Guest Post: Tackling Depression

I have not been blogging for a long time, but in the little amount of time, I’ve had the opportunity to read incredible content that has helped, taught, and inspired me. Recently, I’ve reached out to one of my awesome followers for a guest post. She has an amazing writing style that really connects with the reader. She wrote this article on depression. I invite you to look at her blog and this article at http://insidethelifeofmoi.wordpress.com. It is an amazing read.

Lastly, I would like to thank her for this post! I feel like depression is something that everyone experiences at one time or another in varying degrees. Her writing style is amazing and it probably took a lot to write about such a touchy topic! So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you AMANDA!

So without further ado, I give you “The Perfect Storm.”

Depression, a storm cloud hanging over us. It’s unescapable. We try to run from it, only it follows our every move. We try to hide from it, only its two steps ahead of us. Suddenly, the clouds release a downfall of melancholy, lethargy, hopelessness and despair. Crashing down on us, beating us down. We lie fragile upon the tear soaked ground, catching a glance of our hopeless reflection, catching a glimpse of our distorted selves.

The clouds are as grey as we feel. The rain is as ferocious as the hatred clawing from within. When we are in the midst of depression, it’s almost impossible to see a way out. It’s almost impossible to know the sun will shine once again. We can’t look up, in fear of being beaten back down. We can’t look forwards, for the darkness has stolen our light.

Depression consumes our every hour, every minute, and every second. We become that dark melancholic cloud. We become the blackness we feel inside. Infectious, like a raincloud invading a sunlit sky, rapidly turning light into darkness. Everything we touch turns to ash. As the clouds thicken, we are unable to see. Our thoughts forever lost in our fog-infested minds.

Depression wraps its ugly arms around us. It’s dragging us down. With nowhere to run and no place to hide, we lose the motivation to fight on. We admit defeat. Floating in a sea of pandemonium, moving through a whirlwind of hurt, there’s no escaping the malignant sadness which consumes our every breath. As we lie in this river of turmoil, we don’t know it yet, but we have already crossed our first hurdle – Acceptance.

As we allow this sea of depression to sweep us off our feet, we wave goodbye to denial. Although our days are bleak, we begin to realise, one day the sky will clear, and the tears will no longer fall. One day, the sun will break through the clouds, and we will feel warmth inside our hearts. A midst the stormiest weather, it’s easy to lose insight and we begin to fear our lives will always be this way. The beautiful truth is, after every storm, the sun always shines.

Perhaps the storm isn’t so bad?

It is through our darkest moments, we learn the most about ourselves. It is during these bleak periods, the façade is dropped and we become truly exposed. With a domination of raw emotion, our worlds become animated with colours of depression. We become more attuned to our feelings. Furthermore, our emotions are intensified. We begin to access parts of ourselves, we were unaware we possessed. We become more creative, more passionate, more animated. We learn to utilise the darker times. We write, we draw, we imagine, we create.

And so we float freely through the stormy seas, watching maps upon the sky, as lost as we’ve become. In time the clouds clear, and so do our minds. Suddenly, the skies cry no longer, and we begin to find our feet once again. The sea of tears has dried, and suddenly, the world doesn’t look so daunting anymore. The darkness has gone. As we watch the sun gleam out from behind the cloud, we smile and embrace the moment. We walk out of the storm, a stronger person.

It’s true what they say, ‘after the storm comes the calm’. It is only when we have been weathered and worn, when we truly appreciate the brighter days. This doesn’t mean we should spend our lives anticipating a storm, but rather, embrace the darker moments and appreciate the sunny spells.

Sometimes, it rains down hard on us, but other times, the sun shines through, and in that moment, depression is nothing but a distant memory.

“Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors”. – Unknown.

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The Green-Eyed Monster

When I was in elementary school, there was this kid, my friend. For confidentiality, let us call him Q (I very recently watched James Bond, but completely irrelevant).

Anyways, Q had everything. He was good looking; he had money, friends and, the cherry on the cake, any girl to his liking. He was somewhat of a king at my elementary school.

He had his birthday party (I can’t remember which one) at his house. He lived in this massive house with archways, pillars and the whole shebang. We ran around and played with his home laser tag set and dined on homemade tacos. I was brimming with jealousy.

Every night I would go to bed, hoping to wake up in his house, in his bed, in his shoes. I would dream that I was him, surrounded by a mountain of money, girls and friends. I wanted the same fate. Why was I born in this life and him in that? I couldn’t comprehend it.

The jealousy grew inside me and slowly turned into hate and loathing for the world and for him. Before long, that was the only thing I could think of. It consumed me, occupied all my time and distracted me.

Jealousy always comes from a place of insecurity. I was incredibly insecure with myself. I did not feel comfortable in my own skin, I had trouble making friends, and I just felt different.

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A) Be Sherlock Holmes

You have to identify where the jealousy is coming from. For me, it came from a lack of physical and emotional control. I felt like I did not have any control of my emotions or actions. It was almost like I was a soulless drone.

There could be one or a multitude of reasons behind your feelings. Be like Sherlock Holmes and connect all the pieces together into an intricate picture. Your lifeblood is at stake here. The circumstances are large.

B) Address it Head On

Approach the person or just do it internally. I don’t know where Q is now, but I never confronted him with my envy. I idled by until high school separated us.

Instead, I identified it internally. I wrote down what made me jealous and why. I’ve found that writing it down helps me analyze thoughts. I had to stop comparing myself to others. I still constantly do that and it is a terrible flaw.

Most people are trapped with the green-eyed monster because they fail to confront it. Instead, they let it fester and grow. Confronting the situation will kill that monster.

C) It Does Not Change Your Circumstances

Envying someone does not have any bearing on you. It just progressively puts you in a more depressed and anxious state. It just pushes you further from your goals.

Being jealous of material possessions does not make it easier for you to attain it. You do not need the latest iPhone or that 80-inch SMART television. But if you do want something, go and get it.

The only thing stopping you is your jealousy.

D) You are Amazing

You have to realize that you are amazing the way you are. You are different, but then again everyone is different. Different is by no means bad.

I view the difference as unique. I am not different. I am unique. The green-eyed monster cannot take hold if you believe that you are unique. With uniqueness comes a whole new set of ideas.

Maybe you want a better nose, but the nose you have now is great. It’s unique; it has a little point to it. It’s cute.

I don’t have mountains of money, girls, and friends but that doesn’t matter anymore. Envying someone that has that just pushes me further away from my goals

I have let jealously control my actions and thoughts for far too long. It is time I let go and focused on myself.

If you have any personal methods to overcome jealousy, please leave your comments below.

The Power of Quicksand

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost all control of my life. Negative thoughts leech off my brain, as the sand swallows me. Who am I? Where am I going? Do my friends like me? Will I be alone?

Coping with the stresses of life is hard. There’s this endless cycle of thoughts and feelings surrounding my head. My insecurities come pouring out all at once. The more insecurities that arise, the deeper I sink into the sand. How do I break free from all this?

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In life, there aren’t many things you can control. Life occurs and you have to cope with everything it puts on your shoulders.

Living in the Now

It’s obviously easier said than done, but don’t worry about ‘the future.’ I have trouble with ‘the future.’ I think ‘the future’ is something that doesn’t quite exist. You deal with everything you have to deal with now and eventually you reach the future? But, by the time you’ve reached the future, you are in the now.

“The future is composed of nows” – Emily Dickinson

The future never comes. The present is now, that I’m sure of. I’m speaking too existentially. This all doesn’t make sense. I cannot wrap my head around it. Am I stupid?

Great. Another stress on my plate.

I’ve found that an effective method to overcome all these pressures, is to live in the now. Deal with your thoughts, feelings, and actions in this present moment. Thinking about the future leads to a vexatious brain and body.

Write a ‘Be Grateful List’ Everyday

Write down a list of everything you are lucky to have. When things seem the bleakest, writing what you are grateful for puts everything into perspective. Do this on the days that you feel distraught.

Try to come up with different positive influences in your life. Write down at least ten. Make your brain really sweat to be grateful.

You will come up with things you’ve taken for granted. Simple things are often taken for granted.

Maintaining Control

I went through a terrible breakup when I was sixteen. It left me essentially alone. I had nothing left. Having raging hormones, I had no sense of life or happiness.

I had no friends, I had no girlfriend, I was overweight, and I was incredibly unhappy.

I had to get out of this emotional rut.

At that time I was never keen on reading, but I forced myself to read. Eventually, learning became a way to help me control my thoughts. I could control what I wanted to read and treasured the ability to accept or reject authors’ thoughts.

I started to get an idea of the man I wanted to be. I started to make goals for myself. New goals just came natural to me during this phase.

This worked well. Soon, I forgot about all the previous anguish and started improving myself. Eventually, everything worked itself out. When you communicate intrinsic happiness to the world, the universe opens up.

“Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have control: now” – Denis Waitley

Fast forward to September 2013 and going through my first “mid-mid-life crisis” (Patent-Pending). Once again, I found myself unhappy. I lost sight of my goals. I was lost and mildly depressed with my sedentary behaviors. I wanted to leave everything behind, explore Europe (like in those teen movies). Leaving seemed right, but I was chin-deep in the quicksand.

But, leaving everything wouldn’t solve my problems. I would just have a whole new set of problems. Where would I go? How would I live? I’ve learned; when your life is spiraling, problems just follow you where you go.

I fell back to my previous plan. I decided to improve myself, in all areas, even further. I researched body image and fashion.

Dressing well opened up a new world for me. Controlling the way people see me gave me a sense of empowerment. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was getting genuine compliments.

I feel like dressing well fed my intrinsic happiness monster inside my body. People recognized that I felt good about myself and the universe just opened its arms. I feel at ease now albeit temporarily.

Sometimes you lose control and that’s okay. Use it as a way to progress. Use the quicksand as an excuse to improve yourself. Perhaps another mid-life crisis is on the horizon.

This time, I welcome it with open arms, as a chance to improve.

Quicksand

Fear Forward

Why is it that humans are the most evolved species and on the planet, yet feel so weak sometimes? Fear is debilitating. It burrows inside your body and festers until it takes over your entire being.

I get scared sometimes and my mind wanders. I worry about the future. Will I be happy? Will I be successful?

Will I be alone?

I ask myself these questions constantly. My mind wanders to the point where I can’t think about anything else but the future. It consumes me. Takes over my mind and body. I have trouble with the simple things because I stumble into a different universe.

Fear is a dark room where negatives develop – Usman Asif

Fear stops you from moving forward and hinders your ability to try something new. You have to overcome it and push through. It’s easier said than done but, when worked on, it will make us stronger.

A) Moving on Forward

Fear doesn’t want you to progress. It likes when you stay sedentary. It wants you to get all wrapped up with thoughts of the future, so you freeze. But, all you need is to deal with the now.

I used to have a particularly abusive relationship in the past. My significant other did every dirty thing in the book.

Lied, cheated and stole.

I stayed in that relationship for far longer than I should have. The fear crippled me. I thought she was the one. I would have to end up with her. Who else was there? I would die alone.

I was sixteen.

Looking back at it now, it was crazy. But I remember thinking of the terrible future I would have. No wife, no children, no life. When fear festers it leads to other problems. And instead of looking for solutions, you start generating more problems.

Fear is a prison for your mind

B) Try Something New

Every person, through fear, mugs their aspirations a dozen times a day – Brendan Francis

The thought of venturing into new things terrifies me. For example, after writing my first post, I was terrified. What if people hated me? What if people didn’t care about what I have to say? These are barriers that I’ve overcome just by doing it.

Just do it.

Do something because it scares you. I have to do things because it scares me. If I am not scared, then I’m not really progressing.

You have jump feet first into something. If you’ve ever gone camping, you know that lake water is generally pretty cold. Easing into the water will make the entire experience unpleasant. Easing out of a fear just makes it more painful. Sometimes you just have to dive in.

C) Dealing With Your Fears

Sleeping 8-9 hours a day is integral. It will be necessary on the your conquest of fear. Anxieties fester inside your mind and attempt to keep it awake. The more you sleep the less time you let it mature.

Expressing yourself is important. It can be done in any type of avenue. Read, write, draw, or paint. Do something to take your mind of the fear. Writing can be hard at times. But don’t think of a page limit when writing. Just write and don’t stop until you’ve run out of thoughts in your head. Write out whatever is on your mind. How your day has gone. A recent fond memory. Spend some time today to write something down.

Fear is something that takes over you. But you can use that to your advantage. Think of fear as a way of progressing. If you are scared of something, than that’s something you can work on.

Hitting publish on this blog post scares me. It scares me every time I hit it. Thoughts race into my head and I wonder if my readers will even acknowledge this or me. But, to overcome this fear, I have to hit send. I have to improve.

I invite you to write down your fears, as I have. And cross them off, one at a time. On your deathbed, you will never wish you feared more and conquered less.

If You’re Having Anger Issues, I Feel Bad For You Son, I Got 99 Problems But Anger Ain’t One

I decided to write on this topic because it’s something that everyone experiences. I’ve dealt with this emotion within many facets of my life.

I used to be plagued with anger issues. It hung above me like a looped noose waiting for my head to be strung through.

If you give anger a chance it will consume your entire being. You get agitated. You can’t think straight. Or worse, you may see red and do something you will regret. We all get angry. Damn, I got angry today, but the whole idea is to realize it and stop yourself before you escalate to those symptoms.

I don’t want to rehash the old “count to ten” methods. In my opinion, it isn’t an effective way of dealing with anger. Instead, I want to suggest something else. I want you to think about these points in a potential situation.

A) You’re Worth More

Think about it. Getting angry isn’t worth it. It does not solve anything and changes nothing. Granted, it is easier said than done, but ignoring the little things will provide you a more stable mind. When a situation arises  think about what would happen if you got mad.

Would it turn this negative situation into a positive one? Chances are (in most situations), the answer is no. Getting upset/angry/mad will not change it into a positive, or anything at all. So really, does it really make a difference?

You are worth more than that.

B) Your Time is Precious

You have a limited amount of time to achieve your goals/aspirations/objectives. Getting angry just wastes the valuable time that you could be using to create, think, or learn something new.

My Tip: When the situation arises where I feel close to anger, I will try to think a certain goal I have, (in this case, it is writing a book) and instead of getting angry, try to come up with a chapter title or idea for a chapter.

You time is better spent on other more important, life-progressing things, than it is on getting upset over something.

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C) Focus on yourself

When a particular situation arises, the best thing to do is remove yourself from it. Remember, the focus here is you. You are the subject that you need to please. Do whatever you need to do to calm down. In my experience, removing myself from the situation gives me the ability to properly assess the situation.

D) Don’t Give Them Satisfaction

People try to get a rise out of you. That’s their intent. They want you to be flustered and angry. You shouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

As a child, I was put into multiple situations where getting angry was the only option or at least that’s what I thought.Back when bullying wasn’t a “thing,” I was bullied. Getting angry was a way to cope with all the frustration.

But that’s exactly what THEY want. They want you to feel bad, upset, and flustered. That stops you from progressing and hinders your ability to grow and improve.

I believe the the main focus is you. You need to handle whatever anger issues plague your mind because above all else, your mind stands. The ability to deal with anger effectively will drive you closer to your goals.

Instead of wasting time on frivolous problems, you can focus on yourself. Achieve what you want to and use the time you would have been angry on more productive things.

To end this all, I’d like to propose a challenge.

Write down at least one longterm goal you hope to achieve. Keep that in your mind at all times. When a sticky situation arises, remember that goal and instead of thinking about angry you are or may get, think about how you can get one step to achieving that goal.

Lastly follow me on Twitter and thank you for reading.