Written by: Yuliya Sakai, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Have you ever been depressed and numb, unable to feel anything? Where do you think your feelings went?
My best guess is you suppressed them. And then you suppressed them again.
And you have probably done it many times until you finally felt nothing. What a relief.
Until you notice that the world became bland, gray and life started to feel like a meaningless chore. If that’s where you are now, I get you. I don’t know how it feels for you, but for me depression felt like being in a purgatory. Stick with me till the end and I will tell you how to get out of this.
But first, let me introduce myself
My name is Yuliya Sakai, I am 25, and I work as a Rapid Transformational Therapist. My depression lasted for roughly 5 years when I was a teenager. It started when I moved countries, left my life, and most of my family behind. It then persisted because of loneliness, isolation, repression and mental health problems within my family. At the time, I hid all of my feelings and never sought help or expressed how bad I was feeling to anyone. I never went to therapy. I didn’t think I needed help or let alone that anyone could help. It only seemed natural to hide things.
I didn’t want to be a burden and a part of me wanted to keep suffering because I felt like without the pain I would be nothing. Over the years, I got out of it gradually with a change of circumstances, more connections with people, and a shift in mindset. Things have really improved when I got into self-development and started understanding things and seeing possibilities in life. I wasn’t stuck in my little world of pain anymore. In retrospect, I really should have gone to therapy. But overall, now I know it was a necessary life lesson for me to go through to see what’s really important in life. So that was my story. Now let’s talk about why depression occurs so we can get you out of it.
What causes depression
By turning off your painful feelings, you turn off the whole spectrum of feelings, including the good ones that bring joy to life
By not acknowledging, feeling and expressing painful feelings, you stop them from being properly processed, therefore, they get trapped inside you unable to be released
Let's talk about the first point.
Resistance to life and joy
When numbing your feelings, often the intention is to just stop the pain, not everything altogether.
It all feels too much, so you just want a break from it. But the side effect of numbing yourself is that the happy feelings go away, or that they feel too threatening. The reality is that joy and happiness are very vulnerable feelings. They can come only when you are open to life.
And naturally, when you get depressed, you close off from life, so joy and happiness are unable to penetrate your walls and get into your experience. Fact: Happy feelings are always there waiting for you. They are not gone forever, you just temporarily lost the capacity to access them. So, how do you open up to life and welcome joyful feelings back? You can only do that by breaking down your walls.
That brings us to the second point.
Trapped and ignored feelings
Let me say it again because it’s important:
By not acknowledging, feeling and expressing painful feelings, you stop them from being properly processed and therefore, they are still trapped inside you unable to be released Depression is very often about trapped emotion and a belief system in your psyche and not about a chemical imbalance in your brain. Which gives you all the more power to get yourself out of it. If you want to get out of depression, do these:
Focus on is processing repressed feelings
Start breaking down belief systems that put you down and change them to more beneficial ones
When feelings don't get a chance to be expressed, they get stuck inside of you. You might block yourself from consciously feeling them, but they are still there.
An internal stagnation occurs that you might not notice for a while until it becomes a full-blown depression. But since you are here, I assume you have already acknowledged that you have a problem. And awareness is a good place to start.
So now that you understand that depression is about what is not being expressed, let's look for patterns in your life and find which blocked feelings are weighing you down and causing depression to last. I recommend getting a paper and a pen ready to take notes.
Questions to find an emotional block
What do you hold back from expressing in relationships?
Is it sadness? Anger? Disappointment? Frustration? Confidence? Desire? We all have different weaknesses in regards to feelings.
You know which ones you are more uncomfortable with feeling and expressing. Write them down.
Are there any feelings you think are beneath you?
Perhaps, you have shut off from feeling fear because in your mind you're supposed to be tough or cool. Or you never express needing someone because you don't want to be desperate.
If you believe you are above feeling something, it often points to exactly what the problem is. Write it down.
What feelings were your parents critical or dismissive of?
We tend to hold onto beliefs and emotional patterns of our parents before we become emotionally aware. Write down what feelings were not welcome in your home. What you learned to hide from your parents/caregivers since you were young.
Finally, are there any feelings that you think are bad or dangerous to feel?
It can overlap with other answers, it doesn't matter. Write down anything that comes to mind. Well done. The more time you spend understanding yourself, the easier it will be to heal. That's how you transform.
What’s important to know is that when we think a certain feeling is inferior, bad, shameful, dangerous, etc., we learn to shut it down, not feel it, and not express it to others. That's how repression begins and that’s what fuels depression. With this exercise you can see what feelings you have been resisting.
Process the feeling
Now, the next step is to process that feeling. You process it by feeling it.
Ruminating or trying to make it go away is not the same as feeling it. You actually need to sit with it, let the feeling be in your body and accept that it’s there. Accepting its presence doesn’t mean you decide to let it stay there forever.
You are simply allowing yourself to acknowledge that it exists. No denial. If that is hard, thinking of it as a sensation rather than emotion might be helpful. That might remove some of the reluctance.
Purely out of discomfort and habit, you might want to get away from it and distract yourself, but make yourself stay. Be disciplined and remind yourself that by processing these feelings now, you are freeing yourself from stagnation and creating more space for good things to come.
Make necessary changes
Once you are able to sit with it for a while, it will speak to you and give you information about what needs to be done. Maybe you would need to quit your job or end a relationship, or maybe you would need to start taking more responsibility, going out there and meeting more people. The information will be personal to you, but see if you can listen to the advice. If you are able to do that, things will change.
Depression won’t be able to stay because it will become incompatible with your energy of empowerment. And you could live your life freely. Wait for part 2 on depression where I will talk about how your belief system creates/reinforces depression. If you want to work with me one on one, contact me here.
Yuliya Sakai, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Yuliya Sakai is an empathic and spiritual coach trained in Rapid Transformational Therapy and Hypnotherapy. She works with people's subconscious minds to untagle their mental blocks so that they can create a better reality for themselves. After experiencing a spiritual awakening in 2020, she has been on a journey of healing, integrating karmic lessons and remembering her power. Now, she focuses on learning more about human mind and consciousness as well as having her one on one therapy practice on the side.