Overcoming depression with positivity.
Depression is a topic I could write about for hours and hours, mainly because it is something I have read a lot about, but I too have experienced the unbearable effect it can have on your life. It turns your world upside down and you become so lost in your own world, that you think you have fallen down a dark hole. It then gets to that point where it has a hold on you and you find it very difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
For those who of you have also experienced it, you will know what I mean and to those who do not understand the illness and make judgement on those who have. Never judge those until you have walked in the same shoes. There is nothing shameful about having had depression, because it is very common. In fact it can occur at any time in a person’s life, especially if he/she is under stress. The feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure can trigger depression in any shape or form. Although, it's important to recognise the symptoms of stress early and by recognising the signs and symptoms of stress you can figure out ways of coping. There is not much you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress better, such as learning how to relax, having regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
There are many things that can cause depression. Stress is only one factor. You have other underlying factors such as physical/mental abuse in a relationship, the fear of rejection, financial struggles, constant failed relationships, bullying at work or school, working in a job you hate, the pressure of parenting, the pressure of work, losing a family member or friend, dealing with a miscarriage/still birth, the feeling of neglect from people you're supposed to love, feeling lonely, feeling unhappy with the fact that you're not in the place where you'd had hoped, having to face constant criticism, or finding out you've been cheated on by someone you loved. The list is endless.
If you are contemplating whether or not depression is lurking in your shadow, here are a few signs to look out for:
Constant crying and sadness for no apparent reason.
Losing the will to live.
A lack of interest in doing things you have always loved doing.
Unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Loss of appetite, or comfort eating.
Feeling frustrated, irritable or constantly stressed.
Getting through the day is overwhelming.
Not being able to control negative thoughts.
Rapid weight loss due to worry.
Tiredness & problems sleeping at night.
Always grumpy, or easily losing your temper.
The constant need to stay in bed for the whole day.
Feeling you can’t cope with life.
Constant hostile behaviour towards others.
Reckless behaviour. Excessive drinking, smoking and taking drugs.
Feeling you lack self-worth/self-love.
The feeling of hopelessness.
Always wanting to hide away from everyone.
I have been unfortunate to have had three episodes of depression in my life. Firstly, after the birth of my first son and the break-up of a four year relationship. Secondly, when I lost my self-worth/self-esteem due to constant failed relationships. Due to the fact that I had not overcome the first episode of depression, or even accepted that I had a problem initially, my low mood was even greater. And, thirdly when my great grandmother passed away a few months after my second son was born and I turned to God.
In my head I felt I wasn’t coping with life’s struggles. I criticised my parenting skills even though I knew in my heart I was a good mother. I felt guilty for feeling the way I did, because for me I was to blame for allowing myself to feel so negative about life. I found it hard to eat, and when I did eat, I felt sick. For weeks I couldn’t sleep, to the point where I became exhausted. All I wanted to do was crawl under my bed covers and hide away from the world. Those around me were trying to cheer me up by encouraging me to go out, but the easiest option was just to switch off my phone and not answer any calls. It got to the point where I knew I needed help, but I was frightened to admit that I needed it. As much as I owed it to my children, I refused to go to the doctors, because as far as I was concerned all they did was drug people up with anti-depressants, which became addictive. There was a core problem that needed to be found and addressed and there was no tablet in the world that was going to erase my problems. I had to do it for myself. I wanted to be in control of my own healing. So I found a church and started praying. I had help and guidance from a pastor who counselled me for weeks at a time. He made me find the love for myself again and I started looking forward to the future and focused on positive things. Once I became positive again, all the negativity that had once been in my life started to fade into to the background slowly. It wasn’t easy, but I was determined to fight my demons. What I found helpful was writing a list of all the things that had gone wrong in my life, including the people who had played a great part in bringing me down and I worked on each and every one of those a day. I tried to look at each negative situation in a positive light, but most of all I had to forgive myself for all the things I allowed myself to be subjected to. My failed relationships with men had played a big role, but I had to look at every experience as a blessing into helping me learn more about myself.
Depression is often labelled by many as a mood disorder which consists of a low feeling where you are constantly crying, or finding ways to shut yourself off from the world. It can be very mild in some and in others it gets to a level of severity. If not detected at an early stage, it can lead to something greater and this is where we hear about people contemplating suicide. If you have a feeling depression is lurking in your shadow, talk to someone. Whether it is a close family member, friend or even a counsellor, just let them know you are in need of their support. If you brush depression once without officially beating it, there is a chance it will reoccur. Some experts have said in their findings that depression is a defence mechanism that your body adopts in order to escape the unbearable stress and the rates of depression in women are twice as high due to all the hormonal factors because of our monthly cycle and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Which then leads to the issue of post-natal depression after giving birth to a baby.
Beating depression is not about finding the quickest and easiest drug to ease your pain, it’s about accepting there is something wrong and being willing to defeat it and if you are unable to see it for yourself, this is where your true family and friends should be able to support you. If you do not seek help, then your children if you have any can be affected in the long run as they have had to witness your behaviour for a period of time. You can also upset those around you who care about you the most, especially if they have tried to help you and you have rejected them. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, so if you think you’re depressed, address it now before it’s too late. There is help out there for everyone. You don’t necessarily have to be prescribed medication, or be hospitalised. There is professional counselling out there and these will be the people who understand what you are going through.
- You can overcome depression if you focus on positive things. Create a goal and believe in yourself to do it. I chose to write my book which was actually very therapeutic and because of it, more positive things have stemmed from it.
- Never shut yourself off from everyone. If you withdraw yourself from life you are preventing yourself from having a chance to break free. Always keep in touch with positive family and friends and never feel you have to deal with any burden on your own.
- Always believe in yourself, because no matter what obstacles we face in life it makes us stronger and even if it doesn’t make us stronger, it won’t kill us. Not having faith in ourselves will.
- Join a support group with people who are addressing the same problem. It’s always better to know that you are not alone and someone else is finding life hard also.
- Find an activity you love and get out there and do it even if you don’t feel like it. This will take your mind off dwelling on things that have gone wrong.
- Do not take on too much. We all think that we are super heroes in disguise, but sometimes things can get on top if you are not careful.
- Make sure you get a decent night’s sleep and lots of rest. It’s amazing how great you feel when your mind is fresh. People who suffer from insomnia are almost 10 times as likely to have depression compared to the people who are well-rested.
- Take care of your health. That means eating healthy and at set times.
- Stop blaming yourself for things that have happened in the past. It’s a chapter closed. It’s time to start a new one.
- Surround yourself with positive people who encourage you and support you. Remove those who are always negative and put you down. Show them that you make have been knocked down once, but you are getting up even stronger.
If you have just read this blog and you feel you may be depressed, or suffering from anxiety and need help. Please click on the link below and check out this website:
ACTION ON DEPRESSION UK