Finding my way back to me – looking depression in the eye. Guest post by Joo Teoh, Acupuncturist

It comes in waves. Some short. Only a few moments. A few words of a short internal monologue. Maybe a few sentences. Potent. Sharp. Sometimes they sweep me far out. They take me under and keep me submerged, eyes wide open throughout. I don’t struggle. I have learnt not to struggle. I have learnt that struggling only strengthens the downward pull. Struggling with it feeds it. Fighting with it is pointless. It will always have a stronger hand. If you look it in the eye it can wither. But you need to find the vantage point. So I don’t struggle. When it pulls me down I sit and I watch. I let it play out. I listen. I observe. I wait. I can’t predict what it will shoot at me. I cannot guess how deeply and thickly it will wrap me up before it drags me into the darkness.

It takes some time, sometimes, for me to realise I am in a wave of depression. I may be wandering through a perfectly regular day when I suddenly find monstrous avalanches nipping at my heels or a dense, dark forest blotting out the light ahead. The Mind is conditioned to react to whatever stimulus it receives: the ping-pong of emotions and imagined conversations, the feisty affronts and vulnerable tears, the fantasies of reconciliation, and self-loathing afterwards. This gigantic, catastrophic scene shrinks when I step back. I step back a bit more and it shrinks a bit more. I step back far enough until I can see the horizon. I step back far enough until I can see there is something else larger than this gigantic, ginormous, apocalyptic black hole. This larger thing is Hope. The black hole becomes only a beach ball. I could deflate it. Or a ping pong ball. It can float away, or throw it into the nearest drain.

The effort comes in keeping steady. To breathe through the initial drowning wave. To resist the struggle, and politely decline the invitation to fight. To stand up and step back. Sometimes standing up is impossible. Roll. Crawl. Screaming and kicking, paddle to the surface. Step away. Get a millimetre of distance and it starts to feel more manageable. The next millimetre feels more attainable. Knowing that the distance is there makes the battle winnable. The distance always calms the waters. With distance, objects return to their proportionate sizes.

I consider myself fortunate that I do not battle these black holes on a daily basis anymore. I used to many years ago. Just because it happens less frequently now doesn’t mean I am a better person or that it takes any less effort to get that distance and perspective. It is important to talk about how subsuming depression can be – mild or chronic. Even good things, happy things like having a baby or getting married or moving house can trigger a depressive wave.

I have chosen to write about this now because I recognise the role yoga and acupuncture have had in making my life the rewarding life it is today. I have been teaching yoga now for over ten years. Eight years ago, I was introduced to Five Element Acupuncture by one of my teachers. Yoga helped the physical aspect of my health, and acupuncture healed the energetic side of my life. I slept better. I had more energy. I found it easier to be happy and optimistic, and stay that way. It changed my life so much that I studied acupuncture, and am now an acupuncturist in the classical Five Element tradition.

Acupuncture has been around for over 5000 years. This fine art & science of using very fine needles into a few acupuncture points has the profoundly healing effect of bringing energy levels into balance. This balance of flow is not just physical, it also brings balance to the mind and spirit.

For me, it has been my saviour from depression. Many of my clients come to me for help with the same issue, but also for fertility, energy, libido, skin conditions, digestive disorders, insomnia, the list goes on. I won’t claim acupuncture can heal everything. Nothing truly can heal everything. However, acupuncture has been proven over and over again to be an incredibly effective and successful way to balance and improve energy levels when things get rough. And few things are physically, emotionally and spiritually more demanding than trying to get pregnant, being pregnant or having a child.

For more information or if you have stories to share, please send me a message via my Nurturing Birth Directory profile. I am available for acupuncture treatments at my home in Sandridge, near St Albans, or in Central London.

If you would like to list as an Acupuncturist, or any other complementary therapist working with pregnant women and new families, on the Nurturing Birth Directory then go to Add a Listing