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The Friend That Doesn’t Go Away: Dealing With Depression

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For years I fought it, I tried so hard, yet I had lost numerous times, more than I count actually. But then, I began to become friends with it, became friends with her. Well, we are more than an acquaintance but less than friends, so we are somewhere in the middle when it comes to our unhealthy relationship. Who is this friend, you ask, her name is Depression.

Depression has been with me since I can remember, she was first introduced to my mind at the age of 10 years old when I was constantly being bullied by classmates and feeling like a tiny little microorganism under a microscope that didn’t matter to the rest of the world. She was basically my monster, at least at that time she was a monster to me.

As I got older, she stuck around and somehow maneuvered herself into the position as an acquaintance. And we began a turmoil of a relationship that I would never want to put on my worst enemy (don’t have any enemies, but you see my point) through the gut-wrenching relationship I had gone through with my depression. And at times it was extremely bad that I found myself on the other end of things, and it was not pretty. I can honestly that I feel sorry for my mom, for my therapist, and for the friends who witnessed the scars and the aftermath of the crap I had done; but I am truly grateful that they were there for everything that I was enduring.

Although most of my life, depression was that monster that hid in my mind and tied me to my bed most mornings, made me scared and anxious to go to school the next day, or to even speak to another person; somehow, I had managed to become friends with the monster in my head. And to be honest, it was a scary thing to commit to, but I knew that I wanted to be friends with her instead of having her as an enemy. Trust me it was the right thing to do.

Coming to the conclusion of being friends with depression, it is still a rather awkward situation. Why? Because she is not like most people’s depression. She doesn’t come in episodes, she is actually there every day, every moment of every day. Some days she is heightened, other days she just chills out in the back of my mind making paper mache masks for some masquerade ball that she will never attend due to my social anxiety keeping her company. Nevertheless, she is there. And as I write this post, she is more heightened this time, and all I can think of doing is just lay in bed with Sherlock on Netflix, drowning out my horrid thoughts until she decides to calm down once more.  And that is perfectly fine because I know that my depression is trying to cope with certain things, trying to compartmentalize every aspect of my mind and the scene around me.

Having a friend like depression there with me every day of my life is something that I feel like would never have happened if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed with a therapist and having the support from family and friends, but I am glad to have my friend, depression, there with me, because she has brought so many creative poems, stories, and songs, even if she didn’t mean to bring any harm.

**If you are dealing with depression, or know anyone who is dealing with depression, please see a therapist, or call the national suicide hotline: 1.800.273.8255

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Before The Sun Rises(Poem)

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It doesn’t matter how bright the moon shines,
you still linger,
linger in my memories,
desperately trying to drown me.

My only sorrow is that I have yet to
make a friend out of you,
and I don’t know what to do,
I need to know how to make amends
with the monsters in my head,
before the sun rises for another day.

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Proceed with Caution (Poem)

Warning, warning!
Proceed with extreme caution,
one more step and they’ll put on the parental locks.
They don’t want to speak of it,
they dont want to have the discussion,
no they just want to push it aside,
and add more stigma on it.

What are you afraid of?
Afraid to acknowledge it?
Afraid to admit you were wrong about it?
Stop telling everyone that there is something wrong with us,
that we require to be treated as though we are dolls.
No, instead say it,
I dare you,
say the two words,
mental illness.

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Paint me in Orange: Art Therapy

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Many of you know that Mental Health Awareness Month is not until October, however, we shouldn’t be discussing it only during one month. It should be a topic that should be discussed frequently, and not just only during a designated month. Mental Health is one of the few topics that most people do not want to discuss, due to the fact that they are afraid of the topic, afraid of the reality of illnesses that plague nearly 43 Million Americans alone.

When it comes to mental health, the most common treatment is either prescription or seeing a therapist. Personally, I go to see a therapist once a week to help with my own health problems, and it is nice to have a conversation with an outsider (3rd party) that is a professional and that could help me cope with things. Besides seeing a therapist, I participate in what is called, “Art Therapy”. I’ve been doing art therapy for years now, with my poems and novels to my paintings, and it is truly a great therapeutic approach to helping oneself.

Art therapy comes in so many different ways: painting, writing, drawing, knitting, sewing, playing instruments, singing. Just about anything in the art community can be turned into a therapy session for someone. Art therapy is usually overlooked by most people, because they seem to call it hogwash, which it isn’t. It is highly effective, especially for those who wish to put their thoughts and emotions onto something that is pure white with no speck of any word or color splashed on it. Art therapy gives the person a chance to show their inner self, the emotions and thoughts that they currently having, and put them onto a canvas or on paper. Having this ability to throw your emotions and thoughts onto paper can help relieve you from the weight that has been placed on you, giving you a chance to breathe, and letting you be able to, in that moment, feel stress free.

If you ever feel that you are overwhelmed by the emotions and thoughts that have been plaguing you, grab a paintbrush, a pen, or knitting needles; because you can help get rid of those unwanted thoughts while concentrating on something that you enjoy.

 

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Art in the Dark

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(To the End – Me)

The way I see it, is that the heart, the soul and the mind constantly fight each other. This in turn makes everything more difficult. The brain wishes to overrun everything, though when this happens a war begins. When the heart wishes to run the entire system, then heartbreaks occur more than average. When the soul wishes to be the front force and be the leader and forget everything else, then the human being is confused and has no clue as to what is occurring. Sometimes, when all of this happens, it means there are a lot of wars happening inside the person. These wars bring about pain, they bring about sorrow and they bring about the misery inside. When this happens, depression sets in. Depression has never been a friend to anyone, even to me. Depression is one of the mental illnesses that is not to be tossed aside due to the fact that depression can easily destroy a person in a instant.
When the depression has set in, there is a feeling of emptiness that surrounds the person, internally and externally. Then there is a motion of feeling heavy. This heaviness sits on the chest, making you feel like you are caring the weight of the world on your chest. Your eyes begin to get heavy, you want to fight it but no matter what your eyelids will close and all you will see is darkness. The darkness takes over and everything will become surreal. So surreal to the point that you think that you are high on acid or you are drunk from hard liquor. All the pain you feel externally, invades you internally and then you have been taken over by the depression.
Pain is inevitable, everyone feels it from time to time. Especially when you lose a loved one, when your heart breaks, or when you break a bone. But the pain that comes along with depression is a different type of pain. I’m not saying that is trumps over all of the other pain, but the pain that comes along with depression makes you feel worthless, makes you feel like you are unable to do something. But inside that pain, there is a light. That light helps you crawl through the pain in the dark deprecating world that depression swallows you in. The light helps a person create art in a whole new way, in ways that most would never have thought of.
Depression has been an ally and an enemy my entire life. Medication that the physicians try to prescribe me do not work, on top of that, they make it worse. Therapy is not a source that I enjoy using because I feel like I am a burden and feel like I am wasting the therapists time by divulging my pain, my fears, and anger upon them. Instead I run to art. Writing and abstract-minimalism painting art are my ways to take aggression and pain out on. Most of my paintings and also my poems hold how I feel inside, they are the places where I can finally let myself go and try to heal myself for the most part. If you do suffer from depression just as I do, then go see your physician, therapist or someone who can help you. Medication may not be for you, but in the end, there are other ways to help you through the pain, it might even be through art.

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Just Breathe

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When we get bad news, what do we do? We hyperventilate, we worry, we think that everything is going to never get better. It is a mechanism that our bodies do when we receive bad news. I know for a fact that when I get bad news, I do not want to see anyone, speak to anyone or be around any human being. Instead, I rush outside, dart for the forest and mountains with my pen and journals and just write. Write until I can’t hold the pen anymore. I cry and cry, unable to cope with what is happening and then something happens.

The wind will gently pick up and kiss my cheeks, the smell of the dew will calm my senses, the trees whisper a sweet melody to slow my mind down, and the sounds of the animals stop the tears from falling. For a brief moment, I stop and think. Think about why the certain thing is happening in my life, why this change is happening, and wonder what I am supposed to be learning from the entire situation. Then I can feel something in my heart, in my soul, in my mind tugging at me. As if my guides and guardians are trying to tell me something important. I sit there and listen. Listen to the wind, listen to the trees singing to me, listen to the animals that are roaming around and listening to the voice inside of me saying, “just breathe”. When I hear that, I instantly calm down. If it weren’t for that little voice inside telling me to just breathe, I would still be crying constantly, still be hyperventilating, still be hiding away from civilization. Instead, I stay in the forest a little while longer, let the soothing notes of the trees flow through me, let the gentle wind calm my aura, let the dew or the rain wash away the toxin or negativity away from me. Then I look up, stare at the sky, and whisper a “thank you”. This thank you is for mother earth, for father sky, for the animals that roam the forest and mountains, for the trees and rain, for my guides and ancestors. It is for them. Because they help me get through a tough ordeal and help me calm down a bit and help me find balance and peace. And in all honesty, that is what I need. It is what you need.

Bad news, it is something that we all do not want to receive from someone, no matter what the subject matter may be. It might be from a doctor, a family member, a friend, colleague, anyone; but we need to remember that we must stop and just breathe. Breathe in the air, breathe in the positivity, and things will ultimately get better. It might not be right away, but things will get better. They always do.

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Part of the Battle

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Step inside my mind and see what I deal with each and every passing day. See the torment and pain I try to hide inside my mind, away from your eyes. A diagnosis that doctors see as something that can be fixed with medications, yet they don’t really know. They just want to make more money, and dig you a deeper hole. The thought of a therapist makes you a nervous wreck, yet you know it will help you in the end. So you go to some sessions, until you can get back on your feet again. Yet it still lingers there, lurking in the shadows of your mind, ready to strike you down once again.
Pinning you down to your bed, leaving you staring at the ceiling hours on end.
You don’t bother to count the tiles or dots on your ceiling, you just stare blankly at it. With your doors locked and windows shut, you crawl deeper under the covers while the movie plays on in the background to keep you somewhat sane. The paints on the floor and canvases scattered, you steer clearly away from them until you have mustered the courage. Forget the poetry, forget the bills. Just removing your body from the bed is like being on trial in hell. It literally feels as though you are a puppet on a string, letting it have control of you and everything.
Once you’ve finally felt like you are feeling better, you head to work and begin to write again. But you know that it will strike you once again, because it lingers in the corners of your mind. But you know that it is part of the battle you must face, and you must live with it every single day.

* Depression is not something to be made fun of, and it isn’t something to be labeled as “sad”. It can try to control your life, and that’s something I know very well. This post is what I have dealt with my entire life and it is a very real thing. My “medication” is my poetry and my painting, it helps me get through the tough days. If you are suffering from depression, please see a trusted physician or psychiatrist. It may be hard to go at first, but it will be worth it. Trust me.