What is depression? When did you become aware of anxiety and depression? Were you ever taught this subject at school or by your parents? When you were hanging out and chilling with your friends, did you ever discuss depression? When did the words like, anxiety attack, being depressed and self-harm, come and hit you in the face? You are perhaps that individual, who is simply too busy to notice. You may be aware, before Covid-19 happened, “I am too Busy”, was a daily trending event in most people’s lives.
My dear friend was not aware of something I am about to share with you in this article. She is an incredible soul, who helps women to see a different perspective of the scenario, that may be dominating your thoughts. In her social media lives, she shared various topics on toxicity, loneliness, and related topics, and she usually ends those topics with positivity and encourages you to talk the toxicity out of your system. Talking is exactly what I did. What I shared with her was as follows:
“You always tell us to talk and call you if needed, I am doing that now. I am feeling so lonely on the first day of the New Year.”
If you want to conquer something, you must take some time out to study that subject. I started doing exactly that. I started, as I was advised on that first day of the New Year, to start a daily journal to get to know the Self. Daily journals included my daily triggers which caused reactions within myself. I cannot tell you enough about the power you get especially when you start to talk and write about your triggered reactions.
There are many individuals I have come across, who have no awareness of what depression is all about. You may hear about it, see examples of it in the mainstream media, read about it in various news outlets, you may even empathise with someone’s story. It is a distinguished emotion that you will never fully understand until you have endured it. It is very much like a toothache; you must endure it to understand it fully. Like the cancer cells in our body, when they are in their normal state, they cause no harm, it is only until these are triggered, their progression leads to excessive growth and eventually death. Loneliness is not too dissimilar to cancerous cells; our body may activate various mechanisms to cope but eventually it is a sorrowful spirit that drieth up the bones.
Most of us understand that our body is a well-equipped super machine, and it deals with numerous emotions we experience in one lifetime, but there are some emotions, some human bodies simply cannot cope. I am that individual who could not cope. It has taken me some years to fully understand the pain I carried inside me. The tragic loss was I tried not to accept it as my reality. I did not grieve, and I could not face the loss.
I understand it now, that my trigger was the loss of my grandma. There are some humans with whom we have these special connections, they may be your friend, lover, relative or strangers. My closest and special person was my grandma and losing her left me wounded so deeply. I found myself so lonely, even when I was surrounded by so many people. I had no one to have a heart to heart with, like I did with my grandma. When we talked, I was never judged or criticised, I was in a safe zone and I trusted her implicitly. I miss that so much.
“My parents forbade me from talking to strangers.”
I was not to trust strangers, that was the ethos of my household and which became my natural environment. When I lost my grandma, I did not know how to cope or adjust, the coping mechanism in my body died with her. My options were limited, the only person I relied on for guidance, love and sound advice was no more. Who else could I turn to? This loss was deep beyond measure and this wound from loneliness grew so deep and dark, which I now understand as depression. I never imagined a loss of someone so close could lead to depression. I have never had this conversation with anybody. My counselling sessions helped me to address these issues, which revealed to me that I never allowed myself to grieve. Talking heals, I can vouch for that.
“Talking to strangers was my break-through.”
Image reference: Ms. Melissa E. Osborn
You might be thinking, was it talking or was it talking with strangers that helped me in my breakthrough. I have to say it was both, because talking to strangers is very much like visiting a counsellor, and knowing I am not being judged. Some may judge of course, but mostly they wanted to help in their own way. The emphasis is on talking, and the strangers allowed me to feel the same environment as I did when I used to talk to my grandmother. It is not 100%, but it did something positive for me. I felt safe and the judgements they may have, did not become an issue because they were strangers. I have learnt my five main reasons for loneliness and depression.
I felt I had nobody to confide in and share my moments. When I fell in love, I had no one else who would be joyous for me. So, when I had my heart broken, I had no one to share my sorrows with and no one could console me. The emptiness inside me grew deep and wide. I held onto my heartache so tightly that it gripped me like a vice. My feelings and thoughts started to control me, and I had no power over my mind. I hear often about controlling your thoughts and being positive, how can you when you have no control. This I battled with for so many years, it is only when I started speaking with my counsellor, I fully understood the structure behind depression.
I could not control my thoughts and I noticed that I started to have panic episodes. There were times when my throat would constrict, and I could not breathe. I used to run out of the house just to breathe. I could not escape those thoughts and I could not breathe. I started to think that there was something seriously wrong with me. I can say this: I had the answer to know how to pull myself out of that hole, but when you are sinking, the energy it takes to pull yourself back out can be exhausting. I felt that there was no way out. I just needed help, but I did not know where to go and who to turn to.
2. FEELING ASHAMED
There was no safe place for me to talk. I had to unlearn what I was taught in my childhood and I started meeting the people I enjoyed being with. Of course, I became a bit of a rebel, experiencing the freedom for the first time and shedding my vulnerabilities. In my rebellious phase, I also met some amazing human beings. I have a beautiful network on social media, where I have my loving family that I cherish. I talk so much, and I am being loved for it. In my journey of learning, I help others to find their child inside them that they lost through their pain.
I have learnt to empower myself, because only you have the power to change your environment. Shame is a strong emotion and conquering that is quite a hurdle. I now empower others in my “Positive Impact 101 Coaching Group”, this allows individuals to share freely their pains and their passion in a safe place, and without judgements. I collaborate with other inspiring coaches to build a trusted and friendly network. This is also a great place where meaningful friendships are forged. I once felt ashamed, what I thought was my shame, is now my crown. I am a sister to all, that is my favourite tag.
3. PROCESS OF BEREAVEMENT
Special relationships can be with anyone, your close friend, relative, spouse or a stranger, as previously stated. When that relationship ends, take time to grieve. Every loss needs to be acknowledged and cried over, if that is what you feel like doing. Closing your emotions so clinically may cause so much harm. When I experienced the loss of my grandma, I literally shut down, and even at the funeral, this was not real for me. I hid myself from this pain and refused to accept the sad loss. All life forms and relationships have a cycle, nothing dies forever. Take some time out to grieve for your loss.
The loss is not just about somebody dying, the loss is also about losing a once loving relationship. When we lose something or someone so dear at a young age, it somehow takes the child inside you. You suddenly stop behaving like a child and start hurting like an adult. What I am trying to say here is, the joyful child that rules the magical life, suddenly the child witnesses the magic dying and all around becomes a dark and a horrid place. The playground is now not a happy ground where we laugh, it turns toxic and all you see around you is pain and more pain. Breathe, grieve and heal, you will learn to smile again.
4. ACCUMULATIVE LOSS
One major loss followed by other heartbreaks, deepened the existing wound. My baggage of the losses got so heavy, I just crumbled. Whatever your pain is, it will keep getting bigger, unless you take some time to acknowledge it and tend to it. I had no confidence, and I was not adored by anybody that mattered. I did meet a lot of people, but everybody wanted their pound of flesh. Lack of self-confidence spiralled out of control and I became a helpless and unworthy person that nobody wanted. I was abused emotionally and financially, and I was getting so weary of living a fake life. If you do not deal with one issue, new issues will come into your life and all will be too much to carry. You only have one day, deal with it and finish it today, do not keep building the baggage. We keep digging the hole to hide our pains, eventually you will have to come out and face it, so stop digging.
5. SEEK ASSISTANCE
If only seeking advice seemed easy at the time of need. Others will simply not understand and that was how my thoughts processed, so I could not talk. Whatever you do, find help. We are all a bit fearful about being alone, unloved, underachieving and never fitting in. Our purpose is unique, so why fit-in. Learn from your experience, conquer it and move on.