Transparency here. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years. I take medications every single day to keep me regulated. When I first took them, I felt like I needed it to keep to myself, like it was a shameful thing. Today, several years later, I realize that I am not alone. Everyone has something they struggle with – if they say they don’t, it is a lie, my friend. I want to share 4 things I have learned over the years that have been positive for my mental health in the hope it will help you, too.
What You See Is Not Real
We see perfect moments on social media, but we don’t see the tears late at night or the harsh words said before that “perfect” shot. I was one to compare myself and my family to others. I can remember comparing my oldest daughter to another dancer on her team. I said to her, “If you would only smile like ***** does. **** practices every day.” When I think back on this, I am ashamed (forgive me, KellyAnn). All I saw where her “perfect” performances and the “perfection” shown on social media, but things were going on in the background we didn’t know about. What people show others is not always real, and when you can come to that realization, some of the comparisons will stop.
I Make a Choice
I am not saying it is all a choice, but a significant portion of my happiness and joy comes down to me choosing to live in it. There are times when depression can block your joy, but there are also times when you just decide to wallow in it, rather than choosing to find the positive in the world. For me, I make a choice every single day to try to give people the benefit of the doubt, to find the positive side, and to smile when I don’t really feel like it. It’s a choice, and when you live that way, you will find joy where you never expected it.
I Give Myself Grace When Depression Hits
There are days when the darkness comes in, and I have to take a break to nap or take a walk. My depression is not magically gone, but it is something I live with and deal with. An hour nap or a 15-minute walk outside can refresh me and get my head back in the right space. If I just cannot snap out of it, I will give myself grace and know that I will pick myself back up. For some reason, I need to feel those feelings that day. Many times, when I look at the date, I realize why I feel so heavy. It could be a death anniversary date or the birthday of someone I loved, or the anniversary date of something tragic. I have to give myself grace.
I Lean Into God and His Word
This is probably the most important thing I do for my mental health. If you really lean on God and realize He is above all, some of the pressure comes off of you. I know everything I have gone through in my life has meaning, whether I know what it is or not. Sometimes, I have to just trust this as fact and move on, keep walking, keep moving forward. I try to really have a relationship with Him. I talk to Him throughout the day. I sing to Him loudly. I try to spend regular daily time with Him in prayer and study. This grounds me and keeps me centered on where I need to be – in Him.
Friend, if you suffer from depression or anxiety, let me say this. I love you. I see you. I understand. It is not a shameful thing, and it needs to be brought into the light, rather than kept to ourselves. Only in this way can we help others and, hopefully, keep them safe.
Do you need support from like-minded women? Join my Facebook group, More Than a Mom, for encouragement and prayer. You are loved!