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One thing about depression is that it's very difficult, seemingly impossible, to align how you feel with what you know. You are literally a prisoner in your own mind and the battle in your soul is constant. The negative thoughts that consume you are endless, and you get to a place of mental, spiritual, and emotional torment, with death being the only way to escape. Trust me. It is not a game. And since it dictates your actions, it's difficult to plan ahead because you honestly don't know how you'll "feel" when the time comes.

Mental health is a real thing, and we need to be just as intentional about taking care of our hearts, minds, and emotions, as we are about taking care of our bodies (maybe even more).

I was speaking with a friend of mine about making sure she takes care of herself first. There’s a reason why flight attendants tell us to secure our own air masks before assisting others with theirs. You can’t give of yourself if you’re suffocating. You have to be in a healthy state in order to properly and effectively help others. What I’ve noticed about many of us, and this may have to do with how we’re always taught to put others before ourselves, and to be selfless, we don’t give ourselves enough of the right attention.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t give to those in need, help them out when they’re in a bind, or even offer support when friends are struggling. What I am saying is that we have to make sure our vessels our full. We cannot drive on empty. We have to be in a healthy place mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, if we want to be a true help to others. Otherwise, we’ll just deplete our own souls into depravity and will need to be resuscitated.

Dealing with it those years ago was....scary. I wanted to be left alone, but didn't want to be alone. I couldn't sleep at night, I had stopped eating, nothing made sense, everything was wrong, life was meaningless, and nobody cared... It took a lot out of me... literally... but here I am! If I learned anything during that time it’s this: One, be intentional about taking care of yourself first. Even when you don’t feel like, try to make every effort to do something you enjoy. Two, don’t do it alone. It’s okay to cry out for help. We’re so used to having to figure things out and deal with things on our own. Let that go…. Living this life requires the fellowship of others to help us get through, especially during those dark times. Don’t let pride, or obligation, or even ‘culture’ or tradition stop you from asking for help.

It took years to overcome that darkness, but I did. I got my life back. Just know that it can be done.

~Ms. Royalty

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