Content Advisory: Please note the following content can be directly or indirectly related to topics about mental health, depression, suicide, and or self-harm.
I’ve experienced two major depressive episodes in my life. One in 2016, when I returned to the states from living in Oaxaca, Mexico for a year and the other at the end of 2018 when I was diagnosed with tendonitis in my left rotator cuff. During both episodes, I felt helpless, hopeless, lacked motivation, and a general will to live. This experience happened to me, a person who everyone perceived as strong, resilient, goal driven, and resourceful. I was in the process of becoming a licensed therapist, so if anyone had their mental health under control then it had to be me right? Wrong! I realized through my episodes that I was heavily relying on exercise as a coping skill while ignoring other aspects of myself i.e. mind and spirit. I was not as mentally resilient as I had once thought I was and I needed help. I eventually reached out to family and friends for emotional support (much easier said than done) because it requires vulnerability. I changed my diet, eating predominantly plant based foods, to reduce the inflammation in my body. And I started meditating, focusing on what I could control, expressing gratitude, and taking hikes in nature. Overall, I took a holistic approach to my mental health and it honestly changed my life for the better. I haven’t struggled with a Depressive episode since I made the decision to become more intentional with my thoughts and actions.
It is extremely important for me to share my story so that other people struggling with symptoms of Depression and Anxiety know that they are not alone, there are resources, and that the symptoms can be managed, with or without medication. It is vital that stories are shared to decrease the stigma that exists around mental health and getting help. It takes courage to reach out and ask for help.
You are not alone. You are loved. You are supported. There are resources available to help you. With effort and time that dark cloud that seems to be looming over you every day will pass and you will see the sun again.
Talk. Share. Help.