What Gabby Bernstein told me about depression
I’m sat on the train, heading back to Northallerton to pick up my little whippet puppy, Sasha.
We’ve been in London to see family, friends and attend a talk by spiritual teacher Gabby Bernstein.
It’s been an amazing trip. The weather has been banging, I got to spend the day with my girl and her family. I had no work to do and nothing to worry about. It was bliss. Oh and there was vegan pizza so…hello!!
Sat in that auditorium to see Gabby speak, along side 1000 people, felt amazing. I didn’t cry my eyes out like last time, I didn’t have depression like last time and I wasn’t desperately lost like last time. It was kind of weird actually. I half wanted to stand up, throw my arms in the air and declare “I’m cured”!! I didn’t, of course.
You see two and a half years ago I sat there in a similar seat, watching Gabby speak. I was lost, fearful, and desperately desperate. I had had depression for six years and needed help. I was ready for help. I’d hit what Gabby would call my ‘rock bottom’.
As the event went on, I found myself sinking into the moment. Surrendering to the pain. I had been crying hysterically, during the whole event. So it’s no wonder that Gabby looked right at me towards the end and asked “Any questions?”.
I couldn’t bring myself to ask my question. I was too embarrassed. To afraid of the answer.
Someone else threw their hand in the air. And another person. And another. Ten questions later, Gabby looked at me again: “Any questions”, she asked?
I had a question. But I was frozen in my seat. And I doubt I could get the words out through the tears anyway!
Gabby answered a few more questions and again, looking right at me, asked “Last chance, ANY questions, go on?”.
I put my hand up and Gabby shouted “Over there!”. The mic runner came over and I stood up in a daze.
“Gabby…is depression real?”, I asked, “And if it is, is it possible to get over it?”.
Urgh. I felt a sigh of relief wash over my body. Just to ask the question felt good.
Gabby replied: “Hell yer it’s real, lots of people suffer with depression.”
I felt even more relieved. ‘At least I’m not crazy’, I thought to myself.
And then Gabby gave me some advice that changed my life.
She said: “You can’t stop a feeling from coming up, you’ve got to replace it with something else. You’ve got to replace a habit that no longer serves you with one that does.”
Gabby gave me a copy of her book ‘May Cause Miracles’ along with an audible version for the car and recommended I started meditation right away.
I did. But it didn’t stick. I was too wound up. Instead, I remembered something Alice said to me: “there are lots of ‘gateways’ to meditation, maybe yours is different?”
I liked that. And I took it to heart. ‘Maybe mine is different?’
I started running, I got back into baking, I started dog sitting other people’s dog. I bought Lego sets and did jigsaws and even learnt to complete a rubick’s cube.
I also started to read more spiritual books and less business books. I worked on getting more balance in my life. And I started expressing myself more. Jeans instead of suits. My new hair cut. I started a blog. And then a vlog!
Bit by bit, as the weeks passed, I became more mindful, more present and more real. Over months and even years I started to do more of what mattered to me and I started built my life around my passions. Before long, and almost without realising it, I’d stopped trying to be someone else and I’d started to come back into alignment with myself; a life long journey we’re all on in different ways.
And my depression lifted.
Sat at the event last night I didn’t set any goals or make big plans. I held Alice’s hand and took a moment to recognise how far I’d come, how far we’d both come and to send a prayer for anyone about to hit their rock bottom. May they hear some words of wisdom, too, that set them on their journey to recovery.