As a mom and woman when I see and read the headlines ...they break my heart. If I'm not careful I can fall into depression and be overcome by it. What I've learned though is that when I'm in that state I have to remember to go through it, not around what I'm feeling. Allowing myself to feel no matter how painful it is. These past few weeks I have been dealing with a sense of loss. Watching wars unfold and the loss of Robin Williams as well as the topics of depression and mental illness being debated and talked about. I know it very well. While I can't change what is happening around the world today, I can control how it effects me. If I can change myself then it's a step in the right direction to being able to offer myself to others that are effected and also hurting. I think artists are particularly effected for some reason. I think it's because images effect me to my core and can leave me feeling heartbroken. So I am writing this like an open letter for anyone that wants to read it as these suggestions are things that have helped me along the way.
You are strong, but depression will make you feel weak. This is when you need to remind yourself of your strengths. Make a list and keep it near you so when you need to be reminded, you'll see that you have been brave before, you have been strong and can do it again.
Help others. When you are in the throws of grief or depression it's hard to see past the couch or your bedroom. But this is the time when you can help others. By turning the focus away from yourself and helping another person who perhaps is facing the same issue. You not only help them, you help lift your own suffering. It gives purpose to the fact that you have suffered and can say to someone else... "me too".This is how BeBrave Mujer! was born. By helping others I am also helping myself.
Have yourself a good cry and a good laugh. Both laughing and crying are healing. So what if you are now the new La Llorona. Tears wash away and helps release emotional stress. Tears are cleansing. Laughter is uplifting.
Become an editor and learn to use the delete button. If using social media and seeing posts that upset you or are emotionally disturbing, start deleting or hiding people that consistently post things that you know will upset you. Don't sit in front of the TV watching the news for hours. If you find an activity that makes you feel good... do that and remember it for the next time you are down.
Exercise. Yes get off the couch. Start by walking around your block. If you have access to a gym or a exercise class like Zumba, or swimming do that. Get your endorphins going. Not only will you feel better, but hey... you are no longer sitting on the couch and that's progress right?
Do something different. A wise person once said, "the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result." What does this mean? It means you have to change if you want to see different results. Ask yourself what's next? Instead of thinking what other tragedy or thing is going to happen, think of what you can do to change the situation. Join a club, a movement, an art class, start a blog to bring awareness, do something different that you normally do.
Forgive. When we are in depression or fear, it often is a result of an event in our life or in the world that has caused you to be sad or fearful. Learn to forgive whatever it was. Remember that forgiveness is stronger than fear. Forgiveness means forgiving that person that hurt you and releasing judgement. If you can do that, you are on your way to finding hope and change. The opposite of fear is Love.
So what does all this mean? It means that broken hearts can heal, broken hearts can love again. Depression is not forever. It is temporary. When you open yourself to love ... freely giving and receiving those things that heal your heart, not only are you becoming a brave woman, you now have a brave heart.
Be Brave Mujer,