For as long as I can remember I have suffered from the highs and lows of depression. For a long time, I thought it was normal. It was just the way I was. People either accepted me or didn’t. One day I was on top of the world, the next I was hiding out in my personal cabin in the woods not wanting to talk to anyone. The problem was, even though it was a part of who I was, it was also exhausting. Riding the emotional roller coaster took its toll on my friends and my health. Along with the stress of my career, I began to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. I suddenly realized that I was not in a good place – not at all. I came to a point when crying in a bathtub late one night, where I realized that something significant had to change. There were moments when I was crying almost every night and I didn’t even know why. The world just looked dark. I felt dark. I felt heavy. I felt sick and I was lost and alone.
Life on the outside, however looked perfect. I was living the perfect dichotomy. Isn’t that how it is sometimes? Everyone else deems us to be having the perfect life and yet on the inside we feel like we are a balloon ready to burst. I had a great career, a great husband and I was living in an amazing, beautiful European city. I wined and dined and flew business class. Then one day it all fell apart. This falling apart didn’t happen overnight, but my one day seemed like it was just that. One horrible, awful dark day I plummeted into the deepest depression I’ve ever had and closed myself off to the world. I had lost my job, my husband and my home. I was literally at the bottom of the barrel. I knew it and I became stuck there. I didn’t want to move. My balloon had burst open and I had now turned into a frozen ice sculpture, where even the sun couldn’t melt me.
I had given up on life because I felt that life had given up on me. Yes, I blamed the Universe, I blamed God, I blamed my circumstances, and I blamed my depression. I blamed everyone else except me. I was swimming around in my emotional soup and was about to drown.
It is in these lowest moments, that God reaches out and gives you a hand in the most unexpected way possible. For me this came as a wakeup call. God handed me a nightmare that woke me up so hard that I literally woke up from my own thoughts. I could perceive the thought from outside my own self. It was as if I was watching myself from the movie seat in a theatre and I was casting my character in my own play. And I had been casting shadows over her for years because of my negative thinking patterns. I suddenly realized that I had the power to change this. No one else outside of me could truly help me. I had to first help myself. By being able to see my own thoughts swirling about inside my head, I was now able to start the process of changing my thoughts. And as I changed my thoughts about things life began to change and I began to heal.
Again, this didn’t happen overnight, though looking back now, it seems like it did. It took years of struggle to pull myself out from the barrel, but I did. I worked on learning to respect and love myself and stop my negative self talk. I learned to truly love me and the more I loved me, the more my thoughts began to radiate positivity. I could breathe again.
Do I still have bouts of depression? Do I still get panic attacks? Yes. But when I do, I am able to recognize what is happening and pull myself out from under the dark shadow more quickly. I am a work in progress and I will always be. The point is that I am working on becoming a person who can handle the ups and downs of life and be at peace, even when life goes astray. I’m continually grateful and thank all of the angels that have appeared as friends, opportunities or gifts, which have showed up along the way – simply because I began to follow a different way.
If you suffer from depression or sadness, it’s OK. Allow yourself that recognition. Here a few tips that have helped me to stay in the light.
- Do a mental thought check throughout the day. When you start feeling overwhelmed, refocus on something positive. Even if it’s just the happy thought of eating chocolate cake.
- Practice gratitude. The more grateful you are for the small things, the more life will return gifts back into your life.
- Think of your life as a play. Create your own story. How would you write it? Change the script by changing your thoughts.
- If your depression becomes truly overwhelming, seek out a spiritual mentor*. I cannot reiterate enough, how much having a mentor has helped me. Not a psychologist, but a spiritual mentor or life coach. A mentor will help you to shine and bring your energy back up to another level of positivity.
*TWK Disclaimer – In addition to a spiritual mentor, we believe those battling depression should also seek help from their medical doctors and other licensed trained professionals.
Petra Valica is a writer, spiritual seeker and awareness coach. After rigorous study with a martial art Master, she was taught the principles of the Way through meditation and eventually came to a point of stillness and peace. Petra’s goal is to help others in their quest for awakening and self empowerment. Connect with Petra on her website