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Filtering by Tag: struggles

Why I stopped feeding my soul...

Jamieson Van Loan

Every Saturday morning at 8am, my phone vibrates a cheerful (depending on the amount of sleep I’ve had) reminder to “choose a life that feeds my soul”. I’ve spent many years feeding others’ souls and now I need a weekly kick in the pants to remember that my soul is first and foremost. A reminder that by putting myself first, I am creating a space that in turn can feed others. My happiness in life is derived from only inside of me. This reminder each week is to make sure that I am making the right choices to aid in that happiness.

If you’re an avid reader of my weekly rants, you’ve noticed I’ve gone off on walkabout lately. Assuming you’ve thought I’m busy or have had nada to chat about lately or because I’m attempting to indulge in the short-lived summer months is partially true. I have been busy. But more importantly, I’ve been taking my own advice and practicing my version of self-care. Writing my rant each week had become daunting and I needed a break. I needed to regain my voice.

But beyond my step back from ranting, I’ve been personally struggling in a way that was difficult to articulate. Nothing major happened. Nothing out of the ordinary changed but there was a shift. Somewhere between end of June and now, I began to unravel a bit. At first, I thought I was just tired, possibly burnt out from work. But it was more than that. Chatting with friends, deep talks with my therapist and family, I realized I was not burned out, but I was depressed.

And not just feeling depressed but in an actual bout of depression. Because there is a difference. You can feel depressed but you can also BE depressed. The latter is how I was and am still feeling. Slowly the tides are turning and I’m feeling a bit better. But here is how I knew something was going on: I stopped making my bed. I stopped craving yoga. I stopped wanting to be social. I stopped meditating. All the things that normally fed my soul were no longer on the docket. I was actively choosing to not do the things that were a part of my normal self-care routine.

This is why my therapist and I decided I should begin anti-depressants again (I was on them once before for about four months). Because I was very aware of what I should be doing to get out of my heaviness but I was diligently choosing to avoid those things. The activities that kept my mind active and happy and in the moment were no longer of importance. I wanted to wallow. I wanted to be sad. I wanted to stay in a cave and never come out. I have had to force myself to go to work each morning. I had to force myself to just shower and brush my teeth. For those of you lucky enough to never experience this- trust me when I say you cannot wrap your head around how difficult the most menial tasks become.

It has been just over a month of medication. I am feeling better. About 50% better which feels huge. I hesitated writing this post because the negative stigma that comes with being depressed or taking anti-depressants is a real thing. I have experienced it. Once I tell people I’m back on meds or I’ve been going through really heavy emotions and lack of motivation for life in general, I get an influx of reactions. They range from complete silence to advice on what I need to be eating to disdain that I am taking prescribed medication and not a more natural approach. At first, I was slightly annoyed. Here I am being honest and open, not attempting to change people’s mindsets around mental health issues but just because this is who I am and I am an open book. But then I realized that until you have truly been depressed, you do not know how out of control of your body and mind you can be. It was not what I was eating. It was not what work out I was avoiding. It was an imbalance of chemicals in my brain that was causing me to not feel well. That partnered with an uptick in stress and feeling slightly lost in life put my body and mind into a protective depression. People seem to assume that you can just “choose to be happy” but trust me, you can’t when you’re depressed. And just like you would take Tylenol or Advil for a migraine, I have to take anti-depressants to want to WANT to live my normal life.

I do not plan on being on medication forever. This is temporary for me. I need to get back to yoga and meditation and all the things that feed my soul. I need to want to spend time with my loved ones and be social again. I need to want to be creative and to write again. To anyone who has felt a distance from me lately, I apologize. Depression is an uphill battle with no desire to fight but I am getting there. To those who are feeing this way, I empathize. I urge you to talk about it and seek help. Staying quiet with our “issues” creates a lack of understanding from the world. I am here if you need me. Please reach out.

I wish you all a weekend ahead of feeding your soul.

Hello everyone!

Jamieson Van Loan

I hope everyone enjoyed our LAST nor'easter. I am giving mother nature two weeks to get her stuff together and bring on a real spring. I need some 60 degree weather days stat! 

Does anyone else feel like the weather is in direct correlation with their emotions? Don't get me wrong, I am not like crying all day when it snows or anything but when the sky is grey and overcast- I feel more tired and less motivated. Even with cold weather, if the sun is shining. I am more apt to go outside and tick off things on my to-do list. Lately with the more dreary days, I have felt a major lack of motivation. Like writing this email blast is a struggle.

BUT this is when I turn to my breathe work (right now I am breathing in 5 second inhales & exhales) and my mindfulness. I try to stay focused on what I can actually get done and don't beat myself for the things I can't. I look to friends and family for encouragement and I get through the dang dreary days. What do you do to stay mentally healthy on tough days? 

It's extremely important to have a system in place to fall back on when your mind is not in the greatest space. We all worry about our physical health but mental health is just as important. Maikana can solve the healthy food part but what are you doing to keep the noggin positive? 

Enjoy your day! Stay sane. Pray for sunshine. 

Jamieson xo