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How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

Photo by Sandra Lara

Since the start of this year, and for 8 months following that, I have been battling with feeling depressed. And even though I thought I had overcome it during the first few months, its devastating effects lingered and haunted me in subtle ways.

It wasn’t until a series of personal struggles and more episodes of emotional breakdowns that followed, did it eventually “crack” me and had bring me back to a place of serenity.

This is a slice from that story.

I have been writing and rewriting this article on and off for several months, each time exposing different details and insights. With every version, I would allow self-doubt or excuses to over take me, I would then scrap the piece and start over.

Truth be told, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I was ashamed at who I had become. I felt lost. I was struggling with everything and I had to “stand up” again.

Then it occurred to me that, sharing my struggles with you is a good thing. It exposes my own battles, the techniques which help me overcome them, and what I have learned through the experience.

It also shows you that all of us are in this together, in that we all dip into the pit falls of life’s turbulence, but we always recover, and often as a better person.

Overwhelmed? 8 Ways to Overcome It

Photo by Andrea D'Aquino
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. ~John De Paola

Do you have so much on your plate that you’re left feeling overwhelmed and stressed out? What can you do to get back to a place of controlling ease and relaxation?

In an age of fast paced lifestyles and heightened commercialism, everywhere we turn is a demand for our attention. On top of the information overload, we are working longer, and taking less time off. The result? More stress and less time to ourselves.

Juggling between work, family and our personal needs, it’s easy to get sucked into the never-ending list of to-dos and end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

This article looks at 8 simple stress management techniques to overcome this sense of overwhelming anxiety in order to live a more relaxed and stress-free lifestyle.

The Art of Happiness

Photo of Gala Darling by Chloe

One of the toughest challenges to being a new parent is the realization of how little free time you actually have.

During the first few weeks of Ryan’s arrival at home, my day would consist of diaper changes, feeding, burping, breast pumping, holding, rocking, shushing – and the cycle repeats itself until my husband comes home. On many days, finding time for a shower becomes a challenge in itself.

And if I’m lucky, when he’s napping, I’ll have an hour or two to run to the bathroom, wash all my breast pump parts and get something to eat. On my most productive days, my accomplishments include getting the dishes done, or a trip to the grocery store.

This has been my life for the past six months. And what I described above is only a small portion of the challenges we’ve face. Other challenges include sleep deprivation, maintaining romantic relationships, and colic (3+ hours of non-stop crying every evening for several weeks).

New Beginning

Photo by Kevin Russ

For the past 8 months, I have been silently battling with, and drifting in and out of a state of depression. Perhaps it was the changing hormones in my prenatal and postnatal body, or perhaps it was life’s way of teaching me something new.

It has been a very painful process, but when I observe this period of my life from other perspectives, I realized that I am learning and relearning some of the most incredible lessons, through which I am able to recognize and change some old and very ridged behavior patterns and limiting beliefs.

This is a quick post to let you know that I am still alive, and that I am going through a tremendous period of healing, and that I am thinking about and writing the next full-fletched Think Simple Now style article, for you.

Last night, Ryan slept through the night for the first time since he was born, and I got 5-6 hours of continuous sleep, and I feel – for the first time in five months – like a human being again.

So hang in there, I am feeling better everyday, and I will be back very soon. Until then, here’s something that’s helped me in my own healing:

“In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect whole, and complete, and yet life is ever changing. There is no beginning and no end, only a constant cycling and recycling of substance and experiences. Life is never stuck or static or stale for each moment is ever new and fresh. I am one with the very Power that created me, and this Power has given me the power to create my own circumstances. I rejoice in the knowledge that I have the power of my own mind to use in any way I choose. Every moment of life is a new beginning point as we move from the old. This moment is a new point of beginning for me right here and right now. All is well in my world.”

~ Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life)

Update:

Here’s the follow up article: How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

Feeling Lonely + Baby Updates

Photo by Vadim Pacev

Two weeks ago, I wrote about optimism when things don’t go our way. Well, this week, I could have used some of that optimism. I think the honeymoon period of living in a hospital is over.

So, I’ve been at the hospital for a little over 3 weeks, on bed rest. It’s been two weeks since Jeremy returned to work, so I spend most days alone on my fancy multi-adjustable hospital bed, with 7 pillows, a laptop and the TV remote.

In the beginning, I thought I was at the Ritz hotel. Nurses remind me of when I should take my pills, I get to hear my baby’s heart beat twice a day, my contractions are being monitored regularly, there’s daily house-keeping and an array of food choices at the push of a button – just like room service, except, it’s free and no tipping.

Then, I found out a week ago that I had Gestational Diabetes (GD) – a common but temporary symptom for 16% of pregnant women during the third trimester (28 weeks until delivery). Which means I’m on food restrictions.

The nurse of the day happily walked in and handed me a new menu – it says “Diabetes Diet Menu“. Because I don’t eat meat or eggs, my choices became further limited.

I was frustrated. I felt sad.

Living Enlightenment – A Personal Report

Photo by Vanessa Paxton

After 76 days of living in an ashram in a tiny village town East of Bangalore in India, I am home at last.

I still have not found a proper one-liner that concisely answers the common question, “How was it?” A cliché “Good!” seemed appropriate to satisfy the questioner, but it is not the right answer. I’ve tried several answers and nothing seems to accurately conjure what I experienced. “I’ll write about it soon” quickly became my reply… and soon, I started to avoid people all together.

In this article – which is a personal update for those interested – I will attempt to share some slices of experience from my spiritual journey for the past 3 months.

There is so much I want to say, yet there is nothing I feel like saying. I wish to convey my feelings without words, but that isn’t possible over the Internet, so I will do my best with words.

Whenever reminded of my experience, my first instinctual response is to feel an utter space of peace, and sometimes, I feel like crying, tears of Joy and pain which I experienced and overcome, tears of gratitude … grateful for my transformation, grateful for the space of unattached clarity and undisturbed bliss. During this time, I had witnessed many miracles, which are truly beyond words and logic.

Time for a Retreat – Personal Update

(Update 07/08/2009: I’ve decided to extend my stay for two more months, and will be in India until September.)

For the next four weeks, I will be living in an ashram near Bangalore India. I will be attending a meditation and spiritual retreat called Inner Awakening that I have been anticipating for many months now.

It’s an opportunity to learn directly from an enlightened guru in a serene environment, along with several hundred other spiritual seekers from around the world.

I’ve decided not to bring my laptop or cell phone, and to fully emerse myself in the experience. Besides, a month without technology sounds like a really nice cleanse of its own.

During this time, no new articles will be published. However, there are a ton of articles published in the past that you may like, so check them out. I’ve also listed out my favorite articles at the end of this post.

How to Quiet Your Mind

Photo by Andrea D’Aquino (Germany)

Do you regularly feel at ease and at peace? Are you continuously overflowing with Joy and Bliss on a daily basis, such that you seem free of problems and emotional pain? If so, go directly to the comment section and share with us your secrets.

If you’re still reading, you are amongst the vast majority of us striving for a better life, yearning for a more peaceful and joyful existence. Yet, it seems like an impossible challenge, where we end up mentally punishing ourselves for failing, concluding that “I’m just not made to live in peace.”

You see, it’s not us, it’s just that we’ve become so easily distracted by the hurrying demands of modern life, that we’ve temporarily lost touch with our natural state of being. But there is a way, if we seek it.

The purpose of this article is to share a simple technique to bring more peace, joy and clarity into your life. Would you like that?

How to End Suffering

While pain might be inevitable, the suffering that comes from the pain is not. Suffering is not a state of life, it is a state of mind. Suffering is your response to an event. Whether you suffer or not depends entirely on your reaction to that situation. ~Paramahamsa Nithyananda (Swamiji)

Today, I will get (more) personal.

I’ve debated about whether or not to share this information in a post. It was a quiet battle between keeping my personal life somewhat private, and the intense desire to share the lessons from this important chapter of my life. In sharing, I’ve surrendered to my fear of being judged negatively by you – readers of Think Simple Now.

My husband Jeremy was married once before. During the early stages of our romantic courtship, he was simultaneously battling the lingering ends of an unsettling divorce (things got ugly and someday I hope to share the details of this tale with you – perhaps in a book). Suffice it to say, it felt like it was never going to end.

For about six months, my inner stillness was disturbed and stirred up by the negative feelings revolving around this event. My “pain body” came crawling out in full, front-and-center view, and stayed with me while causing unnecessary suffering.

Even when his divorce was finally over, I didn’t feel much better. The feelings of resentment and hate (however subtly in my subconscious) for his ex-wife remained for another three months after the fact – until two weeks ago to be exact.

This article isn’t about forgiveness or complaining about my own self-inflicted pains, but it is about personal freedom. The kind of freedom from the massive mountain of stories we’ve piled onto ourselves that result in suffering.

Are you experiencing anything that is causing you worry, heartache, resentment or stress? If so, continue to read and allow me to share the story of my new found freedom… and how I got there.

6 Steps to Eliminate Limiting Beliefs

Photo by Stock Photo

** New: Audio:

(Intro: listen above or download mp3 file)

I consider myself a frugal person and I’ve always thought that it was a good thing. However, I recently discovered that, while frugality is a worthy and useful quality, the root of my own frugality is based on some limiting beliefs that I’ve held.

It all started with the story of a little dell laptop, and the story went something like this… The computer I use every day is a five-year-old Dell laptop. It was originally my work laptop from Amazon.com, until the hardware lease expired, and I was allowed to purchase it for $68.

This little machine has served me well, but due to its nature (ahem – it runs on Windows) – its gradual decline in reliability and performance was noticeable (even after re-installing Windows and doubling the RAM). I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the need to reboot my computer at in-opportune moments, and the random crashes and slowness of Photoshop – which I frequently use.

Last week, Jeremy watched as I was hunched over my little laptop, frustrated once again by the slowness of its functions, hinting of the need to reboot. I cursed out loud, not wanting to reboot because I had too many browser tabs open; so I persisted, insisting that I could tough it out. He turned to me, and with a concerned expression, said, “Honey, let’s get you a new Macbook and an external display. I think you’re really gonna love it and you’ll be so much happier and productive.”

I have resisted converting to Apple for about ten years. My excuse was always that I couldn’t stand the keyboard differences. While this was somewhat true, it was also an excuse to stay within my comfort zone and to resist change. That evening, however, I reached a tipping point in my dissatisfaction with PCs, and decided to give Mac a try (while trying to ignore the resistance in my stomach).

So, Jeremy and his friend Dave took me to the Apple Store. Once inside, I immediately felt like a kid in a candy store, drooling over the sleekness of the machines and the beautifully minimalistic store design. We walked into the store with the idea of buying the cheapest laptop + display combo, but when I saw that the current generation of 23″ monitors have a glossy reflective display, I knew that it would distract me more than be a tool of inspiration and productivity.

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