4 steps I use to brighten my darkest hours……
I often share with my clients a time in life where I felt like I was the only one here……”Yes” a time of emptiness and loneliness. This period is approximately 4 years ago, when I was experiencing a lot of stress and conflict in my life.
In this period I had a family, a career and a partner who loved me. Many would say “You have it all, what was wrong with you?” At the time I did not know, I just felt an overwhelming sense of emptiness and loneliness. It was busy, demanding, dark, cold and heavy. At the time I thought is was living.
Now I can share with you that is was labelled as depression. My doctor at the time prescribed drugs to change the chemical imbalance that he said I had in my brain. I am not sure how he determined this as at no time did I give blood or have a test to clarify the chemical balance in my brain, however like many others I trusted his judgement, he is supposed to be the expert in his field.
I have since stopped taking the medication and yes I have sought the help of other professionals in exploring how to manage this. Asking for help is one of the most important things we can do.
The first and most important thing that I have learnt is that depression is something I can control. I can own it and manipulate it into anything I want it to be.
I have been practising 4 important steps along with some other techniques each and everyday for 4 or more years now. I am happy to say that I now control these emotions as opposed to them controlling me.
My 4 steps are as follows:
I asked for help
I read and learnt about depression
I had a desire to understand how I did this and why I did this
If I could understand it I could change it
I consciously surround myself with like minded people
I have and maintain a gratitude diary
I acknowledge 3 things I am grateful for with regard to my family
I acknowledge 3 things I am generally grateful for and
I acknowledge 3 things that I have learnt today
I am aware of where my focus is
I do this by maintaining a schedule, a purpose for the day
I have rituals in place.
I write, maintain a journal
I give to others
I connect with friends regularly
I am a board member for a local community group
I also have a belief that if I am having dark thoughts and feeling heaviness that I can change it by changing what I focus on and I become aware of the language I am using. I practise being my own best friend.
I will allow myself the space to have those dark feelings for a short time (maximum an hour) and then I take purposeful steps to get myself above the feeling. This can be meditation, going for a walk, gardening and most importantly I will connect with friends, family or colleagues.
I acknowledge that it can be difficult to connect with others when you just want to curl up in a ball and hide. I choose to believe that by being around others I will gain the strength to look upwards and see what my future holds and this alone changes my thought pattern.
Considering the above I have become aware of my choice in regard to the people I hang out with. This was difficult in the beginning. I made choices to move away from some people, these people were often people who would drag me into their story. Everything was always about them and how they could not change their life and they would try to convince me that I could not change, that this was life.
When I am smiling I am conscious of being authentic with my smile, it radiates from deep within me.
I knew I wanted more for my life.
I now recognise that this to has been fundamental in building my ability to control these feelings. The people who I choose to be around these days are like minded. They are encouraging and supportive and focussed on making a difference and adding value.
During my studies as a coach I have learnt that depression like anger, happiness, frustration, disappointment and doubt are all emotions. We all feel them differently and we all have different experiences that trigger the emotions.
Emotions are something that we can control, we can choose to feel them or not to feel them, the choice is ours. I am fortunate to know how to change my emotional state.
I am sharing this with you now as I want people to know that I am real and that you are not alone. You to have the power to make change, to learn how to own and manipulate these feeling so you can improve your life.