My friend Sunny recently posted about her experience with depression on Facebook. What she had to say was so real, so authentic, and so moving, that I asked her if I could post it here. So many of us deal with this. As Sunny says,
You are not alone!
Thank you, Sunny Jones, for your willingness to share your experience, strength, and hope with others.
"Those of you who know me closely and/or have lived with me know I struggle with depression. It's mostly cyclical and a part of me always "knows" that it's not real but in the moment it feels very, very real. Much of what I deal with is self-esteem/self-image issues. I'm too fat, I'm not good enough, I'm not enough period, etc. You know...the stories.I'm not sharing this to ask for pity or a hand. I'm sharing because I want to tell you its no joke. Its real. So many of us deal with it. I'm grateful that for me it mostly isn't full time and that I get some relief. I can't imagine what it would feel like if it was 24/7.
Self-care helps. Yet, I struggle with knowing when I need self-care or even what that self-care is. Meditation, eating right, exercising, reaching out to those that love you and don't judge you helps, medication can help (although this last round it didn't...it made it much, much worse), counseling can help.
If you are struggling with this and it feels like the end of the road please, please reach out! People love you! If you are person that someone reaches out to...don't try to rationalize them back into reality. Certainly do share the good things in their life with them. But, remember many of us get it but those "mental gremlins" as my girlfriend calls them cannot be rationalized. They are a black hole that don't want to listen.
I'm at the tail-end (hopefully) of one of the worst experiences I have had with this so I'm not sure my rambling above makes sense but I've felt compelled to share.
So many of us are struggling and feel shame or are afraid to tell those around us...afraid to be vulnerable in our greatest time of desperation...especially when it feels like life isn't worth living...and we know it's not true but it certainly feels that way.
Reach out if you need it. Reach out if you know someone else needs it. Sometimes it's as simple as a hug at lunch when you are feeling overwhelmed. And, sometimes it takes much, much more. That's okay too."
Wow, 2015 already! Did you set any New Year's Resolutions? I don't really believe in those types of resolutions, because for me, they just haven't ever worked. If they work for you--that is fantastic, and keep on going on! If you have struggled with them, like me, perhaps it is because if we aren't ready to make a change that we need to make all year, why would we be ready just because the calendar has moved to January 1st? Making changes are hard. It is possible to make changes though, provided that we're are ready to make the changes and that we have the information and support needed to make the changes.
Maybe you want to stop smoking. You might think you are ready, but do you have the support needed, if you have other smokers in the house? Support could come in the form of family members, doctors, co-workers, etc.
Or, maybe you are ready to lose some weight. Again, it might work on your own; for some people it does. But, most likely, you are going to need the support of those around you in order for it to be successful.
The same goes for challenges with mental health. If we all could just have the mental health we desire all by ourselves, 1 in 5 people would not be struggling with a diagnosable mental illness. We need to be ready for change, yes. But we also need information, and we need support.
Getting assistance for mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. It means you are strong because you are taking care of yourself. So, talk with a loved one, a doctor, or a therapist. Seek out support groups if those would be helpful. Join a gym and workout with others. Think back to what in the past has improved your mental health, and try to incorporate some of these things back into your life now. You are worth it!
Wishing all of you strength, courage, and peace in the year to come. Happy New Year!
Everyone has stress. Some stress is actually helpful. For example, if I am stressed out about giving a presentation, I will likely do more to prepare. Some stress though, the kind most of us think of when we hear the word "stress," gets in the way of us achieving our goals and living the life we want to live. Some of the consequences of how stress can impact the body, mind, emotion, and behavior are listed in the image below.
While it is important to take care of your stress year round, I thought now (while we are in the midst of the holiday season) would be a good time for some reminders on what you can do to alleviate stress. Check out this article, entitled "How to Reduce Stress: 10 Relaxation Techniques that Zap Stress Fast." Each of these techniques can help reduce your stress in the moment. If you make these techniques part of your daily life, you can do some proactive work in combating chronic stress. As always, let me know if I can be of help. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!
When you are feeling stuck, how do you decide how to make choices? Feelings, emotions, thoughts? Or, do you remain indecisive, leading to further inaction? If you are stuck and confused, try answering these questions. My guess is, as you go through these questions honestly, you will receive some guidance on what do do. Hope you all are having a great week!
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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