A step-by-step guide to overcoming the blues.
Depression is such a taboo word. In a world full of selfies, where everybody looks happy and is smiling, where people always answer “I’m fine” when asked how they are and try to be happy just to conquer each day, nobody really wants to admit that sometimes they are depressed.
There are different levels and cycles of depression. Depression can occur because of an event, or many events, as in my case or just simply appear. It can also occur due to lack of progression in one’s life.
In the past month, a tsunami hit me. I got chicken pox (chicken pox!!) at the age of 37 whilst my boyfriend of 6 years visited me for the first time in 6 months, as we literally live continents apart. While he was here, we couldn’t make love – we couldn’t hug or cuddle or even sleep in the same bed. At the same time, I had just opened a new exciting business that I was very passionate about. Through my illness and events that followed, my business crashed. The cherry on top was the medication I had to take for my chicken pox which caused mental anguish and disorientation. Things became exceptionally difficult between my boyfriend and I and at the end of the holiday, I broke up with him – the man I was planning to marry for 6 years of my life, the man I hoped would be the father of my children.
So now I am stuck. Stuck in this awful segment in my life where I am forced to deal with all this sudden loss and death of my old life and of course, depression has set in. Waking up is hard, getting out of bed is difficult, going out with friends and just being around people right now is almost impossible to imagine. My heart is so sore and so blocked at the moment. I can only do what I know best to deal with this pain and to transition myself through this depression and to come out hopefully joyful on the other end. Where to begin?
Everyone in their life has their own set of circumstances and instead of focusing on things recently lost, one must focus on the positive things they have in their life. There are in fact so many. Starting off by writing in a “Gratitude Journal” is a good first step.
2. Positive Affirmations
As you think, so you become. The inner dialogue one has in their head needs to be looked at. Instead of beating oneself down for everything that has happened as well as past failures, one needs to talk to oneself in a gentle manner as if they were their own best friend! Meditation helps with this and centering one’s energy in a way that re-energizes one’s being, helps towards a happier, more productive state of being and day ahead. One must remind themselves of all their positive attributes and why the people who love them in their lives, do in fact love them.
This is a big one. During this period, all one wants to do is eat carbohydrates and sugar – comfort food. One must discipline themselves to eat well, not to overeat and avoid alcohol – you need a sharp, focused mind. A piece of dark chocolate each day is okay but not the whole slab. I feel it’s also important to add vitamins to one’s diet such as Vitamin B’s which help relax the body and de-stress, Omega 3’s which help concentration and lift your mood and Vitamin C to boost the immune system. Relaxing teas such as Chamomile and non-caffeinated varieties also are important. Too much caffeine right now can only agitate your mind, body and soul.
Raising those endorphins and boosting serotonin levels are of major importance. I honestly don’t recommend a gym though. Being in nature – swimming in the ocean or jogging/walking through a park and getting fresh air in one’s lungs is the way to go. Strengthening one’s muscles and body also mentally makes one feel stronger inside.
Connecting with nature and animals is important right now as one must realize they are not alone – that this planet is filled with beauty, wonder and awe and all one must do, is truly open their eyes. Having pets around to stroke and love and love you back also provides a huge comfort.
6. Good People
Surrounding oneself with people who genuinely care about you and radiate positive energy are some of the most important things you can do. The last thing you want right now is to be around negative energy – people who complain, gossip and are generally unpleasant to be around – it will only bring you down.
7. Getting Creative
Getting in touch with your creative genius and owning it. Everybody has within them a creative genius, whether it’s writing, painting, making music, decorating, dancing or cooking. Maybe a mixture of a few things. Being passionate about your hobbies, your natural talents, and expressing your creativity, really releases stress and gives oneself a sense of proud accomplishment.
Finally, I must stress how important it is to surround oneself with a clean, uncluttered environment. Every day, one should concentrate on a new area of the house. Organize and structure things, throw away unnecessary receipts, tidy bookshelves – all these things will bring greater piece of mind. For me personally, to wake up in a beautiful home every day makes me proud and happy to be where I am.
Ok, I am depressed. I admit it, along with the 350 million (sourced from World Health Organization – who.int) people that suffer from depression daily. I know this is just a phase and I know that I will get through it. I just have to take it one day at a time and know that there is a light – a very bright light at the end of this dark tunnel.