*Originally posted July 22nd 2018*
Before I start this blog, I would like to highlight one very important point.
This blog is purely biographical, and I completely understand that depression itself impacts people in many different ways. I want to use my platform to encourage people to be open as well as heightening their sensitivity to what those around them may go through each and every day.
The first time depression was ever discussed with me was when I was 18 with my psychology teacher at the time after a heart-to-heart I had whilst I was in sixth form. The fear I experienced in that office largely came from having no idea what depression was and how it would impact my life going forward. Even through a mixture of shame, nerves, and anxiety I felt at that time, it was also the first moment that I realised those battles were temporary and something I could overcome. I knew depression wasn’t going to define who I was forever.
From an outsider’s perspective, that may seem melodramatic, but at that time, I honestly questioned whether I was going to ever find who I was before I slumped into that depression.
Although it was a gradual process, once I was in that space, it felt so sudden. It felt like a car accident; one moment of impact and then waking up to the realisation that I may never be the same again. That’s how depression felt for me.
Being that I was newly 18, I also began to abuse alcohol whilst battling with my previous demons of exercising to exhaustion and eating junk/fast-food in excess. The same vices I have to this day had a grip on who I was then. It was like I was trying to destroy my body before I could lose my mind. I was taking measures to physically harm myself in order to distract myself from my emotional pain. Something I’ve never discussed with anyone outside of my therapist until now.
I appreciate that’s tough to read and believe me when I say it’s tougher to admit.
The silver lining in it all is that my awareness for it has helped me in future depressive episodes. Learning who I am may not have stopped occasional slips into depression, but knowing that it’s something I can defeat has helped me build real strength during those times.
Growing up as an only child, I spent a lot of time with my own company which is one key reason that I find it really uncomfortable to talk to people about personal things that I’m going through in my life. It’s probably why my love for blogging has grown over the years as I’m able to express myself without it being a verbal, inter-personal conversation with people in my life.
I cannot stress enough how much value there is in finding coping mechanisms in episodes of depression and I wanted to share some of mine with you:
Listening to Music You Love
For me, music has been my number one go-to for providing mental and emotional relief. Whether it’s my commute to and from work or it’s when I’ve got some time to myself, I feel like it’s a healthy escapism from whatever I’m feeling.
Exercise can be such a great catalyst for putting depression behind you for a number of reasons. The serotonin (the chemical that regulates your mood) release you get from exercise will help amongst a whole bunch of other factors that I won’t bore you with here.
I didn’t strictly say exercise, I said staying active. Whether it’s a long walk, doing exercise classes, or taking part in competitions, I’ve always found that focussing my brain on moving my body rather than what’s going on in my life provides a relief that is invaluable in fighting through depression.
Talking to Someone You Trust
This one was tough for me to accept as I’ve alluded to earlier in the blog, but I found speaking to a therapist to be vital in moving past my problems. That process pushed me emotionally more than I ever would have gone on my own and it’s helped me limit making the same mistakes again and again.
I appreciate the stigma behind therapy and what some people think about those who seek that help but I feel that it’s doing that whole journey a disservice by dismissing the power of sitting with a professional who’s impartial, responsible for your confidentiality, and seeking progression for you in your life.
The therapist I see is amazing and I cannot recommend it enough for anybody who simply wants to push past anything they struggle with emotionally.
Meditation and/or Prayer
I’m very inconsistent with both of these and in all honesty, I can’t give you a good reason why. My reasons for doing both is a combination of being present in the moment that I’m in whilst also having faith in something that’s bigger than myself. I’m very spiritual and I understand that’s not for everyone, but meditation itself is an amazing tool to help anybody find emotional stability even if you feel that prayer isn’t your flavour. Prayer has given me faith in moments of despair and I’ll forever be thankful for the strength I found in moments of looking up for answers.
My friend, Natalie is awesome and her website is centred around mental wellbeing and meditation so if you’re stuck for where to start with meditation, then check her out.
I cross my fingers and toes that you enjoyed this or find something that benefits you. To those of you who are fighting this war with depression, I salute you for finding the strength every day that you’re in that space to live your life.
Sending all my love to you all.
Love Luca 🙂 x