Choosing our way out of depression
Many people in the world experience Depression; 350 million according to the World Health organization (Depression, World Health Organization, 2016). This is one person’s experience of depression, people will experience depression in different ways, with different severities and over different periods of time. One thing we all have in common though, is that we were not born with depression.
There are many factors that have been considered to play a part in the development of a depressive episode. I feel that for me over time my life choices and hurts that I experienced resulted in me feeling depressed and I disconnected from myself, trying to escape from how I felt about life and/or the world.
Back before I was in my 20’s I was exhausted, given up, had suicidal thoughts and couldn’t bring myself to really have much zest for life. I didn’t know how to deal with the mess of my life and so one day when driving home, I jolted the car wheel quickly like I was going to run myself off the road. Luckily I didn’t make it off the tarmac. This is when it truly hit home that I was depressed.
One thing that I noticed about my depression is how all my choices beforehand led to me feeling this way. For example, I was overly concerned with others and how they were, what they thought of me and if I was doing the right thing. This constant choice to put out for others is what started my depletion, a wearing down of my life-force and vitality.
During this period and a bit beforehand I was also choosing to have sex for all the wrong reasons – to please another and to be liked – and not because I really wanted to or because I felt cared for or even respected. So I was literally putting out for others at the expense of myself. This heightened how crappy I felt about myself, which further depleted my vitality. I was also in a relationship in which I did not feel valued and adored; it was always up and down and I was constantly guessing or waiting for the next thing to happen, never trusting the person or myself to feel loved and safe.
So, I was pretty much doing things for everyone else . . . and not because they felt true and awesome/okay for me.
These seemingly small choices all compacted together until they formed one big rolling pile of depletion and exhaustion . . .
Just think about it, if someone hits you accidentally once, you’ll more likely forgive them, however, if they do it continually, over and over again, you wear thin of it, your frustration builds and you’re simply fed up and don’t want to be around that person for much longer.
Well, with choices that don’t support you, you’re the one hitting you, and eventually your depletion is so great that you might feel you’d rather not be here anymore. So you try and check out from the world, either through sleeping, TV watching, eating, drugs, alcohol, or becoming a house rat. You could be so fed up with everything that you don’t want to be in the world, period.
To change things around from my depression I had to really notice me (which is a hard thing to do at the start): I had to undo all the nuts and bolts that kept me in the same rhythm.
A few things I found during getting myself out of depression were:
Seeking appropriate medical care and treatment.
Utilising a wide range of allied health and complementary health care, for instance, for me, seeing a health practitioner (naturopath) and counselor really helped. The naturopath helped my body to get back on track so I wasn’t as tired, moody or feeling crappy. The counselor helped me to see situations in different lights, understand more and give me a basis of trust, love and support
Walking and moving gently, paying attention to you in what you do. Too often we are used to chucking ourselves around the place and going through the motions. Paying attention brings more importance to you throughout your day and life. You may not like how you treat yourself to start off with, but it becomes easier. A great way to help build conscious presence can be found through the Gentle Breath Meditation™.
Loving you: giving yourself as much care and consideration as you do others, preparing things that support you during the day (food, rest, warmth) – a lot of people tend to give too much to others whilst leaving themselves behind. If you’re constantly putting out without refuelling, depletion is a sure thing
Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking; it makes sense, but is so overlooked. Your body must process what goes in your mouth. If you put in crap, you will feel like crap. It helped me to pay attention to how I felt after I ate – was I bloated? Tired? Irritable? Racy? Having bad thoughts? Not liking my body? I started to notice that how I felt about myself was a result of how my body actually felt
Saying no is truly needed. This is the basis of life – saying no to the things that aren’t okay and yes to the things that actually support you. These choices to everything in life, saying yes and no, are what determine if you are supportive to yourself, or if you are hitting yourself over and over again, creating a life that means you don’t want to be around yourself anymore. Start to value yourself and say no to things you don’t like that are happening to you. Sometimes yes’s and no’s aren’t even verbal – we just go along with something, leave the situation or don’t speak up about something. Yes, saying no is hard and others may choose to react and/or become abusive, but seeking support if you are concerned about anything is always an option
Doing things for you; feel confident in what you choose when you choose things for you. Don’t let yourself be swayed even when others are questioning your supportive choices
Sleep! Every system in our body is compromised when we don’t get enough sleep. I had to cut the TV and noise before I went to bed as I realised I found it hard to go to sleep when I was still so stimulated and awake from everything I was doing before I hit the pillow. I had super-early bed times for a few weeks to help dissipate my exhaustion, but woke up at a reasonable time so I didn’t oversleep. After this I also found a supportive rhythm with my sleeping cycle and went to bed before 9pm so I could wake up fresh and early the next day.
Exercise. Yes, yes – no one wants to do this when depleted and run down, but just start with taking gentle walks; it gets you out of the house and helps bring a different perspective in life . . . plus your body loves it. I noticed and appreciated nature whilst exercising – the beautiful colours and shapes of all that was around me.
Stop drinking. No-one’s body feels good after drinking – it’s poison and your body has to work super hard to process it. It is also packed with sugar, which causes crashes in energy and mood. Stopping drinking whilst recovering from depression cuts the cycle.
Everyone knows communication and connection with another is an amazing thing. With depression, we tend to shut down to everyone else because we have shut down to ourselves.
Learning to love your body, treating it with care and learning to trust another can deeply support in reversing depression. It takes a while to clear the mess, but when you do there is an amazing space underneath.
Disclaimer: Depression can be a serious condition, requiring medical attention. If you are feeling suicidal/and or desperate please seek appropriate medical assistance, contact your GP, or this international link http://togetherweare-strong.tumblr.com/helpline that gives a list of support services.