In light of Robin Williams tragic suicide. I am inspired to share my own experiences with depression. I feel it is important to be transparent so that people do not feel alone. I always say that we are all in this together because we truly are. What we put out into the universe effects everyone in total. So if you are having a difficult time in life, remember you are not alone. Others feel with you and for you. That may be where the sang, “holding space” came from. Prayer and sending love and light to those that may need extra support for a while. Being strong when they are weak and vice versa.
Often when people commit suicide we are left pondering about what we could have done to save them. The truth is, nothing, because if you were supposed to save them then it would have been so. No use in living in “what if’s” and beating yourself up about what you could have done. Instead move forward and share your light in the present moment. Sometimes although tragic, people’s lives are meant to be a catalyst to save others. When a suicide is committed on such a grand scale, as in Robin Williams case, mental health is brought to the fore front and in turn possibly saving millions of other people’s lives. Everyone becomes more aware and compassionate to what others are going through despite outward appearances. It is a reminder that everyone is fighting their own battle. His death is not in vein, as long as we learn, grow, and evolve from it.
My own experience with depression came at a very early age. I often found myself feeling things on a very deep level. Perhaps taking on other people’s emotions, because when I looked at my life, I had nothing to really be sad about. Yet sometimes the depression seemed out of my control and it would spiral into a deep dark place, where I could no longer see the light. I even had times where I wished I would pass. I carried a deep yearning for home I guess, on the other side. I would cry and cry for no logical reason. I went through very harsh experiences very similar to Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder’s movie, Girl Interrupted. Through my journey with depression, I noticed one common denominator. When I stepped outside of myself, the depression dissipated. Procrastination was my enemy and selfishness was what fed the misery. I studied all different ways to help cure myself but one of the most profound tools was a simple change in perception. A learned trait to think positive. Life will always be harsh. Always throw you arrows but you have the choice on how you want to see and feel things. Nobody can do that for you.
A big turning point for me was when someone that I deeply admired gave me the harshest advice I ever received. He said that depression was just laziness. Having been deeply depressed at the time, I got very defensive and offended, thinking that he didn’t know what it was like and surely had never suffered from depression. But after the initial shock of his comment settled, I let it resonate and I found that it was kind of true, for me. Once I stepped outside of myself, stopped procrastinating, pointing fingers, being a victim, got off my bum and started living life, the depression went away. Laziness may have been a harsh term but it was the wake up call that I needed. Taking my life back and finding the desire to truly live again.
Depression is a serious illness, unlike sadness that is caused from a situation and goes away on it’s own. Depression can cause you to lose hope in everything and abandon everything you once found joy or pleasure in. In this lies the secret….conventional doctors treat the symptoms of depression, which is hopelessness but I believe depression is only cured at the root. This is not easy. In most cases it is done by robotically going through the motions until your brain catches on. You have to find something outside yourself to move you and get you going.
I am not saying that this is true for everyone but this is my story and if it can help just one person then I am grateful. Please seek medical help if you have thoughts of suicide or severe depression.
Mental Health tools that helped me Overcome Depression
-Resist laying in bed and moping around. Make plans, set goals, get out of the house, especially when you don’t feel like it.
-Refrain from stimulants of any kind. Alcohol, sugar, drugs, etc.Instead feed your body healthy nutritious foods to assist in mental health.
-Stay active. Exercise everyday. Studies show that exercising releases endorphins that make you happy. Don’t feel like working out? Go for a walk. My yoga teacher says, if you have a problem, go for a walk and you will come back with an answer.
-Help other people in need. Be a good friend. If you are not a good friend then you will not have any friends. Step outside of your own needs and do for others, in turn you will actually be helping yourself.
-Seek natural remedies like Rescue remedy,Kava Kava or 5 HTP which is an amino acid that may raise levels of serotonin.
-Get your hormones balanced. Women especially can get overly emotional with their moon cycles, birth control, pregnancy, and menopause. Don Quai is known for balancing women’s hormonal fluctuations but my favorite formula is from Dr Shultz called Female formula. Pregnant women excluded.
-Get a blood test to check for Vitamin D deficiencies and anemia, both can be triggers for depression.
*”Jack,Maggie, all you have to do is think one happy thought, and you’ll fly like me.” -Robin Williams as Peter Pan in Hook