“How did you break free?” The earnest in her voice surprised me. It took me a second to see beyond her trademark dramatic flair and red lipstick. But, as she clasped my hands, I knew that she was desperate to believe there was hope.
The aunt of one of my closest friends, I’d known her for years. Outwardly, she seemed full of hope, but underneath she was deeply scarred by depression. She died from a heart attack just over a year later. I’ve often wondered if she’d managed to find some peace.
Over the course of my career, many have asked me how I overcame depression. I intended to discuss a different topic this week, but on Thursday someone told me, “I enjoyed your post on depression, but how can I get over it? How did you do it?”
There was that question again. I hesitate answering in such a brief space for fear of my insights being mistaken for a simplified prescription. But I do want to share openly. Space limits me here, but I discuss the seven critical strategies that helped me “do the work” I required to overcome my depression in my book and DVD THRIVE! 7 Strategies for Extraordinary Living. Today, we’ll focus on three Iessons that prepared me to do my work. I pray that you find something here to help you, or that you can share with others… but please seek medical help in your recovery:
1. I Learned Good Grief: At the age of 17, a well-meaning teacher questioned some of the changes in me. Tears overflowed as I tried expressing myself. She responded, “God is not moved by tears, He is moved by faith.” While her intent was to help, she only made it worse. All I heard was, “You’re failing God.”
In the name of faith, I was afraid to grieve the things that hurt me. Instead of crying, venting and releasing, I put on a brave face. I didn’t understand that shortcutting my grief did more damage.
Over time, I learned to use my depression as a means to deepen my faith and connect with God. I stopped suppressing my emotions and allowed them to have their purpose. God could handle them—He didn’t disapprove of me because I was depressed.
2. I Let Others in My Process: I stopped denying my need for people. Depression led me to cut loved ones off for various reasons. I discovered that some people were uncomfortable with the fact that they could not “fix” me. So, I figured I’d save them the trouble and emotionally retreated.
That decision was unfair to those who would have been more than willing to be there. When I stopped trying to control how others responded to me, I realized that even though I felt alone—I wasn’t. There were people who wanted to help me through my pain.
3. I Explored My Gifts: Depression drained me and I stopped doing the things I loved. But one day out of sheer desperation, I started writing. What did I have to lose? In my writing, I found a sliver of myself again. Over time, the consistent act of doing what I loved helped me progress. Each taste of joy—no matter how faint—gave me reason to hold on and hope.
I am proof that depression doesn’t have to be the end. For me, it took time and hard work—which meant reading books, focusing on my development and facing my damaged emotions. I encourage you to take the steps to find your new beginning!
There are varying levels and types of depression. Some are seasonal based on your life’s circumstances—such as navigating a job loss. Others, however, may require the help of family and professionals. Take this Depression Test—or share it with a loved one.
Named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.