Why You Get Depressed!

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!

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How To Achieve Your Goals

These are the processes and tools I use to achieve my goals, all of which I consider to be key to making changes in your life!

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How To Make Your Goals Achievable!

(The processes and tools needed to achieve your goals)

 

Wow, goals, we all have them, but many of us don’t achieve them, why?

I have just read ‘The 12 Week Year’  by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington,  and am about to use the accompanying ‘The 12 Week Year Workbook’ and feel this may just be the book that inspires me to achieve my goals.  Of course, I haven’t implemented all the strategies in the book yet, give me a chance, but I have done my first 12 Week Year Plan and have to say, I have already completed one of my 12 week goals in just over one week.

Here are my Top 8 tips for achieving your goals, I hope you find them useful:

1.  The Written Word  

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There is something about the written word that makes it feel real, when I hand write something I feel the emotions as I write, whereas when I type, no matter what I type it just doesn’t bring as much emotion to the content.  Try this brief exercise, type out ‘I Love   You …… ‘ whilst thinking of someone you love, typing their name after ‘You’.  Now hand write the same phrase, see the difference in your emotions.  When you hand write, you ‘feel’ what you are writing about.  So, when you write down your goals, feel the emotions that you may feel   when your goals are achieved.

2.  Know Your ‘Why’

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If you have a particular goal because it will impress others, think again, if it impresses you, then you are on the right track.  The reason behind each goal is vital, it has to be what YOU want to achieve, what fills you with emotion, passion and a desire you want so bad it fires you up inside.  The thought of achieving that goal may even bring tears to your eyes, that’s a good thing.

3.  Know Your Target

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If you know the target you are aiming for, you can be more specific  about your goals.  Being specific will make it  easier to take actions that will lead you to your goal.  If your goal isn’t specific, how can your actions be specific and if your actions are too vague, you simply won’t do them.  The more detail you add to your goals, the more passion you will inspire in yourself, the more likely you are to follow through on each step it will take to achieve them.  You will have to break down every goal, I recommend doing 1 hour minimum slots if you can dedicated to one action.

4.  Limit Your Goals

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I would advise you to limit your goals, having too many goals it just not realistic.  Whilst, you can have a long-term plan with every goal you want to achieve in your lifetime, it is best to focus on one or two, definitely no more than three at a time.  This is where the 12 week year comes in useful, as over the year you can have up to twelve goals, but at any 12 week period you are only focusing on two or three.  Too many goals can feel overwhelming, feeling overwhelmed can lead to procrastination, thus you achieve nothing.

5.  The How

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

The methods you use to achieve your goals will be specific to you.  I use the ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction’ planner, ever since I got this beautiful planner, I have more clarity about the life I want and have achieved more in 6 months than in my lifetime in working towards my goals.  The concept of law of attraction, tells you not to concern yourself with the ‘how’, but I disagree, as long as your ‘why’ is clear, you can then start to plan the steps you need to take you there.  If you are not to sure of the steps, start doing some research, ideas will then flow.  Brainstorm if you need to, don’t limit yourself in this, even if an action seems impossible, write it down anyway.  Schedule time in each week and dedicate that time to taking steps, no matter how small to achieve your goal.

6. The Mindset

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This is the key to achieving every goal, you have to believe it will happen.  This can be difficult when most of us are plagued with self-doubt, but practicing self-belief will get you there, and the more you work towards your goals, the more you will believe.  If you find it hard to believe in yourself, just pretend you do, you will be surprised how over time this works.

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7.  Resilience

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On your journey to achieving your goals, you will be met with setbacks and failures, this is normal.  Some of the greatest achievers in history, had a string of failures before succeeding, there are also many unknowns throughout history that gave up when they met with failure.  The difference between these two types of people was resilience or self-determination, the relentless trait of carrying on regardless, committing to never stopping until your goal is reached.  Harrison Ford, at the age of 24 was told by studio executives that “he would never make it in this business’. There are numerous similar stories of famous people despite rejection and failures, continued to pursue their dream.  So never ever be deterred by other people’s opinions, they are just their perceptions, they are not fact and in many cases they get it wrong.  Resilience has won wars, hearts and greatness, be that resilient person, never ever give up on your dreams.

8.  Being Flexible

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You may find that your goals change over time or as you start working towards one, as you become more self-aware you may realise that goal is not for you.  Be flexible and don’t be discouraged if you have been working towards a goal only to realise it’s not what you truly desire or it’s not achievable (yet).  My goals have changed dramatically,  I had a goal from childhood I had dreamt about for years, only once I started to work towards it, I realised that I couldn’t achieve it from where I was in life.  So I had a re-think and changed my goal to something that was far more realistic and some levels down from my initial goal, but if achieved may help me move towards that initial goal.

Final Thoughts

If you use the above tips, with perseverance, you will move ever closer to your dreams, one cliché you really should heed is “Never give up, like never ever”!

Why Failure is a Good Thing!

Failure is a good thing, if you don’t give up, even if you repeatedly fail, it can mean you are moving closer to your dream.

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Failure – Good or Bad?

Most of us seem to associate failure as a bad thing, but if you talk to most successful people, they will probably tell you of their many so-called ‘failures’ and ‘rejections’.  By success, I mean whatever success means to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean fame or wealth.  Your idea of success will be based around your core values.  If ‘success’ was easy, it would not be worth having or at least it would have little value to you, you simply would not appreciate it and that is something we all do, until whatever we have is gone.

“99 percent of success is built on failure.” – Charles Kettering

What Failure Means to you

The Oxford Dictionary online  gives 3 explanations; 1. Lack of Success, 2. The neglect or omission of expected or required action, 3. The action or state of not functioning.  Failure is simply describing a moment in time, yes in terms of someone’s heart failing, that will be permanent, but in terms of ‘lacking success’, it is not. Just because you fail at something once, twice or a hundred times, it does not mean that you will never succeed, in fact each failure means you are getting closer to success and if your mind truly believes that, you will achieve your goal.

“The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” – Thomas Watson, (Founder of IBM)

Dedicate Yourself

The things we work the hardest for are the most rewarding, even if we consistently fail, each failure is a lesson, but failure can be disheartening, when we lose sight of what we are striving for.  This is why it is important to keep the end goal in mind in difficult times.  The lyrics of The Script’s ‘Hall of Fame’ comes to mind ‘you can be the greatest, you can be the best, you can be the king kong banging on your chest ……. dedicate yourself and you could find yourself living in the hall of fame ……….’ Dedicate yourself to ‘your’ cause, whatever that is.

“I failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison

Successful Failures

I know this is stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ but most successful people have previous failures under their belt, whereas had they given up, they would have never succeeded in what they did.  Some famous ‘failures’ that never gave up and it paid off include; J. K. Rowling, Harrison Ford, Stephen King, Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey, Elvis, Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Lady Gaga, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein ………. the list goes on and on.  For every famous ‘successful failure’, there will be many ordinary men and women that have been their own heroes, that have carried on regardless, despite obstacles in their path.

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.” – Robert H. Schuller

Be Inspired

I don’t know about you, but knowing the above extremely successful people in their field did not have an easy ride, but reached their destination regardless, really inspires me.  It gives me hope that my life can change, if I never give up.

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C. S. Lewis

Believe in Yourself

So what do these ‘successful failures’ have that differ from those of us that do give up, I believe they have, above anything else an unshakable self-belief and this belief drives their determination to follow their dream, making the rejections and obstacles they face merely stepping-stones and learning curves in achieving what they want.

“When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.” – George Bernard Shaw

Change Your Perspective

The lesson here is to take a different perspective on failure, failure is merely a chapter, not a book.  I now view failure not as the end of the road, but as another step taking me closer to my dreams.

If nothing else, try to take a piece of inspiration from this article and you too may be living in your own ‘hall of fame’ wherever that may be.

 

Different Stages in Life!

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I have been thinking a lot lately about where we all are in life at the moment, I have read some great blogs from young bloggers and I think ‘Wow’, they know so much more about ‘intentional living’ than I did at their age, in fact, I had never even heard of ‘intentional living’, they are so lucky.  At 50, I am only starting to ‘wake up’ and rather than think ‘fate’ will foretell my journey, I am realising that I am the author of my life.

Why has it took me so long to come to this realisation?  Apart from being a bit slow, I am not sure, except that I have been caught up in the strains and stresses of working, living and everything else that came my way.  Anyway, I am here now and intend to make the rest of my life better, cleaner, and more purposeful.

In fact, I have reached the point where I resent the fact that I have to go to work just to try keep up with my mortgage, bills and £18,000 personal debts, mainly on credit cards.  I am currently on a DMP (Debt Management Plan) with Step Change because after living on my credit cards (due to overspending), I got to the stage where I simply ran out of credit and could no longer make the minimum payments.  These debts have caused me a huge amount of stress and worry.  I have also realised my spending is related to my mental health, whenever I have felt low, I have gone on a little spending spree, at one stage there was barely a day I didn’t buy something.

The realisation that my spending habits relate to how I feel at any given time, has made me realise, there are other (cheaper) ways  to feel good.  Realising that link between my mental health and over spending, the consumer trap I have fallen in to, buying in to consumerism and ‘keeping up with the Jones’ is enough to make me change my ways.

I no longer browse online when I am bored, I carefully consider if I really want / need an item before purchasing, I also put in my planner on pay-day 1 or 2 things I ‘plan’ to buy, things I have given careful consideration to purchasing, sometimes by the time pay day comes along I have changed my mind.

I have not worked out exactly how old I will be by the time my debts are paid off, but at the rate I am paying them off now, I will be over 100 years old taking the interest into account. This is not how I want to spend my retirement years, this is not what I have worked so hard for all my life.  I came to the conclusion that the only other option is to increase my income and eventually (hopefully within 3-5 years) hand my notice in to a job I have not an ounce of interest in anymore, this lack of interest is down to my own self-realisation in what I can and want to achieve; help people in some way, no matter how small to improve their own lives, if we all share what we know, we will gain many lifetimes of knowledge, how wonderful is that!.