Through my own life experiences and working closely with so many people through my meditation groups, workshops and one to one sessions, I have come to meet more and more people who have suffered or are suffering from depression and anxiety. So why are so many people suffering?
Depression is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person’s family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health. In Ireland, the incidence of depression has increased every year in the past century, and now one out of six people will experience a depressive episode.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, and it can serve as a prompt to deal with difficult situations. However, when anxiety becomes excessive, it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder. Almost one out of four people experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime.
Anxiety disorders are characterised by emotional, physical, and behavioural symptoms that create an unpleasant feeling that is typically described as uneasiness, fear, or worry. The worry is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms, especially fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes.
Just as no two people are affected the exact same way by depression and anxiety, there is no “one size fits all” treatment. What works for one person might not work for another. The best way to treat depression or anxiety is to become as informed as possible about the treatment options, and then tailor them to meet your needs.
Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in treating depression. Sometimes they might be all you need. Even if you need other treatment as well, lifestyle changes go a long way toward helping lift depression.
Through my work I have found that most people that suffer from depression or anxiety feel isolated and alone, they believe that no one will understand what they are going through and there is a fear of being judged. Most people just need to talk and share their feelings without someone trying to ‘fix’ them or tell them what they ‘should’ or ‘should not’ do. Sometimes all a person wants is for someone else to listen to them, just really listen.
From my own experience I remember the feeling of being in a dark hole and it got deeper and deeper by the day, as I withdrew secretly into myself I didn’t allow anyone else to see what I was feeling or thinking, I believed that I was alone. When it came to breaking point, the only place was down and it was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life, surely death would be easier than having to deal with this pain on a daily basis. I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, even though I had friends and family around me, they were unaware of how I was ‘really’ feeling, I wore a brave mask on my face every day and no one was any the wiser.
What got me through? I honestly can’t answer that in one sentence. I had reached a point in my life that I was tired of fighting to stay strong, to stay happy, to be positive, I just wanted it all to end as I was exhausted of life. I wanted peace in my mind and my body to rest. I wanted out.
As you can tell I didn’t get that far, I survived and lived to tell the tale. I found a strength inside of me that I never believed I had. I hit the bottom so hard that it couldn’t get any worse and the only way was up, I crawled my way up minute by minute, day by day, I didn’t look ahead too much as that was a very frightening experience, so I just decided I would get on with living in this hour, then this day and take it day by day. As the days went by I started to build strength within myself, I found courage within me and told myself on a daily basis that I was doing ok and to be strong. It was a constant battle in my head of not letting the negative thoughts or beliefs take over again, I fought with my body to get up out of bed and get dressed, don’t mind go for a walk. I slowly started to enjoy each day and try and find something to be positive about every night
before I went to sleep so that I would not spend the night going over the worry about tomorrow. I just focused on bringing peace within myself each and every minute. I had to be aware of myself, my thoughts and my feelings, so I meditated every day and got to know who I really was in that day, I found that I was actually a very nice person inside and what I believed others thought of me was not true but only things I had started to believe were true through my own lack of self-belief and low self-esteem.
Life is a daily struggle for a lot of people and they are not to be judged or told ‘just get on with it’. We each have to support our fellow human beings and more talk is needed in our society, more openness and sharing of our experiences, in doing so we open the door to others for them to realise that they are not alone and everyone has a story to share and we must listen. Life is delicate, let us treat it like a beautiful seed that needs to be nurtured and cared for, if we walk all over a new seed it may not grow, if we don’t water and feed a flower it may not bloom or blossom as brightly as the others, the same goes for us, we need to be nurtured and cared for.
Every day we must take some time out to nurture and love ourselves, tell ourselves how wonderful we are and how we are doing well, just for today. If we look after our todays, our tomorrows will hopefully be brighter.
Every day I affirm “ I love and accept myself deeply and completely, I find peace within myself in this moment’