The Journey: Dealing with the ‘Struggle Bus’

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By Samantha Brazie, Special to The Paper

Have you ever heard the saying, “I’m on the struggle bus?” Well friends, I don’t know about you, but I have been on it. Big time.

To be honest, things have been more than a struggle for me. I have dipped in and out of depression since pre-teen years. Growing up, my family did not believe in depression … between a lack of awareness and being a no excuses, old school military family, there wasn’t a lot of room for it.

Then, I married a man that didn’t believe in it either – talk about a never-ending cycle. I never really understood why I struggled so much mentally – to believe in myself and to have confidence in any single part of who I was. Then I went to school and got a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Psychology has always been a passion of mine. To me, there is nothing more interesting than the human mind. As I completed my final year, I realized that one of the reasons I was so sad and always felt hopeless was because I was depressed.

At the time, my husband seemed to think this was a weakness. I just had to ‘get my mind right’ and ‘make a decision to change my thinking.’ Did I mention he was in the military too?

It’s really easy to look at someone else and see their issues, but human beings have a very difficult time doing this within themselves. I decided to embrace my ‘weakness’ to change it. Miraculously, with the combination of antidepressants and consistent counseling, I started to feel better. Over time, for multiple reasons, I stopped going to counseling. I thought I was okay for a while until I realized my reactions to situations and people were getting poisonous. I was pushing people out of my life. I found a counselor that was a good fit several years back and have been seeing her ever since.

I’m sharing this part of my Journey with you because depression is a real thing. It is not in your imagination. Right now, self-reported incidents of depression are higher than historic norms. If you can’t get in with a counselor for whatever reason, here are a few pointers that may be able to help temporarily until you can.

  • Focus on the positive. If you cannot see the people in your life that make you feel good, get them on a video chat. Have a virtual coffee or happy hour. Remove people from your news feed on social media that are negative and/or spread false news that you constantly see.
  • Get outside, walk, breathe, and learn to sort through your self-talk so only positive thoughts remain. Turn the TV off of the news. Eventually you will know when to walk away and deal with things in a way that is beneficial to you.
  • Use logic – not words like ‘never’, ‘always’ and ‘can’t’ in a self-defining negative way. For example: I ‘always’ make bad decisions, I am ‘never’ going to lose weight, I ‘can’t’ ever be pretty enough. If those words are important to you, turn them around to say something like: I ‘always’ have the opportunity to change my mind, I will ‘never’ stop trying to be the best possible version of myself, or I’m ‘not’ for everyone but I can be who I need to be for me.

Give yourself another day, another chance. You will find your courage eventually. Do not give up on yourself just yet. Remember, there is always hope. Keep your head up and remember you are living your Journey every single day. Until next time, friends.

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