Zara’s Story: How I Overcame My Depression and Self-Doubt to Start Chasing My Dreams

Oct 28, 2019

Over the years I’ve had my own personal struggles with mental health, self-esteem, and finding my place and purpose in the world. The first time I really felt “lost” was about five years ago when I was diagnosed with Alopecia an autoimmune disease that attacks your hair follicles resulting in hair loss, which for me was all my eyelashes in one eye and large bald spots on my head (would have been wonderful if it was my legs or armpits!). When my eyelashes first started falling out, I didn’t think too much of it as I was about to fulfill a lifetime dream of mine by going to Africa to volunteer and travel.

3 months and 9 countries later I returned home with one completely bald eye and multiple bald spots on my head with the biggest the size of my palm plus a reciting hair line. My self-esteem and confidence took a huge hit! My boyfriend, Paul still called me beautiful and my family and friends were very supportive but to me they just “didn’t get it”.

I kept this assumption up even when I went on very strong medication for nearly two years that caused depression. When the doctor would ask if I was experiencing this side effect I would lie and say no as I felt I had no other option to get my hair back, I had to put up with it to be able to get the old me back.

I felt I had to suffer in silence, I didn’t want to put everyone else down just because I was struggling.

I now know that being silent in my struggles was the worst thing I could do, it caused distance in my relationships, it made me put my career and other dreams on hold, it made me change my perspective and the way I talked to myself. Being silent about my pain caused more pain and sent me further down the depression spiral.

I did wallow in self-pity for a long time before I started to try and put my self back together. I started to talk to those closest to me, I started to stop or at least try and stop the negative thoughts in their tracks, I tried meditating, I changed my diet and did lots of other little things which did have a positive impact on my mental well-being but for me what really got me out of my dark days were affirmations.

I had an epiphany when I saw the quote “you cannot have a positive life with negative thoughts”. It was when I read this that I realised though I am suffering and feel vulnerable and powerless I still can control my thoughts; I still have some power.

Affirmations have made an enormous positive impact on my self-esteem as they have helped me change my perspective and the way I talk to myself.

Fast forward five years ahead and, I now have all my hair and positive thoughts back and no longer suffer from depression. I started my journey of self-love with kind words and decided to share what I have learnt by following my passion and creating Kind Cards as I do believe words have the power to change the world.

With love, Za

Xx

If you or anyone you know needs help, call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

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