Key lessons I learned during a rough half of 2014. I’d like to continue cherishing them in 2015 and beyond. Hopefully you can, too!

The year 2014 was not an easy year to swallow for me. By the third month, I was very much aware that I was slipping into depression. By April 2014, I mustered some strength to get back up. But then I fell down again sometime in May, and I slowly got myself up, bit by bit, until late August, when the sun started to peek through. And then by mid-September, the sun was definitely shining. Life’s getting back to normal.

I consumed no drugs whatsoever during my depression period. Instead, I attributed my recovery to my introspective nature, fueled with loads of kindness and attention from awesome friends. The existence of my bunch of serious hobbies channeled to you guys via Fafafoom also helped me in my day-to-day functions, especially on certain dark days when I didn’t even feel like leaving my bed. And those days were plenty. Thank God I’m in a much better place nowadays.

So I’m creating this list to encourage all of us to always strive to be positive, create a supportive circle of helpers, and do our best even in our darkest hours. Sometimes in order to get us out of serious funk, having positive mindsets about who we are allow us to accept our situation, calm our mind, and craft solutions to get ourselves to a better place. 2014 was my time to learn this, and now I’m sharing those lessons to you. Perhaps one or two of these can help you get through some rough times in your life.

1. It’s fruitful to encourage positive thinking daily

No matter how difficult a particular day was, it became easier to go through when I mustered a positive thought, no matter how trivial. Initially the positive thought elicited an inward frown and a “whatever” face, but I gradually appreciated the positive thoughts the more I did it. I didn’t give up even when I really, really wanted to. Coupling positive thinking with prayers and light meditations boosted its effectiveness, definitely.

Until now (and tomorrow, and many many days after), I am very grateful that I have a loving husband who takes care of me, even during my bitchiest moments :)
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2. It’s healthy to reach out and ask for help

When I reached a rock-bottom point and it’s really hard to think positive, it’s time to reach out. Being a light introvert who prides oneself of being emotionally strong, this was a hard thing to accept and do. But then I realized just how seldom we say “help” than “thank you” or “I love you.” In societies that reward the strong and punish / ridicule the weak, saying “I need help” is almost a form of taboo.

But once I got past my initial fear and pride, I realized there were many ways to express “I need help.” My closest friends knew the difficult situation I was in and encouraged me frequently, and I did my best to go out there, meet up with friends and new people in order to get inspirations and fresh ways of thinking.
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3. It’s wise to balance your weaknesses with your strengths

My two greatest weaknesses were (and still are) procrastinating and getting bored easily. But I also love being productive, creative, and focusing on the end goals. During my depression period, I needed to find a new job. And finding jobs are difficult, no? So on certain mornings, I made an impulsive 8-hour plan broken down in 30-minute intervals filled with to-do list related to my job, my DIY projects, house chores, play time, and blogging. Thanks to this method, I was very much functional and productive even though I was very much depressed.

After a while, I got bored and abandoned my 8-hour regime and I had to find another way to keep myself productive. However, knowing that it worked for 1.5 weeks was pretty worth it. Having an idle brain could’ve been dangerous because negative, heavy thoughts would start seeping in, so I was really fortunate to know that I had enough discipline inside to push myself forward for the most part.
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4. It’s honorable to be compassionate to others

Whenever I was feeling down, it’s so easy to go the negative route and think that I’m a victim…all the time. “Why does this happen to me? Why me?” I found being compassionate to others and doing my best to alleviate their difficulties whenever I was emotionally capable helped me stepped towards the right path. Where’s that path going, you ask? The path’s destination was a state of mind where I accepted my situation and continued to do my best to change my situation by changing things I can control for the better.
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5. It’s alright to take a break

Being in one place for a long time can make you feel suffocated. Stuck. Especially if you like traveling. After swimming in my depression mode for a while, I simply couldn’t take it anymore and wanted to get away, get some fresh air. Fortunately for me, Yosemite National Park is only 3.5 hours away. Off we went, my shark hat coming with me. I wore that shark hat during our day hikes. That did the trick; I breathed easier when I came back.
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6. It’s energizing to stay creative

I never realized how therapeutic my hobbies were until last year. Doing DIY Projects helped me fully realized my fondness in making concepts into reality. In other words, getting sh*t done no matter how many challenges I faced.

Realizing that point was a refreshing turning point in defeating my depression. In fact, my DIY Makeup Case was the perfect accessory to bring to my last few on-site job interviews. I took it out whenever they asked what my side projects are, or what I do on my spare time. I have been bringing that makeup case (almost) every day for 7 months now :)
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7. It’s humbling to open your eyes

Once I started to distance myself from depression, I took an introspective look back and felt so humbled. My history, upbringing, and so-called emotional readiness…my whole being was being tested. I fought, I fell, I cried, I screamed inwardly, I got back up so many times last year that I lost count. However, it’s a blessing since my experience allowed me to understand helplessness, negative thoughts so dark they could easily become suicidal.

Therefore, now that I was able to beat my depression, I want to help encourage people. I started making handmade cards late last year, I will definitely keep making them in 2015 and beyond. I’ll start with that project to spread positivity to people around me.
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8. It’s empowering to learn about yourself

At the end of the day, I enjoyed 2014. Yes, it was filled with dark times, but those dark times made me really appreciate the bright times. My friends, family, and my own process of conquering challenges along the way, they all helped me gained a new layer of emotional maturity. I learned more about myself in 2014, and I will certainly learn more in 2015 and beyond.
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Thank you Asya from Girl in a Fashion World for this wonderful photo below. It was taken during one of those days leading to my recovery. I was really embarrassed when she took this picture, but thankfully my outfit was descent that day =D
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Thank you for reading; have a great day and until next time,

Photos by Christian Hadidjaja unless otherwise noted.

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