Picking Up Where You Left Off

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I know, I know. I said I wasn’t going to add cheesy quotes…

Sometimes, we wake up and realize that we are no longer doing something that we once set out to do. You may have had everything ready for you to succeed, and yet, here you are. It’s been months since you stepped foot in a gym. Or, it’s been weeks since you’ve focused on your personal projects. Perhaps you haven’t been giving your personal life much attention.  

If no one tells you this today, I want you to know that this is perfectly normal. It is okay to take a breather every now and then. Don’t punish yourself. 

Now, you may be in a position where you don’t know how to pick up the habit once again.

How do you motivate yourself again? 

It’s not all that difficult.  

 

Just try it 

Yes, you’ve probably heard this one many times. So many times that it has become cliché. However, this cliché happens to be truthful. Just try. Take that step but be patient. That first line of the page, the first stroke of the brush, the first major meeting, and whatever else you find to be your first stepping stone may appear to be a monstrosity.  

Each and every day that you choose to meet the monster, that you choose to stay and fight, you will be rewarded. Once you take that first plunge into the old habit, things have a way of being slightly easier. Don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you that life will be full of sunshine and rainbows and bunnies after the first step. However, by taking the first step into this old habit once more, you have proven that you have will. You will meet the obstacles you have faced once when you first started on your journey. Now, you have all the resources to beat them. And you will be victorious. If not, that’s fine. Small defeats are nothing compared to the end goal.  

 

Remind yourself Why 

We’ve all been here. You’re staring at yourself in the mirror and wondering, “why the hell am I doing this”. That is an important question. Try to answer it. Why are you doing this hobby or doing this specific thing? Once you have the answer, it becomes your weapon. Those tiny little reasons why you shouldn’t do this will dissipate because now you have a purpose.  

Failures are a part of life. Procrastination is human nature. The difference is what you choose to do once the fogginess and weariness drift away.  

It is also important to understand why you stopped. No, the answer isn’t that you are lazy or that you don’t care. There was a specific reason. Something happened. Knowing that allows you to understand what to expect when attempting this again.  

 

Facing the Criticisms  

Yes, we are all our own worst enemies. You slip and fall and you laugh at yourself. However, sometimes the opinions come from elsewhere. It’s difficult facing others when they seem to reiterate what you are thinking.  

First, understand that everyone is entitled to their way of thinking. None of us can change that. You will always meet people who will disagree with you and what you want to do. There will always be reasons why you should not do something.

How do you combat that? 

Just think of your reasons why you are doing whatever it is that you are doing. The ultimate goal is to achieve a sense of fullness and happiness in your life. If this is something that will grant you that, then the rest does not matter.

That’s easier said than done. 

The most important piece of advice that I can offer you is that your happiness should be a priority in your life. That does not mean you have to push people away. On the contrary, have a conversation! Your loved ones will support you once they realize how invested you are. It may take some time. It may not be easy. But, it will happen. Also, once you figure out why you are doing this, it will be that much easier to explain to others. Your words will carry the confidence of knowing what you expect to be the end result. Who can argue that?

 

So, go out there with your head held high. Small victories add up. Overtime, this will be easier.

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The Importance of Forgiving Yourself

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Your cheesy quote of the day.

Another common trait of most sufferers of depression is the way that the past seems to haunt over us, shrouding the present. We are reminded about the things we have not yet accomplished, the things that we shouldn’t have done, and the things that have been said. The guilt and regret are debilitating.

So, why are you doing this?

Simple. This is the first step that you must take in order to fully accept yourself.

 

The Failures

The “failures” play an interesting role. The first thing I would do is to assign a different word to the things that go wrong. Most of the time they just impede your progress. They give you an opportunity to figure out what isn’t working. Things that you perhaps didn’t really want to do. They are more like harbingers of opportunity (yes I know, that was very optimistic even for me, but just hear me out).

Real World Example: I was a straight “A” student who ended up going to college to become something that would allow me to make money. The goal was to make enough to live a comfortable life and then figure out what to do. However, when I got to college, I starting doing poorly. Eventually, I gave up trying. It was hard. My family didn’t understand or approve. This was my moment of choice – stay with the career path I had decided on or discover what it is I want.

That’s all life is in the end – just soaking up lessons so that you can live the life you want. Sure, the example I gave may sound trivial, but it shook me to my foundation. In the end, that’s what these turning points do. Please, take a step back and truly analyze the thing that has been haunting you. Is there a lesson buried in there? What is it? What changes can you make?

 

The Casual Mistakes

Have you ever gone through a day and realized that you said something that you weren’t supposed to? Gotten someone’s name wrong? Tripped or spilled something on yourself? These are pretty universal experiences, I assure you. However, when you are plagued by depression, they eat away at you more than they ought to. They are on replay in your mind.

Take a moment after these blunders occur and take a deep breath. It happens to everyone. We are all human and being human is a messy process. Smile, even if you don’t feel like it. In your mind, take that moment and imagine that the moment is tangible. Crumple it up and toss it away.

Learning to laugh at these small mistakes helps. Truly, it does. Don’t laugh at your “stupidity”, laugh at the action itself. Think about it this way: if a friend was to do the same thing, you would probably make a joke (if not, then you are a much kinder friend than I am and kudos to you). Also, anyone in the vicinity can no longer make fun of you because you are making jokes about it yourself. You strip the onlookers of their powers to bring you down. This situation is now under your control.

 

So, How Do You Forgive Yourself?

Write it out on paper or talk about it (especially if they are larger concerns). Tell yourself that it could happen to anyone. Tell yourself the truth – you reacted that particular way because of your circumstances and the limited knowledge that you possessed at that time. You only know better now because you have more information. Don’t worry about looking crazy. This is for you and you alone.

If it helps, talk to someone, especially if you feel as if you victimized them somehow. You may be surprised to learn that it didn’t really affect them that much. We are all social creatures. Conversations keep us all together. They have the power to heal relationships. If you don’t believe me, give it a shot. Sure, at first there may be raised voices and hurtful things that are said. However, that’s just a temporary reaction that our biases bring out. After they pass, things become better. Just stick with it if you value the relationship.

Work towards your better future. This is the best way to allow solutions to present themselves.

And most importantly, grab onto that slim sliver of hope and never let it go.

 

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Reclaiming the Stigma

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As we move through our lives, we are left with a stark reminder of the way we felt and what we went through. Misunderstandings don’t always end when our depression symptoms ease. Having an open and honest discussion about it today still causes people to feel uncomfortable. No one knows what to say. We are exposed to sideways glances, confused looks, denial of, and avoidance of discussing what it that’s right in front of them.

It shouldn’t be difficult to accept. The number of people that go through this is staggering. It only makes sense that everyone is informed about what to look out for.

 

For Depression Sufferers

Keep the discussion alive. This is how we all learn. Remember that the more we can share about our experiences, the more it can benefit others who may be going through similar situations. It may also help non-depression sufferers to fully understand what is happening to us. Having someone – even just one person – listen to you makes all the difference.

Remember another thing as well. Not many are given the opportunity to confront their lives and actively change it. For some, they wake up years and years later, realizing that the path that they have chosen is unfulfilling. Many follow through with change later in life. I applaud those who do. It takes courage. They are fighting for their happiness. This is your chance to work towards that goal as well. Reclaim what you want. Now that you are facing your worst enemy (yourselves), you can brush off the opinions of everyone else.

 

For those who know someone going through this

First, we still wish to be respected. Silencing and downplaying our unhappiness will not help us at all. The best that I can advise you to do is offer support. Ask the person what they need from you. Opening up to someone is a difficult thing to do. This person has amassed all of their courage to come to you. Don’t dismiss it. Listen. Most of the time, we aren’t really seeking solutions.

Be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Self-isolation – the person no longer has the desire to socialize, spend time with friends, or leave the home
  • Decreased motivation – jokingly or not, the person constantly says how they are too tired to do anything. They don’t want to do anything requiring an exertion of energy (of any kind). They are exhausted by performing at the bare minimum levels, unable to focus on anything.
  • Changes in mood (mood swings) – they are quick to anger or get irritated, often without warning (as far as the other person is concerned. Internally, there are reasons aplenty)
  • Changes in diet – so this is harder to detect. Basically, watch for overeating or undereating
  • Insomnia – if someone complains about prolonged restless nights, it may be a sign of depression
  • Jokes about suicide – several jokes about this could be an indication that the person is trying to gauge your reaction. I know that this is becoming more common-place (which, for the record, I believe harms actual depression sufferers) but it is still worthwhile to start a discussion.
  • Self-harm – this goes beyond your common wrist-slashing. There are so many ways to inflict harm upon oneself. If you notice peculiar scratches, cuts, or bruises talk about it. For instance, I used to keep a safety pin tied to an elastic band that I wore around my wrist. I would use the safety pin to inflict harm (it was a stepping stone into actual cutting). Something like this could be prevented by questioning it.

 

P.S.:  I would like to sincerely apologize for the lack of posts as of late. I am actually still on vacation! The opportunities to sit down and just write something are so scarce. I will try to make more time and get the information out as best as I can. Thank you all for your patience!

 

The Relationships We Keep

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Happy Friday! Now that we are heading into the weekend, we usually have to spend more time with friends and family. This poses a lot of difficulty for those of us who suffer from depression. I’ll briefly go over some techniques used to circumvent any unwanted animosity.

The Negative Relationships

There are a few people in our lives that seem to relish every moment that you fall, and stop at nothing to bring you down. A name or a face probably just popped in your head. When you are trying to better yourselves, this type of relationship will do nothing other than harm your progress. Progress is fragile.

What do I do?

If the person is a friend, slowly fade them out of your lives. Spend time away from one another. I know, I know. Why am I asking you to distance yourself from people? This negative energy will only remind you of the things that are going wrong in your life. You don’t have to ignore the person for the rest of your life, just spend less time with them until you are back on your feet.

What if this person is a close family member?

This gets trickier. We may not always find ourselves in situations where we can separate ourselves from relatives. There are things that you can still do to “distance” yourself.

Close your eyes. Imagine that there are strings emerging from your chest, connecting you to all of your friends and family. I want you to focus on those people that are bringing you down. Picture their faces. Now, cut the string.

Don’t waste a thought on them. Don’t worry about their well-being. Don’t care about what they have to say. They are just a person. A stranger. Nothing more. It’s hard to think like this, but give yourself a chance to let that lesson sink in.

 

Reaching Out to Someone

Sometimes, we overlook certain people in our lives, assuming that they would not want to hear what you have to say. Sometimes, we have tried talking to someone and they haven’t heard. This does not mean you don’t try again. Talk to a more distant friend or acquaintance if it helps. Anyone.

But I don’t want to do that. They might judge me. 

People, generally, aren’t that cruel. They won’t always judge you. Besides, your well-being is more important than what someone may think of you at that moment. If things are getting overwhelming, talking to someone may help you put things in perspective – something that so many of us need.

This is coming from someone who used to believe that if they spoke out, it would open the floodgates of suppressed emotions.

YOU ARE IN CONTROL! Your mind works for you. You don’t work for it.

 

Understanding Your Impact

It is hard work to be nice all the time. To smile when you are in pain. These efforts are sometimes overlooked because people do not know what is going on in your head. However, it is worth it.

When we are constantly in distress, we lash out. We can’t help it. It is just another symptom of this illness that’s weighing you down. Despite this, the other person (the friend or family member) does not understand this. They get confused and worried. Confusion is a strange thing in human beings. Confusion leads to frustration which leads to anger. It’s a horrible cycle.

Do not overlook those who are frustrated with you for those who are negative people. There is usually an underlying reason.

But if they knew me, if they are worried, they shouldn’t be mad at me! Of course, I’m going to be upset with them!

Absolutely you will! You have every right! But, take a moment to also be kind. Not only to yourself, but to others.

That’s easier said than done. 

This is another question of understanding perspectives (which I will discuss in another post). Take a deep breath when you are overcome with emotions. Leave the area if you must. Remember to smile (fake it until you make it). Our minds are a strange computer. Sometimes, faking a smile eases the tension we feel. This in turn placates the other person. Peace is restored.

 

I have not mentioned this as of yet, but if anyone wishes to reach out to me, you can do so. Send me a message.
Visit the contact page.

Have a wonderful weekend! Keep smiling, you beautiful soul. I wish you find your happiness.

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