I love picking things apart. From people, to problems, to clogged pores. Sometimes that’s a strength. More often than not in my personal life, it’s a way to self-sabotage. But today I am going to break out my metaphorical magnifying glass and use my investigative powers for good.
Because today marks a very special day in my life.
It’s the anniversary of the day I decided to stop living out an active pattern of Depression. It may sound strange to call it a “pattern,” rather than a “disorder.” But for me it was a self-sabotaging cycle that kept me stuck. Spare me the angry comments I’m sure that statement will incite, I’m well versed in the biopsychosocial approach, the genetic, and chemical components. Just go with me on this.
If you had asked me at the height (or depth, more accurately) of my Depression if I would ever be 30, happy, and fulfilled, I’d probably have mustered up enough energy to give you the finger before taking an Ambien and calling it a day. So, to celebrate my decision to stop getting in my own way, I’ve decided to put my detective skills to good use and analyze the
How I Went From Suicidal to Successful:
1. Quit the Blame Game.
If there’s one thing I learned from my first 10 years in therapy, it’s that everything I blamed someone else for was my fault and everything I blamed myself for was someone else’s fault. Bluntly put, but accurate. This taught me two things:
- Culpability doesn’t change a situation.
- No matter whose fault or who takes responsibility, you have the ability to change your situation.
This. Is. Freakin’. Huge.
It’s easy to get caught in the “I wish things were different” cycle, but all that does is keep us stuck. You can either stay in a shitty situation or you can accept things as they are and get the fuck out. It all comes down to taking responsibility, not simply for what happened, but for what you want to create.
The Takeaway: Dare to become self-aware, having the courage and humility to take personal responsibility.
2. Make Mistakes.
I rocked this one. I’m the type of person who can’t take your word that the stove is hot. I need to get burned, often more than once, before I learn my lesson. This not only applies to the obviously poor decisions I made, but in the ways I attempted to bounce back. Newsflash: There’s no such thing as a “rebound,” you probably don’t need a medication to counteract the side effect of another medication, and escapism only works until it doesn’t.
The Takeaway: It’s fine to make mistakes, just don’t keep making the same ones. New mistakes = Growth.
3. Ask for Help. Lots of It.
DBT, CBT, EMDR, SSRIs, not to mention yoga, meditation, mood stabilizers, family therapy, a spiritual mentor, and puppy cuddles. Loved some, hated others. I wanted to find the one modality that would fix everything. But much like the perfect chocolate chip cookie, it simply doesn’t exist. As I look back and fondly bitch about the methodologies and practitioners who claimed their way to be best, I realize that everything played a role in my growth. I learned positive communication & coping skills, emotional resilience, and more than anything, how to trust myself. Today, I see an AMAZING therapist, I exercise, I engage in creative outlets, I meditate, and I honor my intuition. Ultimately, even if only 10% of everything I do now is actually making a difference, it all adds up.
The Takeaway: Try everything that intuitively feels right, there’s more than one path to happiness.
4. Cultivate Compassion, Forgiveness, and Self-Love.
Hot damn. Those three words say it all. I’ve heard that Depression is anger turned inwards. So it doesn’t surprise me that the biggest shift in my life came from forgiving myself for past mistakes, turning my back on myself, and not living to my potential. Unconsciously, I held onto anger and guilt, further exacerbating the issue by attracting people and situations that would confirm my self-limiting beliefs. I found compassion for others, but never for myself. The moment I decided to give myself what I gave to others was the start of my journey to self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect.
The Takeaway: Forgiveness gives you the power to re-write your story.
5. Surrender Control.
I used to joke that I wasn’t manipulative, I was an outcome engineer. While that deep need for control kept me safe, it also kept me stuck. Surrendering an outcome taught me that letting go of what I think I want (whether that be a guy or a job title), creates the space for bigger and better things to flow into my life.
The Takeaway: Let go of what you want so you can receive everything you need.
Bonus Tip: Green things are good. Junk Foods=Junk Moods. Seriously, clean up your diet and you’ll stop feeling like shit.
I was recently asked in an interview how I changed into the person I am today. The truth is that I’m the same person I always was, I just removed the blocks that prevented me from expressing and embracing my true self. Today, I look back on my old story with a feeling of gratitude, both for the lessons I learned and the ability to share it with others. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me (and challenged me) along the way, it means more to me than you’ll ever know.