When you experience depression, anxiety, or perhaps even biopolarism, feeling good can actually be a very scary experience, because you know there is going to be a low that comes with it. At this exact moment in my life I feel really good. I was brushing my teeth in the morning and I found myself thinking...
How unfortunate is it to live in a world where we have this God like image of happiness? We talk about enlightenment and reaching a higher potential that feels like a dream. We envy people who seem to have it, we believe it doesn't exist, and in turn we're left feeling like shit, suffering through depression, holding on to anxiety, and how does society help? We're told that is both normal and not normal at the same time. Everyone experiences it, but you still need a pill to balance your brain chemistry and make you better. It's the ultimate catch 22. So how do you escape? How do you climb out? How do you help yourself, let alone help others?
Nowadays when I find myself teetering on the edge of depression/anxiety I tend to imagine myself literally balancing on the edge of a muddy cliff, about to fall into a pit that's really hard to get out of. In the past, I would just find myself there, but I also wouldn't even know it. No metaphor to insert, just there. So for example, when I was brushing my teeth that morning, I was contemplating how good I felt and rather than feeling gloom over my head about the impending low I would no doubt be experiencing, I decided to shift my attention to what was working for me in these moments and embrace the feeling of goodness.
Where There are Highs, There are Lows
Something we don't hear about enough in life is that it freakin' ebb and flows. Like nature, like the rivers, the tides, the trees, the seasons - we are not meant to feel good 100% of the time. Our world thrives on oppositions. One of my favorite sayings that I've come to repeat to myself and my students frequently:
When You're in It, Let Yourself Be in It
The pitfall of this whole catch 22 and needing to reach happiness is that when we feel bad we do whatever we can to get out of that place. We moan and grown, feel awful, cry, sit on the coach paralyzed as heck, literally unable to do anything, yet all we want to be able to do is get away from our minds. The mind plays on and on, chatting at you, making up stories, calling you deeper into this depressive hell. You know what your mind doesn't expect? For you to say, Okay. I am here. The mind does not expect you to take some deep breaths, to tune into your physical body, to push the mind itself aside.
Other Things that Work for Me
Find What Works for YOU
My biggest advice, as it always comes back to, is find what works for you. When it comes to mental distress I HIGHLY recommend starting with adopting a real foods diet. Over time I have found this to be the number one factor that contributes to our chemistry being out of whack, because how can we expect things to flow properly when we are feeding our bodies with synthetic chemicals? If a real foods diet is too much to think about, then start with movement. My journey started through experiencing movement as a type of anti-depressant. Start to incorporate stress relieving techniques however they work for you. There is a plethora to choose from, but only you can determine what actually works for you, your body, and your mind.
I’m going to guess that you already know your fitness basics, you’ve probably even had plenty of fitness spurts, and you’ve been out of the zone for a while now, but you’re ready to hop back on the bandwagon and, this time, make it a real lifestyle change. I'm hoping to help you feel more comfortable, less intimidated, and ready to get your movement on!
If life is the game, then you are the athlete, for your life. Don’t you want to be able to live a long and full life, playing the game for as long as possible, with as little injury and as most energy as you can muster? We have a choice and that choice starts now, not after you’ve landed yourself in the hospital with a major injury or sickness.
Having grown up being raised by my grandparents, I feel as if I have a little different look on life then maybe the average person has been exposed to. I’ve been looking at older age straight in the face since I was a little girl. It’s only natural that I look to the people who I care about most and want the best for their health, but it has also made me think about how I want to be living when I reach that point in my own life, too.