Depression is something many of us experience. While it isn’t who we are, it certainly feels like it controls us.
Before I share my personally journey with depression – if you’ve been experiencing or supporting someone with depression symptoms, please reach out to your local GP, a professional therapist or organisations such as Beyond Blue. Help is available for you.
What is depression like?
Anyone that has gone through depression will tell you that it is all encompassing. It takes over your mind from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep – and that’s if you can sleep. For me the continual thoughts of not being good enough, not feeling liked, feeling left out, continued on an unrelenting loop in my mind with only a slight reprieve every now and then. I really did believe that everyone around me would be better off without me. I really did believe that people deliberately left me out. I really did believe I wasn’t a likeable person. Heck, I didn’t even like myself. I was always moody, didn’t want to socialise and when I did, felt socially out of place, didn’t feel like I had the ability to hold a conversation of any worth and thought people really didn’t want to be around me. I felt like I was being judged by everyone.
There would be some days I wouldn’t want to leave the house and my husband would try to drag me out to events. Sometime he would succeed and other times he wouldn’t. I can’t imagine what he was going through. Part of me knew that I was hurting him and hurting my children, so I convinced myself that they would be so much better off without me being around. Even though I had a spiritual knowledge of the other side and cause and effect, I somehow rationalised that I would be ok if I did leave this life.
Once depression had its hold on me, it rationalised any negative thing it wanted. It convinced me that no one liked me, that I was alone, that I was not worthy of any love from any one including my partner, children, parents or friends. It convinced me that I deserve to feel pain. Any chance I did get to think otherwise were only short-lived and the depression convinced me that I was foolish for even thinking that I was worthy of healing.
It’s an endless loop that is extremely difficult to get out off.
What caused my depression?
For me, there was no obvious cause – just habitual thinking habits that started in my youth and continued to grow in intensity over the years.
Things like a lack of sleep and certain foods made the matter worse. When I would drink an energy drink I would be extremely agitated the following day, which would then make me think I was useless and unworthy and the negative mind talk would start again and keep me up. I also overate to punish myself because I wasn’t good enough. I would then put on weight and feel even more unhappy in my body. All of these things contributed to the growth of my depression.
You can read a detailed account of my journey with depression in my book Empowered Happiness, Discovering Bliss Beyond Depression.
How did I begin to overcome all these negative thoughts and feelings?
My healing journey started with me making a conscious commitment to myself everyday, to begin to move forward and help myself heal – at least initially. Even if I didn’t necessarily believe it was possible or want to, that’s what I had to do. Here’s some key thing I committed to each day and slowly, things started to get better.
- I booked in for ongoing healing sessions (both kinesiology and spiritual counselling). That way I was committed to turning up even if I didn’t want to. I would quite often feel better after a session and although it wouldn’t always last, I was committed to going to the next session until eventually the good feelings started to last a little longer. I was looking deeper into why I felt that way.
- I eliminated all energy drinks, chocolate and alcohol from my diet. Diet has a huge impact on how we feel so for a period of time I gave up the processed foods and sugars I knew weren’t having a positive impact on my mindset.
- I’d commit to a good day. On some days, when I knew I was going to an event that in the past would cause me grief, I would make the conscious decision, “I am going to have a good day today.” For just that day I would be ok. I found that when you start to change your mindset, even if it’s for one day at a time or even for 1 hour at a time. It takes time and effort but I found that eventually happier feelings and thoughts it began to sink in.
- I practiced forgiving myself. If you make a mistake imagine yourself as someone you do or have loved. Would you scold them or would you have compassion for them? I started practicing self-compassion little bit by bit.
- I started meditating. Listening to someone else’s voice on the recording helped to stop some of the voices in my head for a period of time. Sometimes I’d fall asleep during the meditation and that’s ok.
- I found the small things in life that make me laugh. It could be a comedy on TV or something funny on YouTube. I remembered how to laugh again.
All of the strategies I used to help me find bliss beyond depression, are listed in detail (with tips and action plan templates for you) in my book.
Again, if you are feeling depressed – no matter how insignificant or extreme you may feel your thoughts are, from someone who has been there, I can tell you that it’s never too early or late for help. See your qualified health professional. Even if medication is the best options, you can be medicated and still use all the tools above to help you get over your hump and who knows, with the guidance of your GP and with all the personal self-development work you do, you may be able to stop the medication in time and come out a much stronger person.
P.S. Do you know someone who might find reading my experience with depression and healing journey helpful? Please share it with them now via one of the big share buttons below.