It took some thought to share what I had been going through.
Mostly because I was your average happy, bubbly, high energy kinda-girl, and didn’t want to share this part of my life, however, that turned out to be the reason why I decided to share this part of me with you…
because this happy, bubbly, high energy kinda-girl experienced dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts.
It was quite unexpected how life unraveled the way it did after my mom passed away in 2013.
Shortly after, a close cousin of the family, and my mom’s best friend, passed away to cancer, and another cousin was murdered; it was a lot of death to take in a brief period.
During this time, I lost a bunch of weight, and began eating out of depression.
I was eating like crap and turned to fast food, and junk food using it as an excuse to “dirty bulk” (to put weight on fast), and slowly decreased my interaction on social media, as I felt what good is it to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle, if I can’t follow that same principle.
By summer 2014, I noticed a change in my period.
I began menstruating every 2 weeks or so, and thought I was going through perimenopause.
A few visits to the doctor resulted in having uterine fibroids (benign (non-cancerous) muscular tumor growths).
I quickly became self-conscious of my body, and wore baggy clothes to camouflage my bloated belly and depleting muscle definition. You can read more about this in my post Manifested Dis-Ease.
By fall, the hubby and I left our downtown lives, and moved from our loft in the busy-ness of downtown Toronto, to a quiet and peaceful house in Durham.
Moving outside the city caused me to shut down my business Zante Lifestyle; it disconnected me from my friends; and I became reliant on the hubs to drive me around, as I don’t drive.
– to my defense, when living in the city most of your life, it was very easy to get around, when everything is within walking distance!
So the sudden change from being able to go anywhere and seeing anyone, to a new neighborhood, and not knowing anyone, or not being able to get around, added to the depression.
I began sleeping in till midday, lacked the energy to do anything, and noticed a significant change to my mood. With my hormones out of whack and being anemic from my period now lasting for months at a time, I became bed ridden for days. I avoided speaking with family and friends, missed family functions, and would bail on girls-night.
I didn’t want people asking “what’s wrong”;
I didn’t want to burden them with what I was going through, but yet, I resented them for not knowing what I was going through.
I distracted myself with working online, as it was easy to hide behind a screen and briefly speak with clients who had no idea what I was going through.
But, the lonelier I felt, the more my thoughts spiraled downward, and I would cry every day for no reason, and then there were moments I thought about ending my life. I was tired of feeling the way I was, without knowing why. I felt so much sadness and uselessness in myself that I had no ambition anymore.
My hubby – bless his heart, for being my rock and his patience in staying with me…
one day, he said “you don’t have to feel this way”
So simple, yet “you don’t have to feel this way” became that defining moment where I realized that I am in control of my thoughts, and that’s where the motto “change your mind, change your life” injected itself into my being.
I had this new found determination to get better.
Now, I didn’t jump out of bed, and get right to it.
It must have been a few months of still sleeping in, staying in bed and fighting the emptiness, but I turned to everything and anything to help me heal naturally, from eating healthy, to self-help books, to doing meditation and yoga, to chanting and listening to binaural beats … I was on a path to feel better.
Why was I feeling this way? What got me to this point? How do I get back to “normal”?
I knew to overcome what I had been going through, I had to dig deep within to find the answers.
Feelings I had for my mom passing away, were fear … anger … resentment … sadness.
Fear of the unknown, where did she go, what happened to her being;
Anger with myself for not being there for her;
Resentment towards my dad;
Sadness for losing the only biological connection I had to this life.
As I went down a rabbit hole of questions and answers, I came to the realization that I lost the person I and everyone around me identified with … me.
After moving to the new house, and leaving the life of who I thought I was, it was the feeling of losing everything, and this was the death of my ego.
With the help of meditation and self-help books, I became closer to my Self, my purpose and the realization that everyone has a story, and that we are all in charge of our choices, decisions, thoughts, actions and reactions, in creating that story.
For years, my story was “I got sick after my mom passed away…” or “I have fibroids…”
When you tell yourself a story, over and over again, it becomes your reality, it becomes your story.
Naturally our brains are wired to release chemicals and hormones to make us happy (dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin), so when we are low, or imbalanced, our brain thinks “oh, she/he is sad” and doesn’t release our happy chemicals, which keeps us in a state of sadness.
I was unable to process my emotion of unresolved grief.
That emotion had nowhere to go other than back into my system, which affected my immune system, my neurological system and my hormone system, which led me to a state of depression, and illness.
By learning to accept and surrender to your experience, you open yourself to moving forward
and doing things that make you happy.
Here are some things I’ve done, that helped break that cycle of depression…
Introduce yourself, to your Self
You really need to go within and find out who you are, why you feel that way, what brought you to feel that way, and how to overcome it.
It’s going to take some work, and it will take some time (it took me over 2 years), but you must command yourself at your own will, to overcome depression! – this is the fundamental strength of your happiness.
I think everyone owes it to themselves to meditate.
Guided meditations and meditation with the use of affirmations are great tools to change your thought patterns. You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself!
Put on your favorite funny movie, go to a comedy show, or watch standup comedy at home.
It may seem temporary, but laughing will make you feel good.
Look at Pictures
One thing that really helped was looking at pictures of my niece and nephews, and of my pups.
Looking at pictures definitely helped put a smile on my face, and that recognizable sense of love in my heart.
Hugging has been proven to boost positive emotions, lower cortisol (the stress hormone), and calm your nervous system. Plus it’s nice to hold, and be held without having to say anything.
Sing and Dance
I love my 90’s pop songs, so I would blast my tunes while in the kitchen or shower.
Put together a playlist of your ultimate favorite jams to sing and/or dance to; it will trigger your brain to release those happy feel good chemicals.
Change your routine
If you are unmotivated and unwilling to do anything, chances are your daily routine is the same mundane thing, until you go to bed and do it all over again.
In Kundalini Yoga, it’s said to practice something every day for 40 days straight, as this routine will break any negative habits.
Introduce something small that you know will not fail, like waking up early to go for a walk, or read a book with your morning coffee/tea, and gradually add more different things throughout your day or week.
Making changes broke the cycle I became accustomed to, and noticed that when I was distracted by doing different things throughout my day, I wasn’t focused on feeling sad, or depressed.
Be with nature
There is a certain stillness you can feel by connecting with nature.
Whether it’s listening to the wind blowing in the trees, or watching water wash up on the shore, or the sound of birds. It places you in a state of tranquility.
I love being outdoors, as I find it helps being aware and observant of everything around me and keeping me in my present moment.
Find a hobby
Something super easy to do (whether you are artistic or not), is color.
Coloring is therapeutic in the way of calming the mind, and keeping you focused on your present task at hand – I would even say it’s a form of active meditation.
So grab a coloring book, grab your preference of coloring tools, and color your heart out!
Introducing a hobby of something you enjoy, will help keep you focused, distracted and happy.
It’s easy to distract yourself by browsing the lives of others through social media, but you need to be mindful of how social media affects you, and to stop using it as an outlet/distraction from yourself.
Be honest with yourself, by focusing on yourself.
As I re-read this post, it feels like I’m speaking of another person… as its hard to believe actually going through that part of life.
Dealing with depression is mega hard to get out of, but what you are going through is not the end of the world, and certainly not worth ending your life.
I end this on a beautiful note, with a song from Kundalini Yoga…
May the long time sun shine upon you,
All love surround you,
And the pure light within you,
Guide your way on ❤
Photo credit: Sitnie Waerts - Haiiro Nr.20