Struggle as a Source of Strength
Although my depression no longer lingers, the stains of my struggle remain. I remember ceaseless thoughts flooding my mind, a constant pit in my stomach, a certain numbness to being. But what really sticks out to me in my memory is how confused and strangely aware I was of what happened to me, mentally, in the beginning.
To make a long story short, I was in awe of the way my mental habits began to change. To be honest with you, I can't even remember the way that I thought prior to my experiencing depression. But when he hurt me months later, and once it hit me, I realized that my mind was filling with negative thoughts -- about myself, my future, my happiness:
"He was everything to me -- I'll never be this happy again..."
"No feeling compares to the way I felt when I was with him..."
...And on and on. Little did I know at the time that these thoughts were contributing more to my depression. It was a seemingly endless cycle of negative thoughts, negative feelings, and negative actions.
I remember laying in my bed, crying thinking to myself, "I'm not even crying over him anymore. I just want to move on with my life. But how do I stop this mental torture? Why is my mind doing this to me? I want to be happy again."
The realization that my mind was influencing my overall well-being led me to research psychology and depression on the internet. I wanted to find practical solutions to what I was experiencing, and know more about it. I was lucky to realize so quickly that I was NOT my depression, but someone who was so deeply hurt that their mind went haywire.
But enough about me -- this is about you! You may be struggling in various ways, whether it is feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, depression, anger, sadness etc.; regardless of the situation, your struggle provides an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
1. Take note of the thoughts and emotions that the situation or environment you are in gives rise to. For example, the first time I experienced depression, I continually asked myself why I was missing out on happiness. This way of thinking of happiness as something to be grasped and obtained furthers negative feelings and adds more and more expectations, when happiness is something that comes to you in the midst of a life well lived. The thoughts that I was experiencing ("I'll never be this happy again") made me feel the way I did, for so long.
2. Do not attach yourself to the thought. Using the same example of "I'll never be happy again": Nobody ever said that thoughts are true, because they aren't. Thoughts and feelings help us navigate our environment, but we can't always rely on them. That is why we as humans are also equipped with things like intuition! Saying that you will never be happy again is like saying that the sun won't rise tomorrow morning. You are most likely only thinking that way because of the situation you are in, but you cannot define yourself by situations -- you are much more than that.
3. Notice the way that you cope with adversity. When I first experienced depression, I self-harmed because it temporarily numbed the mental anguish I was experiencing. In retrospect, I…