Turning My Dreams Into Goals

From the time we are very small we begin to dream.  We dream of becoming a princess or a superhero.  We dream of becoming rich and famous.  We dream of becoming successful.  We dream of finding love and happiness.  We dream of building a family which may mean something different for everyone.  We dream of living in a world filled with peace.  We dream with purpose and desire.  Some of our dreams can be scary, some can be frustrating and some will come true, but first they need a plan, a vision and a focus.  First they need to be written down, discussed out loud and turned into a goal.

When suffering with depression and anxiety setting goals is probably one of my biggest obstacles.  It is both overwhelming and extremely discouraging to say the least.  Goals that were once easy to accomplish, simple and realistic are now filled with regret, guilt and negativity.  I write my goals down almost daily, even the ones that are straightforward, effortless and uncomplicated for most people like running an errand, getting my nails done or booking an appointment over the telephone will in turn cause me severe anxiety and panic.  For many of these simplistic and attainable goals I find myself staring at them on my calendar and moving them over to another day, sometimes taking me the better part of a week to accomplish it.

I have stated before that suffering from depression and anxiety is like playing a game of tug of war.  You are constantly  being pulled into your past and fearing your future.  This continuously vicious cycle has lead me into a very dark place recently as I try and reach some of my goals.  Not the small, simple and realistic goals, but the ones that have begun pulling me WAY, WAY back into my past, and CAPSIZING my future.

Even through my darkness I know what motivates me, I know what I would do if I could do more, I know what I want to be able to do, I know what I care most about, I know where I wish my life could be and I know what brings me happiness.  With all this in mind I know I need to be realistic, I know I need to focus on what’s important, I know I need to readjust this haze, I know I need to be proud of my accomplishments, I know I need to do this without feeling societal pressure and I know I need to do it for myself and no one else.

Feeling like my life has no meaning or purpose is what is obstructing me from acquiring my goals.  I have been taught recently that in order to be successful in achieving my goals I need to start by setting S.M.A.R.T goals. This acronym stands for

S: Specific

M: Measurable

A: Attainable

R: Realistic &

T: Time Specific

For now I will continue to write down my goals, even the most simple ones.  For now I will continue to review my goals, even the most simple ones.  For now I will continue to amend my goals, even the most simple ones.  For now I will continue to visualize my goals, even the most simple ones.  For now I will look for inspiration in attaining my goals, even the most simple ones.  For now these are my S.M.A.R.T goals.

Loving Someone with Depression

Suffering from depression is more than just a feeling of sadness.  It affects how you think, feel and function on a daily basis.  It can prevent you from working, going to school or participating in many social settings.  It can hinder your ability to concentrate, or enjoy activities that once gave you great pleasure.  It can interfere in your sleep and appetite, either eating or sleeping too much or too little, deeply affecting your energy level, and it can impede greatly on your relationships with your loved ones.

Trying to help a loved one suffering from depression can be extremely frustrating, stressful, challenging and exhausting to say the least, in turn causing some of the strongest bonds to become strained and/or terminated. Just like the individual who is suffering from depression, a loved one may feel helpless and discouraged in their attempts to support them.   For the individual suffering from depression it can and does transpire into feelings of being a burden to their loved ones and can and does create a great deal of guilt, no matter how old or how young you are.

I have felt first hand the affects my depression has caused for my loved ones, their frustration, their sadness and their inability to “fix” me.  Please know first and foremost that it is not up to you to “fix” me, you are not to blame and you are most certainly not responsible for what I am going through.  I know that my depression is hurtful to you and I know how difficult it is for you to understand, let alone know how to help.

Please know that I don’t “choose” to feel this way, please know that I can’t just “snap out of it”, please know that I don’t always have a reason, please know that it is never my intent for you to take it personally, please know that it overpowers me and please know that it is a constant battle.

Please know as well that I am very much aware that “others have it worse”, please know that I am grateful for my amazingly supportive husband and that I have been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children and please know that I appreciate you and all your sentiments, I really, really do.

If the Stigma surrounding Mental Illness is ever going to end, it needs to start with kindness and education.  When someone you love is suffering from depression or any other Mental Illness the first and most important thing someone can do is to start by educating themselves and learning how to talk about it in a thoughtful, compassionate and sensitive way.  It’s not advice we may be looking for, but instead it’s wanting and needing someone to listen and offer words of encouragement and hope.

It’s okay to ask questions, in fact it’s imperative to ask questions.  It’s important to be non-judgmental and patient.  Show you care with words and gestures, check-in as often as you can, give hugs when needed, stop by for a visit, let them know you are there for them.  Just please don’t ever devalue our feelings or desert us no matter how hard it may be.  You wouldn’t desert a loved one suffering from any other debilitating and sometimes deadly illness, would you?

You Are Enough

This week I once again faced a difficult challenge.  I was asked to look inside myself and make a conscious effort to find one personal strength of mine.  Once upon a time I could have answered you without batting an eyelash.  Now, instead what it did to me was trigger emotions and feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness and vulnerability creating darkness beyond repair.

Depression and Anxiety have taken away my ability to feel any type of pride or confidence in myself.  They have taken away my ability to believe in my own capabilities and successes.  They have taken away my ability to be satisfied, feel valued and accept both my strengths and weaknesses, and lastly, they have taken away my ability to feel love for myself.  In a nutshell, they have taken away my “self-esteem”.

Self-esteem is a subjective view based on one’s own personal and favorable impression of their worth and abilities.  Most people with a high or healthy level of self-esteem are very self-aware and confident in their own character, feelings and desires, but when someone like myself struggles with depression and anxiety they lose those feelings and desires.

Having an unhealthy or very low self-esteem has caused me to view myself and the world around me in a very unrealistic way.  It exaggerates my limitations, mistakes and imperfections, putting significant strain on many important relationships in my life.  Over the past few years it has undoubtedly kept me from setting achievable and attainable goals for fear of more failure or the improbability of success.  It also has and continues to rob me of the ability to appreciate or value my external being as well, no matter how hard I try.

Trying to boost your self-esteem back to a healthy level takes a great deal of strength.  “Of all the judgements I pass in life none are as important as the ones I pass on myself”.  This quote is from Nathaniel Branden, a Psychotherapist and author of several books on the topic of Self Esteem.  One such book he wrote titled Six Pillars of Self Esteem focuses on the importance of creating healthy, attainable achievements and healthy, successful relationships with oneself and others, providing the foundation for happiness and worthiness.

I know deep down I am solely responsible for my own actions and choices, I know deep down I am solely responsible for fulfilling my wants and needs, I know deep down I am solely responsible for achieving my goals I so desperately want, I know deep down I am solely responsible for my beliefs and how I conduct myself and I know deep down I am solely responsible for finding my purpose in this world through compassion, understanding, and acceptance.  I know deep down I need to learn to forgive myself…

 

Raising Three Teenagers Through a Distorted Mind

My Inner Voice

‘How Are You?’ My A to Z Through Depression