Depression is a mental illness that all of us should draw our attention to and should something to be respected, if not accepted by all. There are a number of reasons why people fall into this pit: some hereditary, others due to environmental reasons, or it may even be a result of unexpected or drastic life changes.
There was a point in my life when I just wanted to die because it felt that whatever I do– my existence didn’t matter at all, people who are really dear to me just kept on leaving me even if I did some compromises or adjustments already and to aggravate the scenario, I also lost two jobs last year which had been my source of income. It felt at that point that I was losing myself as well.
Amidst all of these changes, it felt that no one really cares. It was very challenging back then given the point that I’m away from home, there are huge chunks of responsibilities that I cannot just drop, and people around me just easily branded me as “drama queen,” “useless,” or “not enough.” I was running around in circles–blaming myself that all my actions were just wrong and I can never fit in.
In effect, there was a month when I either stayed at home or just sat inside the church–crying. Food became my refuge and I really started gaining weight. Well, it’s not about the size but I felt really bad because I was sick most of the time.
Luckily, if you have a government health insurance in Germany, and a letter from a general physician stating that you need to have a mental health support then your psychotherapy appointment can be covered. However, having an appointment does not guarantee that you will be well as soon as possible. It’s up to you, and your own phase of recovery. Depression is a serious condition that one should look into and can take place anywhere and at any stage of our life.
If in any case, no mental health support is available, I want to share through this blog some of the ways that help me fight this mental illness.
Take Time to Pause
I know that life is what you made out of it. You need to study, work, meet friends, do some obligations for your family etc. but sometimes life gets too noisy or busy. This reminds me of a 1974 song from the Rolling Stones that “Time Waits For No One.” However, I believe that it wouldn’t hurt to take a pause, even just a short one.
For normal days, I love to have long walks alone in a park. Back then in the Philippines, I was really a social person but as I move overseas I appreciate this “me” time for myself. By enjoying nature, or my alone time, this helps me to “reset” my focus as well as my energy.
Pray or Meditate
If you are a believer, it helps to pray to God, Allah, Universe, or to that supreme being whom you believe. Again, I am not religious, and way too far to be called a saint but praying is an act of surrender for me. This means that no matter how hard I try, there are some things that are out of my control and all I can do is just to lift them up to God and that somehow this too shall pass.
One strategy that my therapist also told me is to meditate in order to practice mindfulness. Every morning make sure to have 10 to 30-minute meditation before you begin the day. This is very important in order to see things from a distance– and eventually realize that our successes or failures don’t necessarily define us. Practicing mindfulness helps me to live in the moment and be thankful for where I am, and what I currently have. As what Master Oogway states in the film Kung Fu Panda, “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”
If you want to have a step-by-step approach to mindfulness, Here’s one kind of meditation from John Kabat-Zinn that my therapist recommended.
Sweat it Up
Especially in Winter, I just want to stay indoors, eat a lot, and sleep. This is the most comfortable thing to do but honestly, it really helps to also go outside and work-out. After four years of saving money and staying overseas, I visited home. There, I met determined and incredible people that boost my stamina and push me beyond my limit.
In our small town in Baliuag Bulacan in the Philippines, Pound for Pound Fitness Baliuag was just founded last September 2017. Ideally located at 3F Jester Bldg, B.S. Aquino Ave., Bagong Nayon, this was the fitness studio that I chose while on vacation because it is just in the city center.
Pound for Pound Fitness has a lot of branches nationwide but what makes this specific branch special is its ideal location, dedicated trainers, and affordable cost. Given the warm weather in the Philippines, you can feel the warmth of sauna all pumped up by your adrenaline rush.
I got to know more about Crossfit here. Every day, there are diverse fitness activities that anyone can do, to reach one’s desired goal. From Push-ups to Jumping Jacks, there are different sets every day.
The instructors are friendly and knowledgeable because if you can’t do the set of activities for that specific day, they will eventually give an alternative. Due to heat exhaustion or any emergency, they are also there to the rescue by giving medicaments, snacks and they will advise you to rest if they see that you are pushing yourself too much. Having a fitness coach really makes the difference because you are assured that what you are doing will have a direct effect on your body.
In the evening, they also have group fitness activities which spark friendship and can add fun to any physically demanding sets. In comparison to a normal gym, Pound for Pound Fitness Baliuag feels that you have a dedicated community who are committed to helping you become fit physically and socially connected.
Have Fun with Your Loved Ones
Invite your closest friends and family to do something that you all like to do–whether it may be a dance class, fun run, yoga, or just go and play some outdoor games like basketball, volleyball or just simply cook together, these activities would help a lot to boost your spirit. Work and studies will always be there, but the time that you share with someone else is precious. You will eventually feel that even if life is not perfect, being with your loved ones is priceless.
Traveling really changes everything– whether you go to another city, country or continent. I think it reorients your perspective that there are different cultures and traditions in comparison to what you are used to. It gives you another glimpse that there are numerous ways on how to live one’s life.
I hope that this list helps you one way or another and as I end this blog, I just want to share this quotation. “Never ever give up, for that is just place and time that the tide will turn.”- Harriet Beecher Stowe