Depression is a subject that runs deep for me. It is a topic I have spoken of many times before in my posts.
I had a really “bad” day a while ago and someone said to me “but you look so happy in your pictures”.. ahh Social Media, deceiving people since the dawn of it’s time. This is not to say that my pictures/posts are not truthful and authentic, but it does mean that what appears on the outside is not always a direct reflection of what is happening on the inside, I’ll explain.
Depression is a virus to me. It is not a disease or a diagnosis or a one size fits all.
It is like a virus that lies dormant in my body, sometimes unheard, unmoving, un thought of, but ready to strike at any time.
I can go about a regular day, interacting with people, smiling and loving SO many facets of my life, but it does not mean that deep down inside somewhere depression is not festering.
Sometimes it attacks, like the flu. I will wake up, prep for a good day and out of nowhere it hits and I feel like Eeyore with a black cloud of defeat hanging over my head and no matter what I do or what thoughts I have, I can’t change it. I can still smile for I know life is beautiful on the other side of that black cloud, but it doesn’t mean it’s not raining inside.
But the thing with viruses that lends to depression (for me) is that they can be managed.
If we think of depression as a response to an external trigger then we assume it can only be corrected by external events. People will say things like “but you have the best life, you have NO reason to be sad, its so beautiful outside.. etc. etc.” Let me be clear, when I am depressed, I am not “sad”. I am feeling hopeless and defeated. I am feeling weighed down and overwhelmed and 9 times out of 10 I have NO fucking clue why, at the time.
What I have learned about depression triggers is that they are internal. If we think of depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain then we need to consider what we can do to rebalance.
This is where dealing with my depression holistically has made a HUGE difference in my life.
I went from days of staying in bed all day, not wanting to see another sunrise, to being happy and vibrant and able to function on a regular basis.
I believe I will always have “bad” days, or down moments, I am a human after all, but I know without a doubt that I am capable of pulling myself out of the darkness and back into the light again and these moments occur less and less.
The most important things I did and still do to keep myself from falling into those dark places are as follows:
Changing my diet from HIGH sugar and processed carbohydrates (wheat/gluten) and dairy to more whole foods, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, made a HUGE difference in how I feel.
Supplying your body and brain with the nutrients it requires to function properly will play a huge role in how you feel overall, especially mentally.
Key factors for people who suffer from depression / mental health issues.
- Essential fats
- Blood sugar balance
- Levels of the nutrients chromium and Vitamin D (sunshine!)
- Food intolerances
Exercise – Body and Mind
There was a point in my life where I despised exercise. I would go to the gym because it was free with my college eduction, but I did not love it. I realize now it is because I didn’t know what I was doing and I had no real goals, or any idea how important exercise was for my brain and my happiness.
Stepping into a yoga studio for the first time changed my life forever. I will eternally credit yoga for being a huge factor in drawing me out of a dark depression. I learned to love movement as much as I loved stillness. I learned to not only focus my body, but focus my mind. I learned it’s okay to have bad thoughts, but not to own them or attach to them, instead letting them float away from me.
The deep breath work in yoga also helped calm my mind and my body as well as tap into serotonin just waiting to be released in my gut.
Strength training and intermittent cardio also play a big part in helping to elevate moods by releasing key hormones to promote an overall feeling of happiness.
Sleep – Routine
Because I worked shift work and did not have a regular schedule I would find my self up very late, and sleeping until at least Noon, waking up, and getting ready for another evening at work.
After a while this took a toll on my mental well being.
I felt lazy, useless, hopeless and so unproductive.
Finding a regular sleep routine and getting 7-8 hours a night and getting out of bed well before noon has had a tremendous impact in how I feel overall.
When those down days hit and you just want to stay in bed because.. F*ck the world.. I highly encourage you to reach out to someone who can help you up. Go outside, go for a walk, do some squats, breathe in the fresh air. Do something to help you get back into a routine that will make getting out of bed easier every day.
This goes in line with diet as when I changed the way I ate, the way my body dealt with hormones changed. But that is not the be all and end all. There are many factors involved in hormone production and elimination. I found (as only a female would) that my “low’s” were really low in the few days before my cycle. This only came to my attention when a friend mentioned it to me, when month after month I’d hit the same brick wall of hopelessless at the same time.. interesting.
Tracking my cycles, and supporting my liver and hormone processes made a huge difference in how I feel month after month.
Living my Passion
Nothing played on my mental state more than working at a job I despised. Nothing inspired me, I felt like I was just running on a hamster wheel (how sad).
When I tapped into my soul’s true desires and started to actually listen and take action, I found myself more excited to wake up and get up everyday, I felt I had a purpose again and nothing can take away that deep knowing inside that only YOU can know and feel and act on for your self.
Doing what you love, and loving what you do can change the entire course of your existence. I encourage anyone who is living in a slump with their current career to really rethink what you are doing and where you want to be. It’s never ever too late.
Depression/anxiety is not something I take lightly. If you are feeling down and out and defeated, there is help. Please reach out to someone no matter how much you don’t think you matter or no matter how much you think you’re a “burden” the truth is you are not and people are happy to be of service for you. To help you smile again, to help you see the light. And if you find that those kind of people do not exist in your life, then that may also be a part of the problem and it is time to release those people and find new people who will love you just how you are, I know that I did and I know it is possible. <3
If you have been healing your depression holistically, I would love to hear from you and what helped for you.
Please reach out to me if you feel you need that extra support. I am here for you.
Love & Light