These last two months have been the hardest this year. I hit an all time low that left me feeling hopeless, unworthy, ashamed, and just not good enough. I didn’t want to do anything and I just felt like a complete emotional mess. I sadly had days where I did not want to be alive. I shared my struggle on social media wanting to express how I was feeling at the time because I just needed to put it out there.
I think it was also important to share a lowlight in my life to show where I was at. Because it was my reality. It’s so easy for us to share the highlights while hiding many of the pains we are going through. And on the other end, it can be so discouraging to see all the highlights when you’re in such a low point in your life. You start to compare and question everything about yourself. The highlights leave everyone with false or edited perceptions of others in light of perfection and happiness when there is so much more depth to everyone’s stories. It’s neither fair for the viewer nor the subject.
Sharing this piece of me, was a way to pull the veil, to show that it’s not always what it seems and say, “Here I am. This is my truth.”
When I shared my truth, I wasn’t entirely ready to move forward. However, I had previously disconnected and this was a way of reconnecting and reaching out. Just showing my presence. Which is a huge step when depressed and not wanting to exist. Although scary and leaving me incredibly vulnerable, I’m so glad I shared what I did. It was healing just to put it out there and in return, I received so much love and advice from so many people. From friends who I’ve known for years to folks I’ve recently become virtual friends with, even hearing from people I really don’t often talk to who wanted to share they were also struggling. The messages were overflowing with so much healing.
Since then, I’ve been working on ways to heal. Although I’m no longer in that place, I know the healing doesn’t happen overnight. It requires ongoing work. I may again feel moments of hopelessness in the midst of feeling content but I refuse to let myself slip back into that lonely place. I know I’m not alone in this. Unfortunately so many other people are going through the same thing if not something fairly similar. I’ve found that healing is a process and requires A LOT of work. It’s hard but it’s what will save us from and for ourselves. I want to share with you all what I’ve done to practice healing and I hope you find these points useful in your life no matter where you are.
Reach out! Depression likes to make us think we’re alone and that we don’t matter. It likes to stay secret. You don’t have to share on social media like I did, just make sure to reach out to someone or a few people from different realms in your life. Talk to them about what you’re going through and listen to them if they have a story to share that relates to yours. It’s amazing what hearing other people’s struggles can do for you. Hearing how they got through it or how they’re still on the path of getting through it can provide lots of perspective. Through that I was given hope. And by reaching out, people knew where I was and were able to check in on me and my family. They were able to offer help that I may have been too scared to ask for.
Exercise helps release toxins from our bodies. It also releases endorphins, a natural antidepressant we may be lacking when feeling depressed. So move. Even if you don’t want to. Begin by stretching and see where that takes you. You might be surprised with wanting to continue moving when you try. I started doing yoga and walking in the morning and although I’m not up for it every day, I find myself happy when I do. If not happy I’m at least able to get by through the day a lot better than if I hadn’t moved. Whatever that looks like for you whether going off for a hike or hitting the gym, release all the negative with movement.
3. Spiritual Practice
Whether you go to church or practice your spirituality in your own home or both, reconnect to that or keep doing that. Take care of your spirit. Don’t let depression keep you from connecting to that higher power. For some, movement is even a form of spiritual practice. It could be daily prayer, going to mass or a service, having ceremony or reading scriptures. Whatever it is, reconnect to your spiritual being. It’s what’s feeling the most hurt during this time. If I wasn’t going to have faith in my own self, I needed to have faith that something greater than me would help me get through this one way or another.
4. Food Medicine
What we eat has a great impact on how we feel! When I finally started to listen to my body, I was craving fresh foods, fruit and oatmeal heavy in walnuts and pecans. All that nutrition will help cleanse and reset your body. Heavy processed foods will make us feel sluggish, with low energy. So tap into the foods that heal. Eat more greens. Make a fresh juice or smoothie or simply avoid junk. Take a step toward healing yourself from within. There’s lots of blogs and Instagram accounts out there that provide tons of tips and inspiration. Two of my favorites are Brittany from Half Hass Living and Drea from Oh Dear Drea.
Dehydration contributes to low energy and prevents our bodies from cleansing out those toxins, among other things which can be effects or causes of depression. So drink up. Use some type of water jug to help keep track of your ounces or to make drinking water a lot easier. If I have a 16 or 32 oz water….I know I only have a minimum of 3-5 water jugs to drink through and since I have the jug on hand water is more accessible and doesn’t cost me much work.
This is one that I struggle with because it’s so easy to get distracted by my thoughts. But the more I meditate, the easier it gets. Meditation is proven to help manage anxiety and depression. I am able to work on detachment, feeling gratitude, and being gentle with myself thanks to meditation. I find meditation most comforting and easier to do when going to bed, the time of day when all the thoughts come rushing to my head. Using different apps that aim to clear the mind is life saving when combating anxiety, insomnia and depression. I use both Calm and Insight.
Sometimes our brains take us places that are hard to get out of. Just like talking with others, reading helped provide some insight into my life and stop dwelling on the toxic thoughts in my head because I was focusing on the reading material. I personally love reading “self help” books so if my brain was going down that toxic rabbit hole, I have tools to help me understand my feelings and process what I’m going through. I highly recommend reading Brene Brown’s books. Her studies on shame and guilt are enlightening and her honesty about how she’s processed her own emotions, leaves you feeling less crazy. You’re able to identify triggers and are given tools you can apply to your life immediately. I highly recommend her Gifts of Perfection and Rising Strong.
Sometimes your reading material will leave you with more thoughts that you need to get down on paper. Other times you just want to get things off your chest and vent to your journal. Whatever it is, write. Write your thoughts or write a poem or a story or even a list! Just write! Let it all out.
Just breathe. Breathing can relax the mind and body. It helps us have mental clarity and lowers our blood pressure. It releases toxins from the lympathic system and properly delivers oxygen to all parts of the bodies helping it function better. Conscious and deep breathing is so good for us. There are many books and sites online that provide helpful breathing techniques. This article has great insight on breath along with an exercise to try at home.
The days I was feeling the lowest of the lows, I did not want to get out of bed and I lost track of what day it was. I was lacking a routine. I started to incorporate mini routines because a full day routine felt overwhelming but I at least knew what my mornings would look like. Washing my face, stretching, saying a prayer, lighting some sage, making some tea, eating avocado toast or oatmeal and getting a breathe of fresh air before it gets hot. Days I don’t do this, I get off on a bad start. I am still practicing, but I know that having a morning routine at the very least will lift my spirits and get me off to a good start.
Bonus and super important. Therapy & Meds
This is so taboo for many like me who come from a culture that typically does not have access to these resources or finds it shameful. However, sometimes our depression can get to the point where we seriously need therapy and meds. No shame in that. In fact, I do think everyone should go to therapy at some point in their lives. We all have childhood baggage to process and maybe not everyone falls into depression but sometimes anger or anxiety can consume us or we might have triggers pop up and disorient us if we don’t get to the root of our issues. I have yet to go into therapy this time around, but the time I did 5 years ago, saved my life! Do not overlook therapy. It can be costly, but it can be the difference between life or death depending on the severity of where you’re at. Either way, I know for a fact that therapy has positive life long effects on us no matter what part of life we are in. At the very least, entertain the idea and search for options. There are many resources and support systems out there to get this kind of help.
Many of these tools may seem simple, but they are the tools necessary to help us get out of this space when reaching an all time low. It helps us get that momentum to move toward healing. And if maintained, they are great proactive tools that truly don’t take too much work, just consistent practice in our lives.
June was a transformational month for me. It’s truly been going uphill since I first shared my piece. The negative thoughts creep in sometimes, but I say “Nope! You are not welcome!” or sometimes I give them space to run through and then move onto these tools to reset myself and heal. I’ve linked a few helpful articles throughout the post so make sure to check them out. They’ll help provide insight and resources to get through where you’re at. I hope you found this helpful. Thank you for the time and space to create this community of healing.
How do you practice healing? I’d love to know. Please feel free to share in the comments. The more healing advice we all get, the more we can all heal together.
I’m a mother of 2 learning how to navigate the world as a Chicana and a creative. I’m a photographer, Earth lover, a wellness enthusiast and quite the soñadora. I try to be mindful of the decisions I make in my life considering how they will impact the Earth, others and myself included. I find myself to be versatile in the things that I do. You can say I’m the Juanita of all trades.