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June 4, 2015

Depression: Why we Need to Stop Saying we’re Fine.

bathroom sad

Recently I’ve not felt myself.

Some days I’ve struggled to get out of bed and others I’ve felt so alive that my body vibrated with energy. I was up and down on an emotional roller coaster that I couldn’t seem to get off…I’ve been depressed.

Letting my egoic mind take the drivers seat, I was wallowing in self pity. Forcing myself to put on a smile and act “normal,” only minutes later to feel the tears escape down my cheeks, yet again. I was tired of crying and felt guilty for letting myself get into this state. I’d become someone I didn’t recognize.

I was, however aware of what was going on. This self awareness was a blessing. It allowed me to step back from the pain and witness what I was doing to myself.

I let myself get trapped in the negativity and self doubt. I was stuck listening to the “what if”s and “you can’t”s whirling around in my head. It’s destructive and I don’t want to live there.

Instead, I let myself experience it while trying to be mindful of my thoughts. That way I actually had a chance to deal with the issue at hand without ignoring it or being too hard on myself.

This meant that the girl who loved social events and being around people would actually rather sit on her own and read. The girl who worked out religiously struggled to muster the energy to get from behind her laptop. The girl who was usually quick to lend a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on could only focus on her own needs.

Being an extrovert, this was a strange and new experience for me.

I’ve discovered it means that sometimes I don’t want to be around people, or I suddenly crave someone’s company. Please don’t take it personally. Everything I’m doing is in the best interest of myself. This isn’t selfish behaviour because I am putting my needs first. And the people around me who matter will understand.

The more I experience negative thoughts, the more aware I become and the easier it is to rely on myself to get me out of the “funk.” I know I am the only one responsible for myself.

Here are a few of my personal observations during this time:

I believe we often rely on other people too much, like an emotional crutch. When really, all we have to do is know ourselves enough to understand what it is we need in order to shake it off. (Getting to the point of knowing yourself is a different story entirely and requires constant growth from daily effort, which is not easy.)

There are often times where we’re not all we post to be on social media. I believe it’s a way for us to put up barriers, to hide our vulnerability. This is me putting an end to that. Expect me to be real and call me out on it if I’m not.

“Maybe if we ignore the elephant in the room, it will go away.” I’m sorry but it doesn’t. We have to address it, face our problems head on but be kind to ourselves. Take time out, be on our own, do the things we love and surround ourselves with uplifting people.

Eat regular healthy meals, drink water, get outside, practice yoga, meditate, be in the present moment, cut ties with negative people, exercise, express your feelings, listen to music, keep your home clutter free and most importantly, breathe! These things are my daily saviours.

I give this advice from my heart to yours, because I’ve known pain like never before recently and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. That being said, everyone experiences depression differently. I am extremely grateful that I can function and throw myself into work instead—other people aren’t so lucky and the darkness consumes them.

I am openly letting you see into my soul and I am not afraid anymore because I accept who I am. And I love her, the mess she may be at times.

By accepting who we are in every moment, not just when we are happy, allows people into our lives who accept us too.

We need to stop saying we are fine when we’re not.

Speak your truth.

“Monsters don’t sleep under your bed, they sleep inside your head.”

 

 

Relephant: 

4 Ways to Treat Depression without Drugs.

 

Author: Ashleigh James

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Mackenzie Greer/Flickr

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