Depression & PTSD: What Can You Do?
I have battled with depression since I was nine years old, though at that age I had no idea that I had depression. Having a childhood that has a traumatic brick wall getting in the way of your mental drive really has an impact on your adulthood. After having a relapse at age 15 over a simple English project I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder along with chronic depression. As I got older, the diagnosis included chronic anxiety and signs of short term memory loss. This has been diagnosed by multiple doctors, psychologists, and therapists over the years during the times I have had health insurance.
In 2011 while I was pregnant with my daughter, I was put on Zoloft as that was the medication I was always supposed to be on to help regulate the missing serotonin in my brain. But with all the hormonal changes going on in my body due to me creating a life, my body could no longer handle antidepressants of any kind. I would instead get severe migraines and had to stop taking them which caused me to have to find other outlets for my depression. It is now January of 2016 and I have had severe anxiety floating in and out of me for several months (and within the last 5 days it has caused quite a few panic attacks). So one may ask, how do you handle such depressive and emotional spells without the help of the medication? Isn't the medication supposed to balance you? Isn't the medication supposed to replenish what your body isn't creating? Yes, and no.
All anti-depressants do is remove the block that is causing your brain to not function properly. Whether your brain is not creating enough of a certain chemical or is creating too much these man made medications are meant to balance you out. But first hand I have had horrible side effects. Not just the migraines but it would put me in a fog sometimes. I would just...live but not enjoy life. Some people say that Ritalin does the same to their children who have ADD and ADHD, which is a reason I have tried not to take any medications in several years. Instead, I found that there are other ways to handle depression and these are some suggestions anyone can use.
Once an anxiety attack begins, I have literally less than two minutes to take control otherwise I will have a full blown crying fit where I can't stop. I will be bawling, rocking back and forth, gasping for air and sobbing for someone to help me with whatever problem it is that set me off. Usually, I'll call my Dad and he'll talk me down off the ceiling. But one thing he helped me do is find some meditation ways. One being to find a tree outside the home. Stare at the tree, watch the wind blow through the branches and the leaves flutter in the breeze. Take three deep breaths while watching the tree sway and slowly, the tears will stop. Finding the tree finds grounding and helps you take natural beauty. Another way to meditate would be to light a candle and stare at it in the dark. This one has helped me many times because as you stare at the flame, your eyes tend to forget to blink. You sometimes forget to breathe. Fire is hypnotizing and such a beautiful way to meditate. Sometimes I'll stare at the flame and tell myself that my anxiety is "burning away" with the wick which helps as well.
Today the temperature hit 45 degrees in Texas as the high and yet I felt anxiety in my chest several times throughout the day. So I decided to take a walk. I walked about a mile and just enjoyed the quiet nature. The sound of the trees rustling in the breeze, the birds chirping as they flew by (remember they flew south for the Winter so right now we have double the birds begging for french fries). A squirrel scampering through the grass with a nut in it's mouth hoping to eat it or bury it...if its relative is Scrat. By the time I got home I was able to calm myself down considerably and I told myself "Just let it go. Deal with it when it comes, but stop this." Which actually did work 80% of the rest of the night. Yes, I still get the pangs in my chest and stomach once every...oh...30 minutes or so but it doesn't last. I couldn't have gotten that clarity if I'd stayed indoors and sitting.
TALKING TO THE GODDESS (OR GOD)
This past Summer, I took my first steps on my Wiccan path and my Dad is my teacher. He has taught me about chants and meditation but the one thing I have definitely clung to is speaking to the Goddess. You can do this with any religion, speak to your God or "Higher Power". I speak a certain chant which for me opens the communication with the Goddess and I proceed to speak to her. I don't ask for help for myself, I just talk. By the time I'm done talking I am calmer and almost always...I have a response. In some way, shape, or form I feel as though speaking my issues out loud and asking for guidance (I never ask for a solution for my problems) just lets me clear my head. I usually can find more options in my life at that point which would help me fix whatever it is that is causing the anxiety. I also feel stronger, and more sure of myself by the time I am finished and that is most important.
I wrote this article simply because daily I deal with the villains in my life that are within my head. I don't choose this nor do I want it. I don't want pity, nor do I want sympathy for the life I have had to live. I know many will roll their eyes and the phrase "So just get over it." will be said by some and my response that is "Gee, why didn't I think of that?" just like many others will think. I hope that my article helped someone else find a way to get past their dark moments and can move on in their day without feeling that painful chain.
Elizabeth is a work at home Mother of a sweet and beautiful daughter. She is a wife of seven years and a blogger for some time now. When she isn't spending time with her "Livvybug" she is looking for new review opportunities and writing or singing along to classic rock and pop music!