There are days when the struggle is really intense. On these days I am quick to tear myself to pieces. I feel like a huge burden to those around me. I wonder why they choose me as their friend or my family puts up with me because they have to; surely not because they want to. When the storm closes in tears are frequent. Overwhelmed is how I would describe days like these. I had one such day yesterday. I wanted to take on the world and change everything that second. I am feeling better today – what a rollercoaster.
Though there are days when I feel depression will break me I am learning things through it; that even though it hasn’t removed the storm I face, it has helped improve the experience. Here are 10 things I am learning through my journey with depression:
- See the good – I wrote a post on both Facebook and Instagram about writing down the good things in your day to remind us life is good and beautiful despite the challenges we face. Although there have been some days since that post I have forgotten to write the good things down I do think on them. It has changed my perspective. I now look for the good and additional ways I could add more good things to my day.
- Reduce speculation –Recently I had strong feelings of being a burden while I was at work. I tried to reason with myself but it did no good so I thought rather than allow the negative thoughts and feelings continue I would ask. Turns out I wasn’t and my supervisor thought I was a quick learner.
- Focus on what is real and true – I am reading a book at the moment called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. It has encouraged me to think on what is real and true about myself, my relationships with others and my circumstances.
- Exercise – I already knew many benefits of regular exercise but I am learning afresh the benefits of exercise improving the mood. I love it!
- If it is meant to be it will happen – I struggle with trying to open doors that have closed for whatever reason. It is a slow learning process to let go and surrender.
- Acknowledge what is – This came from the doctor on a follow up consultation. It has been so entrenched in my life to run and ignore what is. One example of this is Cerebral Palsy as there has been so much pain associated with this. I wanted to be like everyone else, in many ways I still do, so for a long time to acknowledge it meant I would have to admit to myself I will always be different, I will always have challenges I don’t want. But the doctor advised that once you accept you can start working with it – celebrating your uniqueness. I am not quite there yet but I am willing to start trying – something I should have done a long time ago.
- Be gentle with yourself – When I am having a bad day my inner critic seems to yell the loudest and is the most constant. It has been a conscious effort on my part to be gentle, kind and positive about myself and my life.
- Don’t isolate yourself – Friends and family are great mood boosters for me and sharing together helps to feel not alone in our struggles.
- Be proactive with your emotions – If I am feeling like a terrible friend, for instance, I am now choosing to text my friends to see how they are going, putting into action how much I love and miss them.
- Be hopeful – When the storm is at its fiercest it is easy to lose hope. It takes determination to hold tight to our hopes and dreams but I for one don’t want to give up on them.
If you struggle with depression or know someone who does, just remember everyone’s journey is different.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”