Name: Oluchi Nweke
From: Philadelphia, PA
A Little Can Go a Long Way
Are you really sure you’re depressed? … I think you’re just being lazy … Maye if you travelled more, you would be happier … Work harder and you won’t have the time to think about being depressed … These and many more are what make it harder for people to admit that they are depressed. Unsolicited advice, ignorant remarks and being condescending never helped anyone, and it never will. It certainly never helped me, but what I can say did was finding a community that truly listened and understood. One that never judged me and gave me space to talk and just be, and I think this is a practice that could very well help – talking that is.
Now I don’t believe talking alone is a true solution, but I think it goes a long way. Talking to a therapist, a counsellor, friends, really anyone you trust could be there for you. Attention, affection and empathy truly helps. And if one does not access to any of this, making entries in a journal is a good substitute. I know that keeping everything bottled inside is not only harmful to oneself, it could very well affect loved ones. I found that pouring out the feelings inside is cathartic in a way that noting else is. It gives a sense of relief kind of like when you let go of a burden or a secret too taboo to mention.
Another little practice I like to keep up with is a to do list, not because keeping busy makes me think less, but rather for the fulfilling sense of accomplishment I get when I complete a project. It could be anything; homework, laundry, dishes, cleaning up the living room, it all counts. This helps me especially when I am in a funk, too unmotivated to do anything. Taking a shower and fixing up something to eat helps me clear my head, gives me that little boost to at least do my dishes and clean up where I ate, and it usually builds up from there. Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter.
Now, many believe that exercise and healthy eating helps just to keep physically fit, but that’s not all there is to it. Regular exercise also helps in the upkeep of mental health, I know it does for me. A healthy body does facilitate a healthy mind. I find that when I skip out on exercises that suffers my body, naturally my mind suffers too. I start to doubt myself, lack a sense of self-worth, and I tend to feel more anxious. So, I make it a habit to sneak any exercise to my day. Be it jogging or squats or pull ups, I make sure to incorporate something to my day, and when I do, I feel confident and clearer and frankly on top of the world in that moment.
These practices have helped me and so I believe it cold help others dealing with the same things. Basically, I believe putting yourself out there, taking care of your body and doing a chore or two everyday could really go a long way. No matter what, it is better than doing nothing. The journey to healing begins with you, so why not start with the little things?