve been struggling in and out of the same thing too. And no matter how I tried, even in writing, I could never really say what I felt deep down. Your story was moving. 🙂 Thank You.. 🙂

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  16. This was so moving it brought tears to my eyes as I was reading it. Now I know why I feel the way I have been feeling there are somethings in my pass that I have not dealt with or I failing to deal with. You have been the light that I have been missing. Your story has open my mind and eyes to thing I need to clear up. Now I know how to deal with the pain, anger that keeping me from being the person I know and need to be, thanks for being my light and for opening my eyes and heart. I’m indebted to you for helping to find the peace I have been missing in my life. You are the best and keep up the good work that you do. Much peace and happiness to you.
    Rod

  17. hi, i was browsing the net searching for “traveling solo”…. well, i am sort of getting in the depression zone. I love to worry (meaning ma stress over things), a breadwinner, and i think i need a vacation for myself (but i was also thinking of wanting to bring my family with me and see other places). Oh god knows and my recent pimple breakout is screaming for a relaxing time to..(think) to just breath. Thanks for sharing your story/blog.

  18. Your post moved me to tears, I’ve struggled with the same issues myself. I’ve found that it’s not the causes and the problems that have disappeared, they’re still there – it’s like you said life is about putting things into perspective. A couple of months ago, if even that, I made the conscious decision to be happy. This doesn’t mean that I just woke up one day and everything was fine, it means that every moment of my life I need to work at it, because I no longer want depression to define me. Happiness is my goal and I can feel myself getting closer, thank you for sharing your own story it was inspirational and I’m glad you made it out of the darkness.
    Haja-Marie

  19. You are an amazingly gifted wordsmith. I too am highly sensitive. It’s nice to hear someone tote the positives of that, instead of being told to get over it for a change.

    ” I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” -Thoreau

  20. This is absolutely amazing. You inspire me so much. Not only about travel and photography (which are two things that I am really passionate about as well) but in life too.
    A few paragraphs into reading this I am tearing up, and by the time I get to the end, I am just sobbing. This — your words — have touched me in ways I could not even imagine. It was like an arrow, shot straight through my soul, through all the layers of myself that I constantly build.
    Thank you so much, for sharing this. I am reading this now at a point in life where I think I most need it. Quite an amazing timing. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. This is insanely beautiful.

    More power to you!

    • This mirrors what i feel too, have all my life, i read The Power of Now and it changed my life as you have mentioned. Many words, pictures, ideas change my life over and over again, and your blog was another one of those things. CHange for the better, from dark to light!

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  22. Beautifully written! I have a very similar story. Thank you for be so vulnerable and open, this can be hard stuff to talk about.

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  25. Hi Satori, this is beautiful and radiating. I relate to almost everything in this piece. I am just starting my first blog and I aim to share my own experiences with mental health having been, like yourself, a deeply emotional young person. I’ve only read two of your posts so far and already you’ve inspired. Thank you!

  26. “When you feel and experience life with depth, everything is intensified. Everything is pulsating, as if it was connected to your own veins.”

    so true, satori. what an inspiring post. beautifully written. I too have suffered from depression and know how it feels to have a dark cloud following me, threatening to obscure everything that is light and beautiful in my life. writing seems to help. wishing you happiness. all the best! keep writing

  27. Pingback: Depression to Bliss | Embrace.Exist.Love

  28. Hi Satori, accidentally I saw your travel blog. Your photographs are very beautiful but as I read this blog Depression to Bliss, I admire you deeply, totally and madly on how You embrace Life and unfathomably happy to be alive. This blog of yours is uplifting especially to those who undergoes depression. I consider myself as a very deep person like you I keep diaries since I was a toddler 🙂 but I really appreciate how you plunge yourself into the cosmos 🙂

  29. You give me a lot of goosebumps and told a friend about this because you basically were some sort of writing every single thought and feeling I cannot express in writing. I forwarded screenshots of basically half of what you have written on Instagram to him and he said that it is very rare to find someone who can speak your own thoughts and feel your own emotions in almost the exact same way especially out of a gazillion or even an infinity of total strangers and write it down like what you do. I tear up every time with a smile! This is amazing!

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