Dear Ann Flanders,

I am leaving for Hawaii in three days on an extended vacation with my best friend, and am feeling quite depressed. I have noticed this pattern over time—that when I am really expanding myself, experiencing something that reflects the life I want, I sabotage myself with depression, “mistakes” or an illness. Have you ever heard of this? Is there hope for me?
Depressed in Portland

P. S. Do you think it could just be the rain?

Dear Depressed,
At the risk of being unprofessional, this is very strange! I can’t guarantee that there is hope for you, but here’s my opinion on the matter: the key is in the pattern. Because let’s face it, what kind of nut case would be depressed when going to Hawaii? But since this venture (and its expansive predecessors) represents a leap forward into new personal territory, it follows that it brings with it a shift in identity as well. Someone inside you evidently doesn’t relate to having such a life and thus for its own purposes, needs to thwart the trajectory. As to exactly why she’s depressed, you’ll need to do some more investigating. I would suggest finding that part and having a conversation with her—doing more listening more than talking. Ask her what’s going on and assure her you want to know the truth. Doing so should help unwrap the mystery and hopefully help shift the pattern too. So yes, I have heard of this actually—just giving you a bad time about the nut case thing. Enjoy paradise!
P.S Obviously, I don’t think it’s the rain. Nice try though.

So often we let our patterns run and rule us either by being oblivious to them or repeatedly navigating them—rather than excavating. First we have to “see it,” then “be” it,” giving room for that seemingly errant part of ourselves to tell us what’s going on.  Isn’t being heard and understood what we all want? Those people inside us are no different! 

For the scoop on my interaction with my depressed self, check out this month’s issue of  Crossing Paths, entitled, “Living Winnie-the-Pooh’s Life or Your Own?”