Learning To Be Strong On My Own

During the most severe period of my battle with Depression and Anxiety, my mind became my worst enemy. I was incapable of being alone because my mind would turn on me. I had lost complete control of my mindset. Every moment of silence became dangerous because every insecurity and worry would rush to the top of my mind. I can only describe this time in my life as a moment in Purgatory—a place where I was stuck and could not get out until I came to terms with my life.

Those of you reading this are probably thinking one of three things:

  1. This is dramatic. I do not understand how someone could feel this way.
  2. You always have control over your mindset, just change your thoughts.
  3. I know what this feels like.

If you are in group 1, you are right, you do not understand. But I appreciate you taking some time to read my blogs and putting in the effort to learn more about how serious mental illnesses like Depression and Anxiety can be. Most people will face a very faint degree of Depression and/or Anxiety in their lifetime, which makes it difficult for them to understand it on a more severe, suicidal level.

If you are in group 2, you are right, you do have control over your mindset. However, sometimes you lose the feeling of control, where all your mind is consumed by all these negative manifestations that it only generates anxious and depressive thoughts. Regaining that feeling of control is very difficult, because it takes time and patience to retrain your brain to reverse the negative thoughts into positive ones.

If you are in group 3, things will get better, please do not give up. These blogs I write are meant to help others who are facing similar anxious or depressive feelings learn about what pushed me through the worst of it. The rest of this blog is focused on how I learned to be strong on my own.

When my mind had turned on me and I did not have anyone around me who understood those thoughts and feelings, I had to learn to be strong on my own. In those moments where I could not stand, I had to learn how to pick myself up off the ground, because no one else was going to. In those moments where I could not get the tears to stop, I had to learn how to comfort myself, because no one else was going to. In those moments where I needed a hug, but no one was there, I had to learn how to be that support I craved. In the end, I learned how to be strong alone. Here is what helped me get to that point:

  1. Morning Positivity Journal Entries, where I started my day with a positive thought or reminder.
  2. Evening Gratitude Journal Entries, where I reflected on all the positive things that happened each day. I reminded myself of the joy found in the little things.
  3. Positive Energy Meditations, where I focused on inhaling a bright light and darkness leaving through my exhales.
  4. Long Walks / Runs, where I jogged or sprinted until my focus became on catching my breath and not on all the things I could do or be better at.
  5. Listening to Music. At the start of the week, I would choose one song to listen when I started to feel down to make me smile.
  6. Learning to Be Alone. I started going out to eat alone and doing activities alone, something I normally would never have imagined trying. Step by step, day by day, I taught myself how to appreciate and love who I am. Overtime, I began to enjoy spending time with myself. This was probably the most important step I took in my journey of becoming strong on my own. Once being alone no longer scared me, I was able to be there for myself, encourage myself, and empower myself through recovery. My inner strength fought my battle and continues to fight it every day.

Depression and Anxiety cultivate when we not only allow it to take over but also give up trying to fight it. I think one of the reasons many of us battle with Depression and Anxiety for years is because we fear that we are not strong enough to overcome it. It feels that way, but here is what we forget: every step we take toward allowing positivity to develop, is a step toward and through our recovery. It seems impossible today, but a year from now, you will look back and wonder what took you so long to make that first step toward mental wellness.    

 

originally published 5.25.20

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