My Story: Natasha Devine

Subscribe to our Newsletter

We are building our Depression community.

Sign up to receive updates.

New Life Outlook on FacebookSubscribe with Facebook

OR

What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I grew up in a family that moved around a lot — my stepdad was in the Army so we were moving every few years. In my early years I was too young to really notice or be affected that much but after spending many of my developmental years in Alberta, a big move back to Ontario felt devastating. This combined with the years following puberty made for a very moody teenager.

My family has a history of depression and mental illness, so thankfully my parents knew the signs and symptoms to watch for. When it became obvious that my behavior was more than just that of an anti-social teen, my mom sat down with me and explained why she wanted me to speak to my family doctor about what was going on. We agreed that maybe some therapy would help me work through the many emotions I was feeling. I was diagnosed at the age of 14 after meeting with my family doctor and a few therapists.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I’ve gone through many lifestyle changes since my initial diagnosis. The most significant lifestyle change came after one of my worst depressive episodes in late 2014. I was so exhausted and just sick of feeling sick, so I decided something major had to change in my life in order for me to start on the right track to a (hopefully) more permanent healing. It was during this transition that I realized my help and treatment wasn’t going to come from medication and therapy, but instead had to come from within.

Yoga is a passion of mine so I started to research meditation a bit more, as well as cognitive behavior and how thoughts can subconsciously change our outlook. I took classes and worked with some really inspiring and spiritual people. I started eating better and treating my body like a machine that needs to be cared for. I’ve also started exercising to increase my energy and improve my sleep. I still have my bad days, but they aren’t anywhere near as bad as they used to be! That in itself is inspiring!

Who has been there for you? How?

My friends and family have been such an incredible support system for me! I’m so grateful to have people in my life who understand and are willing to just be there for me. During my episodes they understand that I may need time to myself but they also know I enjoy being distracted and will invite me to movies or dinner just to get me out of the house and out of my head.

Voodoo

Also my cat — I hadn't really considered that she would act as "pet therapy" but she definitely does! She provides motivation to get up, to care about something, to be reliable. She also seems to know when I'm having a rough day and becomes really affectionate and truly displays that unconditional love, which is a sure way to lift my spirits.

I’m so grateful to have people in my life who understand and are willing to just be there for me.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I’m proud that through meditation and healing classes I’ve been able to gain a better understanding of myself and how to best control my situation. Through this I’ve also found that I love helping others, even if it’s just being there to listen or offer advice. I love that I’m able to use my experience and knowledge to help others find their own light.

Most importantly, I’m proud that I’ve never let my depression define me.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I’m proud that through meditation and healing classes I’ve been able to gain a better understanding of myself and how to best control my situation. Through this I’ve also found that I love helping others, even if it’s just being there to listen or offer advice. I love that I’m able to use my experience and knowledge to help others find their own light.

Most importantly, I’m proud that I’ve never let my depression define me.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up.

What's your advice to someone else living with Depression?

Please, please, PLEASE don’t give up. Allow yourself the bad days, have patience, seek the help you need, find your support — but don’t give up. I promise when you dig deep, you’re stronger than you think you are. It’s okay to not feel perfect all the time, and it’s okay to take time to yourself to focus on your healing. Just don’t ever stop looking for the bright days ahead.

You’re not alone. We are fighters, warriors, and survivors!

Is there anything else we should know?

I strongly believe that everyone who suffers from depression needs to take the time to find a therapy that works for them. I went through so many different medications and treatments before finding that meditation and self-development work is what works for me. Depression is unique in how it affects each person, so it’s really important that we don’t try to force ourselves into a mold just because it worked for someone else.

I also encourage anyone who’s suffering to talk about it. Share information with your friends and family and find support groups and online communities such as NewLifeOutlook to share your story. Awareness and education play such a key role in fighting the stigma around depression or any mental illness. I completely understand how hard it can be to start the conversation, but you can offer first-hand experience and information. You’re not alone. We are fighters, warriors, and survivors!

About Natasha Devine

My Story: Natasha Devine
I’m a photographer, writer/blogger, nature lover, depression fighter and BIG dreamer. I don’t enjoy my depression but I like that I can use my experience to help others know they’re not alone.

Natasha's Blog

Share

We learn from each other

We all have a voice.
What's your story?

Submit your story