Mental health, Depression and Anti-Depressants – In a world where choices shape our paths and emotions carve our destinies, there’s a truth we must confront, even if it’s not the easiest pill to swallow. But we need to get real. It’s a very tough topic, but I’m not going to sugarcoat it. It’s not a comfortable truth, but it’s one that we need to face head-on.
The reality is the state of our mental health is a daily choice. One that we have to consciously make every single day. One we have to put effort into, one that we have to work on. Every morning we wake up with a decision to make. We can choose to start the day with a positive outlook, a neutral mindset, or let ourselves slide into negativity. That choice, when consistently tilted towards negativity, sets a pattern. Over time, that pattern becomes a habit. And eventually, that habit leads to depression.
I know because I’ve been there. I know the allure of falling into a routine of daily unhappiness, losing interest in everything, neglecting self-care, and seeking escape from reality. I felt the lack of enthusiasm, the urge to withdraw from society, and the desire to avoid all interactions. There were days when I barely spoke a word, even to my pet, not to mention having suicidal thoughts. In 2017.
There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed and others when I only got the bare essentials done and then I’d go back to bed. My energy levels were consistently low. I felt numb. Nothing could affect me. Nobody could reach me. I wouldn’t listen to anybody. If anybody paid me a compliment, I would not assimilate it. In fact, I wouldn’t assimilate half of what anybody was saying to me. I wouldn’t believe them. I felt unworthy, and embarrassed.
My mind would be thinking, yeah, in an incredulous way, resistant to anything coming from the external world that could remotely be positive. Just like many people, I found temporary escapism and instant gratifications that would alleviate my condition, my symptoms, if you like, for a short while. But they weren’t the solution to the problem. In fact, none of us can run from our problems forever. Running can offer a momentary distraction or a false sense of security. But eventually, we have to confront our challenges.
Unfortunately, after each fleeting high though, the subsequent low can feel even more devastating, leaving us to seek more escapism. During lockdown, mental health issues soared. And it’s no surprise we’ve become a society reliant on escapism. We all carry varying degrees of unhappiness and we all experience different forms of suffering. To cope, we turn to distractions. Some people use substance abuse as alcohol, food, drugs. Some people may obsessively seek solace in spirituality. We immerse ourselves in the endless offerings of the modern world, becoming disconnected from our true selves. And many of us struggle to fully embrace and accept who we are.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown forced us to confront ourselves. We were all stripped of these usual distractions. We were left alone, essentially, with our thoughts and our feelings. We were confronted with the aspects of our lives that we’ve been avoiding or that we mask on a daily basis without proper guidance and tools. It’s natural that panic, fear, and pain intensified, leading to a surge in mental health issues.
I probably experienced Lockdown very differently. To most people, I was actually quite happy to be at home, although I wasn’t very happy that I lost everything — my business, my income, several friends, family members. But Lockdown gave me the opportunity to really look inwardly at everything in my life. And no matter how painful the things were that came to the surface, I found a way to deal with them, to let them go.
Without resorting to antidepressants, most people wouldn’t have been able to go through what I’ve been through in life and still be here to tell the story. Just to give you a clue, by the age of 15, I was actually taking 60 drops of thallium a day to deal with anxiousness anxiety. But since becoming a holistic health practitioner and a Reiki master, I’ve learned to depend less on pharmaceuticals and more on holistic ways of healing.
I’ve come to learn the relationship there is between the mind, our thoughts, the energy those thoughts produce, and our physical state of being. And it pains me nowadays that so many people are taking antidepressants, especially as there are so many side effects associated with these drugs.
Did you know that antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, interact with our neurotransmitter systems? This interaction can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. They can upset the delicate balance within our gut. They can cause our metabolic functions to malfunction. This, in turn, can cause things like dizziness, headaches. It can trigger neurological side effects. There’s also a rare condition known as serotonin syndrome, which can even occur when one is taking antidepressants.
Certain antidepressants can even impact heart rate and blood pressure. Although antidepressants can certainly shut out some of our negative experiences, they also shut out some of our positive ones. They can alter our memory, our attention, our decision-making abilities. They can impact our daily functioning and our cognitive well-being. In addition to all of this, there can be societal and psychological repercussions.
The idea of having to rely on medication for emotional well-being might actually trigger feelings of inadequacy weakness. Some people may feel that way, so they’re taking antidepressants, but it’s actually counterproductive to the intended outcome or the desired outcome from taking the antidepressants.
What got me through my depression and my mental health issues were mindfulness and meditation. I became aware of every thought I had and what emotion was associated with that thought. And recognizing each emotion that was triggered by the thoughts, I was able to catch myself and transform those thoughts from negative to more positive.
I won’t say that I became happy overnight because that would be a lie. But I learned to distinguish how my thoughts and my emotions affected my mood on a regular basis and how that affected my lifestyle in general. I also started to take responsibility for my part in some of the bad things that have happened throughout my life, taking my power back, which in turn made me more confident, and resilient.
And that’s why I felt compelled to write my book, Unlock the Power Within and share with you here on YouTube my experience and hopefully find a way to help you to overcome your challenges without reliance on pharmaceuticals. I’m not telling anyone to go and throw their antidepressants away. I mean, if I had a choice, I would. But I realize that for some people they have merits, but I’d like you also to consider their drawbacks.
What I’m suggesting is an alternative for eliminating depression symptoms holistically and organically. An alternative that includes mindfulness exercise, therapy, and a lot of inner work to organically transform thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that are detrimental to our well-being, physical, mental, and emotional.
I believe that with a little bit of willpower, determination, and strength, each and every one of us can transform organically. With that in mind, and based on my own experience, I am in the process of designing a new transformational course aimed at taking people from Victimhood to Victory; empowering them to take back control of their minds, their well-being and their physical well-being.