I see a lot of people sharing their experiences of depression and anxiety online and I thought I’d throw out my own opinion and coping skills for guidance, as it breaks my heart to see so many of you beating yourselves up and feeling like you’re failing.
I have a grateful (and definitely uncommon) outlook on my depression and anxiety. When they rear their heads, I express outwardly. Any of my close friends, co workers, or strangers can attest that it’s common for me to say “I’m starting to feel anxious, not sure why”. Or similarly “I feel so sad and I hate myself for no reason, even though I know I don’t really mean that”. I embrace. I know it will pass, which for many others, they can’t find comfort in that.
Anxiety arises in me daily, especially when I have to eat publicly. I always have a fear that people are judging me for how much or little I am eating. My body is quick to reject food, which often has me nauseated and in the washroom within 15 minutes of eating. When going out to public places, I STILL find I struggle to keep my head balanced with the fears that come up. I also STRONGLY feel anxiety when I am teaching, guiding, or coaching others. For many, they would find this odd as I have chosen a career that pushes me to do that daily. Again, my stomach is easy to turn, and I worry for the outcome of others. My trick? Is I do both anyways. I eat out often. I give guidance daily. And when those anxieties pop up, I simply express. “I’m nervous about eating.” “I’m nervous about teaching”. It’s authentic. It’s me. And I embrace the wave by going with it. I will let the voice in my head say “You know what em, you’ll be laying in bed by 10 tonight. Time isn’t stopping for you. Today is the day, and you’re getting through it. You’ve done it before, you can do it again”. I don’t avoid the situation, I just push through it. Sometimes even when I’m anxious I’ll simply close my eyes, feel my heart racing and my chest being tight, and think “I love myself just as much in this moment as I do when I’m okay”.
Many times when I work too hard or don’t recharge in my own space, I feel the “doom” creeping in. And honestly? I let it. I fall into a deep deep deep depression for the night, and allow it to take over my body. I will lay in bed and stare at the ceiling for hours. I will flick on a show and not watch it. I will reach out to others and say “I am feeling depressed, and I need some love tonight”. I ask for what I need, and listen to my body. A lot of my depression is my “negative mind” talk. Telling me I’m failing, not doing enough, not trying hard. I journal it out, actively. I will write about how awful I am. How no one would notice if I was gone. I feel the weight, and then I read the journaled material out loud. I allow myself to HEAR what I think of myself and the world around me. If I have enough energy, I’ll write a journal entry back to myself saying “emylee, you are depressed and these are your insecurities speaking. I love you. You are beautiful.” And if I don’t have the strength or mental interest, I will read my entry and respond back to it. “Emylee, you’re so stupid, no one takes you seriously and you’re failing”. “No I’m not. I’m 22 with the love of my life, an amazing job, my own business, and I’m a good person”. I will re-empower myself and fight the negative talk. I also make sure to avoid drinking or “coping” with food, and will make a tea or eat cucumber slices to hydrate and keep my body healthy.
I’m proud of my emotions and experiences, low and high. They make me me. I always choose to empower myself. In the simplest way, of just embracing and loving myself.
I hope you choose to do something similar with yourself when you feel the weight coming in.
Reach out, empower others, and share your story!