This is my take on depression and why I experienced several episodes of depression.
Whilst there are some medical reasons that cause depression such as chemical imbalances, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease to name but a few, this article relates to Depression caused by lifestyle, environment and / or mindset. Having dealt with depression on and off for many years, I have turned a corner in the past couple of years, my take on the causes of depression for many is relatively simple.
For me depression is a red flag, a warning that something is wrong in your life, whether it’s the situation you are in, your environment, your mindset or a combination of these factors. Whilst this is obvious to most, the key for me is that depression is your body’s (or mind’s) way of telling you something has got to change, in this respect I think depression is actually helpful.
I am not saying it is easy to change, but it can be done, for me I had several triggers for depression over the years, but the main one was my mindset, negative self-talk and feeling trapped. What I have learned particularly the past 6 months, that it almost does not matter what happens in your life, you have to carry on, you owe it to yourself to fight on and live the best life you can.
You can give in to depression and suffer the consequences of that, which is a pretty miserable existence or you can take action to deal with what it is that is causing you to be in a depressed state. You have to consider the cause first before you can take action, I believe if you contemplate and reflect, the cause will become clear, you may want to write down your feelings to try to get your answers. Once you know your why, you can then go about trying to change either your situation or your mindset or often both.
We often make excuses as to why we can’t get out of certain situations, be clear they are excuses, not reasons. If you are in a bad relationship, you can get out of it, I am not saying it is easy and hardships may initially follow, but the boost to your self-esteem for doing the right thing and the bravery that it takes to get out of a situation that is affecting your wellbeing will help you grow as a person. This growth will not immediately be felt, but over time you will slowly take steps to change your situation which feels like a great personal achievement, you will be doing your life a great service.
I know of women who have stayed in abusive, controlling and coercive relationships because of fear, fear of violence, fear of financial loss, fear of the loss of a certain lifestyle. Staying in a bad situation, compromising your beliefs and values always comes at a cost to your wellbeing? No lifestyle is worth paying that price. I know personally I feared violence and financial hardship, the fear of violence was unfounded, my partner was a bully, he became powerless when I finally decided to stand up for myself. I know there are plenty of women where the threats are very real, in these cases I would advise to seek professional help. There will be local groups in your area, I used one local to me who gave me great advice with the primary aim of keeping me safe, along with that came excellent support which really gave me the strength to get out of the situation that was making me depressed and anxious.
I won’t lie the financial hardship followed, but I am now in a position where I am dealing with these and slowly but surely am feeling better off. I am grateful for everything that I have and I have more than a lot of women out there, yes at the moment, I will probably be in debt until the day I die, I am doing everything I can to change this, but regardless I am no longer looking at my debt with anxiety, I did seek help from StepChange.org and whilst it was a very emotional time when I finally admitted I couldn’t carry on with the level of debit I was paying. I was paying my debts, then living off credit cards, it was only when I ran out of credit that I admitted I had a serious problem, that is when I sought help.
Despite all this, I have freedom from a bad relationship that caused my more psychological damage that I cared to admit, damage I have mostly come through, not through counselling or therapy but through reflection, self care and self-love. A weight has been lifted,, because i am living a life of my choice, it has taken a few years but my personal growth or awakening has been staggering, I look back at the person I used to be and don’t recognise myself. I hit rock bottom but I never could of imagined the progress I have made, this progress took effort and time, it does not happen overnight, I associate my progress with focusing on improving my mindset. I look back and am grateful for the bad relationship I had for it has taught me so much about myself.
I was depressed because I ignored my own feelings, I was unhappy but thought I had no choice, I felt trapped. Don’t get me wrong this man was not all bad, he was a Jekyll and Hyde character which is probably why I put up with so much for so long. When I realised I deserved better, that’s when I started taking action to get out of the situation, it was not easy, it took time and I still have a way to go, but I am in such a good place right now, things aren’t great but I know things are a world away from how they was and I will continue to grow as a person. I have hope for the future.
For years I had lost myself, I was so suppressed, walking on eggshells, I didn’t even know what I liked anymore. I have so much more awareness of myself and I accept my good and bad traits, I care less and less what people think, this doesn’t mean I disrespect people but if people don’t like or accept me its absolutely fine by me, I just don’t spend time with these people. I do what’s best for me, what feels good to me, it’s that simple.
My advice to anyone either suffering from depression or being in a situation that causes them to feel bad or anxious is to listen to your gut, just like physical pain is telling you something is wrong with your body, emotional pain is a warning something is wrong, face your fears and you will reap rewards. I would rather be poor and happy than rich and depressed.
The main difference in me now is I am more spiritual, I trust the universe and that everything that happens to me is for my benefit, that goes for good and bad things. If someone upsets me, I feel sorry for them because if someone is nasty it is they that are in a ‘bad place’ not you, so I recover from setbacks very quickly now.
I face the prospect of redundancy in 12 months time, I am not worried about this, I will use that as an opportunity for a career change, I want to work with animals and am laying the foundations for this now. I am currently volunteering in my spare time at an animal rescue with farm animals, dogs and cats, I am looking at a second volunteer opportunity with dogs, apart from enjoying my time on the rescue farm I am preparing for my career change by gaining experience and I’m currently exploring my options of getting qualifications in animal care. I am no longer waiting for a lottery win to change my life, I am changing it anyway!