Expanding more on the bullies of depression and anxiety that I’ve mentioned before, staying on top of things to keep them at bay is a conscious, constant practice.
There are those that don’t understand it, at all. Bless them! They’ve never known depression personally, never felt it, never experienced it in someone they love. How lucky they are!
For those of us that know it first hand, we can empathize with each other while our methods of coping may be very different.
For some, medication helps tremendously. They can move along in life with more ease. For others, it takes that, plus other things. Like, therapy, leaving an abusive situation, etc. Religion helps, support groups, quality time with family and friends, the list goes on.
After unsuccessful tries with some medications about a decade ago, I’m one that’s found the only relief I’ve gotten has been through no meds at all, self-work, healthier habits, expanding my spiritual beliefs & practices, proper self-care, and focusing on the genuine people in my life – letting the others go. Also important is dealing with things as they come, rather than running away from or stuffing them.
Gratitude is a huge part of it, as well. I’m grateful for everything. Even when I may not be feeling the happiest. It’s so nice to still feel gratitude, not despair, when things are challenging. Not to say I find the gratitude right away, sometimes, but I do, always, find it.
Visiting with my friend over the weekend, she asked me how I started this. How did I become comfortable in my own skin, with myself, in my own company. While remembering timeframes is not my strong suit, I can definitely remember the feelings and actions I took.
A while back, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, I was staying at a house by myself, in what may as well been in the middle of nowhere because it was far away from home. I was mortified by my own company. I didn’t like myself. AT ALL. It was physically and emotionally painful to be by myself. With no distractions, no people around, no pets around. Nothing.
In the discomfort of it all, I did try to call someone on the phone, although, that was short-lived and wasn’t the help I wanted. I thought to myself, “Well, it’s either get through and over this once and for all or forever be searching outside of myself for something I’ll never reach.” So I sat there. And I cried. I bawled. I rocked back and forth. I shouted. I wailed. I cried some more. I told myself that I had to feel all the feelings, let them run their course. Give them permission to do their thing so they would finally shut up and calm down. I had never been to the other side of that because I never allowed myself to go through the process. Years of pain was always stuffed, covered up, and moved aside.
I can’t recall exactly, but maybe this went on for 2 days. TWO. DAYS. At least. But then something amazing happened. I was exhausted. So tired. So drained. The crying stopped. I was so spent, that I finally relaxed. Tension released. The loud chatter in my mind and body had quieted. It was odd. It was kinda scary. It was wonderful. Decades of emotional pain and loud chatter in my life, quieted.
By respecting the feelings and letting them do what they needed to do, I had finally gotten myself to a place of calm.
From that point, I was able to really look at things that I’d stuffed and/or ran away from. Yes, it was overwhelming at first. I wanted to look at it all and fix it “now”. Over time, though, I learned that examining things one by one was much easier. I’ve also learned, that change doesn’t usually occur overnight. I’m probably one of THE most impatient people on the planet, so that lesson has been a hard one to learn. HA
I can tell you honestly that if something isn’t fully resolved, it will come back again. (I can vouch for this, and will, in a later blog post). Maybe not as strong. Maybe stronger. Maybe it’s just a test to see if you’re really letting it go. Or maybe it’s back to make sure you work on the last bit that remains, that was too difficult for you to even see before. Maybe at first the anger was too strong. Then when you get another chance to examine the same thing, you find the anger is gone, but sadness is there. Then later, you don’t feel anger or sadness, but you feel understanding and forgiveness. It’s all a cycle.
That’s where I am right now. I’ve done A LOT of work. So much so, that I’m grateful to be able to help others. I believe that I’m working on the “tail ends” of some of those issues I uncovered 4 years ago, because a major, good, shift is coming my way, finally. When opportunity knocks, we must be prepared to open the door. Otherwise, we miss it. Again. So, it’s really important to deal with things as they come up so we’re always ready.
Along with the many things I mentioned above, about what helps me keep the bullies of depression and anxiety away… the main thing that helps me is this blog, my YouTube channel, writing my book (s), and the many one-on-one conversations I have with others in which I get to help them overcome the darkness, and come into the light of life. Someone did that for me. Now I get to pay it forward. <3 Feeling like you have a purpose makes a huge difference. Whatever the purpose is. If you are called to it, it’s yours. No matter what. Do good, and good comes back to you. 100 fold. Trust the process. Do what it takes to love yourself. I love my own company now. How cool is that? (;