Have you ever played a video game, and hit that frustrating Death Loop? You know, where you’re fighting a bunch of enemies, you die, only to be respawned in the exact place you died, surrounded by enemies? But since you didn’t realize you’d come back to that spot, you fumble with the controls, die again, and respawn in the exact same place.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get it the 3rd time.

If you’re me, you’ll get it the 8th time.

The Universe likes to use this move on us too, when we aren’t getting a particular message through our thick skulls. For some of us, it’s a sudden onslaught of feelings (or the lack thereof) that catch us off guard. We stumble through it, find momentary relief, and explain it away with our standard reasoning: I wasn’t allowing enough time for myself”/”My relationship sucked”/”It was Winter”/”Maybe I have PMDD

But yhen we find ourselves feeling the same way again, maybe 3 months later. And then yet again, half a year later.

The standard explanations stop making sense.

I had been in a cycle like this for the past six years. Depression, anxiety, relief, anxiety, depression. These were my modes. Even in my relief periods, I was still anxious (I’m kind of high-strung anyway), and feared that I would eventually hit depression again. Over the past three years I had gone through the cycle so many times that I began to wonder if my issue was clinical.

But with each subsequent cycle, something else was happening: I was beginning to pinpoint the cause of my swings. First, I blamed my past (Had to start somewhere). When I worked through that, I blamed the big city (damn taxis and foul-smelling train stations). When I moved, I blamed my family (YES. I BLAMED THEM TWICE). When I stopped using them as a scapegoat, I blamed myself. And I finally found some of the cause in my own beliefs.

I realized that my core values had changed over time, but I rarely allowed them to inform the choices I made. Sure, my values came out in certain moments (starting and closing a custom-knitting business, starting a band, getting tattoos(SO ALTERNATIVE), opening Fringe Tarot, expressing myself through IG posts and this blog), but only allowed for a taste of how I wanted to live my life. It wasn’t enough.

Outside of those moments I tried to maintain a socially acceptable facade–9 to 5 job, benefits, upward corporate growth–despite so much of my heart never feeling connected to the work. Despite feeling like I’d never get to show my creativity in a job; like I’d never get the time to do half of the things I wanted.

For a long time, I had been too afraid to look at my own choices. Afraid I may regret them, afraid I may find myself at fault, that I may realize that I had been playing it too safe. I told myself that at least I was doing something creative. Something that seemed to call to me.

But doesn’t that sound like settling? To avoid failure?

My 2017 Card was Death. Changes. Making space for new beginnings. Removing what no longer serves me. In my case, it was a younger version of me with beliefs that were not my own. Beliefs I had learned from older generations, that I had acquired through fear, and a desire to be accepted. I had to “die” over and over again to remove these blocks from my psyche.

I used to back away from identifying as Witch, Psychic, Diviner. I was only comfortable with Singer, Crafter, Artist (and even that was a muted expression of my identity when I declared it). It was all because of my fear of being ostracized. But this year has clearly taught me that I can’t run away from who I am. Especially if I desire to help others with the gifts I have.

2017 was an exhausting exercise in the death of my fearful self. But each move has led me to where I am now: Unafraid (er—well, less afraid? Let’s be honest, folks).

My 2018 Card is The Hierophant. The spiritual knowledge I have gained this year, the acceptance of my inherent gifts, and continued exploration of various skills tell me next year is going to be Witchy as Fuck.

I’m so Ready.

~A*

**Note: I don’t believe that every source of anxiety and depression stems from being unhappy with your life choices. I am merely sharing a pattern I experienced in my own life. Nor am I certain that leading a life more aligned with my values will cure my depression and anxiety once and for all. I remain optimistic of course, but if it isn’t the case, my lifestyle will at least allow me to take better care as the mood wheel continues to turn. And perhaps I can help someone as they go through their own cycle. **

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