This post is about something I feel a lot of people deal with but don’t because of fear, shame or an inability to expresses emotions. I have this blog so I can share, connect and respond to a lot of the emails I receive daily. I love being able to connect with others so we can all learn something new and feel a sense of community. I believe we can all help and learn from one another and if this post helps just one person in any way, then I’m glad I could share. I feel the worse feeling is the sense of being alone and feeling no one cares and understands. Everyone has dealt with daily life struggles, loneliness and hard times. I think there's a huge misconception especially with social media, so let's be clear, nobody has the “perfect” life. We get this idea in our heads that people have it so good and we want to be in another person's shoes but in reality most only share the positives and what is considered “pretty” because we want you to be inspired or motivated.
Currently I’m on an island off Tahiti right now called Huahine. It is storming and pouring rain so I am stuck in doors which is a good thing because now I can write this post and share my thoughts. Recently I have been getting a lot emails asking about my view on depression and how I was able to overcome the “dark beast”. Coincidentally today a local woman and I started talking and she opened up to me telling me she has been suffering from depression and doesn't know what to do anymore to overcome it.
I used to ask myself why me? Why did this have to happen to me, there are bad people out there why not them? These are the questions that used to flood my brain on the daily. In the last five years I have dealt with a lot of emotions due to my brain injury. After my TBI (traumatic brain injury) I started experiencing depression for the first time. Not being able to surf and do what I loved, forced me to learn how to deal with my feelings and overcome them. Since I was a little girl my dad would tell me, whenever you're sad, having a hard time, go surf! No matter how sad I was or if I was having a hard day this is what I would do, I would surf and no matter what I always felt better emotionally and physically. Surfing had always been my outlet, my escape, my sanctuary. Being forced to stare at the four walls that surrounded me day by day not being able to do anything I couldn't help but to feel depressed. Not knowing when or if I would ever surf again or be a healthy teenager terrified me. The unknow left me to go crazy. It took me four years to figure out how to let go, accept and change my way of thinking. So here it is, five techniques that have been helpful for me for the past five years:
1.) Face the depression, the dark beast. What is it that is making you depressed? While some situations have a solution, some things do not except for letting them go. Everyone has different ways of managing depression and we are all dealing with different issues. I think being able to identify what is making you depressed is the first step. For some it is a chemical imbalance and there are days where you may wake up and are just sad for no reason. That's when you need to not let your thoughts or emotions affect your day. Here is one of my favorite things to do:
Every Morning I wake up and tell myself ten things I’m grateful for in my daily life. When negative thoughts come to your mind, replace them with things you're grateful for. A lot of people around the world don't even have a toilet to pee in or a roof over their head. When I am doing this I'm not comparing my situation to others, I'm simply just coming to term with reality. My problems at times are so minor compared to what's going on in the rest of the world. By appreciating what I do have and having gratitude I find my spirits to be more uplifted and my negative feelings and emotions start to dissipate. Remember that your bad day is another person's good day.
2.)Find an outlet! I believe it is so important to find things that make you happy and bring you joy. It could be something active or sedentary. Whether it's a walk on the beach, yoga class, a five minute meditation, music, arts and crafts, or just hanging with good company take an hour out of your day for yourself to unwind. My outlet was surfing and when I couldn't surf the next thing that brought me joy, was cooking. There was a point to where I couldn't even stand long enough to make a bowl of cereal before I would feel like passing out or puking but once I was in a better state of my recovery I got back in the kitchen and started cooking. Making food for the ones I loved brought me a lot of joy and chopping vegetables was therapeutic for me. Everybody is different and one thing doesn't necessarily make another person happy. It's all about trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, meeting new people and taking chances. If you don't already have an outlet or you do but are unable to do it due to a disability or life changing circumstance search for a backup. There's more to life than just one thing. I used to think surfing was the only thing but when I was forced to find something else I ended up realizing there is more out there than just surfing.
3.) Write down your feelings in a journal. Sometimes writing things down is a good way of getting them off your chest and letting them go. Keep a journal nearby and write whatever it is that is bothering you. You can also write down things that you want to do in life, a bucket list, your dreams and hopes. I think having goals and making steps to achieve them is the best thing you can do. I love writing down everything in life I want to accomplish, places I want to travel, activities I want to try.
4.) Breathe! Sometimes just laying down flat on the floor and taking meaningful breathes helps. When you feel stressed out or overwhelmed lie down but your legs up in the air and take deep breathes. The most powerful thing we can do is breathe in positive energy and breath out the negative. Repeat this for about five minutes and then get up and go do something that makes you happy!
What about laugh?? Giggle?
This is my experience with depression and how I’ve learned to best manage my thoughts and emotions. It sometimes will hit me randomly but as I have matured, I have become more in control of my thoughts and my existence in the world. Having an awareness of my power to change my way of thinking has been life changing. I hope any of you who struggle with depression are able to relate to this post in some way and understand that a lot of people deal with this stuff on a daily basis. It isn't abnormal or uncommon. Realize that it doesn't have to be your reality tho, you don't have to be a “victim” of it. You can learn to take control when it happens to you and shut down your negative thoughts by replacing them with positive ones. Acknowledge your feelings and work through your challenges and discomfort of why you're feeling the way you do and then find a way to overcome the dark beast, than let it go with a blessing.
I hope you are all having a great week and I would love to hear about your experience with depression and how you manage it!
XX Harley Rose
PS: NEW VIDEO COMING SOON!