A Sustainable Life. Make Magick.

The Empowerment Project: Recognizing the Value In Feeling Bad



This has been a very hot and rough summer. Because of my depression, I have been neglecting myself and it’s taking a toll. I have fallen out of my yoga practice this month felt very out of shape due to a lot of sedentary tasks from blogging to sewing. Between that and struggling with financial stability and the emotional impact of  all of the socio-political strife happening in the world, the last few months have just been- hard. My depression and anxiety have been a dominant presence.

When I look at the last year of hard uncompromising work I’ve been doing on my spirit and self-esteem, finding support has been a big part of that. Loving yourself and valuing yourself is easier when you have others reflecting that back to you and when you have others cheering you on. But like me, my local friends have been going through it. I still benefit from having heart to heart conversations, clever and distracting feel good texts and correspondence with some of my closest friends, but I have also been self-isolating as a result of how depression limits my physical and emotional resources. Resources that apparently the Universe thinks are best reserved for me right now.


Sometimes time away, time alone, time to reflect and heal are the best things I can do for myself. Everyone is different and it has taken a long time for me to embrace turning inward to deal with my depression. Turning off my inner critic and having compassion for myself is the goal. Remembering to have as much compassion for me as I would for others is crucial.  No matter how many self-love gurus permeate the web and preach the gospel of positivity, I don’t feel happy and amazing or positive all the time. Many people have chemical imbalances that don’t allow them to fake it til they make it. I actually feel very fortunate that I am highly functional in my depression. Yet and still being depressed and having anxiety is not easy, and guess what, that’s okay.

The idea that the world is what you make it resonates with me as I am a daughter of the Universe and a lover of the Goddess and feel that our energy is connected, deeply. But it doesn’t account for the economy, bias, body chemistry, mental or physical health, bad timing or life’s big and little and very real distractions. The idea that if you are not “happy” and “thriving” every moment, you are doing something wrong is pretty narrow. All feelings are valuable. If you are not keyed into your emotions and or your body, how would you know when you are in trouble and when to reach out for help?


“Faking it until you make it” is a novel idea but isn’t a viable solution if you aren’t addressing what is actually going on for you emotionally or sometimes physically. I no longer hide my “bad” moments in the shadows as if they are a burden.  I address them and I give my frustrations, disappointments, and sad feelings a voice. Otherwise, those feelings become toxic and could consume me.  Just the fact that I am penning this post represents my coming out of the other side of a six-month bout with my depression. It’s taken a long time to get to the point where I could recognize my feelings at the moment and address my own needs around emotional shifts and physical cues. I have finally learned how to honor them.

It can be a long slow process, but a truly authentic process to accept where you are, determine what you need and learn to care for yourself and support yourself in moving through those challenging feelings. What people forget to say when they are rallying for you to love yourself is that feelings of love fluctuate and in the end, love is acceptance. Accepting yourself means honoring the perfectly imperfect parts too. I am learning daily.


I am really grateful that I have the ability to recover from being down, and feeling out. I am grateful that deep down I am an optimist who truly believes things will work out in the end. I am grateful for the ability to recognize my own feelings and perform whatever self-care I can at that moment. I am grateful that through gratitude I am able to find peace.


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Author: sweetvanessaleigh

I am Vanessa Leigh, maker, writer and witchy goddess in training.

2 thoughts on “The Empowerment Project: Recognizing the Value In Feeling Bad

  1. This is a really thoughtful post. You’re very self aware, I think that is a double edged sword in that it can help get you out of a hole but it can just as easily put you there if you let it.

    All your hard work is paying off, there’s no way it couldn’t x

    • Thanks for your thoughtful commenting Melanie! I think I just fall into the camp of folx who are pretty sensitive I think. It is my nature and learning to accept it has been a hard lesson. Overall actively embracing acceptance in various areas of my life is helping me let go of the things that do not serve me. It’s always a work in progress of course. Thanks for the encouraging words Love! ❤

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