There she stood, in the shadow of self-doubt, pessimism, and faithlessness. Just as she thought it could get no worse, rejection reared its ugly head once again, creating an inner pain so strong that if it were external, it would mirror that of childbirth.
All out of tears, and emotions in general, she could do nothing but reflect. How was she to free herself from depression? Therapy, church, drugs? She was so used to rejection, that she could not detect a blessing, even if it literally slapped her in the face. At this point in time, she was void of all feelings of happiness. She felt completely empty; alive, yet out of life. Nothing excited her. Nothing moved her. She was levitating, slowly descending into a cloud of darkness.
She was once me. Reluctant to get out of bed in the morning due to fear of failure, I got up only because that was the expectation. I denied that there was anything wrong with me due to pride and the glooming ‘strong black woman’ syndrome that subconsciously plagues almost every girl who looks like me. Why did everyone else seem to be so happy? Did they all secretly hate me and want me to die? They were battling their own demons but they never showed it. Why was I so vulnerable? So moody? What the actual fuck was wrong with me?
The more I struggled internally, the more it showed externally. I took things out on the people who actually loved me. That was not my intention. I so desperately wanted to vocalize how I was feeling, and I wanted to be understood so badly that I forgot to understand.
I looked back on my life and wondered when this negative attitude shift occurred. It was all a blur. I was never the most bubbly, happy individual, but I was able to feel joy. I was never always smiling, but I recognized the opportunity to smile. I had never been the girl who was impressed or excited about things, but I still knew how to celebrate. I was never always happy, but I did have inner peace. Where had it gone now?
In my search for answers, I recalled a piece of advice I so adamantly preached to others– if you’re not happy with something, fix it.
Simple, yet far more difficult than it sounds, I tried. I was unsuccessful. How could I possibly change myself, if I hated myself? I figured, “well damn, this is just who I am.” I was wrong.
For years, I had used negative circumstances to determine my self-worth. I never once looked at my reactions to my environment and my ability to overcome. I never fully grasped how fortunate I was, because all I focused on was my perceived misfortune. When I lost sight of what it truly meant to win, I was doomed, mentally and emotionally. No amount of therapy, church, or drugs could cure me.
I needed a perceptual shift more than anything. Not to say that the former three things are not helpful. But, a perceptual shift entails actually recognizing that you have control of your thoughts and that if you want healing, you have to commit to changing your attitude about many things. Before this initial shift happens, literally none of those other three things will help.
So, I’ve been on the journey to mental self-redemption. My first step was self-realization.
Determining who you are and who you want to be is crucial in overcoming depression. I dare you to think positively. Imagine yourself happy, just as you imagined yourself miserable.
If you care enough about yourself, you will. If you want to get out of your funk, you have no choice. I have found truth in these things.
Breathe. Avoiding negative energy has been crucial in my journey. Ignore it if you have to; do whatever you have to do to shut it out, even if it means not socializing for a while. Minimizing social anxiety is key. You’ll want to get rid of any distractions during the healing process.
These are only the first steps. I firmly believe that surrounding yourself with positive people who uplift you is the best thing you can do when depressed. As easy as it is to become overly reclusive, please don’t. A depressed mind needs a break from idle thought and complete social isolation. It’s okay to disconnect, but never completely.
I know that healing will come. Depression is a battle that you can win, with or without antidepressants.
I suggest you use the beautiful, inquisitive mind you were blessed with to alter your self-perception. I know that you can do it. Once I committed to positive thinking, prayer and spirituality aided me in my recovery.
You literally are your thoughts. Choose happiness over depression.