Depression is a mission. It is an ongoing battle but the war can be won. It takes work. It takes investigation and education, and then application. It takes vigilance.
Your depression is caused by your thoughts. Your thoughts are how you deal with your reality and often we are ill equipped to deal in a healthy way.
My whole life I couldn’t understand happy people. I wanted to know their secret? Did they have rich parents? Better opportunities? What made them so damn happy all the damn time!? They also annoyed me because I didn’t know how to be happy. Surely these happy people know there is so much to worry about and to feel bad about!?
Oh man, did I ever think everything happend to me and that was my problem. When I finally learned that how I react to life is the deciding factor in whether I am happy or not, things became easier.
The 19th of January marked two months without depression. When I say that I feel like I am a recovering alcoholic because that’s what they say; “I’ve been sober for 34 days”. Well, I guess it is the same thing. I am a recovering depressive. And in the same way that an addict has a daily battle against backsliding, I do too.
There is a brat that lives in my brain. Like that annoying kid in school who got his kicks from teasing you or even bullying you, he now lives in my brain. And he lies in wait. He waits for me to be tired, to feel overwhelmed, to be running dangerously low on money, to be rejected, to read a negative comment online. And as soon as these things happen, he pounces. He adds weight to the negative situation or happening, he rides it like a rodeo champion and if I’m not careful, I get ridden into the ground.
My daily battle with this brat is won by being extremely vigilant of it. I have to notice when he starts his shit and then SHUT HIM DOWN. It is my job to restrict him from my life. I have to be my own bouncer at the door. My own warrior at the castle gates.
I’ve found the best way for me to shut him down is to get real angry at him and say “fuck off! I’m still figuring things out.” Saying this reminds me that it’s important to not be so hard on myself. To give myself space to grow and learn and become capable.
Life is like a photograph – it develops from the negatives.
We cant stop negative things from happening to us or being said to us, but we can choose how to react to or handle them and that is the secret key to living a happy life.
Now these skills don’t come easily to someone who is already pre-disposed to anxiety and depression. You have to learn them. I had to learn them. I had to read books on depression, like this one and this one, and blogs and study happy people, even asking them how they get through life, to figure out how to change the way I think and react to life’s mishaps.
Traumatic bullying both at home and at school made me fearful and untrusting of life. I never felt safe or supported and always alone and victimized. You can unlearn these negative beliefs. You can learn to be happy or even just to stop being depressed. It takes work.
For me, it took hitting rock bottom so many times that I put my foot down and said, “I never, ever want to get so low ever again”. I knew that I am meant to be here, that I am meant to make a difference and even though I felt the lowest of the low and even up until two months ago, like the biggest loser on the planet, something in me knew I was meant to survive, and eventually, to thrive. I am working on the thriving part, but I have chosen that to be my intention for my life and that is what I will get.
Life is up to you. You either let it happen to you, or you figure out how to work it in your favour.
Be vigilant of that brat in your brain. Do not let it get hold of you. Shut it down. Kick it out. Guard yourself against it. Find the better feeling thoughts, find the things that make you feel good and keep doing them and above all else, always and every day, count your blessings. It is the number one activity that will change your life.
How do you deal with the brat in your brain?