Last month, a friend of mine asked me: “What made me want to get help?”. It is an unexplained question as it is a complicated question, and there are so many lessons to include. Hence, I decided to change the question into “how did I move on?” to address the question. In this article, I share how I moved on and started getting help. The journey was difficult, but the outcomes have always been fulfilling.
I Let Myself Fall
I clearly know that the primary trigger that made me move on or get help is pain and hopelessness. Depression teaches me new hopes and motivations often come from despair, boredom, fear and grief. The reason that I could not move on as I tried so hard to restrain my pain and despair. I did many things to distract the hurtful feelings. For example, searching for jobs or learning new stuff. Instead, I was just creating distractions and a vicious cycle for myself. I did not allow myself to fall. At least when I was in front of other people. It was suffocating. The dilemma of feelings and emotions eroded me day by day unconsciously.
We are living in a fast-paced era. Everything is about productivity. To achieve that, we are taught to control everything to produce efficiency and reduce mistakes, including our emotions. I grew up with this learning and environment. When I finally realized that we cannot control our emotions; we can only react to our emotions; I let pain and despair erode me. I let myself fell to the bottom rock with a ready mind. It was the time I started to seek help when I felt the pain consciously. This experience might sound extreme, but this is the nature of humans. When there is no intrinsic motivation for change, humans will only create behavioural change with external or extrinsic factors, including pain and punishment.
I Accept Myself, Accept the Reality
The next thing I did after I let myself fell is to accept. It is the most vital step to move on. Without acceptance, we will not act although there is a solution. Many people with mental illness are stuck at this stage where they do not acknowledge that they are suffering from mental illness. It is due to fear. Fear of confronting reality. Fear of the cultural and societal stigma about mental health. Also, in many cases are because of low self-awareness.
In my situation, I feared that I would be treated differently or negatively if I was being opened about my mental status. It took more than a year to accept what was happening to me. I tend to deny the facts, while there are always ways to reduce the fear and learn to accept. Improve emotional intelligence, and mental resilience is the beginning (I will write a separate articless on these topics). Meanwhile, I learned how to forgive us for proceeding on.
I Forgive Myself
Forgiving myself is the hardest challenge for me. Even today, I have not forgiven myself fully. It is a practice to be done with acceptance. I had many rules and expectations for myself. I blamed myself for everything. I criticised myself all the time, without noticing that many things were not in my control. Many mistakes or unhappiness were not my responsibilities or faults. I cared too much about others and forgotten to care about myself. Thus, I started to learn to forgive myself, allowed myself to express my real emotions and reveal my defects. Before that, I let go of the past and accept the responsibilities that I must carry. Significantly, the responsibilities as a daughter. I stop making excuses to reduce my feelings of guiltiness and shame. I apologize for the past and focus on giving myself more compassion. Then, I begin to see hopes.
I am not born to be perfect. I am a human but not a robot. I am allowed to make mistakes. I am allowed to have negative feelings. I am allowed to have all kinds of emotions. The only enemy I have is myself. Be kind to me.”– the spell that I use
The journey to move on is not easy. It is energy-draining as it requires us to use our heart and mind for practice, which we seldom use in our daily life. We have been trained to use our brains all the time. There are many times that I withdrew myself from the journey and returned to a depressed state. Every time, I take varied time lengths to make myself back to the journey of moving on. Consistent practice is significant to minimize relapse and to move on. Whenever I had the thought of giving up, I recalled the feeling of pain and despair. The pain and despair have now become motivations to me.
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