Self-development, as this blog is known for, has always been an interest of mine, from learning how to cook, to learning about psychology and mental health, and more. Little did I realize that I’m on this self-improvement path because of the traumas in my childhood. These traumas led me to developing depression and anxiety.
It took me 30-plus-years to learn that I have high functioning anxiety, thanks to a psychology video on YouTube. Depression, however, has been with me since childhood. I don’t even think I was ten-years-old yet when I would cry myself to sleep, wishing I was dead.
Surprisingly here I am, many years later. (Does the Lord have plans for me?) Reflecting on my path from then to now, I have to say there were more darker days that the brighter ones. Yet, how did I survive? And how am I still striving?
My 5 Keys to Overcoming Depression, or finding a light source when it all feels dark, include:
- Keep a Diary/Journaling
- Write Fiction
- Craft and Sew
How to Overcome Depression:
- Keep a Diary/ Journaling
I started journaling around fourth grade, by folding sheets of lined paper together and stapling them together to form a book. And I obtained my first official diary at a Young Author’s conference in sixth grade. (Thank you, always, to my teachers for seeing my potentials and selecting me as one of few candidates who could attend.) After that I turned several notebooks into diaries through the years. And then I threw them all away before flying to South Korea to teach English abroad. (I didn’t want my family to read about the deepest, dearest parts of me, and use it against me.)
Those diaries will forever be missed. (To help you on your journey, obtain your own diary/journal here)
Reading was, and still is, my escape from reality. In my youth, it kept me safe; today it helps me relieve stress.
However, I didn’t always enjoy reading. I actually struggled with reading up through fifth grade. Comprehending written words and sentences naturally came in sixth grade, when my teachers made reading a leisurely activity that the whole class took part in. It was calming, relaxing, and enjoyable. And from there, reading became easier and easier for me.
To this day, I LOVE books! I have to browse through the book aisles wherever books are sold. And although I no longer have time to start nor end a book, I still buy stacks of them. Books put me at ease and are my best friends.
3. Write Fiction
Writing fiction was also an escape for me in the past; today it’s a way for me to take the many worlds, in my head, out onto paper. However, just like reading, I struggled with writing in my youth. I still remember not being to spell commercial nor cereal. Now I can!
Once I got into reading, writing came naturally. And the books I was reading inspired me to write plotless stories for years to come.
Writing will always be my “pen” pal (pun intended).
4. Craft and Sew
I enjoy working with my hands. I’m a hands-on learner. And I learned to craft from watching Barney and his Barney Bag–the original Makerspace. I enjoy creating trinkets and gifts for family and friends; I enjoy seeing the endless possibilities of crafts on Pinterest. And should there ever be a group project, at work, that involves crafting, I’m all in; I’ll even do ALL of it if permitted.
As for sewing, I learned to sew in middle school, in one of our Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classes. I really enjoyed being able to create something out of cloth. Not to mention, as a life-long learner, being able to complete a project makes me feel accomplished.
Attending church and praying is not something I grew up with. My parents were part of the Mormon–yes, Mormon–church before I was born. But they stopped attending after my paternal grandmother passed away. However, by the time I reached fourth grade, my parents realized my younger siblings and I were struggling to read and write, so they reached back out to the church and signed us up for Bible studies. Even then prayers were memorized and didn’t come naturally to me.
My choice to choose God and prayers came in high school. My siblings and I were at the library, and my big sister handed me a book she felt resembled me, based on the summary on the back cover. (The book suggestion was not of good intent, as it proved that my whole family knew I was the scapegoat, and everyone played along.) This book, however, came to be my lifelong friend. It was part of the A Life of Faith: Elsie Dinsmore series. And it was this series that opened my heart to God. It was a life changer (and saver). It has impacted me so deeply that it became my daughter’s namesake. And everyday I pray and thank the Lord for my children and other blessings.
As someone who battles with depression, there are several things I do when the darkness wants to envelope me. And I pray that, should you struggle too, may you find your own light in the dark. And know this: you are never alone. You were put on this earth for a purpose, and that is to be you. Because there will never be a you ever again.
“…happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Looking to start your own healing journey? Start journaling today.
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