As we wrap up our focus on health and wellness this month, I’m going to share with you my story about hope through depression and suicidal thoughts. *Affiliate links present in this post.*
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts and want to talk with someone, the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and they do have a live chat option which is https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.
If you’re a veteran, you can use https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.
My story takes us back to when I was in the Navy. We were living on the island of Oahu. I was having a really hard time processing the fact that I was so far away from my family, I felt super alone and that my leadership wasn’t doing a great job getting us/me acclimated to the Navy command.
A command is the headquarters for those Sailors or Soldiers assigned to that area.
I felt like the command was not supportive of the Sailors and there was not good moral in the command. There have been a lot of mental health issues in the military on Oahu because of different things. I know I’m not alone because of the number of people who have had difficulties.
Living in Hawaii was not a good time for me mentally or for my mental health. It was a very dark time. It was difficult to be happy when things at work were not good. I loved being in the Navy at my previous command. I was the top Sailor one of the years I was there. I loved my work, I loved my Sailors, and then to go to another command were things were not that way, it was sad.
It went from struggling with depression to suicidal thoughts to a suicide plan.
One of the girlfriends I’d shared my emotions with ended up telling my leadership and I was not happy with that. I was handling things on my own. For anyone who has been through this, it is possible to handle this on your own. It’s difficult but possible. They referred me to see a counselor and I’d already been seeing one. I was working on trying to get out of the Navy at the time because I knew it was not the best place for me to be at this point. The suicidal thoughts were when I knew it was not safe anymore.
I was pregnant at the time so there was a lot of strain on me.
I ended up getting out of the Navy and we flew home when I was 36 weeks pregnant. The baby was born just fine here in Wisconsin three weeks later.
I still had suicidal thoughts when I got home. The psychologist believed that part of the suicidal thoughts and depression was hormonal, and situational because of everything going on at work, and I also believe that there was a spiritual aspect.
I still struggle with depression. Thankfully the suicidal thoughts have gone away for the most part. This is why I’m such a huge proponent of taking care of hormones and treating your body well.
You may have heard that I took caffeine out of my diet about eight months ago because caffeine is not good for mental health in a lot of ways. Because I’m not a doctor, I’ll let you guys look up how it helps or hinder anxiety and depression.
One of the ways I’ve helped anxiety is cutting out that caffeine. It affects my heart and causes my heart to beat faster which is like an adrenaline rush. My natural health provider has treated my heart in a way to respond to anxiety.
I’m also aware of the all of the ways we push so hard and we don’t listen to the cues of our bodies. I think one of the ways we can help ourselves is to stop pushing ourselves so hard.
There are people who have chemical reasons for depression and anxiety. Take care of that. Do what you need to do to get help.
Nicole Walters had share the website where you could pay cash for counseling and it’s at a reduced rate.
Stress. I also notice when I’m under stress or under a stressful situation, my depression gets worse. I’ve worked to keep myself out of those situations. We cannot keep ourselves from stress because it happens, but you can help lesson the stress you encounter.
One of the ways I’ve done this is to give us more margin in our schedules. Margin is a space around yourself or your calendar. I’m digging into a book called Margin by Dr. Richard Swenson and he talks about how our world has not left room for margin at all. If we leave space in our calendar or if we know that we have something happening and we know we’re going to be going through a lot, you can create margin. It’s like a boundary around yourself to protect yourself, especially if you’re an introvert or an ambivert who needs more down time to themselves. Allow yourself to have space to deal with the stressful situation.
For me, that’s been important as I’ve dealt with stressful situations. I’ve learned this as I’ve had a few high stress clients. I’ve found that I need to take a break and actually do it.
Essential Oils. One of the other ways I’ve found that helps is using essential oils. One of my favorite books is called Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils by Carolyn Mein, DC. We need to start being proactive about our mental health. The oil called Joy has helped my anxiety according to this book. Even something as simple as smelling orange oil is uplifting and good for us. There are a bunch of other oils that are good for emotions and I recorded a class on oils and emotions.
To access the class I did on emotional oils, click here.
I really believe using oils has caused a positive impact on my depression and anxiety and given me more clarity on the days that I’m dealing with depression. I don’t know if you’re familiar with depression, but there are days you can have a cloudy brain.
With essential oils, there is so much skepticism, but when you smell them, the smells go straight to your brain. When I smell oils, it helps to clear that brain fog so I can function. If you’re searching out answers for mental health, this is a good one.
Faith. The last way I’ve made a difference in my mental health is to grow in my faith.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t strong in my faith when I was in Hawaii, but I’ve grown since then. My church family in Hawaii, Kaka’ako Christian Fellowship was great. There were days when I just told them that I needed prayer and they would pray. They’d give non-judgemental hugs and advice.
When I was there and I was wrestling with all these things and I really believe that it is vital to ask God those questions. I asked him why this was happening. God told me that this would not be in vain. I’ve been able to share with others and come alongside people.
We need to remove the stigma of depression and suicide. We need to say it’s okay to get help. A lot of times there are so many ways to get help. Here’s the suicide hotline information again: the suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255 and they do have a live chat option which is https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/. If you’re a veteran, you can use https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.
I hopped on the chat in November 2014 when I was not ready to take my life, but I credit that to the baby that was growing in me.
I want to leave you guys with hope.
God is right by your side. He’s not leaving you, even if it feels like you’re all alone.
There was a time when I told my counselor that depression and anxiety felt like being in a box. And through the darkness, there were poked holes shining through the light. There’s hope.
If you’re going through this right now, there’s power in getting help and asking for help. People care about you. I care about you. If you want you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being active in seeking out help is important. I want you so much to know that God cares about you. I care about you.
Let’s change how we talk about mental health and handle it. Let’s be proactive and listen and be aware of those who need help because there are those in our world who need help right now, even if they aren’t talking about it.