Thursday, February 7, 2019

Why I Almost Let Myself Die


There is a monster with no symptoms. It’s called Cold Depression. During my recent health crash I asked myself why I let me get into such a situation. Me! I’m intuitive, hyper mind-body connected, and aware, I thought. So how did I get there—not just the blood issue, but the severe nutritional deficiencies which were probably behind it all? The answer, I knew as soon as I asked, was cold depression.

Cold depression is not depression. Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder is simply defined as: low mood some, part, or all of the day, every day, for more than two weeks in a row. Depression is fairly easy to recognize by that definition, and one in four people have MDD at any given time.

Cold Depression is not well understood and not even known about by most of the behavioral health world, but it is even more rampant than depression.

Cold depression has no outward symptoms. Often, people with cold depression are happy, successful people, sometimes very high achievers and service oriented givers.
Out and about on my trip to Ireland

Here is how Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa PhD explains it based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
Cold Depression is when the external demand is greater than the internal capacity to deliver and we have spent our reserves. We are depressed but we are so numb and insensitive to our own self, we do not feel it. The depression is therefore “cold.” This leads us to inner anger and isolation from our soul.
Cold Depression is when we are cut off from our spirit, source, strength, and inner guidance. At its core is a deep sense of loneliness, a prevailing sense of anxiety, and a loss of meaning. Yogi Bhajan called this, “The Silence of the Soul.”
We instinctively counter the numbness of Cold Depression with behavior that fulfills the need for stimulation. A person experiencing Cold Depression does not seem depressed to herself or others. This is because she is busy, active, and appears energized. She may overwork, create “emergencies,” or drink 6 energy drinks a day. He may engage in extreme sports, risk taking, or substance abuse. The insensitivity of Cold Depression leads to reactivity, impatience, and drama. Do you know anyone like this?
After reading that description you argue that you are connected to your soul. You are a yogi. You and God are one. Well I have news for you. Even deeply spiritual people often have cold depression, and in fact, I would say it is even more rampant among us folks because of the subconscious sadness about being separated from God. Being on this planet is tough. It creates a pain that is humungous and the subconscious wants to cover that gap. So we do, in all the ways above, and by meditating to bliss out and by overachiever/perfection addiction to feel like everything is ok. And at the same time, some of us even secretly sabotage our lives or health so we can exit the planet sooner. I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
Here’s more on cold depression:

What Causes Cold Depression?
Information overload, unrelenting stress, and rapid change contribute to Cold Depression. Bigger. Faster. More. These are all elements of modern life. The glandular and nervous systems of most people on the planet are not sufficiently developed to meet this challenge. When we don’t have the energy within, we seek it outside ourselves. We go for the rush.
Cold Depression is not just a personal challenge; it occurs across an entire population during global transition such as the one we are in now. When there is a major frequency change, Cold Depression can increase to profound levels, like a sudden tide. Yogi Bhajan said this “gray period” of the planet has occurred in the past, whenever there was an epochal transition.

I knew I had cold depression because I had secretly—I say secretly because it was secret from my conscious mind—neglected my health by resisting vitamins and supplements or not taking them consistently till I was dangling by an eyelash over the canyon of death. This is a secret strategy of many people with cold depression. They subconsciously try to exit. For example, a person might have a small pain that they don’t check out until it has grown to a stage 4 tumor and then die very quickly once it’s known. Another person might have back pain but instead of taking time off from helping and serving and heavy lifting they just take Tylenol or Ibuprofen—for years and years—and then one day they die of liver failure or kidney failure from taking so much pain medicine.

I have been talking about cold depression for a couple of years. I had a feeing I was the poster child for it a while back, and I took steps two years ago to take a lot of the stress off my plate. My life has been very sweet for the last 7 ish years. And it was hard to think that there was a disconnect from my soul. But after my health wake-up call I realized that there was more to this cold depression thing than I understood. So I started doing the Meditation for Removing Cold Depression, which I had never done as a consistent practice. I knew I needed to make it mine for a while. So I did. I stopped my other meditation and picked up this one.

Before you run out and try it, I need to tell you that it is a very powerful meditation. Even though it says you can work up to 31 minutes, it says to start with 3 and build up to that. I recommend heeding that caution. I did start with 3 but quickly increased to 11. I never went past 11 and probably won't for a while.
At first it was sweet. I felt the sweetness of life even more, and then I crashed and burned and felt like I was losing my mind. What was asymptomatic and looked nothing like depression started to look very much like depression and even a bit of anxiety. My body was almost completely better but my mental and emotional state was in turmoil. The mind just wanted to swing, and all I wanted to do was get away from the pain. Ultimately I just had to hold my grace and sit through it. I was super sensitive to everything. It felt a little bit like coming off of an anti-depressant, which I did many years ago.  A friend of mine is weaning off her anti-depressant now, and she is feeling similar things--sensitive and raw and realizing how much it numbed her to feeling things as much.

After lots of debate about dropping the meditation (because I was almost not functional) I decided to stick with it, but add in the one I had been doing before, because it has a very stabilizing effect. This worked. I felt lots better. I still struggled but I could function. So if anyone wants to learn from my experience, I would recommend not dropping your regular practice to do this meditation, just add 3 minutes of the Meditation for Cold Depression and let it work on you slowly.



In January I had the amazing opportunity to go to Ireland for a poetry residency and it was a dream. While I was there I felt so free of all the pain, and I felt so grateful and humbled and had a tectonic shifting of my priorities—more to my personal writing, my family, and simple living. This has been coming, but in Ireland I had the strength to finalize some decisions.

At the Joyce Tower in Ireland


I feel pretty sure that not being in my full creative expression for the last few (ok many) years has been at heart of my secret desire to leave the planet. A blocked creative, if blocked long enough, will eventually die inside and then outside… For me, creativity is a part of my soul. And that is where the disconnect—or not enough connection—was happening.

Panoramic from the cliff walk in Howth
So that’s why I’m not doing any more retreats. I’m facilitating a 200 hour kundalini intensive training this year in SE Idaho and then I’m passing the torch. I’ll still teach, I am just not going to travel any more for work after this year--at least that I know of--for the next seven years. 

Kundalini yoga is not the purpose of my life. It is a tool to support me in my life purpose. Right now the purpose of my life is living and writing poetry and my relationships with family, friends, clients and students. I feel radical acceptance for everyone’s journey. God is in charge, not me. Thank goodness.

Me and a writer friend in Howth thinking about doing a cold dip.

The Seamus Heaney Exhibit at the National Bank was lovely.



I’m going to keep up 3 minutes of the meditation for cold depression for a while. I don’t know how long, but knowing my tendencies and the world I live in, I think it will probably be with me for a while. I have some other changes coming but I am keeping them close to my chest for now. I’ll share them soon if you stay tuned. I also plan to do a webinar soon about all I have learned about health and healing.

Thank you for being led here and reading to the end. I hope something in here can help you. 

Blessings and Sat nam. Feel free to reach out at any time through the comments.