11 March 2018

Personal Experience: How I Overcame Depression

When I think of good mental health I think of being able to look at myself in the mirror every day and say I'm proud of who I am. I'm happy in my skin and I'm positive about who I am and what I say and do. 
                                     
How easy do you think it is to be happy? Can we simply choose to be happy?  What happens when big life events happen? These events could be by excessive sadness, loss of interest in enjoyable things, low motivation as a result of a loss, major life changes, stress, heart break or disappointment. 

Imagine waking up every day feeling like you can't live with yourself. This was my reality 2 years ago. Depression for me came out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. It's a long story but it does have a happy ending. Depression is difficult to explain to people. You crave for peace but even sleep doesn’t afford that. It wrecks your dreams and turns your days into a living nightmare. It destroys your personality, your relationship with your family and friends, your work, it affects them all. Your ability to give and receive affection is gone. 

No matter how great something may be, you still feel that dark cloud within you. And when you do allow yourself to cry, you cry for everything and everyone who ever hurt you. You cry for all the pain you’ve ever experienced. You cry for your constant dissatisfaction and unexplainable despair.   

You go to sleep hoping, praying not to wake up. You rack your brain seeing is there something you done in your life that justifies this suffering. You wonder why God is not answering your pleas for relief and you wonder is he there at all or has he forgotten about you. And through it all remains the darkness. It’s as if someone placed a veil over your soul and never returned to remove it. 

It’s not like you’re always walking around brooding and frowning and crying. It’s not like you never laugh or smile or enjoy yourself. You only wish that when those things happened, you 110% believed it, felt it. You want to be able to relish in your happiness without awaiting the downward spiral after. Negative feelings taint your happiness.

You’re always scared of what can threaten your mental health, your peace of mind. Big changes, new relationships. When something new like a new relationship; you’re always anticipating the disappointment, the heartbreak, the inevitable end to something great. You don’t trust anything to last. You don’t believe anything will truly make you happy. Your whole life has been spent seeking happiness, seeking those things that make you feel content and satisfied, yet they always seem to be out of your reach.

You overthink and overanalyse and drive yourself insane with the most negative thoughts you can muster; even though you know they aren’t true; even though you know you shouldn’t believe them. You can’t dismiss them or brush them aside. Depression make you feel forever tormented by voices only you can hear.

I am here to encourage anyone who is currently going through rock bottom that there is hope. 

Here are some things that helped me. And if you're on the other side of the fence and want to help a friend who seems depressed, I hope this help you too.

The journey to wellness requires time and patience and is full of difficult but rich and liberating learning. There is no one path, each person has to begin and create their own but the giving of support, compassion and unconditional love on this journey from others is as important as the gift of your next breath. 

Mind-Set Is Everything

I fake my way through most days and some days that gets exhausting to the point where I can no longer put on that fake smile. But what I tell myself is, Depression doesn’t make me who I am. Sometimes my brain likes to think it does. I decided to fight for ME. To fight to be the happiest I have ever been. I will fight to let people in and not shut that door.

It's never time that heals all wounds, but mindset, action and belief. I began to take ownership and control over my thoughts, my mindset and my existence. I knew I wanted to be genuinely happy, I was tired of faking a smile to those around me. I am mindful of my thoughts and see others with love and kindness, as opposed to negativity.

I won't say every day is easy, I still have little stumbles along the way. But I see those as confirmations that I am building the new me. 

Give Yourself Permission to Feel

Feel it all. You might be trying to keep it together, but it’s actually very healing to allow yourself to go through all the emotions. Cry your heart out. Once you’ve given yourself time to really let it out, it makes it easier to reel in your emotions. 

I tell myself in spite of all of these unpleasant sensations, I know that things can work out the way that I want them to.

Practice Self Love

Be patient and compassionate with yourself, remind yourself of all your wonderful qualities and talents, and give yourself praise and encouragement.

I talk to myself like I would to someone else that I want to express love to. It feels amazing to give myself what I want and need.

Talk To Someone

It's never easy telling someone about your mental health. It's never easy trying to explain the heavy feeling in your chest, the heavy head and whirlwind of sad thoughts constantly sitting in the back of your head. 

I started to feel better when I opened up to a trusted friend who was willing to listen and understand what I was going through. At first it was uncomfortable, trust me It can be the hardest thing to do but standing up and saying that you deserve better than this is the first step to helping yourself. There’s no shame in admitting that you don’t want this kind of life for yourself, and that you need to talk to someone – whether a professional or a friend – to work through it.

Be Productive

My friend told me I needed to be productive because as at that time I have stopped doing all the things I love to do. Gradually I started doing all the things I love, I started travelling more. This lifted my mood significantly and I started gaining my self-confidence back.

Get Rid Of All the Toxic People in Your Life

Surround yourself with positive and loving people. Be in a healthy relationship. I remind myself that I deserve to have relationships that feel good and nourishing to me. I truly recognize the value of my time, and guard it with a passion. I'm not as hesitant to say "I’m sorry" first as I once was, and I am learning to forgive those that never offered me an apology. I date differently, am more selective with the friends I choose, and have a heightened sense of consciousness in regards to one's motives and intentions. I protect myself, but have also placed a shield around those I love. My heart is more open, but my mind is more aware.

Forgive

I forgive quickly and easily for my peace of mind and sanity. I forgive those that hurt me and that gives peace of mind. I am also quick to genuinely apologize when I have offended anyone. It’s all about being sane and having healthy mental health. I have no rooms for resentment, bad blood or any form of negativity.