Highlights from Jonathan Otto's interview with Shanna Lee, for the Depression & Anxiety Series. Shanna discusses depression and how to overcome emotional trauma.
Shanna: the human life experience is really about trials and tribulations that happen, and how we move through them and how we understand them. And how we come to terms with them and how hopefully we grow from them as a human being. And so, a lot of times we’re experiencing these things, and we’re internalizing these emotions and we aren’t seeing where we can grow from it. We aren’t seeing it as a possibility to know ourselves better.
We’re too young at the beginning stage of our life to even see that perspective. And if people have suffered with you know, abuse and trauma, I coined a term called the first disconnect. And it’s really the first time in a child’s life that they experience something very traumatic, or difficult, that’s not your normal, you know, somebody took my doll or my truck isn’t working and I’m upset about that; But for me it was my parent’s divorce. And it happened when I was 10 years old. And that was a catastrophic emotional event for me as a 10 year old.
And it’s different for everybody. I mean half of America is getting divorced so I’m sure there are many kids that have experienced you know, divorce and living in separate homes, and things like that. At 10 years old, I didn’t have the tools to process that. And there was so much emotion going on around me, that I didn’t know there was room for mine. Right?
And I developed an unhealthy relationship with food at that age. I really just started to eat. Right? And, I sunk into my first little depression. And that understanding those dynamics, and understanding how we are always internalizing these emotions, kind of sheds light on how we can understand ourselves better. And how we can start to really understand depression at a different level. Because I think we need to be having a different conversation about it.
Right now we’re largely having a hardware conversation, if you equate it to a computer. We’re looking at the mechanics, our human body, our human mechanics. The root of depression starts as a software issue. And it’s certainly, our hardware is important. Certainly vitamins and minerals and nutrients and how we feed ourself is how we’re feeding our brain too, or not. But, we’ve got to look at those underlying software issues to really start a different discussion and understand all of the different components that go into people.
Really get into a place where they feel, “I’m too hurt, I’m too sad, I’m too broken to care about anything.” Because ultimately when we get to that point where we’re using substances or where we are hopefully you know, at that door of being suicidal, you just can’t handle the pain anymore. You just, there’s nowhere else to turn, there’s nowhere else to run, you want to bust out of your body, right? It’s like, “I don’t want to be in this physical body anymore and feel any more pain. I can’t take it.”
And that’s the place that we have to say, “Well why are people getting there?” Right? How does it happen, that we get there? Because, if we can go back and look at those root causes, then we can really have a discussion about how we raise our kids. How we’re living in these times. And make a change that really will impact humanity on a bigger level.
Well I have a perspective shift that I offer some of the people when I’m with them. And it happens from a very deep place. But I say, “There is nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you.” Right?
Because most the time when we get to that place, we’ve been told there’s something wrong with us. Across the board on many levels. Whether, it’s from our parents when we were young in certain ways, kids at school not being nice to you, a wife or husband that broke up with you, or a boy friend or a girl friend that broke up with you. It’s like the world has communicated, something’s wrong with you, you’re unique, different, weird, strange, don’t fit in here, don’t fit in there, you know, there’s a sense of lack of belongingness, to anything.
And so when I say, “What if nothing’s wrong with you.” Because what I see, is the people who have struggled or suffered with depression, they have a sensitivity. Right? And that sensitivity is a gift, but they’ve been taught that it’s not. Right? That it’s something to be shameful of, or to hide a lot of times. And those people have big missions that are stored in their heart. Right? And they haven’t yet seen that in themselves. And so sometimes as simple as someone saying, “There’s noting wrong with you.”
There’s a lot wrong with the way that the food industry is. That we can’t find healthy foods at any restaurant we go to. We have to really seek those out. There’s a lot wrong with like how we approach disease, right as a whole, right as a construct. There’s a lot wrong with the way that some parents parent children. Like that really creates a lot of hurt and heartache.
There’s nothing wrong with you, right? And when people can feel that in their heart like for the first time sometimes, in their entire life. Someone has said, “There’s nothing wrong with you.” It’s like, “ Really?” Like, could that be true? Could that be true that there’s nothing wrong with me? It’s like an immediate 180. Because all along, they’re thinking, “I must go, I must get out of here. I must leave my body. I must leave you know, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, this life, because something’s wrong with me at a deep fundamental level.”
Whether they’re consciously saying that to themselves, or not, doesn’t matter. It’s down there, deep. And so, when someone finally gives them permission to see that there’s nothing wrong with them, there’s an aliveness and awakening that can happen. And that’s what I would share with anybody watching this. Is there’s nothing wrong with you, right? With what you see, with what you feel, with what you’ve been through, right? It’s okay to cry about it. It’s okay to feel those feelings and let them move out of your body. Right?
Because, we’re so often storing emotion, and then we’re hoping not to re-trigger that emotion. Right? We’re walking through life like, please don’t you know, don’t trigger this, so that I get angry again, or I feel sad. And we are not storage tanks. The human body is not meant to store emotion. We are meant to flow energy, and emotion and thought through our body, readily. Right? And so when we start storing all this emotion up, it creates physical issues, it creates mental issues, it’s like literally like we store, store, store, and then something’s got to give. Something pops, right?
Now this can be manifesting an illness in your body, this can be, all of a sudden I’m depressed, I’m anxious, I can’t sleep. In your body this can be all of a sudden I’m depressed, I’m anxious, I can’t sleep. It’s literally like a perfect storm, like an explosion that happens at some point. And if I go back with any single person I’ve ever worked with it all goes back to life happened, life happened, life happened, and we’re storing it and we’re storing it. We literally do not have a construct for how to move through life, how to move through the things that come our way, and how to become empowered by them on the backend. How to see it for what it is, how to learn from the experience because we’re here to learn these things. We’re not here for them to take us down. We’re here to learn we’re not meant to stay in struggle perpetually. We’re here to struggle a little and then move through it, and persevere and become the victor of that. And look back and go, “Wow, that grew me as a person. It made me stronger. Now I understand life better.”
It’s like you look at my story and I would not be able to do what I do now, had I not been through these life events, had I not struggled with food I couldn’t hold someone’s hand and say, “I get it. I get when you can’t put down the fork. I get when you can’t stop eating the ice cream. I’ve been there.”
Or when somebody says, “I’m so afraid, I haven’t cried in 20 years, I haven’t cried. I don’t even know how to cry anymore.
I say, “Let me be with you. Let’s cry.” Because this is going to change your life. This is going to take you to another place and I am going to be with you because I’ve been here. And I’m going to walk you through even if it’s scary. True healing happens on the other side of our fear because we’re really afraid.
That’s why we’re really focused on the hardware because that doesn’t seem as scary. To talk about nutrients, to talk about things like that, no one’s going to be afraid if I say, “Take more B vitamins. Try some vitamin D. How about some Selenium? This is the micrograms you want.” Nobody gets afraid by that. When you talk about emotions people go, “Ooh.” And a lot of people don’t want to look back to the past because maybe it’s uncomfortable or we feel certain things. And when we’re doing that we’re literally living our life where we’re not in freedom. We’re in bondage to the things that we don’t want to look to. We don’t want to sort through them, they’re incomplete in our life. And when we can courageously start to have a format and a process to not re-trigger trauma but to just move it out of our body, move it out of our consciousness to the place where we can actually come to a point of healing, we become very empowered. We become very connected to why we’re here. Like, what are our gifts? Everybody has them, everybody has them. And to be able to share those gifts with humanity, with other people, whether it’s just one other person in your life is truly where we feel that sense of fulfillment. And when you’re in that state that’s not synonymous with depression or anxiety. It’s just not.
I’ve had clients say, “Well, I don’t know.”
I say, “Are you still depressed? Do you still feel ...”
“When did that happen? Depression just went ...”
“Oh, that’s weird. I don’t. I don’t. I sleep now.” It’s like we forget almost that time and we say, and that’s true healing. It becomes a distant memory and one that we almost have to be reminded of because we’re truly transformed at a deep level. Becoming a person that is more open, that is more heart-centered, that is more rooted in love and self-acceptance. And that is powerful, and that is how we move other people’s lives and get that sense of fulfillment.