We all possess unique gifts, contributions, and messages the world needs. This is what prompted my request a few months ago for guest bloggers. Every one of us has a story to tell, a desire to be heard, to be witnessed, and to heal.
I am so honored to share Dolly’s story with the group today. I especially love her helpful tips at the end. All of these “tips” are available to us each day and have the power to uplift us out of whatever valley we might be lingering in.
(p.s. Contact me today with ideas for your own blog post. There is powerful energy in your message!)
Here is Dolly’s story:
A topic that many people suffer from but don’t like to talk about – anxiety and depression. I am not a doctor or a medical professional but I am a person who has had depression since middle school. I am now in my early 50s, so I have a lot of personal experience in this area as well as helping others. One could say I am (mostly) recovered today. I have tools that I use on a daily basis to stay in shape emotionally and spiritually so I am usually relatively calm and peaceful. Of course every now and then I get wound up because I am human and we all have stressors that pop up.
Sure I have had a lot of issues that could make anybody depressed or anxious. Things got so bad when my children were younger that my neighbors thought I had a black cloud over my home. I had a son with autism, an ex with serious alcohol and mental problems, and I felt all alone raising three small children with tremendous financial stress. I spent multiple winters in my pajamas. My older son remembers me always lying down when he was younger. So depression? Yeah you might say I have decades of experience in this area.
I believe my first step in getting over anxiety and depression was to be honest with myself- brutally honest. I got a plethora of help and I got real. I worked hard on myself and had some tremendous teachers. I had to become open, teachable, and admit I didn’t know it all. I stopped hiding from reality and just accepted what was really happening and did the work. I allowed myself to feel gut-wrenching feelings, I tackled childhood issues and all the negative emotional baggage I was carrying around. I started from earliest memories and worked to present day and I continue to work currently when things pop up. After decades of research and experience, I believe I can’t do it alone.
I had a spiritual mentor that I shared all of my garbage with. She did not let me sit and feel sorry for myself- we acknowledged it and we worked on it together. She, as an outside person who had a clear and different perspective, helped me realize that my garbage was very common and those people who hurt me were usually sick or very hurt themselves. My choice was to forgive and move on. Apparently I also had to forgive myself for some big mistakes I was beating myself up over. She taught me tools I use on a daily basis to continue to let go and leave the depression and anxiety behind.
During a real down time I was livid when one of my best friends said, “ well you must be getting something out of this feeling sorry for yourself.” My best friends don’t rubber stamp my sickness. My best friends help snap me out of it and say what I NEED to hear, not always what I WANT to hear. I come from a long line of self-pity so this was a bad habit and a way to get attention I now realize. I had been stuck in a dark land of negativity and self-pity. It was really quite ugly.
In closing, I will share some tools I find helpful.
-Gratitude lists – 12 things I am grateful for (I have a group of women who do a gratitude list weekly so we see others’ lists which are very inspiring and uplifting)
-Waking up early so I am not rushed and flustered
– Praying and meditating
– Inspirational daily reader books
– Exercise- works much better than medication for my anxiety and depression (that’s my opinion for myself – I am NOT a doctor and am NOT giving anyone advice on medication)
– Focusing on solutions instead of the problems
– Support groups
– Not lying around or staying in bed unless I am seriously sick
– Staying busy but also taking time for myself
– Having fun things to look forward to weekly and monthly
– Planning a vacation months down the road so I can look forward to it for a longer period of time
– Making to do lists to organize myself
– Working a very intense but uplifting job keeps me busy
– Turning the news off and focusing on positive things
– Volunteering and helping others on a regular basis
The bottom line is the less I think about me and my problems the happier I am. I choose to focus on the positive instead of the negative today. I choose to pray for others and help others especially if they are irritating me.
I choose to take good care of myself because nobody else can do that for me. I choose to not sit in depression and anxiety and get out there and live an amazing life! I have wasted so much time focusing on what is wrong or upsetting and today I choose to be grateful. We all have past hurts and issues. If you don’t walk through the darkness you may never get to the other side where the sun is shining and life is absolutely amazing. Good luck and get out there and get the help you need until you are living a good life! Dolly D