The first time I became depressed was when I was about 16. It was, in a way, my Annus horribilis – horrible year. That year, my grandfather died, and it was the first time I experienced death.
I wasn’t that close to my grandfather as he would almost never spend time with us, his grandchildren. He was quite reserved, usually kept to himself, didn’t really talk much, but when he spoke, you knew you had to stop talking and pay attention, and I admired him in a way.
That was also the year I had my heart broken and it was really hard to take in. To make matters worse, I had just finished my first year in secondary school and my final grades were much lower than what I had been used to from primary school. I didn’t really have any real friends besides my sister, and I felt lonely. I didn’t know how to cope with all these things happening in my life, and I didn’t have a support system I could lean on to.
Autumn and winter months didn’t help in elevating my mood as the days were getting shorter and more terrible with less and less sun. I don’t know about you, but I am a person that needs sun and warmth and long days.
Depression isn’t something I would wish even upon my worst enemy. You never know how long it will last and how deep it will go. You just hope that the next day will be better; and as long as you have hope, you know that it hasn’t consumed you through and through.
There were several things that helped me get out of it without medication. One thing was watching Oprah and her saying that every evening you should thank the universe for 3 things that happened on that day – it could be something as small as seeing a nice butterfly, you just had to find 3 things. This way, you are kind of forced to search for beautiful things in all the chaos, you are forced to see that there is beauty in life.
The second thing was a book titled The Celestine Prophecy. It was the first time I came across the idea of people having energy fields and how we exchange energy with people around us. This book made me conscious about what energy I send into the universe and what energy I would like to send out. Remember: this was years before The Secret and also before the internet where you can find a lot of information on how to deal with depression.
The last thing that helped me, and don’t judge me on this one, was the Spice Girls and their idea of empowerment. I was in my teenage years, so in a time when you are trying to find yourself and trying to define yourself. They couldn’t have come at a better time. What I did was I picked the characteristics I most liked about them and then tried to find that in myself. I know that behind the scenes they were probably different, but this really helped me in trying to be the best me, and it is always better to have positive role models than to look up to someone who promotes violence or drugs.
It did take some time to get out of the depression, it definitely didn’t happen over night. And in some cases it is good to use medication, but you also need to do the work and rewire your brain, get that confidence, self-worth, optimism, and self-love back.