How to break out of prison

I dropped out of college because of it. I went for a few months and I hated being there with all of those people who judged me every day. It was exhausting pretending to be one of them. I felt like I was different but I didn’t know why. I didn’t like to be out with people I didn’t know . I just wanted to stay home and play video games and watch TV. Some days my friends would ask me to hang out and I would make up an excuse just so I could stay in the comfort of my room. I really wanted to go out but It was easier not to do something that would take me out of my comfort zone. I liked my comfortable prison. I didn’t know what would happen if I went out there. It was too risky. I didn’t want people to discover that I was a phony- a prisoner in civilian clothing. I ignored my family most of the time. It was comfortable being by myself. No drama and no problems to speak of. I did feel very lonely most of the time living in my jail cell. Some days I didn’t want to live.

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This is how I lived my life in my late teens to early 20’s. My life did improve after my mid 20’s. I eventually got a job, girlfriend and had 2 kids. Things were better on the outside but I still felt like a prisoner in  my mind. I had a new life and everything started feeling overwhelming. I wasn’t used to this. I missed being in my room. It was as if I was fighting against two different people in my head; One wanted to enjoy this new life and the other wanted to go back to how everything was. I struggled within myself for many years after and it affected the people around me.

A couple of years ago, I discovered that I suffered from major depression. It all made sense. You would think it was obvious, but from the inside, it wasn’t. It finally had a name and I could do something about it. A ray of truth piercing through the heavy dark fog that suffocated me. It took me a few years to fight my way out though most of it. It was an ugly battle. Sometimes it still trips me up but now I know how to get up. This is how I did it:

I didn’t take medication for those who are wondering. Not to say that this will work for everyone but it can be a place to start.

  • I exercise 5 days a week and eat healthy. No junk food. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind. It helps deal with daily anxieties and it makes you feel accomplished when you finish. (I recommend P90x,P90x2, One on one with Tony Horton, and Body beast).
  • I focus on my art. This means that I turned off the TV. It’s mostly a waste of time. Unless you are learning something from it- don’t watch it. If I do watch something, it’s only while I’m eating.
  • I catch myself every time I think of something negative. I label that thought as useless and I imagine throwing it away behind me like a crumpled paper.
  • I focus on today. It’s a cliche but do it away. I Focus on being happy this moment. Don’t think about tomorrow or later today. Just focus on this absolute moment. Take a deep breath and listen to yourself release it…. You feel that? It’s called peace. Remember it and try to make this happen more often. We live in a society that forces us to rush at every moment possible. We tell ourselves that there’s not enough time and we freak out. STOP THIS. Once I put my worries away, I started enjoying life more.
  • Be grateful everyday. Grateful for my 2 beautiful girls who love me more than anyone on this planet. Grateful to all of the people in my life and all of the things I have.
  • I Cut out negative people from my life. Family doesn’t get diplomatic immunity. If they are toxic for you then cut them out. I did this years ago and guess what? less worries =)
 This is what depression looks like.

This is what depression looks like.

This takes time and hard work but it’s worth it. Be consistent. This is how I broke out of my prison and the view from here is liberating.

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  1. #1 by Valourbörn on October 15, 2013 - 8:26 pm

    Your story is an inspiring one. I’ve never been through true depression, but I’ve had my moments. We probably all have. So I can imagine how much of a fight it was for you and I commend you for it. It’s great that you’ve found happiness! I wish you the best as you continue finding freedom 🙂

    • #2 by IMMAR on October 31, 2013 - 6:51 pm

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that.

      • #3 by Valourbörn on November 3, 2013 - 2:56 am

        You’re welcome 🙂

  2. #4 by TJLubrano on November 4, 2013 - 10:52 pm

    This is a different side of you 🙂 But in a way, I knew there’s was more to you than meets the eye as your drive for your passions is familiar to me. I think one only has this kind of drive if you know what you could lose.

    I know I’ve sent you rambles, but for the life of frosted cakes *raises hands in the air* I can not recall what I said in them. I blame the sugar rush. Hmm. You know, I don’t want to say “I’m sorry you went through this all”. I strongly believe that in the darkest of times, you will find yourself, because what matters the most to you will be shining brighter than ever. At least that happened to me. Feeling lonely, avoiding people, hitting rock bottom, the feeling that your life means nothing, don’t even want to live anymore…I’ve been there and I’m still working my way through it. That list you posted above, I could check most it. Sheesh. I’ve never been diagnosed, but I knew things weren’t right. My art helps more than I can put in words, connecting with people who knows what it means to be a creator or who understand the mind of a creative person, is the best medicine to all the naysayers and negativity.

    I’ll stop rambling here. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll share more of my story soon as well. It’s part of a Movember project. This aside. You have two kids!!! Oh my gosh!! 🙂

    • #5 by IMMAR on November 5, 2013 - 3:24 am

      Wow TJ, I didn’t know you felt the same way. I’ve always seen you as a really happy and peppy person! You surprised me as well. I thought I knew you pretty well, but wow. As the saying goes, birds of a feather…I guess everyone keeps certain things to themselves for fear of what people may think. If you speak from your heart about these experiences, people will either become closer to you or push you farther. This is when you start to trim the fat out. I was a bit afraid or publishing this post but I thought that if my experience could help someone else who is going through the exact same thing I did, it would be worth it. I got a lot of positive feedback from people and I’m glad I did it. I remember reading a blog a few years ago about an artist who was going through depression and it really surprised me that he actually blogged about it. I thought he had ruined his career but I didn’t know any better. No one threw stones at him or banished him to the deep corners of the internet. His experience helped a lot of people and I wanted to do the same thing. I can’t remember his name but I will always remember how much it impacted me.
      Art has definitely helped me so much, just like it has for you. Exercising daily and eating healthy was extremely important in the process for me. I only ate junkfood before (makes me sick now). It really let me focus on myself and allowed me think clearer.
      Yes, I do have 2 wonderful crazy girls =) 8 and 5. I thought you knew Tahira! I think I posted a pic of them once on my Instagram. It was a loooong time ago though. Not sure if it’s still there.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I’m looking forward to what you have to say on your blog. I’ll keep an eye out =)

  3. #6 by TJLubrano on November 6, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    Ohhh so I never rambled about this then! I thought I mentioned it in one of my notes to you. Ah my own post will start with a question of someone who asked me about my happiness 🙂 I’m naturally happy and cheery, but I lost it for a bit when I grew up. 🙂 I don’t constantly throw it in people’s face or write about it, because for a long time I felt weak for feeling like this and a bit ashamed I guess. However, there were people who did wonder where my drive came from or my so-called wisdom with certain things. When I told a little bit, they were surprised as well. I definitely got to know who my friends were. That was another difficult thing, because I’ve always been there for everyone and when I needed people, not everyone was there. I have been sharing more difficult moments through blogging, like when I quit my studies or when my grandad died. Both were difficult as I am not someone who easily share things like this. The support and love that I got was a big surprise and only helped in how people see me as an artist. I think it made me more “human” in the eyes of the reader, especially since people tend to form an image of you with what they see based on a picture alone (like I’m not a doll or a fairy etc.).

    And you’re right. You never know who you will help by sharing your own experiences and thoughts! Ah I hardly eat junk food and when I do, I cook it myself so I know exactly what I’m eating. I do need to start working out more and pick up meditating/yoga.

    Two princesses! They must be adorable 🙂 I never knew! I never asked though haha. I should browse your IG now. ^_^

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