Mental Health Update: The 3 Major Changes I Made to Get Out of Depression
posted on May 7, 2019 | by Amanda Holstein
The last year has been a lot harder than it’s looked in photos. I’m not gonna lie, my depression was getting out of control. I would start to feel better one week and then—BOOM, it was back. I felt like I couldn’t escape it, as much as I tried to. (Don’t worry, this ends happy, I promise!) I’ve been in and out of depression since I was 22 (you can read about that here), meaning I’d struggle for a few months and then be good for a few years. I continued that cycle for a long time. But this time was different. The depression just wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t there every single day, but it was there for the majority of this last year. And let me tell you, 9 months of depression can make you think, “Is this just who I am?”.
But a few months ago, I decided to change the way I was trying to get better. Because, clearly, my usual methods of therapy & meds weren’t working on their own. They were absolutely helping, but I needed to think outside the box this time around. So I wanted to share with you guys everything I’ve been doing over these last few months to get out of depression, and why today, I honestly feel the happiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life (so far!).
1. I took a lonnngggggg break.
I’ve taken “breaks” from work before. I’ve taken the week off or only posted on Instagram. But my business was still constantly on my mind. So back in November 2018, I decided to take a true break from blogging. I didn’t publish any posts, I didn’t check my email, I didn’t take on any campaigns, I stopped posting to Instagram, and basically decided to just take this massive responsibility off my plate altogether. This meant I wasn’t making money or being productive every day, which is a scary thought for most of us. But there comes a time where you have to choose your mental health over anything else. Because you need to be YOU in order to do anything else.
And I’m so glad I did. Money will always come and go, and I know it will come back. My blog wasn’t going anywhere either and I could always come back to it. Relieving myself from that pressure and creating more headspace to focus on my well-being was essential to kicking this depression in the ass.
2. I started seeing a Functional Medicine doctor.
Here’s a great article that digs into what Functional Medicine really is. But, basically, it focuses on your entire body, mind, and lifestyle. It’s heavily science-based, but it takes a holistic approach. To resolve whatever you’re struggling with, these doctors look to natural remedies (changing your diet, supplements), as well as adjusting your lifestyle habits, environment, and more. I could go on forever, but for now I’ll just share an overview of my personal experience. Basically, I’ve cut out a ton of things from my diet: gluten, processed sugar, dairy, and more, with the goal of cleaning out my gut. I’ve also added in a ton of supplements, based on bloodwork that showed where I was lacking.
And you guys, I have real energy for the first time in my life! I wake up, without an alarm, at 6:30am. Happy. With energy. Even my bio says I’m not a morning person! I can last throughout the day without needing a nap. I can think straight and don’t experience as much “brain fog”. Don’t get me wrong, I miss donuts like crazy. But this diet isn’t forever and it’s teaching me just how important it is to take care of my body. I’m always so focused on improving my way of thinking that I forgot how much the body can affect your mood as well. More on this in another post!
3. I’m prioritizing activities that truly bring me joy.
I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I’ve been playing soccer since I was 2 years old. And it was seriously my life. I played on multiple teams in high school and planned to play in college (fortunately, I chickened out last minute). I played on some pick-up leagues in college, but once I got into the real world, soccer just wasn’t a part of my life anymore. I hated working out, though I never admitted it, and I was honestly too scared to get back into it. I had many excuses — time, not knowing anyone, being out of shape, etc. Then, after 5+ years of not playing and only doing Pilates classes (which I tried so hard to like), I decided to find a team. I was depressed and I knew soccer made me happy so I pushed myself to bring it back into my life.
And, you guys, there’s a reason it made the list here. I feel like me again. I found girls who have my sense of humor, I’m exercising in a way that I actually enjoy, I have a social life again, I could go on and on and on. Here’s the thing: doing things you love is happiness! How can you be happy if your time is filled with things you don’t love to do? It seems so simple, but we forget to prioritize what truly brings us joy. Your life is defined by how you spend it. So spend it doing things you love!