If you read my previous blog that I wrote two weeks ago, you have already seen me share that I haven’t been at the right mind frame and I chose to be vulnerable in that previous blog. The reason why I am being more open about this is because I no longer want to feel the need to hide it because mental illness is NOT a shame and it’s time we break the fucking stigma! Also I want to show you that there is a way and how I am currently dealing with it. If this is a topic that could trigger you, please skip and ignore this blog– Your health comes first- Link to my previous blog is here
I was diagnosed with depression 2-3 years ago and my depression can come with and without reason. If you read about it you’ll understand that depression is also caused by chemical imbalance in the brain and many other factors. I don’t always have an answer when I am asked why am I feeling so down, and that’s because I have depression. I was prescribed with anti-depressants at that time and I only took them for a week and stopped because I wanted to know how to cope with my depression without medication. I DO NOT recommend that you do the same – please follow what your health professional advises. The thing is, it takes 2-3 weeks for the pills to kick in and I only took them for a week, so I am not quite sure how effective the anti-depressants were going to be.
I decided to take my healing a bit more seriously the past two weeks – yes I made A LOT of progress last year, but that doesn’t mean I am 100% healed. To be honest, the past month I haven’t been well and so I made changes. I hope this blog inspires you as those two weeks have really helped me, even though I am still recovering from my depression. I feel more healed than I have in 2019, which is a massive progress in 2-3 weeks!
What Have I Been Doing?
- Allowed myself to feel to heal: One of the things I struggle with is opening up and letting things out. I find it very hard to do that like my tongue is tied and I get uncomfortable, so I decided to get more uncomfortable to push myself out of my comfort zone and grow. The days I needed to cry, I allowed myself to cry and kept telling myself “it’s okay to cry..” and when I needed to be angry, I let myself be angry. I mentioned in one of my blogs before that ALL emotions are healthy as long as they are felt to certain capacity, including anger. It’s how you deal with it and express it is what makes it healthy/unhealthy.
- Sat with my emotions + got out of victim mindset: In the blog I shared about people who struggle with being too sensitive and overly emotional, to sit down with their feelings as a first step to dig deep and understand the source. As a quick summary, you write down how you feel, then write down why you feel that way and the reason behind that specific trigger(s), then giving yourself compassion and patience like you would with a friend and finally asking yourself how are you going to express it in a healthy way. For more in-depth details, read here.
As for the ‘victim mindset,’ it’s about time you give yourself the tough love talk. Accepting anything hurtful or traumatic that happened to you doesn’t mean it was OKAY that it happened, it simply means you have reached a point where you gave up the hope that the past could’ve been different.
- Gratitude – I talk about this A LOT in my blogs. I always write down things I am grateful for every single day, big or small. However, sometimes even when we know we are more blessed than others we still feel tied down or consumed by negative feelings. Someone taught me recently that a great way to really feel gratitude is to close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, feel your heart beat and then thank your heart (say it out loud to really hear yourself) that it is ALWAYS beating even though you don’t command it to beat. Your body has been made to keep you alive and help you survive. Some people didn’t even wake up today, yet your heart kept beating…Then you can do the same exercise with your arms and legs or whatever. I even have an alarm on in the morning with the label “Thank you God for blessing me with another day <3”
- Social Media Detox – I deactivated my social media accounts (except Whatsapp) for almost a week. I just really needed (and still kinda need – I might deactivate again soon) a break. It just feels at the moment that chatting a lot or receiving too many messages is a bit of a pressure on me. I even minimised social outings to really focus on myself rather than other people constantly venting. I have no problem listening to people vent for hours, but sometimes you have prioritise and put yourself FIRST! The next few steps were truly the things that helped me feel better.
- Facts + Letter Writing: I said in my previous blog that I haven’t been feeling present, and the truth is, we’re not living in the past or the future – All we have is the present. So I decided to look at the facts and compare where I was a few years ago and where I am now and all of the progress I made in life. After doing that, I wrote down my qualities and what makes me uniquely me. Remember, there is ONLY one of YOU and that alone makes you special. Us human beings we each have soooo many layers to us and there is no one else out there like you. Then, I wrote a LONG super empowering letter to myself and then I read it out loud. I wrote five A5 pages, but I’ll only share ONE of those pages:
- Forgiveness – Forgiveness is something done internal to help you heal, it doesn’t mean that you should let anyone back in your life especially if they have been toxic/abusive. When someone shows you who they really are more than once, believe them. No need to be taught the same lesson twice and go back to the same environment you got sick at, yet expect to be healed. Forgiveness is about letting go of that anger, the hate and the grudge. It’s exhausting to hate someone, so what I did is that I wrote down all the names of anyone that has harmed me, then I went through each name every night and I said out loud 3 times “I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” I don’t believe it’s okay what they did, you’re responsible for your actions so whatever you do is on you – but from my understanding (again, not an excuse) is that hurt people, hurt people. They probably grew up in a sick environment and that’s why they don’t know how to love in a healthy manner. I wish them healing so no one else gets hurt by them.
- Focus on What’s Important – Thank God I have emotional intelligence! Even if you don’t, then it’s time to practice it. I told myself over and over again “listen, maybe now you don’t want to do anything and you don’t give a damn. But you and I both know that when you fall into that loop of depression you go deeper. You don’t care now, but you will in a couple of weeks because you have deadlines and commitments.” I went to every single class, completed any tasks I had on time and just really stayed on top of things with my university. To me, being productive is helpful as it reminds me that I am actually doing something – learning and developing for my future career. I decided to separate my ‘working hours’ from my ‘alone time’ hours. That way I was reminded that I have other things to look forward to.
- Cancelling Negative Thoughts – I wrote an ENTIRE blog (read here) about taking control of overthinking especially if you’re getting consumed by these thoughts. The technique I share there (which someone dear to me shared it with me first) is really helpful for unhelpful thoughts and fears as well. Personally, I am NOT struggling with major insecurities as I overcame most of them (that’s actually why I was diagnosed with depression – I had insecurities about my intelligence, my looks/body and my personality + I was bullied a lot my entire school life). Insecurities pop up from time to time of course and that’s normal, so understand that there is a fine line between being an insecure person and being insecure about something. Can we quit those shit labels? Thank you. As I understand of course the impact of poor self-esteem, you can check this Self-Confidence category that I created, where I talk about self-love, body image and self-esteem.
- Self-validation – STOP seeking validation from other people and give it to yourself like you would give a 5 year old. Literally I would tell myself “I’m proud of you for doing your chores today when all you wanted to do is sleep.” or something as small as “I am proud of you for making a friend smile even though you wanted to be alone.” Constantly give yourself that validation and love from yourself!
- Listening to motivational podcasts/watching videos. Listing some of them at the end of the blog.
- Letter to Fear – I call that little voice that tries to tell me ‘You might fail’ or ‘You suck at this’ Little Gremlin (more like Little Dumb Fucker). So I wrote a letter to Little Gremlin and I read it out loud. I kept this letter and the one I wrote to myself to read them whenever I need to. Be your own hero and give yourself that power! Rely on yourself, people are just the icing of the cake. Let people support you and be there for you but not to the extent where they become the crutches to your emotions.
- Mental Diet – As you can see in the letter, I ended it saying “I am writing my own story now.” Literally, that’s what I have been doing. I have been writing the person I aspire to be and the future I want to have and all the endless possibilities to that. Knowing what I want to do, be and where gives me a navigation as to what to do next. You see with depression, if I let myself feel low for a couple of hours, I will go to a state of hopelessness and I spend the day doing nothing but feeling like absolute crap. So always finding navigation, fighting fear and unhelpful thoughts, writing empowering letters to myself to find the inspiration within me + reminder to be present and being grateful really helps me feel better.
I am feeling better, but I am still recovering. I really don’t feel like texting much and I don’t want the pressure of being around a lot of people. I have been minimising that as much as I can, but not cut-off completely like I did for a week. I am feeling like myself more – back to cracking jokes like my usual self and dressing up when I feel like it, but I still need some time. I’m not 100% ready to open up FULLY – but I am getting there and I feel more trusting and even more ready to be present in all of my relationships. I need the reassurance sometimes, but being around too many people right now and social activities is a bit too much for me.
Honestly if anything, I am so grateful. Every person that I have asked to give me space has respected that. Some people even surprised me with their support even though we aren’t close, the point of this is that people can be good. Like really good and supportive – don’t you dare take them for granted or let them go. Also, give yourself credit for still standing and pushing through. You deserve it <3
As promised, here are some motivational videos/podcasts:
Don’t Doubt Yourself
Let It Go
Must Have Beliefs
Purpose To Living
Are You Feeling Trapped?
Transform Your Pain To Real Growth
Powerful Morning Affirmations – I listen to this sometimes whilst getting ready