Dealing with Depression

Dealing With Depression
By Ashleigh James

Recently I’ve not felt myself. Some days I’ve struggled to get out of bed and others I’ve felt so alive that my body vibrates with energy. Up and down on an emotional roller coaster that I couldn’t seem to get off… I’ve been depressed.

I am, however very aware of what is going on. This self awareness is a blessing. It allows me to step back from the pain and witness what I am doing to myself.

I have been trapped in the negativity and self doubt. Finding out that starting your own business (no matter how passionate you are about it) isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I was stuck listening to the ‘what if’s and you can’t’s whirling around my head. It’s destructive and I don’t want to live there.

Instead, I’ve been letting myself experience it while being mindful of my thoughts. That way I actually get to deal with the issue at hand without ignoring it or being too hard on myself.

This means that the girl who loved social events and being around people… would actually rather sit on her own and read. The girl who worked out religiously… struggled to muster the energy to get from behind her laptop. The girl who was usually quick to lend a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on… could only focus on her own needs.

Being an extrovert, this was a strange and new experience for me.

I’ve discovered that this means sometimes I don’t want to be around people or, I suddenly crave someone’s company. Please don’t take it personally. Everything I’m doing is in the best interest of myself. As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t selfish behaviour because you are putting your needs first. And if you’re lucky enough to have a healthy tribe of people who support you then they will understand.

The more I experience negative thoughts, the easier it becomes to rely on myself to get me out of the ‘funk’. I know I am the only one responsible for myself.

Here are a few observations (from my personal experience);

  • I believe we often rely on other people too much, like an emotional crutch. When really, all we have to do is know ourselves enough to understand what it is we need in order to shake it off – (getting to the point of knowing yourself is a different story entirely and requires constant growth from daily effort. Not easy).
  • There are often times where we are not all we post to be on social media. I believe it’s a way for us to put up barriers to hide our vulnerability. Well… this is me putting an end to that. Expect me to be real and call me out on it if I’m not.
  • ‘Maybe if we ignore the elephant in the room, it will go away.’ Well I’m sorry but it doesn’t, you have to address it. Face it head on but be kind to yourself. Take time out, be on your own, do the things you love and surround yourself with uplifting people.
  • Eat regular healthy meals, drink water, get outside, practice yoga, meditate, be in the present moment, cut ties with negative people, exercise, express your feelings, listen to music, keep your home clutter free and most importantly… BREATHE! These things are my daily saviours.

I give you this advice from my heart to yours, because I’ve known pain like never before recently and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. That being said, everyone experiences it differently. I am extremely grateful that I can function normally and throw myself into work instead… other people aren’t so lucky and the darkness consumes them.

I am openly letting you see into my soul and I am not afraid anymore because I accept who I am. And I love her… the mess she may be at times.

By accepting who you are in every moment, not just when you are happy, allows people into your life who accept you too.

So, stop saying you are fine when you are not.

Speak your truth…


Ashleigh James
About the Author: Ashleigh James

With a strong background in management and education in the Health and Wellness industry, Ashleigh has been fortunate to work in the UK, Bermuda and Canada. These fantastic opportunities helped develop who she is but have lead her to wanting more.

Ashleigh discovered that she wanted to gain financial security from her own hard work and dedication while also inspiring individuals to realize their true worth and potential. She has been forcing herself outside of her comfort zone and facing fears not only for her own development but to share this advice with those wanting to become the best version of themselves.

As well as being the founder/editor of GEM Magazine, Ashleigh has a strong desire to empower women and loves to inspire those ready look within and make a change. She believes you have to change yourself first before you can change the world.

You can find Ashleigh at GEM Magazine, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and learn more about her at About Me

7 Comments

Dwain M

If you’re fortunate enough to have a healthy tribe of folks who encourage you, then they will understand. Take some time out, be on your own, do the things you love, and surround yourself with inspiring people.

Reply
Leilani Serrata- Ramos

I love this so much. It’s very true about her having a strong ability to turn it into work, others get consumed and can’t see it as clear. I love this article very much, made my day!

Reply
separation

I know this website gives quality dependent posts and extra material, is there any other web page which gives these kinds of data in quality?

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Amanda L

Excellent post but I’m sorry you are going through this. It sucks. Mindfulness and self awareness are SO important but so hard when you in the thick of it.

Just wondering… have you ever looked into Bipolar II? I know it is absurd and likely unappreciated to diagnose from a single post but the roller coaster sounds familiar. Doesn’t have to be 4 day cycles, there can be shorter cycles than that. If so, no stand-alone SSRI, can make it a lot worse (it did for me, I can’t speak for anyone else).

Good luck!!

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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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