As all the gravity of the world seems to be pressing down an invisible, yet unbearably heavy malaise on your body, and you lie there stuck, and feeling utterly alone – please remember there is a way out of that dark place, even if you can’t see or feel it from where you are.
I have a Diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. So I have had my battles with Major Depressive episodes, three to be exact. I am currently in my ‘Third Episode’ after an unfortunate and terribly painful, yet unremarkable tragedy. This is the longest episode I’ve experienced, but I’m unafraid, though I’m much weaker. After each episode I found myself surrendering my pains and learning as much as I could through each process. I realized that surrendering does not mean giving up and because of my decision to surrender- I have become stronger and wiser each time.
I’m beginning a gradual consistency of healthy activities currently, and each step I take towards my health feels like a simultaneous step towards my dreams. However, it still must be said that it is a real life-threatening battle and having lived to see the end of two painful episodes; I can attest, as a student of life, and survivor, that self-love and self-care are number one priorities for those living with this or any similar depressive condition.
A diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t choose to make your life what you want it to be. It simply means, you must take care of yourself, and while you may be prone to depressive episodes, you can prepare yourself against the attacks on your mind and spirit by becoming knowledgeable, informed, and connected. We are not alone, and definitely not without support. An important component of life preparedness is building and maintaining a strong support system.
Here are FIVE ways I’ve learned, put into practice, and lived, in order to RISE again during and after an episode of Major Depression. One Rule – NEVER, EVER, GIVE UP ON YOU.
1. Remember who you were when you were a young child, adolescent, or teen. Try to recall the general way you felt about life; if you were scared, or if you were confident, and why. Write these feelings down in a journal if you can. Then Promise yourself that YOU WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU. You can also place a picture of your younger self in a place you can be discreetly mindful of that promise to take care of YOU. Practice this everyday.
2. Know that you are going to come out of the episode regardless of the path – you decided when you promised to take care of YOURSELF. In any plan, you must know what you want to do and why you want to do it. Choose someone you love and care for deeply, if you happen to be one who doesn’t believe in your personal worthiness at this time. This is not something to be ashamed of, it’s a part of the battlefield. Your worthiness can never cease to exist, just as all energy merely transforms, yet remains a part of the whole – “we are stardust”. These intrusive and negative thoughts are the battle, they are the many lies of depression, and you can protect yourself through knowledge, practice, and growth. (Reading ‘The Mighty’ blogs is definitely a good indicator that you are trying to heal.)
3. Find your voice and begin to take action. Somewhere along the path, we lose little pieces of ourselves, and think it isn’t worth it to pick the pieces back up.This is an example of how corrosive the lies of depression can be in one’s life. Your voice and actions matter because therein lies all of your personal power. Practice talking to others; a counselor, a trusted family member, or friend, and step by step work towards your goals and inevitable vitality.
4. Practice discernment when taking in information. What is true and what is untrue? This is in regards to what we tell ourselves and what others may communicate to us. Counter all information you take in from others through research, or medical professionals. Learn about your condition as much as possible, verify sources, and most importantly, trust your instincts.
5. Practice courage every day. Learn to stand up for yourself and learn what it is that you stand for and take that stance. Remember it’s a journey, but one worth taking. If your plans fall through, try again. If they fall through again, change your approach, and try again. Do this until you find what works.
Final thoughts: Though the road is uphill, and you may feel weak, try with all your might to practice thinking “strength”. We are what we think. You will make it through anything you decide to, but don’t ‘only’ escape – inspire. This journey is a personal testament of strength, character, and love.