When I heard Ca-ryn spoke about how she recovered from mild depression and burnout in a local art fringe event, I was moved and relieved to know that I wasn’t the only one who went through that kind of darkness.
That lead us to having this conversation to talk about the elephant in the room — depression, what it is like and how to love ourselves more.
1| Acknowledge the problem
Ca-ryn realized that something went wrong when she was ‘out of her mind’. She couldn’t process a simple email update to clients, and when she was having lunch with a group of colleagues, she couldn’t register the conversation that was going on around her. At times, a deep intense emotion would erupt and caused her to weep uncontrollably.
She searched online and found that she experienced the symptoms of burn out.
2| Get help and build a support system
As a top-performing young lawyer who always had things under control, Ca-ryn took a hard first step to confide in her boss about her condition and seek help with work-related matters.
She built a support system comprised of family and friends, to let people know what was going on with her and to talk about her problems. Ca-ryn realized that it is important to be vulnerable and understand that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength.
3| Alternative methods
Following the self-discovery, Ca-ryn was diagnosed with mild depression, burnout and anxiety. While she took up the psychiatric treatment and prescribed with medicine to treat her sleeping disorder, she was troubled by the side-effect of medication.
That lead Ca-ryn to explore alternatives treatment such as meditation and sound therapy, where both were inner work that played a big part in helping her to stay grounded and connected to herself.
4| Practice self-love
After going through the episode of depression, Ca-ryn had a deeper understanding about herself, to know that she is much more than a label ‘lawyer’.
In her words, “at the end of the day, it’s about understanding and honouring myself, showing the world who I am. There are a lot more within me than a lawyer, and I’m no longer ashamed to share my story.”
Now, she always allocates me-time and practice ‘I am’ affirmation to stay grounded. She also does daily ‘mirror work’, a practice where she looks into the mirror, talks to the person in front of her with love and compassion, and honour the greatness within herself.
5| Advices for younger self
When asked about her advices for her younger self, the first thing that came to Ca-ryn’s mind is ‘do not be afraid, trust yourself, be alone’, which focuses on the inner-self.
Ca-ryn also talked about living like water, where she learned to listen to her heart and go with the flow of life. Her last advice was a profound one that I felt deeply connected to — love is all there is.
It’s true, whatever mountain we are climbing, love gives us courage, a safe space to fall, and meaning to the journey.
Don’t be afraid to share your story
Coming out from the dark side, Ca-ryn understands that loneliness is actually just a thought in our head. We do not have to identify with it and suffer because of it.
If more and more of us open our heart and share our story, we will realise that whatever we go through in life, somebody else is going through the same emotions too. We will be stronger when we come together to honour all our emotions and support each other in our journey.
All of us have the power to be the force of change, to touch lives that cross our path with a little bit more love, compassion, and kindness. And that, is a life well lived.