Depression and it’s effects on me
When depression looms and the pit of despair becomes a reality.
There are a million avenues I have never explored and a million roads I have not ventured down, but one road I have walked a couple of times in my life is depression. The dark avenues of despair. The feeling of being trapped and drowning, not knowing how to come up for air. This post is not a guide to healing depression. It is not the medical take (although it could be) on the condition of depression but my experience and what helped me. These are my keys and steps for healing depression.
I am a different person now to my former self! Depressions hold on me is no longer
The picture of my life right now is completely different from that of my former self: my ‘teenage’ me, my ‘young adult’ me and even my ‘new mom’ me. Right now, my life is happy and bright, but in all honesty- it is too busy to be depressed. I do not allow the negative thoughts to come; I have learnt what they look like, and I am incredibly happy to say that I have drawn the boundary line. Depression does not get to cross it anymore. The ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) still come but I make damn sure to stop them in their tracks and I remind myself who I am and who my ‘future self’ is going to be.
Who is talking?
Do you ever wonder what you would tell your younger self? I love thinking about it and, jeepers, I hope ‘younger me’ would listen. Thinking I didn’t want to go back in time, but actually, given the chance- I probably would. I would love to relive all my younger years with what I know now. No real regret what I have learnt, the wisdom gained and the hurdles I have conquered. The person I am today is thanks to the irresponsible, negligent younger me and therefore I cannot say I regret those years. In the spirit of honesty, I wish I had been wiser and more grown-up. I wish I had not been so immature and self-centered.
And with all these life lessons I know now… instead of regretting my past, I can choose to be excited to live them out in my future. I can do it ‘wise’ now. In the end, making the choice to do my best to lead my children along the wise path but whether they will listen is another story.
I faced many dark years of up-and-down depression but there were three periods where it was more severe; a few months during high school, a period during my university years and then the worst was a 3 year period during pregnancy and the aftermath.
Each of these seasons have their own story and their own battle.
My keys and steps to overcoming and healing depression!
Learning to be grateful.
It took time and practice but I stopped looking at what everyone else had and instead focused on what I had and how blessed I was. It was a crucial step but I stopped seeing myself as the victim; I changed my mindsets.
I found God and inner peace.
Regardless of what you believe, putting your faith in God, in someone outside of yourself, is powerful. I pray, read scripture, and meditate. I got involved in church, I was part of an outreach team. Research shows how kindness and volunteering are beyond beneficial.
I spent time finding out who I am, what I love to do, what I hate, and I decided I would invest in me. I decided to surround myself with those who enjoy being with me and that I was not going to listen to the negative opinions of others. Standing up for me!
I went to a psychologist.
We discussed and mapped out all that had happened to me throughout my life as well as my toxic thinking patterns. We decided on a course of action. He directed me into knowing which course of action was best and what perspective I needed, investigating my past and pursuing a joyful future.
I learnt to be mindful and to think about my thinking.
Every step is key but this one is a powerhouse. I would physically think about my thinking (Multiple Perspective Advantage). I would write my thoughts down and decide on a replacement thought. Every time I would think of that original negative thought, those ANT’s again and ruminating on the past, on what I should have said, on and on. I would replace it with my preprogrammed positive replacement.
I decided to pursue health and weight loss.
Seeking the help of a professional meal planner, for me was key. We looked at different eating plans and health programs and through this I sought out the direction I believed would be beneficial for me. This worked wonders. Personally, I believe it’s more beneficial to get the advice of a professional and to remain accountable. What worked for me, might not work for you! At the time of all of this, I found I was dealing with gut-related health issues, this needed my full attention.
The food we eat affects depression and most importantly, negatively impacts our brain performance. My diet needed a lot of work. Eating healthy food does not come easily or naturally to me. I had to change and alter everything. The good news is that with the changes, came results, my good results. I not only changed my food but I started to supplement, I added Omega 3’s, vitamin D, turmeric and more.
My form of exercise, I started boxing as my form of exercise.
I want to laugh because if you know me, you know how much I hate exercise. But we all know the incredible benefits of exercise, so I knew I needed to do something. As a result, boxing it was and I found that it was a perfect fit at the time. Fast forward a few years, now I rollerblade and rebound on a trampoline. I love both. The bottom line is to find what works for you and do that.
Different in different packages
We are all different. I’m sure all of us know the famous ‘Forest Gump’ line, “Life is like a box of chocolates”. What works for one, might not work the same for another. Saying all this though, if you look at your life and take stock by working through the above- you will make self-discovery a transformative journey and process and these should work for you too.
During my teen years, I was on a mash-and-mixture-of-medications-prescribed-by-my-doctor. This might be the avenue which works for you, it did not work long-term for me. I know that for some of it the medication I was on helped aid the depression. This all was a short-term solution and for most of us, it is the band-aid while we work on fixing the actual issue at hand. Simply put, creating long-term change is a process and a road you need to venture yourself. Like I said this applied to me, not necessarily to you!
You are the one and only
In the end, only you can do this thing called ‘your life’ and sometimes the process is a little messier than we expect but the outcome is… happy days. Remembering that life is life: it has its mountains and valleys, but it can also be the rollercoaster, bumper-car or good old Ferris Wheel that simply needs to be enjoyed.
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