Depression is hard. It sucks the life from you. It takes enjoyment out of the things that once were fun. It’s like a nagging tug in your heart that won’t go away. Days seem darker, and anxiety stirs. It poisons your relationships, and leaves you feeling worthless and alone. I know this because I battled depression myself for almost ten years. I was given medication and counselling, which helped me function but did not help me heal. But I did heal, I overcame, and I took my life back once and for all.
I think it’s important to know, that mental illness is not something you are stuck with. It is not you. It is a sign that you are suffering and need emotional and spiritual healing. Which is something we tend to overlook in a generation where everything is explained scientifically, physically, medically. In a generation that sends a message that emotions are weaknesses, but corruption is around every corner. That in itself, is a recipe for heartache. If you look up any remedies for depression, you will find helpful things like therapy, exercise, sunlight, etc. But there are still crucial steps to healing depression that are all too often overlooked.
So, today we will start a series on healing that will take you through the steps I took to conquer mental health. This is not a one size fits all, I cannot guarantee it will work for you because there are always so many factors. At the same time, my hope is that you can take something from this and find healing in at least one area. If at any time you have any questions or need to talk, feel free to send me a message from our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wholesomeinspiration/
First let’s start with emotions. We have them, we feel them, and there are often times we would rather avoid them. There seems to be an unwritten code that we have to hold it together, stay logical, be strong all the time, especially so for men. But let’s face it, this life can be hard. There are bound to circumstances that leave us spinning in anger, hurt, frustration, grief, or heavy with guilt. Nobody wants to feel those things, so naturally we will do anything to avoid them. This is when those feelings get stuffed down, or covered up with a painkiller (eating, alcohol, sex, shopping, drugs, etc). You may feel okay for a while, but what you have just done is put your feelings on a ‘come back later’ pile. And they will come back, when you don’t want them to, in a way you didn’t expect them to. This is often when addictions are born. The bigger the ‘come back later’ pile is, the more likely you are going to want to numb it. However, if you have a mountain, fear not, you can tear it down. Just be prepared to work at it.
The most important place to start with today, is let yourself FEEL. Yes, even the pain. It does not mean you are weak. It means you are human. It’s crucial to learn to become comfortable with this part, and especially important not to numb it. That will take some willpower on your part. However, this is the first step to healing. As you allow yourself to feel, acknowledge the feeling. Eg: “I am angry about this. I have a right to feel angry with this. It’s unfair. But I also know that I could not control this situation. And my anger will not control me.” Now you have acknowledged it, you have felt it, and if there was no action to be taken you let it go. If there is an action to be taken, do it. Today. Acknowledge the problem, whether it’s forgiving someone, apologizing, you name it. If you can’t speak to a person, imagine you can. What would you say? Let it out.
Negative feelings are there to warn us, and while they cannot be relied upon 100%, they are one piece to a puzzle. They tell us when something is unjust, poisoning us, when something is just plain wrong. And that is the number one reason why they can’t be ignored. They are there to protect you. Why let your primary defence system go haywire? Would you turn your house alarm off when you are being robbed? Acknowledge the alarm bells. Let them ring. Even if it hurts. Because if you don’t, the next thing you know awful things are happening and the alarm bells haven’t warned you. The mountain of feelings pile higher and higher, and there is no telling when or how they will erupt, or how much damage will be done.
Don’t forget, you are strong. Facing the root of depression takes a lot of strength. Recognizing that something is wrong means you are wise. Wanting to work at it is admirable. You are worth every bit of it. There is freedom from your pain, joy just waiting to come to the surface. You can and you will get there if you believe it, if you want it. It is never, ever, too late. There is always something incredibly valuable to gain from every circumstance. So will you let your pain turn into gain? Will you decide to be a warrior or a victim? The choice is up to you.
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