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My Experience with Depression
I am 24 years old, and I have felt the lingering sadness, loneliness, and physical aches of depression as far back as my mind will take me. Being someone with many mental illnesses, I have always been one who refuses to let them completely take the reins. I'm not saying that I don’t have struggles, or that my social anxiety allows me to mingle in the midst of a stranger crowd, but rather I find little things throughout the day, week, month, and year, to help the darkness that is depression, becoming simply OK.
Am I OK?
When you feel like you are drowning in the overwhelming physical and mental aches of depression, being simply OK is something we all desperately desire. Which is why I have spent many years learning and practicing the little things that make me OK. Sometimes it's things like washing my hair after a couple days of depression induced funk, running a brush through my tangled mane, drawing smiley faces in the foggy, post-shower mirror, or a fall breeze that is the perfect temperature that keep my depression at bay. For a short while in these moments, I feel normal, and can I even say content?
Victories aren’t always big.
While these things may not help everyone, I advise all of those who have depression to spend time finding yourself and in return finding your small things. Do not give up, because there is true happiness out there. I know that’s hard to believe and feel within yourself when in the midst of an episode, but it’s what must happen in order to grow. I have been knocked to my knees more times than I can count, and I know it will happen a thousand more times throughout my life, but what matters is I have always gotten back up, practiced my little things, and counted that day as a victory.
The Flowers He Watered
My grandfather was and is one of the most influential people in my life. He taught me at a young age that unless you have completely given up, you have not lost. I carry and have carried that mentality with me through every obstacle in my life. My grandpa was a happy, supportive, and beautiful person, but he, like many of us out there, struggled with his own deep-rooted sadness. His little things were very simple things but brought him the most extraordinary happiness. He loved his kids and grandkids, working in his garden, collecting and researching art, listening to music, creating silly songs and dances to make others smile, and creating friendships with people in his community who were considered to be outcast. He taught me the joys of simple. He taught me that I don’t always have to take a vacation to Hawaii or have money at all to brighten my day—but rather finding or creating joy in the things you already have. Whatever it may be, sit in that joy, and know that everything will always be OK.
Your Small Things
Maybe you like the way your hair is falling on your shoulders. Play with it in a mirror, take photos, admire your beauty and strength. Maybe your thing is a book or series of books. Find a cozy place in your home, local library, or outdoors to sit and get lost in whatever adventure is printed on the pages. Whether your small thing is a taste, smell, sound, or the touch of something or someone, always make time for it. In the state of a depressive episode, you should always be the most important person to you. Take care of yourself, your mind and body will always thank you.
You’ve got this.
Depression is hard, and these things that I speak of will not come naturally or quickly to everyone, but I hope what I have shared will help at least one person in the world who feels lost, out of control, and deeply aches with pain. Remember, you have not truly lost until you have completely given up. Winners sometimes lose but always brush it off at the end of the day. You have the power within you to do whatever you want to do. You have the power within you to change the world—either with actions or words. Believe you can, and you will. I love each and every one of you. Keep fighting, find your small things, and put them to work.