For most of my life I have been dealing with depression. I acknowledge it, I accept it and I am finally ready to talk about it.
In a way, I feel lucky. My depression never got too out of control. I got help when I needed it and my darkest thoughts never managed to fully take over my life.
Despite that, I spent a lot of time consumed with questions. I wanted to know why, to understand the reason for such deep feelings of emptiness and sorrow that constantly followed me around. Why the cloud of negative thoughts never seemed to let go of my mind. So, I did a lot of research, looked for all the possible methods of therapy, coping mechanisms, meditation… I even went ahead and chose Psychology as my University degree (yup, I went there). And I learned a lot. Learned about things that worked and things that didn’t.
But the self-work never stops. Every now and then, my depression still rears its ugly head and comes say hello. Some days are still better than others. Sometimes I still feel exhausted and drained. Sometimes I still feel like I want to disappear under a mountain of duvets and hide away from the world for a long sleep (why can’t humans hibernate?). Sometimes I still struggle with my own thoughts. Sometimes everything feels hard and, overall, just too much to handle.
The biggest difference is that now, whenever those bad days come, I know they won’t last forever. I’ve learned to hold on to that little bit of hope, tiny as it may seem, and that certainty that everything can change. Through persistence and even sheer willpower, things can change, nothing lasts, and I can find peace and joy. I learned to be kind to myself. I learned to allow myself to take a moment to breathe. I learned to be less critical of myself. And I learned that depression may always be a part of me but it does not define me!
Now I would like to share some of the things that I learned along the way. Because I have come to realize that I am not alone. Everyone is dealing with some kind of pain, struggling with some kind of difficulty. Maybe it’s not depression you’re struggling with, maybe it’s anxiety issues, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, fear of the future, difficulty making decisions…
Whatever your struggle is, know you’re not alone. Once I started voicing my own struggles suddenly others felt they could open up to me. Friends were telling me not only they understood my pain, but they had, themselves, felt something similar too. My best friend shared her experience of an eating disorder in her teenage years that I had never known about (and I know her for over 15 years!). Another friend told me she had been taking meds for anxiety. Yet another one said he was considering therapy to deal with issues he thought had been long buried but were now causing him to have such nightmares that he couldn’t sleep at night.
I look around and I see more and more people are struggling. Maybe it’s a sign of modern times, maybe as a society we have all lost track of what’s really important and failed to take proper care of our mental health and our emotional well-being. I don’t know.
What I do know is this: it is never too late to start. There is always a way. So start now. Look inside yourself, face those demons, accept what it is that is making you suffer. You are entitled to your feelings! If you feel pain, sorrow, stress, disappointment…. Let yourself feel it. But then, and this is important, then remind yourself that this too shall pass. You can take back control, you can make things better. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but little by little, step by step, you can feel better and breathe easier.
I don’t have a formula or easy answers for you. I am afraid you will have to put in the work and find what works best for you. But don’t give up on yourself! If you do the work, you will eventually find your way.
The only thing I can do is share some of the things, tips and advice, that helped me. I can share my own experience. If it helps someone, even if just one person, then it will have been worth it already.
In the end of the day, even if no one reads this, it will have already done some good. You see, for me writing is therapeutic. I am my happiest when I am writing down my thoughts. So, here it is. That’s what this blog is meant to be: a positive space, a place for reflexion and search for what helps in overcoming emotional and psychological struggles. A space for a positive mind. My positive mind.