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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Leap of the Edge

My fears have controlled me for far too long. I let them take over and consume me. Change me into something I do not want to be. I am fearful of failure and judgments, fearful of girls and fearful of the future, to name a few.

Overcoming fear is a hard task. I am scared because I want to be scared. Thinking of all the past moments, my body trembles and my brain delves into multiple terrible scenarios.

Leap. Don’t think about it too much.

Just do it. Jump. Jump of the cliff. I’ve always loved the way cartoon characters run right off cliffs, then look down for a hapless frozen moment before plummeting into the abyss.

That is the boldness I need. That is the strength I need. Slowly, I will build it. Slowly, I will continue to improve.

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A) Fearful of Failure and Judgments

I have a gut-wrenching fear of starting something just to have it crash and burn. Everyone will watch it happen. Everyone will watch me crash like the countless people who tried to fly before the Wright Brothers.

Leap. Don’t think about it too much.

I started a YouTube channel (2HelpfulGuys). I am a terrible actor, but I tried it. I leaped into the abyss. It was terrifying, but fun. I felt a thrill, a thrill I have never felt before.

I got compliments, instead of judgments. It was endearing. I also got two ‘Thumbs Down’ on the video. It hurt for a second, but those people do not matter. There will always be naysayers in your life. There will always be people that will try to push you down, keep you at their level. Ignore them they do not matter.

B) Fearful of Girls

Recently, I feel like I have written about girls a lot. There is a reason, I will elaborate later. But, I feel like I will never understand girls. Yet, I love them. They keep on my toes, push me to limits and challenge me.

Leap. Don’t think about it too much.

Recently, one girl in particular made me leap. I jumped off that cliff, burst my protective bubble and showed her a glimpse of what ‘Leroy’ is.

I crashed and burned. But, that is okay. I did it. I leaped. I opened myself up. I shared. I explored. I laughed. I smiled. I learned.

I learned something incredibly valuable. Sometimes, you need to crash and burn. You need to make mistakes. The leap was more satisfying than I could have ever dreamt off. It shadowed the minor failure. It is okay to crash and burn.

I feel like there are ill feelings between the two of us. I hope I am wrong.

C) Fearful of the Future

I have so many goals for myself. Sometimes, I think they are unrealistic, but that is not the right attitude. I can achieve anything that I want. I know I can. You can achieve anything you want. It’s important to believe that.

A wise friend explained to me that there are three different types of people in California:

1) The person that goes and falls flat and fails,

2) The person that goes and barely scrapes by, and

3) The person that goes and makes it big

Why am I mentioning this? Well, my best friend and I are planning on moving to California as early as January 2016. I do not want to fall in the first two categories. I am deathly afraid of the future.

Leap. Don’t think about it too much.

Still, I must go. I must prove something to myself. This will be the biggest leap I will have to make. This will be a life-changing leap. You cannot be afraid of the future. Being afraid will continue to hinder your abilities and aspirations.

Leaps of faith are necessary to learn, grow and change. They are needed to progress and evolve.

For me, even publically stating my fears is a leap of faith. Do it now. I did it. You have to. List your fears. But remember,

Leap. Don’t think about it too much.

Music for the Brain

Sometimes I get lost in the sea of emotions within my body and brain. Sometimes I do not know how to feel. Obviously, happiness is always the goal. But, occasionally I falter.

I slip into something dark, depressed. I feel different. I don’t feel like myself. I get a weird feeling emanating within my body. Anxiety creeps up. It arises from different sources. Negative thoughts, reliving a past memory, or even something as simple as a bad day at work.

I find myself sitting in my room listening to music, instead of enjoying the beautiful weather outside. On these particular days, sad music always seems to help.

It seems counter-productive. Shouldn’t I listen to upbeat music to get out of my funk?

In the sea of emotions, sad music seems to calm me down. It helps me think, assess, and evaluate. It makes me feel like I am not going through this alone. Recently, I connected with “That Power” by Childish Gambino.

“I like you and you like me and I more-than-like you, but I don’t know if you do or don’t more-than-like me. You’ve never said, so I haven’t been saying anything all summer, content to enjoy the small miracle of a girl choosing to talk to me and choosing to do so again the next day and so on. A girl who’s smart and funny and who, if I say something dumb for a laugh, is willing to say something two or three times as dumb to make me laugh, but who also gets weird and wise sometimes in a way I could never be.” – Childish Gambino

This little blurb does not do justice to the entire story, but it summarizes my thoughts and feelings quite nicely.

I hate to admit it, but I have girl problems. It seems like I always have girl problems. Girls are just always on my mind. Although, recently, just one. She takes up all my mental energy.

I don’t know if she likes me. She has never said it. But I definitely feel it. Or maybe I am delusional. I’m not too sure anymore.

Music Taps into our Emotions

Have you ever listened to a piece of music and smiled? Or felt sad? Whether from the music itself, or from our associations with the music, music taps into our emotional systems.

I listen to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bob Marley and ease drifts into my body. No matter how bad a situation may be, it is always important to remember to be happy. It temporarily soothes my mind from the aching thoughts that arises on occasion.

Many people use this in a therapeutic way, listening to certain music that makes them feel a certain way.

Suddenly, I do not feel as alone. Someone else is experiencing what I am.

Use Music As a Cure to the Brain

It is hard to find perspective in my brain when it is clouded with thoughts. It is hard to single out something and think about it. Often, multiple thoughts arise and battle for domination.

Listening to sad music puts things into perspective. It helps me sort my thoughts and focus on one. People have girl problems. It is just a part of life.

Use music as a stepping-stone. Learn, heal and progress through your strife.

I often find myself in the same position time and time again. But this time will be different. This time I have music as an ally, helping me fight against my brain voice.

Lastly, this article was a request from a close friend. I hope this was to your satisfaction. If anyone has any requests, you can comment below or contact me directly.

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Quasi-Hipster

I went to a social gathering this past weekend and was called a quasi-hipster. After looking up what all those words meant, I am still very confused. I simply do not understand how or what makes a quasi-hipster.

Regardless of the matter, it started to make me think of body image. We get wrapped up in all these different styles and labels that we end up losing our individuality and, inevitably, ourselves. I am incredibly guilty of this.

I have changed my physical self more times than I can count. I used to be overweight and unhealthy. I’ve had multiple hairstyles. I’ve changed my clothing style. What more can I really change? What makes me constantly want to change?

The Media

I feel like people are not happy with who they are. Media destroys who you are and implants ideas of who you are supposed to be.

But those images are terrible for you. Avoiding media is an integral step. How? Media is literally everywhere. It’s impossible. Instead, limit your consumption. You can choose to avoid television or that specific image magazine. Reducing your consumption will decrease the thoughts about it.

When your heads soaks up these false body images it takes a toll on your brain. When I was younger, I used to look at fitness magazines, religiously. I have wanted a six-pack so badly. But, why? I felt a six-pack would complete me. But would a six-pack make me happy? Make me feel whole?

The short answer is no. I have realized that now. I don’t need a six-pack to be whole. I am great the way I am. So are you. A six-pack is a want. Attaining it or not will not change who I truly am. That is a mere want, not a need.

The Goals

It’s not that you can never attain your ideal body. I truly believe you can accomplish anything you want. But why change who you are? You are simply perfect the way you are.

Getting wrapped up in these ideals ruins your potential. Instead, believe that you are different and awesome. Attain inner happiness first. Be happy with yourself, for yourself. On those particularly bad days, write down all the goods things about you.

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Here’s some help: I like my determination, personality, and persistence. I think I have nice eyes and a hell of a smile. My hair is ragged most days, but when it co-operates, it works out quite well.

It’s always good to have a goal. But do not let that goal take over. When it comes to body image, I like to imagine myself a certain way. Then I image my life after I look this way. In my visualization, my life never changes significantly.

Regrettably, I still do not have six-pack. But this doesn’t change me. This does not make me less of a person. What makes me less of a person is wallowing in my despair over a lack of a ‘perfect’ body. One day, I will reach that goal, but until then, I am quite happy with myself.

“To lose confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself.” – Simone de Beauvoir

Still though, I can’t help but feel weird. When I was younger, comments on my body image used to bother me, a lot. However, it does not have the same effect on me. So why is this time any different? But why does this one make me think? I still don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. But what I do know, is that I am awesome and so are you.