Living a Happy Life with Depression

by | Dec 27, 2012 | Health, Mind-Body Health | 0 comments

A Year-End REVIEW of My Achievements
(and Mental Sanity)

Learning to live a happy life with depression can be a really big challenge.  As I reflect on my own personal Woo-Hoos and Boo-Hoos for 2012, I’ve got a lot to celebrate!

So what’s on my list…

It’s been a healthy year, I can SEE, no steroids, I’m a size 4-6 (last Christmas I was an 8-10, I’ve been as high as a size 16-18.) I’ve got great clients in the studio that I love!  I’m having a blast teaching webinars, thankful for all the virtual friends and followers out there who are enjoying my blog posts, YouTube videos, tips, and products for Pilates, foot fitness, and better functional movement.  I had a goal of being able to do 10 chin-ups by the end of the year…I’m only up to 5 or 6.  So frustrated that I didn’t achieve what I set out to accomplish, but heck 5 or 6 is better than zero…  so I’m half-way to a renewed goal of 10 of these darn chin-ups for the new year!  It’s been a mostly eating allergy-free year.  A few bumps in the road for knowing what I can eat safely – still trying to iron things out on the food front, but determined not to throw the baby out with the bath water and keep taking steps to figure out how to heal my body and be able to eat.  My business is not where I want it to be, frustrated that finding balance between taking care of me and helping others seems to be such a challenge for me physically, mentally, and emotionally, but I’m sure that’s my perfectionist personality challenge to give up control has been getting in the way of my continued progress.  Gotta learn to be OK with “good enough,” instead of “perfect.”  I’m going to keep striving for improvements minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day.  What’s new on the horizon – continuing to practice the art of learning to let go, living in the moment, developing and deepening friendships and business relationships, and discovering the JOY in truly celebrating all of my Woo-Hoo moments!

Life always seems to get so hectic and crazy that sometimes we forget to step back and look at our journey, and acknowledge our progress.  Or we get so deep into what we’ve got to get done, that we “poo-poo” all the things we’ve already accomplished!

Have to admit that I’ve been living in doo-doo land for the last few weeks.  I had to start this post with my Woo-Hoos as a reminder that I really HAVE done some positive things this year.

Depression is one of those things that tends to get pushed under the rug, and nobody really talks about much.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health more than 26% of Americans 18 years and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.  That’s ONE IN FOUR Adults!   This seems staggeringly high to me.  And I didn’t realize that mental disorders are actually the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada.

I don’t talk much about my own mental state and challenges with depression…It’s a part of who I am, I’ve just struggled as best I can to deal with it my whole entire life.  Guess today it the day for full disclosure – here’s hoping this post helps clear my head so I can continue to move forward out of the darkness and “into the light.”  If all goes well and you’re reading this and something strikes a chord in your heart – know that you’re not alone and there IS help, and hope, to feel better.

I actually can’t ever remember a time in my life when I wasn’t depressed.  As a very young child, the feeling of being alone, not fitting in, being different than everybody else, shy, quiet…Oh so many emotions bottled up inside with no place to turn.  It’s led to an isolated life, very few friends in my inner circle, and very little contact with the world outside of my work.  Frightened to live, frightened to die, I know I have a Higher Calling and Purpose and it hasn’t been realized yet.  So by some miraculous force of the Universe, I am still here muddling through trying to figure out what amazing gifts and talents I am supposed to be sharing to leave the world better than I found it.  I have always been passionate about helping others and teaching movement and exercise, so in many ways my clients are the ones who have kept me on somewhat of an even keel.  Bless all of YOU!  Having to be accountable to “show up,” keep a smile on my face, and help you learn how to be healthier, has had hidden benefits for my one health improvement process.

I feel fortunate that about eight or nine years ago I had a glimpse of how the non-depressed people in the world live.  It was amazing!!!  Never had I imagined such happiness.  It didn’t matter what happened in my life I was OK.  In fact I was blissfully peaceful 100% of the time for almost 6 months.  It was like a light switch had been flipped in my brain and I was living in a whole new world.  This window of “altered reality” from my normally gloomy outlook was a gift!  I know that it’s possible for me to get there again…I’m just not sure what steps I need to be taking TODAY to open that door, or flip the switch again.  But I’m going to keep working until I find the key.

There are many roads through the darkness out of depression and into a happier, healthier life…and I know that we each must take our own path.  Life definitely has its ups and downs, and I know my mood swings and depressive patterns have followed cycles of highs and lows, and continue to do so.  Right now I’m coming up out of a really low, low…  Can’t say that there’s any ONE thing that’s help me survive.  But I do know that there have been MANY things over the years that have been critical to my tipping the scales back to a healthier, happier me!

In my twenties took the short-course of pills and potions for depression, and PTSD.  Always knew that if I got started on drugs (of any kind) or alcohol, they would send me into a downward spiral from which I wouldn’t return.  Hard to explain, but for me medication only makes me feel worse, not better.  Didn’t find many of the therapists I tried helpful either.

How exactly does a loner let a therapist in, to receive help for depression? 

The best help I got in “therapy” was to be told after completing extensive written psych tests and a brief consultation, when for the first time in my life I actually told someone I felt suicidal, was to be told, that I was in fact “OK, and they couldn’t see that there was anything wrong, or that I had a problem.”  It’s funny now, but at the time I was flabbergasted!  In time, those feelings of the “problem I didn’t have” went away and my confidence increased that I was in fact, really going to be OK.  I suppose it’s like being a Weeble – do you remember the children’s toy?  Weebles wobble and they always bounce back up!

I find it amazing how well some of us are able to mask problems from the rest of the world and carry our burdens in the dark depths of our Soul, so that nobody else gets even a glimpse that there’s a problem. Ignorance is not BLISS!  Figuring out how to release our burdens, lighten the load, and believe in our own value and self-worth to be both in love with our self and allow the love of others into our hearts, can help keep the spark of light alive and fan the flame for a brighter future.

I’ve found that for me, neither medication nor individual counseling has provided the relief I crave.  Physical activity has been my biggest life raft!  Bless my parents for getting me involved in sports as a child.  I never imagined I’d be alive past high school, and here it is almost 30 years later and I’m still here, healthier than ever, and still fine-tuning my happiness plan to learn to be fit, develop friendships, and discover new ways to not only survive, but thrive and enjoy life to the fullest.

So now that I’ve rambled on about my highs and lows for the year in review, and shared the deep, dark “depression” secret that needs to come out of the shadows and into the light for MY life to improve…  I hope that you feel encouraged to take a look at the Woo-Hoos and Boo-Hoos in your life too! 

If depression is a challenging mental state of mind for you – please take charge of your health.  Seek counseling, medication, exercise, meditation, change your diet, find a hobby, passion, purpose, mission for your life… don’t stop making strides to feel better from the inside out – EVER!

Open the door, let the light in and start finding ways to enjoy the blessing of LIFE on the Planet!  We are ALL here for a reason; we ALL have a Mission in life.  Let your Passions and Purpose help fuel your journey for a truly healthy and happy life!

May Your Life Be Filled with Joy and Woo-Hoos
for a Healthy, Happy, and Prosperous New Year!

Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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