Trigger warning: Suicide
This post has been buzzing around in my subconscious for a while now. I finally wrote it after reading Tim Ferris’s post: Some practical thoughts on suicide
Once upon a time, some years ago. I nearly killed myself. Actually, I lie. It was not once upon a time. There were two occasions where I nearly ended my own life. The circumstances around each incident do not matter.
In both cases, the gremlins who live in my mind, had taken comments and twisted them. Some of the words were nasty and ill-meaning. Others were well intentioned but incredibly inconsidered, especially to someone who was battling with depression…obviously but silently. I believed that the world would be a better place without me, that I was stealing oxygen and I was unworthy of life.
In both cases, I was saved. The first time, someone asked me why I was googling “How to kill myself”, and made me promise to stay alive a couple more hours. The next time I read an incredibly personal account that someone had written about their partner’s suicide. That post, seems to have inoculated me.
The thing is, all of the small things that were going on that grew into a big snowball meant that the gremlins caught hold.
I am now aware of them, and I can generally keep them at bay. I have gotten better at fighting the good fight.
Powerful weapons in my arsenal are the Therapeutic Lifestyle Techniques:
- Diet and nutrition
Eating fresh real food makes a huge difference.
30 minutes of high intensity exercise a day works wonders.
- Relaxation and meditation
Practicing being is challenging but incredibly powerful. A good beginners mantra is to focus on repeating “I am enough” without actually thinking about it.
- Recreation and enjoyable activities
In the depth of a depressive episode this is surprisingly difficult…keep at it.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage…”
– Lao Tzu
People matter, and depression lies and tries to convince you that no one cares about you. But I promise someone does care, and you never know what a difference your presence will make one day.
- Spiritual pursuitsI love Brene Brown’s definition of spirituality in the Gifts of Imperfection, which talks about the fact that spirituality is about recognizing our common humanity, and the fact that we are all in this together.
“Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.”
- Time outdoors and in nature
I find this one to be the easiest and most effective tool, and is an advantage of living in sunny South Africa and in an area surrounded with trees.
I struggle with this one, my gremlins know that there is power in harnessing the world’s obsession with consumption and material wealth.
The thing about these lifestyle changes is that they are small, and that you don’t need to do them all at once, and it is possible to combine them, talking on the phone while walking outside.
Another thing that has helped me is medication. Psychotherapy has also been wonderful, helping me gain additional tools and perspective.
One of the biggest advantages of having come out of the depression closet is that I am able to ask for help, and say that I am not feeling well. It means that other people can remind me that #depressionlies.
Love and staying alive,