Choice.

Throughout my 29 years on this planet I've learned a thing or two about many things.

About depression.

About starting over.

About following your passions.

About health.

About friendship.

About myself.

One common theme to all of these points is our innate human ability to choose. I'm not talking politics here regarding abortions. I'm talking about choosing between options - being faced with challenges, hardships, even happy things and choosing between paths, people, actions etc.

I recently had a heart to heart with someone close me who is going through a very rough patch. Her severe anxiety and depression is affecting many aspects of her life and she expressed to me that she "did not choose to be depressed".

I agree wholeheartedly with that statement - we do not choose to be depressed. Very often it is due to chemical imbalances in the brain or an overwhelming amount of really shitty things going on in your life.

But..

And that's a biiiig BUT.

We have the option to choose to help ourselves. STAYING depressed is a choice. So is seeking help. As is making lifestyle changes that may help to alleviate some of the symptoms of depressions.

What kind of choices am I referring to?

  • Eating healthy whole foods that help to balance the hormones in our bodies and alleviate inflammation which has been directly linked to depression in many studies.

  • Start with adding in vegetables to whatever you are already eating

  • Drink extra water

  • Maybe reduce portion sizes on the item you are eating even though you know they're not so good for you... I know from experience - the junk tastes SO good and you feel SO good while you eat it. But let me tell you, NOT eating those things will feel better in the long run.

  • Moving - whether it's a walk down the street and back or an actual visit to the gym is not important - what's important is that you get off your ass and get your blood pumping for as little as 5 minutes. Baby steps will get you where you need to be. If all you can muster is enough energy to get dressed, put your shoes on and get to the sidewalk outside of your house then that's enough for Day One. There are a bajillion more days that will follow on which you can challenge yourself to get a little further and a little further as time passes.

  • TIP: Check out a yoga class - the inspirational words of the teacher mixed with the restorative movements create a safe haven for those with depression and anxiety. Expect some tears though... Being on your mat without the distractions of the outside world allow your thoughts to wander and it can be tough. Additionally some postures release pent up stress inside the body that can bring on tears as well. It's ok and totally normal - I cry in yoga every so often!

  • Return to an activity you loved until you became depressed and didn't enjoy it anymore. There are two possibilities here:

  • You don't like it anymore, for real. If that's the case you'll know after a few attempts. But if not...

  • Keep attempting the activity (reading? video games? walking? Netflix? drawing? Seriously ANYTHING) and even if you start with 5 minutes each time, eventually you'll go a little longer and the joy of the activity will return, I promise you.

  • TALK TO SOMEONE!!! A therapist. A friend. a stranger. A teacher. Anyone that is willing to listen (if they aren't willing, please for the love of god don't burden them..) Again, you will know when someone cares enough to be a shoulder and an ear to you. They will not consider it a burden to listen to you express your feelings and thoughts. Sometimes talking about your problems allows you to see them in a different light and it becomes easier to manage.

Truth? Sometimes these things don't help at all. But at least you tried. And that's what it's all about - choosing to try. Choosing to put yourself first. And if it doesn't work, then you go on to the next option and the next option. Without a doubt you will find a route that works for YOU.

No one is stuck in their rut. No one is doomed to be depressed for the rest of their life. Even those that have clinical depression can seek help medically (and hopefully alternatively, too).

The world never stops spinning. Life DOES go on.

Make the choice to go along with it.

If you need someone to talk to I am ALWAYS available. Just send me an email and I promise to respond. You are never fully alone even if it feels like it.

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