Sukhdev Jackson: Ending A Family History of Depression

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The following guest post was written by my friend and kundalini teacher, Sukhdev Jackson. Her story of perseverance and transformation has been a source of inspiration for me personally, and hopefully will be for you as well.

A tale of tragedy

When I was two years old I was taken away from my mother.

Early one morning after another episode, someone called the local mental institution and the guys in a white van came to pick her up from her apartment, strapped her in a straitjacket and off she went to the land of no return. She lived the next four years of her short life in and out of a mental institution in some back corner of Belgium.

Electric shock treatments, white padded rooms, and unstudied medications were just the norm. When I think of a manifestation of hell, that is where my mind goes.

It was my patriarchal lineage’s choice, and they stood by, watching, convinced it was the best place for her. My brother and I were in and out of her life until she chose to end her life on a gloomy Tuesday morning.

A year prior to my mother’s passing, my grandmother, on her mother’s birthday, after some sedatives and a few drinks too many, took a leap and jumped off the balcony of her nine story building.

People would say mental illness ran in my family with stories of even my great grandmother’s instability.

Today, I have a very different perspective on these feminine souls, and my unique ancestry.

Blazing my own trail

An angry child that no one wanted to be around, at age four I ended up in Boarding school and spent the next fourteen years in those institutions.

I was a fierce spirit.

Insanity with its claws in me, I lived from age fifteen to thirty three years old strung out on drugs, in co-dependent and abusive relationships, and hanging out with the real gangsters and drug dealers of London. I remember my deep thoughts of suicide while on crack and a hefty dose of Prozac at age twenty. Some small voice inside told me it was time. Time to shift gears.

This transition took another thirteen years. I was lost and I proceeded to sabotage every good thing that would come my way. Some slow healing happened when I chose to leave London and start a new life in sunny LA at twenty six years old. But again just as I was getting above water I engaged another abusive relationship. This time, my self-sabotage would bring me to a place of transformation, leading to my sobriety at age thirty three.

All of those years I was a functioning drug addict. I signed a major record deal with EMI when I was twenty one years old. I held jobs and I was, to all observers, keeping it together. My family was oblivious to the depths of my distress. I held good face. I had to, it was how I survived. I was a recording artist and a club queen! I lived for the next party.

Around 2002 I reconnected with a beautiful medicine man that became my absolute angel in human form and set me on my path. I spent two years in a warrior training with him where he taught me all about plants, herbs, shamanism, nutrition, indigenous ways and cleansing. And off I went! I was hooked, it was my new addiction and it worked.

Discovering the tools

In that time period he also introduced me to Kundalini yoga and meditation amongst other healing practices and without a thought, I joined the teacher training. The nature of this commitment seemed almost beyond my comprehension, but I had begun to trust the Unseen. I came to understand it was all that I could trust at that time if I was going to change my story. I had been sober for a few months, and I knew my life had to change, or I was going to die. One of the things that kept me wanting to heal was my music and songwriting. It was my medicine, and it ended up saving my life.

Today I share inspiring music through song and the technology of mantra, and I teach women’s empowerment work. I am deeply passionate about sharing with women all the things I have discovered on my healing path that have given me the miraculous life I get to live today.

Kundalini Yoga and the teachings for women is one of the pathways. In all my studies and research, I have not found anyone else teaching about women as my teacher Yogi Bhajan does. He had a masterful insight into the feminine experience and the tools for reconnection to their power, grace and invincibility.

Women are emotional beings who fluctuate every two and half days based on how their lunar centers shift (an ancient yogic science) and when I discovered that, I finally understood I was not crazy.

I began teaching this work years ago with no idea why I was getting into it. Now I understand the depth of my purpose which is to help women remember their power and that their ability to be such dimensional beings is actually a gift.

Changing my story

This work is a way to honor my lineage, break the cycle, as I raise myself and my beautiful young daughter, a fierce Spirit who has also come to share a great gift. One thing I do know is that it takes a fierce soul to take on the kind of karma that I chose. When it gets hard, it helps me to remember that I chose those sacred contracts because my soul could handle it, and I have come to give back. That is where the freedom is. In the giving.

When I speak to old friends of my mother and grandmother, they talk about what gifted women they were. Super creative, intelligent and intuitive. They grew up in a society that was all about dominant men and passive women. In many ways, they had to squash their dreams and their greatness. That alone can drive a woman to insanity.

They grew up in the Depression, the War, with no outlet or container to teach them and guide their extraordinary souls.

This tragic but “perfect in the divine order of things” unfolding is now something I am at peace with. There are also times when my young daughter triggers memories in me and I understand that I have healing left to do.

I have incredible tools through the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and the indigenous native ways of Sweatlodge. All that I have learned and what I share always brings me back to my center and into a deep trust that all is unfolding divinely.

Women, know that you are gold, you are Shakti, you are God. And God flows through a woman as Grace, as nurturing, as intuition and that is our gift. We have come to love, to nurture and to uplift. Do your good soul work and as we come back into our power and sisterhood, a shift will come on our planet.

A great soul once said: “When women return to their rightful place of power, the men will line up and violence will end.”

NOW is the time!

Learn more about my Global Online Program: Women, Love & Intuition

With Great Love,
Sat Nam
Sukhdev

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KELLY BROGAN, MD, is a holistic psychiatrist, author of the New York Times Bestselling book, A Mind of Your OwnOwn Your Self, the children’s book, A Time For Rain, and co-editor of the landmark textbook Integrative Therapies for Depression. She is the founder of the online healing program Vital Mind Reset, and the membership community, Vital Life Project. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from M.I.T. in Systems Neuroscience. She is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. Learn More