May is mental health awareness month and even though I understand is important to speak about mental health, this is a post I didn’t want to write. I have suffered depression for many years as a result of PTSD, fortunately with therapy and self-awareness my bouts with depression and other symptoms of PTSD are manageable, in spite of at all there will be triggers that will send me into a deep hole that I have trouble crawling out of. Last month was hell, I could see it coming and tried to do everything I could to manage it but sometimes it’s impossible to avoid and all I can do is brace myself for impact. I kept falling and falling deeper until my world was covered with a blanket of sadness and all I could do was sit in my room and drink. Yes, I did go to the gym, but it became compulsive almost masochism like. I often wonder if I, like my father, suffer from bipolar disorder. For a couple of weeks, I survived on a few hours sleep and caffeine. I am not ashamed to tell you that I asked for help, I should have sooner but kept pressing on thinking was going to pass soon. I am forever grateful that my family is always there when I need them and my sister and mom open their doors to my cat Lulu, my dog Ranger and I. I drove straight from LA stopping just for gas, went straight to bed and slept for what it seemed days. Life happens to the best of us, yes, sports make you feel good but it doesn’t cure depression, I slowed down and went to long walks with my dog but many times I turned around without even making it out of the car. I injured my knee a few months ago, severely, I had no problem finding sympathy and care, nobody told me to walk off my injury or to write 5 things of how grateful I am for having two legs, so why do we do this with depression? My mind broke, just like my body breaks sometimes, and what I needed was the exact thing that I needed when I injured my knee, rest, help from those close to me when I had trouble looking after myself and expert care. I am taking a break from social media and Los Angeles. I do have some meetings that I have to attend but I might leave right after them. Here are the things that I found help me this time when I was at my lowest as told by DR Guy Winch, but please find expert help, this is in no way replaces the expert care you need and deserve.
Take action when you are lonely. Depression makes you feel like you are alone, even if you are surrounded by people its difficult to connect, the first thing I did was to do the opposite of what I felt like doing, I reached out to my family for help and let them helped me.
Change your response to negative thoughts. It hard not to give in to the negative thoughts in your head, after all, you are exhausted and its easier to just give in but don’t. Find your mantra or distract yourself. I made a playlist of songs that had a positive effect of me and played it when I started to feel sad, I also downloaded a word game in my phone WordScape and played it when I needed to be distracted from negative thoughts.
Protect your self-esteem. This is a big one and it seems like a no brainer but you need to stay away from people that make you feel ashamed of your negative feelings. When somebody tried to make me feel guilty about needing help I quickly stop giving them access to me, it’s not my responsibility to educate the world about how I need to be treated, I need to set boundaries and enforce them when necessary, that’s all. And that includes you, be kind to your self and practice self-love.
It took me a while this time but I am back on my feet and ready to take on the world. I am scheduled to pitch a movie and a short series soon to a network and I have no self-doubts, I am going to walk into that meeting like the boss I am. I fell and I got up, that’s what bosses do. I have 5.78 in my account and I am going to walk into that meeting like I am Oprah and own the room. Be kind to yourself, especially when the world is being less than kind, that when you needed the most.