In this conversation, I sat down with Natascha de Hulster to discuss her transformation from depression and how she turned her high sensitivity into a strength. How do you deal with extreme high sensitivity? How can you get your strength from this and how do you heal from depression?
- Quickly introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do in life?
I am Natasha, 32 years old. I am married, I have a daughter and am a transformational coach and body-centered therapist. I help people through energetic work to be who they are and overcome their masks and fears in order to come closer to themselves.
- With which mental challenges have you struggled?
From a young age, due to my parents' divorce and being bullied in elementary school, I fell into a depression. I found little to no connection with my peers and actually had to go to therapy for this very early on. As the divorce progressed, I suffered more and more from depression because I had a great sense of responsibility and my parents themselves were mentally struggling with burnout and depression. I had to constantly take care of others and never take care of myself. My mother also attempted suicide and so the situation was very bad. I got out of it for a while then through therapy but it never really went away. When I was about twenty years old, I went to a spiritual store because I was very attracted to it and after bursting into tears by coming into contact with a rose quartz (gemstone for love), I found out that I am very high-sensitive. Then it got really hard again because I had to dig deeper into myself and I lost myself completely and so I became much more depressed, to the point of being suicidal myself. My parents were also very worried at the time and my studies were not going well either. So depression and high sensitivity have been my biggest mental challenges.
How did you find the strength within you to recover?
What has always been a very important phrase for me is: You choose your own happiness. That helped me a lot to stop blaming others and to take my happiness into my own hands. The moment my parents finally told me that I had the freedom to solve it myself and find my own way because otherwise I had to be hospitalized and my parents didn't know anymore, was a moment that I suddenly became very aware of my responsibility in this. Because I had to look for my own happiness, I suddenly felt that I had control over it in a way. This motivated me in a way to really start looking for a solution. Finally, by going in the direction of spirituality and seeing my high sensitivity as a gift instead of a burden, I was able to cause a switch in my thinking and in this way I was able to cure my depression.
4. Hoe ben je als persoon veranderd sinds je ‘ontwaking’ en grote uitdagingen?
I used to find it very difficult to cope with my high sensitivity and became very easily over-stimulated or couldn't cope with my emotions. I was a real doomsayer and an enormous perfectionist and felt a bit like a victim of my environment and situation. Now this perfectionism is on a completely different level and I am no longer as obsessive as I used to be. I can let go of control much better now and realize that it's not always just me. I can now deal with my high sensitivity in a positive way and experience an awful lot more peace and happiness. I am more positive, more in control of my mindset and feelings and much more balanced. So overall much happier!
Do you still experience your issues at times and how do you deal with them?
Well, sometimes of course I still have some more dark days than others and I do feel myself sliding back into an old pattern, then I just feel very tired, but I have now found the tools within myself to be able to stop this. So instead of then staying stuck in this pattern in my head and letting this go on for weeks until I say 'wait' for it to be done, I now take control. I allow myself to feel bad without resisting it, and this is how it eventually goes back away. Where I used to spend weeks in a depressed state, now I just sit and Netflix in my pajamas for a day and can get on with it the next day!
What has been your most important life lesson yet?
You choose your own happiness is a very important one to me. Your thoughts are not who you think they are and so you can control your thoughts and feelings.
Do you have a spiritual practice?
Yes definitely! I do an exercise every day that I call 'grounding, clearing and protecting'. This is an exercise to protect your own energy from other people's energies and to get back in touch with yourself. The grounding stands for coming into contact with the earth and grounding yourself again, the purifying stands for example just taking a healing shower to wash away energies, and the protecting stands for very consciously creating an imaginary shield around you so that you still feel everything around you, but nothing can influence you negatively. Besides this I still meditate occasionally, but for me going outside is the most important thing. Just getting back in touch with yourself without distraction.
How do you see your future going forward and do you have a particular life goal?
I see my future very brightly now because I know that I now always have an effect on what happens in my life and that I am in control of my own happiness. I know that despite setbacks, I will now always be stable enough to succeed through this. On top of that, I now know what my life mission is: to help people using my high sensitivity and the experiences I've had myself. Every time I can help people I feel so much gratitude and love. On top of that, of course, I also have the mission of being a mother, which I think is the greatest challenge we can face as human beings!