I recently opened up on my Instagram about how I have depression. The truth is, I’ve been struggling with depression and anxiety since I was a young girl. It was always told to me that I could handle it on my own and that I would be OK. It was never acceptable for me to see a therapist in my younger years. I believe that my grandparents saw it as a weakness or an excuse because of what I had to go through at a young age. They truly believed that what I had gone through made me a better and stronger person, which I am thankful for, but I also didn’t feel like I got to cope with it the way that I wanted.
It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I actually accepted that there was something wrong with me. I had to be either bi-polar or severely depressed. The anxiety was a given to be because I would get super worked up over things that my friends thought were just nonsense. There were days that I didn’t want to get out of bed and every thought just debilitated me. I didn’t want anyone around me and I just wanted to sleep all day. If I don’t have to get out of bed then I won’t have to face the world and admit to my issues, right. I just needed a day of doing nothing and I’d go back to being “normal” tomorrow. I truly believed this. At the end of the day, I was masking all of my frustrations and issues and putting on a front for the world to see only to have to deal with my demons on another day.
Do you ever find yourself doing this? You are not alone.
When I first set up an appointment with a therapist, I was convinced that nothing she said to me would “cure me.” Boy, was I wrong? It’s funny how you assume that when you go to see a doctor, you expect them to cure you. Little did I know, that’s not what I was looking for at all. I didn’t know where to start with the conversation, so my first session was just a bunch of word vomit. She happened to follow along with everything I was telling her pretty well. It felt so good to spill my guts to someone that was not only willing to listen but had an unbiased opinion. We all know when we’re sharing things with our friends and family, they tend to be a bit biased because they know you and most of the parties involved. This lady knew no one I was speaking about and made me feel like I wasn’t crazy. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.
I started to feel like I was normal again and that I wasn’t as crazy in the way that I was thinking about things. I was diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, and depression. We’ll discuss the PTSD on another day, but for now, we’ll hit on the anxiety and depression although they all pretty much tie in together. My depression stems from my childhood. We moved a lot, we didn’t have a lot, the moods in our house were based on my dad’s mood for the day. It was kind of a mess. My anxiety comes from the same thing, you can imagine being around someone who deals and does drugs doesn’t come with the safest environment.
I’ve always been a pretty natural person when it comes to medicating. I grew up with a drug addict as a father so I’ve always been pretty opposed to fueling my body with medications that I didn’t find necessary. Let me just say, before you start judging, I do not frown upon people who do. This is my preference for myself and my family. Aside from all of that, I am currently on medication for my depression/anxiety because I went through a time where it just got too bad but I’m hoping that it is not something that I will need to be on forever. As a matter of fact, I lean on it less and less by taking time for myself but it is something I’ve become OK with.
Self-acceptance, love, and worth are very important in the world of depression and anxiety. I’ve known way too many people that give up because none of those things are at the forefront of their mind and it breaks my heart. You are worth it. You are loved. You can do it. No matter what life throws at you, you have to know that it is only temporary. It’s important to take time out for yourself away from your busy life: full-time job, kids, spouse, bills, whatever it is and pamper yourself from time to time.
Here are the things that I like to do when I’m struggling:
1. Read a book. My preference is a love story. I don’t know about you but something about love gives you hope. It gives you hope that there are great things in the world. Nicholas Sparks always writes about the inevitable. Even when the world is fighting against you, hope and love will always prevail. Grab a good sappy love story, and dive on in.
2. Schedule a massage. This is something that I just experienced about two years ago. I used to think people were crazy to pay someone to rub them. I was wrong. It is so calming and everything just seems to slip away from you. If they have a peppermint oil wherever you schedule your massage, ask that they use it. I swear that stuff is the cure of all of my issues. Make sure you make the day yours. Pamper yourself that day. Schedule a babysitter and enjoy yourself.
3. Listen to Music. Music has always been my escape. For as far back as I can remember, my mom used to play music during her darkest times and it’s just something that I have adapted from her. There’s nothing like old school R&B to free your mind. Thanks, Momma!
4. Write it out. You’ve come to a blog so it’s clear that I like to write or type my feelings out. It helps. Write yourself a positive letter. Tell yourself why you’re worth it and write out all of the positive things in life. Boost yourself up. Be cocky for a moment.
5. Watch your favorite movie. Ask my husband. I have watched The Proposal probably a trillion times since we started dating 7 years ago. He complains every. damn. time. I don’t care though. It’s my happy place. I love Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock. It always makes me laugh which is exactly what I’m looking for when I’m down. Don’t forget the popcorn & wine.
6. Go to the gym or for a walk. This is working on yourself at it’s finest. The gym is my escape. I love it. Every time I go to the gym I turn my music up loud and tune everything else out and work on myself. Sometimes, depression can come from how you feel about your self-image. I promise you, you are beautiful the way you are but I know not everyone believes that. Nothing will change if you do not work for it. So let’s get motivated and get to the gym or take a walk. Either way, it will set off happy endorphin’s and we all feel better about ourselves.
7. Treat yourself to your favorite meal. Let’s be honest, I LOVEEEEEE to eat. Hamburgers are my go to. I don’t normally eat out of my healthy ways but when I do, I need a big fat burger and fries. There is nothing like it. I have zero guilt behind it too.
8. Do something you’ve been wanting to do. I have been talking about hiking for quite some time. Guess what, I FINALLY DID IT. I went on an 8-mile hike round-trip to a place called McAfee’s Knob. It was everything I wished it to be and more. When I got to the top, I felt like I was on top of the world (technically, I kinda was but still.) I felt like nothing could get me down that day because I was successful on a day that I really didn’t want to be.
9. Take a warm bubble bath with the lights off and light candles. This is my favorite thing to do as a mom. Some nights I just need an escape so I just run a hot bubble bath, lock the bathroom door (because we all know that our kids will make their way in there for some reason or another), light some candles, and grab a glass of champagne or wine. It helps me unwind.
10. Buy yourself something. As a parent, this is something that I struggle with the most. I am always out buying stuff for my kids or my husband. Even when I do buy myself something, I always feel guilty. Don’t feel guilty. You owe it to yourself sometimes. I often feel like this kind of bring on my depression. I wouldn’t consider myself materialistic but I often times feel like I abandon my desires or wants for someone else’s. So remember to treat yourself occasionally.
Depression is tough. You are not alone in your thoughts and it’s important to remember that. Do not feel like you shouldn’t reach out to a therapist or a doctor if you need to. The medication that I take is important especially on the days I feel I need it most. Remember to love yourself and keep that at the forefront of your mind. Feel free to reach out to me if you even need to talk.
What are some of your favorite ways to cope with your depression or anxiety? What do you do to treat yourself?