Black Orchid Alchemy: Its Manifesto, its Merits, and its Meaning for You
The newly created manifesto for the Black Orchid Alchemy hybrid coaching/course for people with long-standing Depression. The manifesto is meant to be used as a daily reminder of why we should actively practice self care on a daily basis and how we can use our experience with Depression to help and inform others.
I encourage you to meditate on its bullet points, and read it to yourself every morning and every night. It’s another tool in your arsenal of weapons for battling the demon Depression.
Choosing activities every day that will help you to master the bullet point suggestions is another way that you can use the Depression management manifesto and we’ll get into how you can do that shortly.
And don’t forget you can always use our manifesto as a starting point to create your own. The ones I’ve created aren’t law (even though I wish they were), so make sure your manifesto is the sum result of your beliefs about Depression.
Alrighty, let’s get into it and look at the bullet points, one by one.
To reduce the global suicide rate to zero
Yes! It is possible. The idea that “there will always be someone who is determined to kill themselves and we can’t do anything about it,” is utter bullshit.
And even if it wasn’t, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
The only reason we believe such crap as the above is because suicide has become the norm. We still don’t want to acknowledge it or speak its name out loud, but we’ve grown used to accepting that suicide happens.
And that’s the problem.
Suicide happens because we, as a society, are not doing enough to stop it.
Can you imagine what kind of world we’d have if everybody put down their prejudices, their stereotypes, and their anger towards anyone they thought was different in any way?
What if we stopped criticizing others beliefs? Stopped being offended by anyone who has a different opinion from us? Stopped believing that our way is the only way?
What about if we encouraged everyone to speak about how they’re feeling? And I do mean everyone. Boys, girls, men, women, non-binary, etc? And what if we applauded their individuality and helped them overcome their fears rather than scoffing at them, or telling them (in so many different yet polite ways) to get over it.
What kind of world would we have if every child believed that they mattered? That their opinions mattered? That they’re not weird because, right now, they don’t feel like they can cope with the world?
I’ll tell you. We’d have a world where people DON’T believe that their best option is to be dead.
Yes, it’s a big job. A fucking big one. But, yes, it’s possible. And it starts with each and everyone of us asking ourselves a simple question before we laugh at someone, mock them for their beliefs, attack them on social media because we think that’s more acceptable, or tell them “that’s stupid.”
The question? “Would I talk to my best friend like that, if they were having a hard time?”
You’d be surprised at what behavior, to others and ourselves, that would stop.
For each Depression Muse to have their own Creature of Fucking Beauty
This is a two-parter. We’ll start with “What’s a Depression Muse?”
A Depression Muse is someone who uses their symptoms of Depression as a muse to help them create a Creature of Fucking Beauty.
What do I mean by “uses their symptoms of Depression as a muse?” I’ll give you an example from my own life.
I’m in the process of writing a vampire novel. I started writing this novel when I finally faced up to the fact that I was never going to be a mother. This was devastating for me and at the time, I had to make a conscious decision about whether or not I was going to find a way to live with this fact, or just allow myself to give in and let the demon take over.
Obviously, I decided to find a way to create a fulfilling life for myself. I turned to writing. I love writing. I always have. But in the midst of all that pain, I’d forgotten that I loved it.
Once I began my novel, I very quickly remembered why it was such a joy to me. And I’m not sure that I can explain just how therapeutic it is, to kill off a character in the most bloody and violent way I can imagine!
Of course, the book’s not just about vampires. It’s also about childless women, relationships, and what happens when we’re denied the one thing that we believe (and our society believes) is our reason for existence.
My book is fueled by my Depression. I express my anger, my hurt, my devastation, while using what my Depression taught me to determine how characters will behave and express themselves.
Depression as a muse.
Here’s the second part: “What’s a Creature of Fucking Beauty?”
My CFB is my novel. And the novels that will follow. For you, it might be a drawing, a piece of craft, a video, a meal cooked for your loved ones. Whatever it is, it must feed your soul. It must allow you to channel your Depression and its symptoms into something meaningful for you.
To Celebrate People’s Differences not Denigrate Them
For fuck’s sake! If everyone in the world was the same, we’d all be bored out of our minds!
The things that make people different from us are fascinating, not a weapon to use against them. Why aren’t we more curious about WHY people believe certain things? Why can’t we have a conversation with someone where we respectfully disagree but enjoy the fact that we can share our thoughts with each other?
As a child, we’re (most of us) taught not to pick on people with physical disabilities, which we can actually see, because it’s nasty and hurtful. Why don’t we remember that as adults? And if you’re one of those adults who haven’t taught your children that, why the fuck not?
What’s wrong with you?
In my opinion, as a society and often as individuals, we’re tolerant of the wrong things, like bullying, and INtolerant of the wrong things as well, like differing religions.
Is this really so hard to understand?
People with Depression are different. And we should celebrate that. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be a person that wouldn’t teach my kids to not pick on people with disabilities. Visible or not.
To Make the Topic of Depression an Every-day Conversation
This is how we stop suicide. By talking about it. Often and loudly.
The fact that suicide, and the events, emotions, and thoughts that contribute to suicide, are hidden away like an Uncle’s dirty secret is how the global suicide rate feeds itself.
The fact that we are in so much pain, that we can’t get the help we need, when we need it, and by whom we need it from, is what allows the demon to sneak into our brain and convince us that killing ourselves is our best option.
All the demon needs is a second or two. That’s all.
If we make Depression less of a secret and more of a conversational topic, it takes the fear and mystery out of it. People who don’t have Depression will understand more about it, will be less scared of it, and will be more willing to ask questions like “How are you feeling? Have you been thinking about suicide?”
And if more people are willing to ask about it, we’ll be more willing to talk about it, and more able to get help when we need it.
When we take the fear out of Depression, it becomes just another thing to manage, like a wart on the face or a broken finger.
To learn how to approach this type of conversation you can check out Lauren’s story which explains how to talk to people honestly and openly about Depression.
To Give Back Control of Their own Lives and Health to Depression Muses
One of the scariest things about Depression is the feeling it gives us of not being in control.
We never know when the demon’s going to hit us. We never know when we’re going to feel better. We never know if a new treatment is going to work, it’s always trial and error to get the right thing.
And often, we feel like we have even less control because we’ve come under a mental health system that thinks it has all the answers. And the only answers. And this is despite the fact that the suicide rate keeps climbing. Do they really think they know it all?
The medical profession decides it knows best for us and although there are individuals within the system that are fantastic and genuinely caring, the system itself is designed to follow a specific path. There’s no room for individual treatment and if you don’t obey their rules, they don’t know what to do with you. That’s when they call you “non-compliant” and boot you out of their playground to fend for yourself.
Taking back control of your own mental health is empowering. Even if you continue to use the medical system, you can gain control by adding other things to your arsenal.
You can gain control by simply deciding and understanding that you still have the power to make your own decisions about your own health. And that gives you more power to fight the demon.
And Then There’s the Hashtags
We’ve been led to believe that if we’re different, it means there’s something wrong with us. If you grab a dictionary you’ll see the definition for different is not the same as the definition for wrong.
They are different things.
This is the official hashtag for our membership site. We use it for our social media posts and our members use it to recognize each other.
I don’t believe in recovery. When you’ve had Depression since childhood, it’s sensible to assume that you’re always going to have it. You’re not always in the midst of an episode, but it’s always there somewhere, lurking in the back of your brain.
It makes much more sense to find a way to live well WITH Depression rather than trying to get rid of it, and all symptoms, as our medical system keeps insisting that we need to do.
Because yeah Doc, how’s that working out for ya, so far?
*Black Orchid Alchemy is the year long hybrid coaching/course for folks with Depression. We use our demons as a muse to create a Creature of Fucking Beauty, and a fulfilling life for ourselves while living WITH Depression, rather than chasing an ever more elusive “recovery.”
Grab a free copy of my ebook: Depression; Sucks