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When was the last time you felt depressed? Some people will give you strange look if you ask them that question, and they may tell you, "I am not depressed!". Just as there are millions of people who are depressed, there are just as many people who will tell you that they are not depressed, right? So instead of asking that question, ask yourself when was the last time that you felt hopeless and sad to the point that you almost gave up on life?
Life is like a poker game. Sometimes you have good hand, and sometimes you have play with the hand your dealt. I know that it sounds like another one of my many clichés, but many of my clichés have some truth behind them. A few months ago, I went to a funeral, and despite the fact that it was one of the hardest things that I had to do, I got something out of the service.
Winning The Game of Life
The eulogist picked the perfect topic, Winning the Game of Life. The eulogy not only fit the occasion, but it made sense. The most important thing that I got out of the eulogy was this. Life is not always going to be roses. You will have some obstacles, times when you feel that you are alone, and times that you will hit rock bottom. But, how you deal with those situations will determine how you play the game called Life.
After I heard that, I started to reflect on my own life and how I survived my darkest times. People assume that I don’t have problems, but that is far from the truth. Likewise, I am often surprised to learn that others have problems when I typically assume that they are well-adjusted and live without care - My point is that we all experience suffering at some point during our lives. Who hasn't? Really? From my perspective, people who suffer from depression are individuals who don’t know how to effectively and triumphantly come out of their dark periods in life.
I am not saying that depression is not serious or attempting to sugar-coat the issue. However, you have to ask yourself, how people who suffer the same traumatic life experience have different outcomes? For example, how does one woman one have the courage to date after being in a two or three violent relationships, and another woman stops dating completely after being in one violent relationship?
Time To Heal
The first thing that you have to understand is that you have to give yourself some time to heal, even if it includes seeing a licensed professional. If you are religious person, by all means turn to your faith. My faith is one my coping mechanisms, but, I also consider myself to be a strong individual. When you learn from your mistakes you are able to avoid making the same mistakes, which can prevent more pain and suffering from entering your life.
Self-reflection is a great way for you try to “fix” you, but you have to be humble enough to realize that you need help. This doesn’t mean calling the best friend who will always take your side not matter what. You have to find out why you constantly find yourself sad and in crappy relationships, work environments, or other harmful situations. Remember, the common denominator is you.
A good place to start is by reading the article on the website, 1in6, Herman Stages to Recovery. The article clearly discusses how to guide your positively function after experiencing a traumatic life experience in three stages (2015). Stage one includes setting goals, establishing stability in your life, and developing skills to deal with bad life experiences (2015). Ultimately, you should be able to “reconnect” meaningful people in your past and start doing things that you use to enjoy before your traumatic life experience (2015). It is normal to feel hopeless and sad after experiencing a traumatic life experience, but, you can move forward without learning to let it go.
Over three years ago, I was in an abusive relationship, and I spent most of time reflecting on my role in the situation. I had to realize that my feelings of wanting to be in a relationship in order to feel “normal” caused me to make bad choices that resulted in harm to my self. My experience made me not want to ever date again, but I had to remember that my unresolved personal issues allowed me to make bad choices.
The Internet is flooded with articles that tell you what to do to cope with depression and traumatic life experiences. But, you have to choose what coping mechanism is best for you. Start by making a list of things you would like to do and a list of things that you always wanted to do. Your “list” can lead making discoveries about the real healthy you.
- Heather Browning, MBA, BA
1in6.com. (n.d.), Herman Stages to Recovery. Retrieved January 28, 2015.