How I learned to heal my depression and anxiety
I suffered from depression for most of my life, I thought there was no way around it. Honestly, I thought it was normal. I grew up with a mother that was completely unstable emotionally and mentally and severely depressed.
My earliest memories came from her erratic behavior of jealousy and insecurity, trying to commit suicide in the hallway, by placing a butter knife to her heart as my older brother tried to stop her. And many other attempts of dying to drown herself in the pool, while that same older brother tried to save her.
Her jealousy, insecurity, and inadequacy came from this false perspective of her being cheated on, resulting in her feeling unworthy and depressed most of our lives.
I have strong memories of her til this day laying in bed for hours doing nothing, only to get up complain about how a new body part ached.
My father on the other hand, a very strong hard worker and provider, suffered from anxiety.
I was unaware of his anxiety, until one day he asked me if he could have one of my antidepressants, lexapro, because he had just run out, and was having a massive anxiety attack.
Prior to this, I had no knowledge he was silently suffering from this what seemed an inevitable emotion.
So for me, what I saw growing up was a powerless women suffering from jealousy, insecurity and depression and an overworked stressed man suffering from high-blood pressure, overwhelment and anxiety.
So it was almost inevitable for me not to pick up these behaviors as a child.
My first experience at heartbreak, showed me toxic behaviors I picked up, where I had to attempt many unpleasant attempts at suicide just as my mom so eloquently demonstrated to me. That these desperate attempts would make someone notice me, feel loved, feel important and valuable, that only when I demonstrated such extreme behaviors I would get the attention and affection that I was seeking, just as my mother showed me.
She would get constant love and reinforcement when attempting extreme behaviors on for my brother to save her.
I unconsciously started to believe that the physical pain of cutting, was not as painful of the emotional pain of vulnerability.
And realized that was my father’s beliefs, that if you were vulnerable it was painful and weak. Which is why he would never speak out, was reserved, closed off, unaffectionate, and unemotional.
I later on adopted this belief in order to protect myself from the emotional pain of vulnerability, I wasn’t able to connect with others, yet became very passive, overcompensating, and anytime I spoke out a strong flaming pain of anxiety burned through my chest.
It was so extreme that anytime I felt i need to speak up, I would literally make myself faint, thinking it would protect me from speaking, ironically it only made me make a bigger fool of myself creating a whole scene.
But each time I would come back resilient, having a goal and working today that goal.
It was only when I became pregnant at 19 did my anxiety get completely out of control. I was in a very painful relationship, where I was always getting cheated on, left, forgotten and abandoned, I never felt more alone, worthless,unloved and unimportant in my entire life, than I did during my pregnancy.
I unexpected got so scared, I quit my job, lost my apartment, moved back home where my parents forcefully recommended I get on food stamps and welfare. I never felt my degraded and unworthy in my life, that I felt like this spiral would never end.
I feel into such a hard depression, while my partner continue to threaten me about gaining weight he would leave me. So i feared gaining any weight and I was so disgusted with my appearance, and ashamed of myself for being another statistic, I hid my pregnancy from friends and social media, never posting a picture until the day I had my daughter.
Completely dependent on my father, I kept in my house most of the time.
I remember the day I had my daughter, the nurses telling me I was the easiest and nicest patient they had in awhile, because I was too scared to ask for help or make them uncomfortable, so i wanted to do everything by myself, even walking to the bathroom alone after giving birth and having an epidural. (totally ignorant to the fact the anesthesia could still be active, and I could have greatly injured myself)
But after I had my daughter a shift happened, I went into full provider mode, cutting of all ties with her father, getting a job a month after having her,doing what I could to provide for me and my daughter.
I was okay and feeling very stable, until her father came back in the picture 4 months later. We decided to give it another try, only to go back into a painful toxic pattern, which looked similar to my upbringing of distrust, jealousy, insecurity, feeling ignored and unimportant, to more emotional and now physical abuse.
I remember seeing that same type of behavior as a child, begging my parents to get a divorce. But they were so strong in their story, they never did.
I looked at my daughter, her innocence, her pureness. And thought the hell am I going to allow my child to see this physical abuse. And left the relationship.
After that I made a commitment to myself to better myself for her. To learn every way possible, which lead me into the field I am today.
I wanted to learn who was the best transformation coach out their, and looked to Tony Robbins, but as a young single mother, I did not have the funds to work with him, and had the shame of debt and poverty under my belt. That I became resourceful and looked for different avenue to learn the same theories as Tony Robbins taught.
As I continued this journey, my parents especially my father continued to push me into a getting a normal job. Working a secure, steady job, like a nurse, or some type of trade that provided security.
But that wasn’t me, that was never me. I had way too much of an independent thinker with an entrepreneurial spirit, that taking the safe route would hurt me.
And sure enough, every time I tired that route, I was unfulfilled, and feel into such hard depressions, feeling lifeless and disempowered.
As I continued my journey and healing process, I opened a small therapy practice which made me feel purposeful and fulfilled.
I was able to break through all of the painful behaviors and expectations that limited me, and grew into my own strength and confidence.
What I have learned through my own healing process is:
When you live your life, based on what someone expects you to be, you create pain and suffering for yourself. Because you are trying to adhere to who you think you need to be, and this start the process of trying to hit unrealistic expectations and demands for ourselves, which then creates the toxic and negative cycle of internalization and self-doubt. It is important that you set your own expectations for yourself, to form your own identity and avoid those unrealistic expectations that lead to shame. --->> (You can download my guidebook https://mailchi.mp/fe92a75fb5b9/setting-your-own-expectations)
Become aware of your family upbringing and the behaviors you are unconsciously adopting from them. All behavior is learned behavior,and you can unlearn it so that you are no longer conditioned to their destructive patterns and behaviors. Don’t let someone tell you depression and anxiety are hereditary, they are not they are learned behavioral patterns, passed down from one generation to the next, and the behavior activates different ideas, beliefs, and neural activities in the brain, which may result in psychosomatic conditions.
Learn new healthy coping mechanism, often times we are not taught how to deal with stress, anxiety or depression and we continue to mimic the behavior as others before us. So actively learning and implementing these techniques will help you to greatly help the process ---> (Download my template https://mailchi.mp/ce672590f91b/healthy-coping-mechanisms)
Another important aspect to healing yourself, is learning to communicate assertively, and not be fearful of communicating. I know our first instinct is telling us not to speak up or if we do we will get in trouble but that is not the correct way to function. It is through assertive communication, honesty, and vulnerability that will allow us to be received, heard, and listened to. This allow you to step into your confidence and stay in your worth. (Practice this exercise, visualize yourself communicating openly, confidently and assertively, saying what you mean and meaning what you say, and that the person you are communicating with, is hearing you and receiving you with such openness, love, and acceptance)
If you need further assistance, I would love to help. You can contact me at mindset4success.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your healing journey awaits.