EP 005 - Overcoming The Destructive Mindset
Updated: Feb 18, 2019
Depression. The word alone may have caused your heart to race. It’s an ugly place and the reality can be far worse than what many can comprehend. It’s a place that even others may have been but no one's story can be completely understood by another.
Things are going good... you have all that you need, you are blessed, and from the outside looking in, “you should be happy”. But you aren’t, at least not all the time. It’s a rollercoaster you’re trapped on - a real-life horror.
You make plans for a weekend out with friends and the simple thought of the weekend approaching gives you anxiety and has you tirelessly scrolling through the Rolodex of why ‘you won’t be able to make it.' It wears on every other part of your life until it comes and goes. You sit in the darkness of the storm knowing that you were supposed to be somewhere else, but you’re not.
It wakes you up at night, and it won’t let you go back to sleep. It leads you to a dark room in the middle of a beautiful day to sit confused and overwhelmed by your thoughts. You feel guilty for not being able to focus on what’s good, but rather what’s not.
It’s listening to a room full of happy, playful and charismatic people and wondering what’s wrong with you. ‘Why can’t I feel those emotions?'
You’ve listened to the advice and encouragement of a friend, a loved one or maybe even someone you look up to, and even though you hear the words, and they make sense, you can’t apply them.
Being stuck in this place, left feeling like the only one person on the outside looking in, hating who you are and living with the anxiety of not being able to make changes can destroy your life. I know, I lived there once myself.
Mental health is that thing that in years past no one wanted to talk about, admit to, or acknowledge. Even today as we become more aware of issues related to depression, anxiety, and overwhelm there is still the proverbial “elephant in the room…”
Well, today I’m here to take the Elephant for a hike
Depression affects over 18 million adults every year.
Depression is the leading cause of disability for ages 15- 44.
It is the primary reason of suicide with a person committing suicide every 13 minutes (over 41,000 a year).
Not only does depression take control of your personal life, but it can also take control of your job. Depression in the work place accounts for 490 million disability days from work each year in the US. It is responsible for $23 billion on lost work days every year, and takes an economic toll of over $100 billion every single year.
As mind blowing as some of these stats are, they are unfortunately not even close to helping us understand the devastation that depression brings.
I know personally from having walked a long and super bumpy road with depression that it’s not easy to face, even harder to admit to and speak about openly - but IT IS controlling a HUGE part of the world, and more than likely you have experienced it, or know someone that struggles in this area.
Symptoms of depression can be as mild as not feeling fired up with life, feeling sad or down, losing motivation, not enjoying life the way you used to, withdrawing yourself from social activities, trouble with cognition and focus, memory, staying preset, and so on.
It can also show up in forms that are more severe and life altering like secluding yourself from others, missing work, thoughts of suicide, sabotaging relationships, or withdrawing from your family.
Depression can leave you feeling empty, and alone, but you aren't, and I am going to share my personal battle with depression, and hopefully give you some insight, perspective, and hope in walking down this road you, or someone you love is on.
I was dying inside and when I wasn’t drowning in my own self hate I was clinging on to things that would give me some piece of temporary happy. I fell into chasing the wrong things hoping that somewhere along the way I would find some magic that would pull me out of my funk, or that I would just die.
I began the journey as a young teen and continued to spiral for many years. In 2004 I went through one of the worst years of my life. I was 20 and on top of being lost in who I was, I was bouncing around on antidepressant prescriptions the doctors gave me, and continuing to spend my nights partying, drinking and not taking care of my body.
I chased boyfriends hoping their validation would give me the love that I couldn’t allow myself. I lost jobs for being too hungover to make it to work, and I lost touch with anything good I knew, including some of my family.
After sitting on the edge for so long, and not knowing what to do, I decided one night that taking a bottle of pills would be the easy way out of living in the hell another day. But when I eventually woke up the next afternoon on the floor... I had the massive realization that I was still in hell, and now I had to deal with the harsh reality of what I had just done.
A few years later I would get news that would force me to get real, and make the changes I didn't even know I was capable of- I was going to be a mom. I didn’t know where to start, but I knew that I had to.
It was time for some new habits so, I’d go for a walk outside everyday no matter what - rain, shine, snow - it didn’t matter. I had to move. It was the only time in my life I could remember ever feeling that good. There was something about the fresh air, the feeling of my feet on the ground and my beating heart that began to reconnect me with life.
It wasn't a flawless plan, and occasionally I would fall off and start to sink back into that negative mindset, but ultimately for the first time IN MY LIFE I created consistency - I COULD CONTROL it, and that felt so good.
What I didn’t know was that In the next couple years my course would deviate and I would come toe to toe again with some life shattering experiences. In my mid 20’s I went through another match, this time I found myself battling to find any self worth, feeling alone, and not sure of what was to come next.
I was a mom of two now and madly in love with my kids, but the rest of my life felt empty and I was dealing with the unfolding of my emotions as I recovered from a truly unspeakable time of my life.
At around the same time I separated from my kids father, and as we began going in separate ways the ugly face of splitting from him started taking a toll on my boys. The raw and ruthless emotions they experienced in the confusion was my rock bottom. I left pickup or drop off’s with the kids and was filled with so much sadness for them that I felt paralyzed. Why would my life continue to struggle like this?
I often sat and wondered why my life felt destined to be a battlefield. I remember looking around at “happy people”, families, and others success and wondering how they found such happiness, wondering if they had hidden demons or battles they faced.
Over time I slowly began to get back to life. Well, I was at least going through the motions, working my 40 hours, playing with the boys, hitting my workouts, and then spending the majority of my free time laying in bed with the curtains closed.
I found myself comparing who I was to my co workers, the clients at the gym I worked at, the cute couple out on a date, the families that were still intact... to nearly everyone.
Lining myself up against them never lead me to finding validation or positivity in myself, but I never considered that how I was treating myself was a huge part of my problem. Well, it was the problem.
I am one of those people who has an entire world in my head but in my outward appearance I’m quiet, reserved, and withdrawn. I let thoughts, ideas, dreams, and the unknown roll around in my head until they almost feel more like life than what is going on around me - which is the very reason that as negative, self destructive, and hateful thoughts would come into mind, I would believe them.
I’m not worth it. I’m not good enough. I’m not smart like her. I'm a failure... Used to be words that consumed me almost daily.
I was stuck, for nearly 20 years in a mindset that I was creating, reiterating, and ingraining. I was creating my self doubt, self sabotage and hate. I was creating my negative mindset and it was controlling my life.
Anyone woman (or man) who has stumbled down this path, or who has battled with times of depression, overwhelm and anxiety, you know first hand how alone this journey feels. You feel secluded, guilty, worthless, unlovable, and alone...
What I want to tell you right now, no matter what part of the journey you are on, YOU ARE NOT ALONE, you are your own captain on this ride, BUT THAT DOES NOT mean that others can’t relate, understand, walk beside you and offer you comfort and help.
If you are in this place and struggling to create a happy, level, and controlled life, today is going to be your course change.
It’s time to let go of the past. It’s time to let go of guilt, or shame, or doubt, or fear.
It’s time to let yesterday be behind you and today be your only map to the future.
If you are currently seeking therapy, that is wonderful - I encourage you to keep at it. But I want to send a few tips and ideas your way in order for you to be able to find balance, and shift your focus on the good that you have, and that YOU CAN CREATE with a positive mindset.
Step ONE: I would like for you to go back and listen to Episode 003 all about Setting Goals. I will personally walk you through how to assess, develop, and create positive and attainable goals.
BEFORE WE DO ANYTHING ELSE LET’S FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE, AND MAKE A PLAN TO GET YOU THERE.
One way that we can create some control in our lives is to establish goals, and have specific things to work toward. Schedule in an hour or so to sit down in a quiet, distraction free area and begin planning out the next phase of your NEW JOURNEY.
You will outline your goals, assess where you are, create the vision, and begin to implement those elements into your life.
Step TWO: SHIFTING YOUR MINDSET - there will be a few parts here that I want you to focus on, daily, and sometimes by the minute, AFFIRMATIONS.
I want you to spend five to ten minutes every morning writing down, AND THEN SAYING ALOUD, 5-8 personal affirmations. Use this time and these affirmations to focus on positive attributes or qualities you have, and ones that you are working toward.
These affirmations should be the template for resetting the tone in which you communicate with yourself, and the bridge between the negative mentality that you carry now, and the positive, self loving, confident mindset that you are creating.
I recommend also reflecting on these throughout the day, at work, before you hit the gym, before bed and anytime you hear the old negative self talk come back. If you find yourself going back to the self doubt or destructive way of thinking, STOP YOURSELF and replace it with a productive and affirmed voice.
Instead of, "I’m fat, lazy and a failure” you will say, “I may not be right where I want to be, but I am a work in progress, taking steps in the right direction, and worth the hard work.” You can use the same daily affirmations (as they apply), or you can begin each day with new ones. Find what works for you, this is YOUR journey and it doesn’t have to fit any other expectation.
Step THREE: It’s time to MOVE. Getting outside, moving your body, beginning a new exercise routine, or just going for a hike can improve your outlook and fade depression symptoms.
Studies show that those who move their bodies with purpose for 30 minutes a day have significantly improved self worth, and lower depression and anxiety symptoms.
Your job for now is to begin with something basic - get out and move. Don’t find excuses of time or weather, or not knowing where to start. Go to the mall and walk laps if you have to. Hire a coach, or get a loved one or coworker to be your accountability partner. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or expensive, or a radical change, it just has to be something.
These are just the beginning pieces of changing your life, and getting out from under the dark cloud. For now, DON’T WORRY about what’s next. First knock these three steps out of the way, and then you can begin to focus on the rest. Right now your only job is learning to love yourself, redirecting and controlling where your mind goes, the way you communicate with yourself, and moving your body with purpose.
I guess it also goes without saying too, that learning to stay focused on your journey and not what other people are doing is a pivotal piece in finding happiness and self worth in yourself. For me if I am ever feeling defeated, sad, unmotivated or overwhelmed and I turn to comparison, everything in my life that is bothering me, stressing me out, or overwhelming me gets magnified…
You can control your exposure to how other people “make you feel” by not allowing yourself to compare what you have, or don't have, to others.
If you find it hard not to look at others and compare then maybe a break from social media, or unfollowing those who don't make YOU A BETTER VERSION OF YOURSELF would be a good idea.
Maybe you need to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships, or find a new social group that encourages your growth and new journey…. Whatever it takes, GIRL YOU ARE WORTH IT ALL.
I am also a huge advocate of continuing to invest in a positive mindset and highly suggest finding a new book (audio or paperback) to jump into. This serves as another source of mindset affirmations and improving perspective by consistency.
There are several good books on the market right now, but one that I just finished and LOVED was, You Are A BADASS by Jen Sincero. This book focuses on learning to create great things in your life, loving yourself, letting go of doubt, and living a bad ass life -it's not for everyone, but I think it is a fantastic book, and well worth the read (or listen).
REMEMBER, you have what it takes, you just haven't had the new mindset to take you down this journey and find the right way- but you're getting it now.