Alone in a different country, not having a scape route, I had to learn about my depression. At night, I would sit alone on the floor of my room, (didn’t own any furniture), and cry, and cry. I would work as a laborer during the day and then come home, broke, alone and depressed.
Slowly, I began to learn about myself; how stupid I had been and how my reality was not a good reality. With time I learned to manage my depression; when I say “with time”, I mean it that it took me years to really understand my brain. But now at 50, I believe that I have a ‘good grip’ of myself.
So, I would like to share how I managed to climb out of the ditch:
First, I put down all my guards. Any shield, any wall that was protecting me, I put it down. It was not easy; actually, it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. My defensive mechanism was to always be around people drinking, smoking and ‘having fun’; I was always shielded, I was never alone.
Then, I had to accept, that I did not care about other people; I was self-absorbed and I was there just to be entertained.
And finally, the toughest one: I do have plenty of mental issues and I had to learn to deal with them.
I never reached out for help or any type of medicine, which I think was one of my biggest errors. Although, I did learn to peace my mind by exercising, reading and finding healthy people to be around me.
Now, I use this guideline:
- STOP, step back and self-reflect: don’t allow depression to take over your mind. Find the root of those feelings.
- Allow yourself to be sad: sadness is good; it allows you to think clearly and focus. Allow sadness to be a temporary stage.
- Find a quick release mechanism: for me writing has become my best phyicologist, it allows me to put my thoughts and pains on paper. Also, a good jog will make it, an inspirational TED talk, or a motivational book.
- Find people better than you: when I say better than you, I mean find empathetic people that would understand what you are going through and willing to slog along.
- ACT, which is the most important: when you are beginning to crash, take action and move along quickly. To stand still is to allow sorrow to occupy your soul. Actions builds strength, creates momentum, energy!
Darkness is something that has always encircled me; it is a part of my mind and soul so I am always attentive to it. It has been a fifty-year relationship and like any relationship, with time we learn to understand each other. The times when it becomes too dark or too cold, I quickly light a candle or if I need it, the fireplace.