I have Depression. I Am Not Depressed

depressed

I think labels are powerful and I refuse to label myself based on my emotions or experiences.

For example, I could label myself as eating disorder recovered, or sexual abuse survivor, or even as depressed, but I refuse to do that. Words have power.

I have had an eating disorder in the past.

In the past I was sexually assaulted.

I have episodes of depression.

That is far more truthful than labeling myself based on these experiences.

I am not my feelings.

I am not my experiences.

I am me.

Looking at this objectively, rather than considering the depression as part of me has really helped me to see the chain of events that led to my feeling depressed again after such a long spell of feeling quite happy and peaceful – which is, in my opinion, the natural human state.

I’m not going to go into details, because this isn’t a space where I want to bear all, but an interaction occurred recently that triggered my fear of abandonment. As a forty-two year old woman, I’m not afraid of being abandoned, but my ten-year old spirit is and that incident brought up the fact that there is clearly still pain there. It took me almost three months of a terrible downward spiral to realize what had happened and that’s okay.

Maybe I wasn’t ready before.

Maybe I had more to learn about before coming to this conclusion.

Maybe I needed to be shown the power of the past and the power of allowing things to be “left in the past,” rather than dealt with.

It’s all okay.

Looking back at all of it, it’s interesting to note that all three of the things: eating disorder, sexual assault and depression creeped up on me. I dreamed about the sexual assault, I stopped eating well, and the depression set in. It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even realize what was happening for at least a month.

Another thing that started was my reaching out to those who I knew would reject me, thus further feeding my sense of worthlessness, but also triggering my need to please others and be accepted, especially by those who have hurt me. All of these things, when I think about them, are the behaviors a child would engage in if he or she were abused, or abandoned.

Our past really does affect our present, because time is not linear.

Like Janis Joplin said, “It’s all the same fucking day, man.”

That’s a lot to take in, I know.

Thankfully, after a month of excessive drinking, feeling depressed, not eating, and basically feeling like shit, I had had enough. I decided to start working out three days a week, even if I didn’t want to, because I needed endorphins. I started taking my supplements again because I knew that I wasn’t eating right and I was sure to be nutrient-deficient and such a deficiency can trigger depression. Then I slowly began eating better and ultimately began thinking about the things I used to do for myself when I felt really great.

One of the things that made me feel great was juicing, so I made myself my favorite juice. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try it for yourself:

Note: only use organic produce for juicing

1 large red beet, peeled, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large apples, peeled and chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

Splash of organic orange juice

2 drops doTERRA lemon essential oil

Place in juicer. Pour juice into a glass container, add orange juice and essential oil and stir. Enjoy through a glass straw.

Why use lemon essential oil instead of lemon juice? You can do either, but the essential oil provides a more powerful antioxidant and therapeutic punch. For example, one bottle of lemon essential oil provides the therapeutic benefit of forty five lemons!

I’m not saying you need to start juicing to help beat the depression you’re experiencing, but I am telling you that nutrition can play a major role in our mental health. According to Eva Selhub, MD, in the article Nutritional psychiatry: Your brain on food, “Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain, is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions,” so basically, what you eat – you feel later and not just as muscle or fat deposits.

I’m not a nutritionist, nor am I a dietician, but I can tell you that one of the best ways to meet your nutritional needs is to eat a colorful array of vegetables and fruit every single day. Don’t be afraid! Try a new food each week, just for the adventure. If you don’t like it, that’s cool, but at least you know you don’t like it. Oh, and remember that our taste buds change often, so definitely try the foods you thought you hated as a kid. I mean, hello! I added a large beet to my juice this morning and as a child you couldn’t have paid me to eat one.

If you’re sure your nutrition is off, get a supplement. Be aware that most of the one-a-day vitamins end up in the sewage treatment plant. For one thing, they can’t be digested by the body properly because they are entirely too compacted and also, the body cannot utilize the vitamins and minerals in them so quickly and most end up doing nothing much for us than creating what Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory called: expensive urine.

Instead, try a vitamin you take throughout the day so that the body can better absorb the nutrients and be sure they are in capsules which are easier to digest. I, personally use the Lifelong Vitality from doTERRA, but you can do your own research and talk with your general practitioner to see which supplements are best for you.

Exercise does more than trim inches. It can also help boost the mood, especially weight lifting. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and start benching hundreds of pounds or get ripped like Arnold. Just get light weights and go from there. Not sure how to begin? Ask a personal trainer to show you the basics. Can’t afford a personal trainer? Buy a DVD or ask a friend who also lifts weights.

Not interested in lifting weights?

My first response to that would be why not? Lifting weights not only increases muscle tone, it also strengthens the bones, thus preventing injury and can even prevent loss of bone density. Ladies, you will no get huge by lifting weights. You are not biologically made to do that. You CAN, if you try extremely hard, take certain supplements (or hormones) and follow a very strict regimen. Otherwise, trust me, all you’re going to do is tone up and add some definition – most importantly, you’re going to give your brain a surge of feel good endorphins!

If you try these things and still are not feeling better, it may be time to talk to your doctor about alternatives and possibly a prescription. There is no shame in taking a medication. Let go of that notion if it’s swimming around in your mind. I have taken anti-depressants. The key is to do what is best for you.

You deserve to feel happy and peaceful.

You are worthy of love.

You are worthy of living the live you dream of.

You are worthy of feeling amazing.

I’m not one-hundred percent yet. I still find myself occasionally gone in my mind….you know, drifting back to the past, or hashing over how I wish a conversation had gone, I just have to keep practicing bringing myself back to the present moment. I have also been sending love and healing back to the moments when I felt terrified as a child, because like I said earlier, time is not linear and energy can go anywhere. I send love and healing to myself and my siblings and other people whom I experienced traumatic moments with so that the healing can be felt in the present. I find this to be a very powerful exercise. Be the person you needed as a child and imagine you are there with your child self at that moment and love that child. It’s not always easy, that’s for sure, but it’s worth it and it’s a battle I am proud to take on, because I know that I deserve to feel happy too.

Keep up the good fight!

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