Anxious, Depressed, and in a Relationship
How often do you feel depressed?
If you’re anything like my past-self, your response will be something along the lines of “all the time.”
Each morning, your mind gets clouded with self-doubt as you struggle to find a positive way to begin the day.
The negative voices in your mind tell you that you’re worthless and unable to accomplish anything, so you choose to sit in silence.
No matter how hard you try to lift your spirits, the only feelings in your mind are depression, anxiety, and a loss of self-worth.
That’s how it felt when I was depressed: the continual mental suffering only grew by the day as I struggled to communicate how I genuinely felt inside. It was indescribable, painful, and all I ever wanted was to be free of the entrapment caused by my mental health.
If you ever find yourself going through depression or anxiety, remember that you are not alone and that there is a way forward out of this abyss. As Viktor Frankl once so famously said:
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.”
Below are some lessons I’ve learned while having depression & anxiety. Each of them helped me to improve my relationships, live each day with gratitude, and have an unlimited amount of self-confidence. I hope they do the same for you.
You have a choice.
When you are battling depression & anxiety, it’s easy to feel like the whole world is against you.
Every single day, a sense of fear & criticism take over your mind because you feel like you’re not good enough. You wish your sense of self-worth would increase, but the depression merely drags it down lower & lower.
Although you may not be able to control everything which happens to you, your choice to react either positively or negatively shall always remain in your control. Marcus Aurelius said it best: “you have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
This was a difficult mindset shift for me to make while battling with a variety of mental health issues. From being bullied in high school, to being cheated on by my girlfriend, I used to think that the concept of having control over my reaction to events seemed ridiculous. I bet you’re probably thinking the same.
But when I decided to take accountability for each aspect of my life, everything changed. Instead of adopting a victim mentality that would merely decrease the state of my mental health, I made the conscious decision to be optimistic & see the good in every situation:
- Girlfriend cheated on me? Good. This is an opportunity to re-evaluate the type of people I get into relationships with to prevent it from happening again.
- Am I struggling with making friends? Good. I might as well learn psychology, so I know how to talk to new people.
- Don’t know what I want to do in life? Good. It’s a chance to try loads of new things, and pursue whatever I find fulfilling.
Inspired by the former-Navy Seal, Jocko Willink, this mental mindset fundamentally improved every aspect of my life, and completely changed the way I see the world.
It’s impossible to have power over external events within your life. However, the ability to choose your reaction to them shall always remain within your control.
How Do You Improve Your Mental Health Right Now?
Below is a three-step process that I’ve personally incorporated into my daily routine. If you’re looking to reduce the effects of anxiety & depression so you can begin living a happier life, here’s what you need to do:
- Write what you’re grateful for. I’ve noticed that writing down what brings me gratitude is a great way to feel more optimistic in any situation. After all, it’s difficult to be depressed and grateful at the same time.
- Speak to a friend. Don’t let your thoughts consume you. Talk to somebody, and release the feelings you’ve been keeping inside your head for so long.
- Get enough sleep. Most people need approximately 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure optimal performance throughout the day. When I decided to prioritize my sleep, my anxiety levels dropped massively as my brain was no longer overworking itself to maintain normal function.
Although the future may be uncertain, remember that you shall always have control over your reaction to any external event.
Epictetus said it best: “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.”
Your mind is the most powerful tool on the planet. Use it.