Overcoming Depression Symptom: Feeling Trapped

Depression creates an alternate way of thinking where even when you can see that the glass is half full, you can only focus on why it’s half empty. And, the thought of it being half empty eats at you constantly. Then, the thought begins messing with your mind wondering if you are the cause of the half-emptiness. Before you know it, all you can see if the half-emptiness you cause everywhere. This is why, for a lot of us, the most difficult part of the recovery process is conditioning your mind to stop overanalyzing every detail.

Escaping the mental block, I placed upon myself was the most difficult part of my recovery process. I spent 5 months completely unsure of myself or what I wanted out of life. I changed my mind multiple times on whether I was going to go back to school and where I wanted to live. I spent most nights hyperventilating and falling apart. The one person in the world I wanted to talk things through with, I could not call and more importantly, I could not process that feeling. I was stuck and I did not know how to breakthrough or if a breakthrough was possible. One day, things suddenly changed when I read an old graduation card. I realized that I wanted to be the person I was before I fell apart. So, I made a choice to go back to school and I didn’t look back. When I got back to school, I was very unconfident in everything I did. I would hide in my closet and cry for hours, because every little thing offended me and seemed way worse than it was. If I texted someone, I would write a paragraph apologizing for bothering them and explaining something that could have been said in one sentence. In summary, I was completely terrified of everything, but I desperately wanted that to change.

Here are the different things I did to encourage a change in my mindset to escape the hold the Depression had on me:

  1. Stop Living in the Past. This probably took the longest for me to get past, because I felt so much guilt over the past year. But, now, whenever I start to overthink and overanalyze previous situations, I close my eyes and take three deep breathes. Then, I try to focus on something right in front of me. I don’t allow my mind to wander back and control me anymore.
  2. Daily Meditation. For me personally, meditation has been such an asset. Immediately when I wake up, I simply breathe in and out for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing my mind to relax and revitalize. It helps me start off the day in a positive tone, and anytime I lose that positive outlook, I take 5 minutes to just breathe in and out to restart my mindset.
  3. Small Changes. I do this in the form of Weekly Challenges. I try to challenge myself to do something that benefits my mental and physical health. Some weeks, I focus on exercise or balanced diet related goals, while other weeks I try something new. It’s important for me to not get stuck in a rut or to be bored, because then I give my brain time to start overthinking.
  4. Therapy. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s the value of therapy. Having a therapist to talk to and hold me accountable for my progress has been a tremendous part of my recovery. Every time I feel down or bothered by something, my therapist helps me see both sides of the situation and think about it more rationally. With my therapist’s help, I am able to continue to look forward and not fear being trapped mentally again.

 

originally published 03.14.20

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