How Gratitude Helped Me Deal With Depression
Depression is an interesting illness that seemed to not have an end. I’m not a medical professional, so I can only speak from my personal experience. For almost 30 years, it was something I dealt with in silence, primarily because I didn’t know there was a term to associate what I was going through. I knew I was sad and I knew there was something wrong with the fact that most mornings for as long as I can remember, I hated waking up and having to “face life.”
My wish was always that I’d suddenly wake up one day with a burst of energy and motivation. That day never came, instead small moments began to make a difference on my mental health and shift how I physically felt. Before gratitude and I met, I went through the typical process that’s recommended: medication, therapy, different medication, more therapy, etc.
As an entrepreneur, the ability to take action at a rapid pace and keep the momentum going on a consistent basis makes all of the difference. Heaven forbid life shows up and an unexpected event occurs, then you’re really in trouble. There were times when it felt impossible to continue with WOWW Campaign because depression kept me paralyzed and unable to do small tasks. I knew that finding a way to push through depression was essential for my health and for my career. I have always been extremely passionate about interviewing women and sharing their stories in order to inspire other people, so I became desperate to find a solution for my mental illness.
In the darkest state of my depression, I lived inside of my head. My mind would magnify any situation and take me down an isolated path where solutions were nowhere to be seen. All I could see was the problem, constant chatter of worse case scenarios, and fear that they would come true. My sleep was nonexistent because 90% of the time I’d have extremely vivid nightmares, so I was always restless and exhausted. It was a vicious cycle that consumed me with anxiety and kept me in the same exact place.
I began to journal three things I was grateful for each morning and at first, did not notice the impact it was having on my mental state. As it became a habit, I began to look forward to the mornings where I’d get to force my mind to look for gratitude and joy. It felt like I was switching the station of my mind…finally! Gratitude allowed me to focus on what was going right, a foreign concept to me.
I knew something drastic and wonderful was happening when I stopped having nightmares and began to wake up at 4:30/5AM. My excitement to live and explore the day was because I felt extreme gratitude that I was graced with more time to be alive. Realizing that regardless of how much we take care of ourselves, our time here on earth is not guaranteed, completely shifted my perception. Every morning, I now remind myself of this concept to keep in-mind how fragile life truly is. I became increasingly more grateful for being able to feel gratitude (funny, I know). They manifested into positive emotions that overruled those of depression, allowing me to finally cling more to joy than sadness.
Even now, when depression tries to peek through, I recognize what’s happening and know it’s time to shift my focus. It’s a conscious effort that is harder than it sounds, especially when you’re going through a difficult time, but it’s possible. I’m addicted to giving thanks now because gratitude reignited my life in ways I didn’t know existed.