When the Negative Meets the Positive

It's interesting how others may perceive you. I was told by many of my past therapists that I look so happy and not somebody who suffered with anxiety or depression. One thing about me is: I'm never fake. But one thing people don't know about me is, whenever I'm in a depression, I tend to stay away from people, so they never see that side of me. And I do it for two reasons: for one, I don't want to depress anybody else with my gloom 'n doom attitude, and secondly, I usually view the world on a sour note while I'm depressed. So it's best that I live in my little bubble during that time. I have this wonderful therapist who'll occasionally receive a frantic text from me saying, "I can't take it anymore!" And she knows I don't mean that I'm standing out on some ledge somewhere (which I have thought about in the past), so she'll soothe my anxiety and then make me come into her office or even be gracious enough to do a phone therapy session. She's been such a blessing. When I first met her, she even stated, "You look like you're all 'put-together' -- I can't see how you're depressed." But she hasn't seen me curled up in a ball crying my eyes our wishing I was dead. This was my reasoning for contacting her a couple of years ago. I wasn't handling the passing of my father very well (I mean, who does), and I was riddled with fear over the cancer diagnosis my mom had just received.

I tend to get depression them from time, and sometimes, for no apparent reason. Usually, I'll get them after having a huge panic attack. My anxiety attacks range from nightly myoclonic jerks to full blown heart racing panic attacks that give me chest pains much like a heart attack. I sometimes end up in the ER just to be on the safe side. Depression is the downfall of anxiety, which is why so many people use antidepressants when they have anxiety. Anyway, through a lot of soul searching, prayer, meditation and reading, I have discovered ways to keep positive and "refreshed" each day. My life isn't perfect, but I am learning how to cope much better. I'm writing this just to share with you some of the things that have helped me. I still have lots of anxiety, but with much less depression. If this helps you, then great... If not, then always keep trying to discover new ways to keep your happiness alive.

For one, I write down at least five things that I'm grateful for. This keeps my perspective very positive. I have been meditating and praying in the morning every single day. I am so addicted to it, that now I make it a practice at night before I turn in. A new friend of mine said to me, that prayer and mediation is like a muscle. You have to use it every day for it to get stronger and stronger. And likewise with depression -- keeping positive practices in your life will result in a positive life. But life itself is never going to be perfect. That's just a given. But to have a better attitude when things fall apart is the key to staying afloat. I still have to practice, practice, practice because I'm nowhere near perfect.

Another thing I had to do was walk away from negative people. This can be anyone who sucks the living energy out of you -- whether they're always complaining, causing conflict or inviting you to their pity parties 24/7. And at the risk of sounding insensitive, sometimes you have to pull back in order to regain your sense of happiness again, because negativity can rub off on you faster than you'd think. There are also people who are "seemingly" happy, to where you get to know them better enough, their "negativity" can be one where they're just one of those types of people who have nothing good to say about anything or anyone -- always criticizing everybody 'n their mother. They seem to suck you right into their drama. It's absolutely draining. I try to entertain them in small doses. A friend stated to me just yesterday, "You seem happy, I thought you had depression."  It was more of a compliment in my opinion. Yes, I am happy because I am with the people I love the most, I have a great family, a wonderful home, and I love what I do. I have a lot of things to be grateful for, but don't think that depression doesn't knock on my door from time to time, because it does. It usually creeps up on me when I have a bad panic attack. That one panic attack can set off my depression for as long as 3-5 days. It's like my brain is just recovering. That's the only way I can explain it. I suffer from bouts of insomnia which triggers my depression. It's not fun going on day five with zero sleep. Not only that, but I'm not allowed to drive after day two due to my myoclonic seizures (which is not epileptic) but it's triggered by sleep deprivation. My anxiety and depression may come in different forms than yours, but nonetheless, it effects my life greatly.

I truly don't understand why people who have anxiety and depression or any other type of mental illness don't seek the needed help. And don't tell me "it's too expensive". I pay out of pocket. Let's put it this way: I pay out of pocket on a sliding scale (thank you therapist) so that I can have quality of life. So I miss a few nail appointments, but it's so worth it. For somebody to not value their own mental health is just baffling to me. Your mental health is the most important thing you can maintain. This is your entire "world" -- as you perceive it -- as you perceive yourself. How can you not take care of that? It doesn't mean you're "CRAZY" or that you'll end up on some dirty psyche ward in a straight jacket -- it means that you care enough about yourself, and those around you. Remember, when you're depressed, your loved ones feel it too. The energy you bring into a room while you're depressed is very dark. It's sometimes so dark, that it feels downright dreadful. Sometimes, the person feels isolated due to their own dark energy being felt by others. People seem to run away, and rightfully so. I run away whenever I feel it. I know how contagious it is.

So here's what worked for me if you're feeling depressed and negative feelings.

Pray and meditate every single morning. Make it a ritual. Set out a time, for however long you can do it. This will make it a habit.

Read up on positive scriptures that'll reinforce God's love for you. Here are some below.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. --Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. --Psalm 147:3 

Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may work through me. --2 Corinthians 12:9 

Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. --Matthew 11:28

I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. --Philippians 4:13

These scriptures help me keep my focus on God and to help restore my happiness. I try not to bog down my friends with my negative baggage in life, that's what my therapist is for. But there's nothing wrong with getting a little advice here and there. Just make sure that you're not sucking the living life out of them. People can be very sensitive when it comes to sharing their positivity with others. So when somebody is constantly whining and complaining about life -- that friend may very well need a break from you. I'm not saying this to be "mean" or "cruel" -- I'm saying this as a fact. Your friends are there to share in your happiness, laughter, as well as your hardships. But once the scale tips to where it's only hardships without the help of a professional -- how much more can that positive friend last?

So do yourself a favor, if you can't help yourself to balance out your own emotions, find a wonderful therapist who can assist you with all of your issues. Watch how your life turns around. Watch how your friends come back into your life. A depressed person repels the positive ones. A depressed person feeds off the positive, leaving the other person feeling very empty. It's important to know that if you do suffer from depression. I know, because I suffer from it too. I just realize how much it affects other people. It's a law. Not only try to be positive, but try to be around those who are positive too.

I hope this has helped in some way. I'm not downing anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression, because I have it too. I'm only sharing what I experience and what I have found that works best for me. Many people don't understand the level of pain and frustration that people go through who experience anxiety and depression. They just think it's 'another bad day' for us, when it's sometimes the end of the world in some cases. But you're not alone. And don't think that your happy-go-lucky neighbor, friend or co-worker has the perfect life. Sometimes anxiety and depression doesn't show up on the radar. Sometimes it's because they're putting on a facade, and other times, their anxiety and depression only shows up when they're alone. Everybody is different. Just because you have depression doesn't mean you look the part either. This is why many of my past therapists never believed me when I said I suffered with anxiety and depression. I didn't look the part. But isn't that judging a book by its cover?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!