Attempting to cope with depression on my own was nothing short of a nightmare. I used, and most times abused, sleeping pills, food, and sleep to alleviate the symptoms. Instead of becoming better, my symptoms seemed to worsen. I didn’t know who to talk to about what I was going through.
From an early age, I learned quickly that no one truly cared about your problems. The most helpful thing to do was to pray about it and let God fix it. Well, I prayed until I could not pray anymore. I believed as though praying alone was not improving my problems and that I needed to seek help. The Bible does say:
“Faith without works is dead (James 2:26 KJV).”
The sheer thought of seeking help from someone close to me or a licensed counselor discouraged me and scared me. Because I was timid, I could not even fathom the thought of opening my mouth to speak to a stranger, or anyone for that matter, about my innermost thoughts. Also, I did not need/want anyone else knowing I was struggling with depression and anxiety. What were other people going to say if they found out I was going to a counselor? I knew for a fact that they would pick on me or say either one of most of these famous sayings that I heard regularly growing up:
“There’s nothing wrong with you.”
“You just want some attention.”
“Only white people go to counseling.”
“Pray about it and go about your business.”
One, there was something wrong with me, and I knew for a fact that if I didn’t talk about it with someone, I was never going to be able to cope with it healthily. Two, the last thing I wanted was attention. I longed to be able to live my life without worrying or crying myself to sleep. Three, counseling is not just for white people anymore. Any and everyone who desires help can receive it. And four, you have to put some work behind that prayer to see the results you want. As mentioned above, “Faith without works is dead (James 2:26)“.
The day I decided to open up to someone about what I was going through was the best decision of my life. Being able to unpack all of my emotional baggage brought me relief and healing.
I want to let you know that it is perfectly okay to talk about what you are going through. You are not alone. I am sure there is someone out there who has gone through what you are going through that will be willing to assist you through your healing process.
If you are nervous about speaking up about what you’re going through emotionally, read these next few tips and carefully consider them. Let’s not suffer alone.
1. Find a reliable person (friend, relative, counselor, doctor, etc.) to open up to!
I would have to say this is the most important of all of the tips I will share. Consider carefully who you are going to decide to unload your emotional baggage on. Is this person reliable? Will this person be able to allow you to speak what’s on your mind without interrupting or judging you? Is this person strong enough emotionally to be able to handle what you are going to say? These are the questions you should ask yourself before choosing the person you feel can help you.
2. Let go of the notion that you can handle your pain on your own!
I learned the hard way when it came to trying to manage my emotional pain on my own. I ended up turning to food, sleeping pills, and sleep to cope. While I thought I was managing my depression, I was only doing more harm to myself. You are not alone, so please do not suffer by yourself. I know you may feel as though you got it all under control, and you don’t need anyone to help you. I can almost assure you that you will feel a whole lot better if you talk to someone.
3. Be open and honest!
Once you have found the person you feel comfortable speaking to, be honest about causing you so much pain. For me, many of my emotional baggage came from growing up in a home where I was not wanted and many years of verbal and emotional abuse. When I was finally able to speak up, I was honest about my past feelings and how they affected me. It’s time for you to do the same. Even if you are all over the place explaining how you feel, your truth is all that matters as long as you speak.
4. Let all of your emotional baggage go and live the life you want to live!
After all of the tears have been cried and the words have been spoken, it’s time to let go of the emotional baggage and LIVE! Learn to wake up with a purpose. Go throughout your day grateful and full of humbleness and happiness. Let your heart be full of forgiveness. LIVE!
I know all too well what it is like to hold onto past pains and troubles. It drains you. Robs you of the joys of the day. As we learn to live a fearless, humble lifestyle, let’s remember to forgive others and ourselves when necessary. Life is extremely too short to be holding onto things that aren’t helping us in any way. I have faith that you are taking the proper steps to forgive anything that has troubled you.
Instead of holding it in, TALK TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST! You’ll be glad you did.