Shortly after my thirteenth birthday, the neighborhood bully targeted me. My mother, trying to intercept and reason with the bully, ended up getting caught in the crossfire. Twice, I had previously found my mother attempting suicide. The bully knew this and continued her rant, which included calling my mother crazy. My mother suffered from severe depression and the conflict with the bully was the last straw. Three hours later, she committed suicide. Within one day, I learned the devastating effects of depression, bullying, and suicide.
At that time in our culture, no one talked about suicide. The term clinical depression did not even exist. Back then, people who suffered from what we now call depression were considered crazy. In fact, talk about depression and suicide has been taboo until last summer when Robin Williams took his own life. The shock reverberated around the world. How could such a beloved and talented person commit suicide? Well, this has been my question for over 40 years.
Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. It is important to increase awareness of depression and suicide and make prevention a priority.
After my mother’s suicide, the fog of depression filled me. I hid behind a happy face but inside I was filled with guilt from not being able to save her. I secretly thought that my mother’s example might also be my fate. It was not until I turned 30 that I chose to live and move beyond depression. I healed myself within four years by using Reiki and energy medicine.
I incorporated what I learned through healing into my work with clients. This has given me over 27 years of research and the practical application of tools to heal from depression. The time has come to share my findings and create a “Your Life Matters to Me” movement within the beauty industry to be aware of and lend a healing hand to those in need.
What is Depression
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common disorder characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt, low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long-lasting or periodic, impairing an individual’s ability to function at work, school, or cope with daily life.
Depression does not discriminate. It is like a fog that takes over the mind and turns all thoughts against a person. Although you cannot heal or save someone, you can show you care and be the inspiration for them to
Some people are more susceptible to suicide than others. If you see someone having a difficult time, talk to them about whether they are suffering from depression and if they are considering suicide. Oftentimes, there is a loss or trigger that creates a last straw incident. Here are warning signs that could lead to a downward spiral of depression and suicide:
- Loss of job
- Divorce/Loss of relationship
- Moving to a new area
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of health/Terminal illness
- Dealing with a bully at home, school, or work
- Financial worries
How to Speak to Someone Contemplating Suicide
People want to know their life matters. When someone is in distress, reach out to them. Ask them if they are alright and if there is any way you can help. If you know a person is contemplating suicide, talk to them about it! Do not pretend it is not happening. Stand in front of them, look into their eyes, and ask if there is something they are thinking about or planning. Their response will determine the level of urgency with which you are dealing. Let them know how hurt or devastated you would be if they took their life. Let them know that their life matters to you. List the reasons why they matter to you. We are one family. Each life lost to suicide affects us all. You never know when your kindness and encouragement will save a life.
My Healing Discoveries
I have found that the cause of depression has to do with not being true to yourself. Years of pleasing others at your own expense, not following your intuition or feelings, and reacting to daily stressors causes you to leave bits and pieces of your energy behind. As you become depleted, you lose your sense of self and purpose in life.
The concept of mind over matter, along with denying intuition and feelings, has created excessive stress and anxiety, robbing people from being whole. Contrary to popular belief, healing does not happen in the mind. While the mind can help choose a different path, it is not where the core of healing takes place. Healing takes place by regaining balance within the subtle energy body.
Everyone has an energy body. Think of it as an invisible bubble surrounding your body that provides you with vital life force energy. You get a sense of people by feeling their energy before even speaking to them. Someone with healthy energy has a twinkle in their eyes and a certain presence that is appealing to be around. Their beauty radiates from within. A healthy energy body provides everything needed to blossom and become the person you are meant to be.
Stress, anxiety, constant mental chatter, and depression are warning signs caused by depletion of the subtle energy body. When someone’s energy is depleted, emptiness or dullness can be seen in their eyes. They can be experienced as having negative energy. They are not present and may appear to be running on auto-pilot, which is a sign of depression.
The subtle energy body can be healed with energy healing modalities. Quieting the mind is essential to healing as it allows a person to tap into their intuition and feelings. Intuition guides people on their path and feelings validate what is right for them to keep on track. They are the internal GPS system. The mind is part of the creation process by helping figure out how to bring insights to fruition. When creating whole self, a sense of self and purpose is discovered.
Wellness in Aesthetics
According to the Global Wellness Institute, "Global Spa and Wellness Economy Monitor," 2014, a movement is taking place towards more personal accountability for one’s health. The trend towards being proactive is replacing the old paradigm of being reactive.
The failure of the conventional medical system to pre-empt and treat chronic conditions is driving many consumers toward wellness and preventative services to maintain and improve their health. All of the wellness sectors have direct market interactions with the core spa industry, and they present potential opportunities to pursue new wellness-oriented business ventures, beyond the menu of products and services traditionally offered at spas. The Health Continuum below shows this
Energy Healing Solutions – Wellness Packages
Aestheticians have the opportunity, when properly trained, to be part of a preventative solution. There are a number of change makers in the skin care industry who improve the lives of others. Some professionals will be called to step into the realm of energy healing. If skin care professionals feel called from within to heal and offer healing work in their practice, their purpose is calling them forward.
The National Institutes of Health recognizes energy healing as a category within complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Professionals should provide treatments and products containing nature’s energy that fill client’s inner subtle energy body and outer physical body. With weekly treatments of 30 to 45 minutes, clients are usually balanced by the third visit. It is common for them to report that they have less stress and anxiety with more clarity and awareness. The following are the prime energy healing modalities professionals should use in their practice.
Meridian point treatments are based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to create flow within the energy meridians of the body, or chakra, balancing with Reiki, which infuses the subtle energy body with universal healing energy. To complement the treatments, meditation can be incorporated to tap into intuitive wisdom; gemstones and flower essences can be used to infuse clients with nature’s energy.
The following therapies help balance the body, mind, and emotions, but do not heal the energy body by themselves. Homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, Ayurveda, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, and herbs are a great complement to energy healing and traditional aesthetics. A variety of these modalities can be combined into a 30- to 60-day wellness package (offered weekly). Professionals have the means to help clients move beyond depression.
Energy Medicines From Nature
If clients are taking prescribed medicine, before using, have them consult with their doctor. During intake, check for specific allergies to herbs or essential oils.
Herbs are plant materials that may be taken in the form of capsules, teas, and herbal tinctures. The following herbs have been scientifically studied and proven to help alleviate depression. As a precautionary measure, do not serve herbs to pregnant clients.
St. John’s Wort (tea, capsules, or herbal tincture) – An anti-viral herb that helps increase serotonin and melatonin levels, relieving stress and assisting in sleep. Contraindications: Do not use St. John’s Wort with other medications or birth control pills.
- Lemon Balm (tea) – A nervine that lifts the spirits as it soothes and calms the nerves.
- Scullcap (tea or capsules) – An anti-viral and anti-inflammatory nervine used to relax and reduce stress quickly. Contraindications: Do not use with immunosuppressants. Use in moderation in capsule or tincture form.
- Oatstraw (tea, bath, tincture) – A nutritive nerve tonic used for the release of stress and exhaustion. Contraindications: may contain gluten.
The volatile oils from plants and flowers contain plant hormones that react with the hormone centers in the brain, triggering a physiological change in mood or behavior. Place a few drops of your preferred essential oil in a diffuser or add to water and mist over clients
- Bergamot – Balancing, uplifting, anti-depressant
- Clary Sage – Relaxing, euphoric, good for mental fatigue, reduces nervous tension
- Lavender – Balancing, calming, relaxing, anti-depressant
- Melissa – Tonic for the nervous system, soothing, calming, anti-depressant
- Ylang-Ylang – Heightens the senses, aphrodisiac, reduces fear and anger
Bach Flower Remedies
Flower essences such as Bach flower remedies capture the vibration or spirit of the plant. They work on specific emotional and mental conflicts, past programming, and traumas. It is recommended that clients put four drops under the tongue three to four times a day until one or more bottles are finished. Do not use with clients who are allergic to alcohol as the formulas contain brandy as a preservative. The following lists the most effective remedies for lifting depression and helping
clients to heal:
- Rescue Remedy – A blend of five flower essences to reduce the effects of shock or trauma.
- Mustard – Provides seeds of faith to renew, dispels feelings of doom and gloom and encourages joy.
- Olive – Rejuvenates and restores mental and physical vitality to experience pleasure in life.
- White Chestnut – Reduces mental chatter to provide peace and clarity of mind.
- Walnut – Helps to set boundaries and protects from unwanted, outside influences.
Gemstones infuse the vibration of color and nature into treatments. Professionals can place colorful stones on the chakra centers during a healing treatment.
- Black Tourmaline – Grounding, neutralizes negativity, clears energy
- Snowflake Obsidian – Helps shed light in the dark
- Blue Lace Agate – Calming, dissolves stress and fear
- Strawberry Quartz – Helps heal heart wounds
- Rose Quartz – The love stone, helps to feel lovable and share love
Life provides moments of connection that lift the fog enough for transformation to occur. As you consciously focus on healing your subtle energy body, you quiet the mind and calm the emotions to gain peace within. When the mind is peaceful, one is able to tap into their internal GPS to receive intuitive insights and feel what is true for them. Life becomes a creation, rather than a reaction. Everyone is here for a reason. Once a person discovers themselves, they discover their reason for being alive. Help clients heal and discover themselves and a life could be saved. Your life matters to me!
1. Hay, Louise, (1984). You Can Heal Your Life. Print.
2. Depression, World Health Organization (WHO).
3. Suicide Facts, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.