It can be a pretty hard topic to talk about. We know how common it is, but because it is associated with suicide, self-harm and feelings of sadness in general, it can be hard to bring depression up without the sombre feelings surrounding it.
I, like many other Australian’s have suffered depression, and if you yourself have been depressed at one stage or another, I don’t need to tell you just how much depression sucks. Depression is like a dark cloud that sits over everything, has you replaying the shitty things that have happened in your past over and over in your head and causes you to ugly-cry even though you don’t know what the reason is. It gets hard to get out of bed, to leave the house, or even to hear help when you ask for it when you’re depressed. You beat yourself up for not being good enough, for taking your shit out on the people you love, for not having motivation, for letting little things get to you and for not getting better. You dwell on the past, on the negativity in your life and sometimes, it doesn’t feel like you are ever going to feel good again. You may even get so desperate to end the pain, that you contemplate, and even attempt or actually commit suicide.
Not everyone understands you when you are depressed, telling you to “snap out of it”, to “harden up” or worse yet, that you aren’t really depressed. People can lose their patience with you, sometimes abandoning their relationship with you altogether. It’s a sucky, sucky hole of sadness.
But friend, let me tell you, you are never alone in this.
Depression may only be a temporary companion, or, much more likely, it is a lifelong associate to the journey of your life. Even if you do manage to treat your depression, it can still be there, hiding in the background, ready to strike when you are at your weakest.
When I talk about my own depression, I now talk about it in past tense;“I had depression”, “I was diagnosed with depression”, “back when I had depression”. That’s not to say that it isn’t in there, in the darkness, sleeking itself into my psyche when things get bad. My depression for the most part is now gone. I don’t feel it’s presence as strong or as often as I did in the time it was at its worst, and when I am really good at looking after myself; exercise, lots of healthy food, getting lots of work done, social time, it takes a long time for the strength of those things to break down before I feel that low, sinking feeling of darkness again. I have come to terms with the fact that this is how I will be for the rest of my life, and it’s made me more aware of my own health, because I know if I am feeling this way, there is always a reason. There is always the risk that I can be overwhelmed by the darkness again, but my gut tells me that I have the tools to prevent it, and so far, I have done so.
I always tell you that I’m not perfect, so it should come as no surprise to you when I tell you the following; when I am stressed, I don’t always look after myself properly. I don’t mean that anything remotely stressful causes havoc in my life, just that when it all goes to shit, it ALL goes to shit. Because lo and behold, I’M FREAKIN HUMAN!
Despite this, through nutritional medicine, mindfulness and many of the principles of evidence-based natural medicine, for the most part, I have learned heaps of strategies that have helped me overcome the deep darkness of my depression and better yet, bounce back from those feelings of despair when they eventually come creeping in.
This is why I am so passionate about what I do. I have experienced first-hand how hard a hand you can be dealt when you develop depression, but also, the strength that you discover by helping yourself get through it. It’s about being more mindful, understanding the areas of nurture within your own health, being brave enough to ask for help when you need it and learning to recognise your own warning signs before things get beyond your own coping mechanisms. I know that I can help you find what it is that your body needs to nurture the strength that you innately have, even if you struggle to see it yourself, and ultimately see the light beyond the dark clouds.
I won’t tell you too much now, but I will be launching a live workshop to give you a launching pad with this information, sometime in the next month.
In the meantime, if you have feelings of depression, I urge you to speak to someone; a friend, a family member, a doctor, a counselor, or even calling someone at lifeline (13 11 14). You can even contact me on my Facebook page if you feel completely alone.
Just please, speak to someone.
It may not seem so right now, but you are strong, you are loved, and you are enough.