When I Shared What I Had Never Shared Before

Posted by Rick Phillips on May 25, 2018
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[Below is a transcript of what I had shared to open one of the sacred Awakin Circles last month, when the reading was on stepping into the unknown.]

I think it's an interesting question about being willing to give up your attachment to how things ought to be, to be with the uncertainty and then to still move forward on faith that whatever path you choose will actually lead somewhere meaningful.

I've lived most of my adult life with chronic depression and for years and years, maybe for 30 years, I was never comfortable about saying anything about it.

One day, I was in a workshop -- a very safe space, very much like this Awakin Circle -- and we were encouraged to share something we'd never shared before that created the possibility of making a real difference. And so when it came to my turn, I thought, well, you know, this workshop has actually transformed my outlook on depression, so I'll at least speak some gratitude. I didn't want to share about depression per se figuring that would only depress others!

When it was my turn to speak, though, the safety of the space awakened a quite kind of courage. I was surprised myself, but I went with it. I took the microphone and started, "I've lived with depression my whole life, but I really learned something remarkable today in this workshop, that depression is just not about me. It's just something that happens to me. I can acknowledge that and who I really am is the possibility I'm living into that can make a difference" I then went on to share my condition.

And so I spoke the "D word", even though I originally didn't want to do that. When I finished, the room went dead silent. You could hear a pin drop. And I went, "Oh my God, what have I done?"

And then somebody started clapping. Then more people started clapping and then all of a sudden the whole room was clapping. I was just driven to tears. Everyone was applauding and I was crying, tears streaming down my face. I never felt so vulnerable and so loved in my life.

But that's not all. After the workshop, we went to a break. A woman came up to me and said, "You don't know me, but I wanted to share something with you. I have lived with depression all my life and I've never ever talked about it and you talking about it has given me the opening to also share about it and just lift this huge burden and drop it by the side of the road -- and keep on walking. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

I was like, wow. Never expected that!

And then, another woman came up to me and this women said, "I want to share with you something very special. I've been living with depression all my life and your sharing that tonight has saved my life."

Initially, my mind thought, "OK, does she really mean that?" I figured she meant it metaphorically. But then she elaborated, "I mean, it literally saved my life because I was going to leave this workshop and I was going to go and kill myself and now I don't feel the need."

Wow. I had no idea when I chose to share about depression that I would actually save somebody's life. We never really know what can happen.

So what there is to do is to take chances and try things, go off into the forest, feel into the continuity of life, share something you've never shared before. You know, sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't. You never know. But I'll tell you one thing, if you don't make choices like that, nothing's going to happen. That's what I've learned!

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Comments (3)

  • Michaele Premet-Rosen wrote ...

    ❤️

  • Micky O'Toole wrote ...

    Rick. Thank you for sharing your story in circle and here today. Our stories are so needed! Just so grateful you spoke from your heart and had the sacred space to do so.
    My first story here on KS was about my own journe with depression and the hope I found by way of a friend's invitation to a KindSpring challenge. Keep sharing. Keep shining your light. ♥.

  • Susan Bradley wrote ...

    Awe, great personal sharing, Rick. You are an inspiration.

    Your opening paragraph caught me, “...being willing to give up your attachment to how things ought to be.” I’ve been learning to live, to think, to be this way for many years now, and just these past two year I jumped in to living a dream of living in community - working, living, being & building community - in differemt cultures with different people. Releasing attachments to things, to people, the expectations of every kind, and to limitations - wow, it’s been an incredible beginning of a great journey for me.