To live bright is to rise above your old stories. It’s to rise above your past. It’s to transcend your limiting beliefs and burn the baggage binding you to the ground. It’s to free your wings as you give yourself permission to dare the things you think you can’t do.
Living bright can be a challenge when you’re depressed and struggling with anxiety. It’s hard to transcend your past when you’re so wrapped up in what should or shouldn’t have happened. It’s tough to try something new when your body’s raging to stay the same and chug the same old noxious chemical cocktail it’s used to.
You can choose to rise. You can choose to climb. You can choose to live bright and push back at the emptiness, the pain, the anger, and the fear trapping you where you are. You can choose to become the warrior who fights to have more good days than bad days, who has no time for excuses, and who believes in a brighter day.
When you choose to live bright, you choose to take a stand. You get very clear on what is and isn’t working, and you decide to have more of the first and none of the second. You decide on a plan of action that moves you forward in leaps and bounds, that teaches you to live healthy and stay healthy.
Will you change your meds? Your diet? Your therapist, circle, or environment? Your daily activities?
Living bright is a conscious act to overhaul and improve your lifestyle. You decide not to stay limited by the depression and anxiety, by the fear eating you up inside every day. Instead, you identify the things and people that make you feel better, and you surround yourself with as much of them as you can.
When I decided to live bright last March, I didn’t have a name for it yet. I just knew I was done living in a haze that robbed me of my time and energy. I came close to suicide because I was so tired of the pain and I wanted to live free. I needed to live free. I thought of it as living free, but really I wanted to live bright.
My energy and enthusiasm for life exploded overnight. I filled my summer wardrobe with bright shades of yellow, orange, lime green, and red. I was like a walking rainbow, LOL.
Living bright manifested itself in the colours I wore, the words I spoke, and the words I wrote. My doctors, family, and friends marvelled that I was like a different person. Well, I was. I’d made a decision and it showed.
Now, I’m not saying everything magically went away and I never struggled through another dark day.
I’m saying that the desire for something different paved the way for something different. I’m saying not waiting for my meds or therapy to save me meant I was able to save me. I’m saying taking responsibility for the way I felt meant I was able to change what I felt.
It’s hard. I know. You feel you’ll never be happy again and you’re sick of faking it and can you please just get a fucking break from the darkness!
I know. I hear you. I see you.
This is your fucking break. This is your time to rise. Stop waiting for someone or something to make you better. You’re the one hurting, so you’re in the best position to heal the hurt. You can’t do it alone, but you can do some essential parts.
The choice to act is a powerful thing. It will scare you. It will strip you naked. It will make you want to hide under the covers and just get away from it all. It will take vigilant effort. It will also save you.
Do you hear me? It will also save you.
Living bright will save you, expand you, challenge you. You learn how to live healthy again, and you learn afresh every day. Some days will sing and some days will suck, but through it all you’ll have a different quality of life sweeter than you’ve had since the depression hit.
I’ve been depressed half my life, and at first I couldn’t remember how to be healthy or happy. Had I ever been happy? Could I ever be happy again? Was I irreversibly broken and couldn’t take any fixing? So many questions weighing me down day after day.
Once I decided to live bright, I drew a line in the sand. I decided to explore what happy and healthy meant to me right now, not what it meant to me 10 or 15 years ago. I decided to design a lifestyle that spoke to me now, not what I thought I should be doing at my age. I focused on the present moment and what I could do to make it beautiful, not what I did in the past or what I thought might work.
I rediscovered yoga. Took up meditation. Wrote more in months than I’d written in years. Met myself where I was and took it from there. Played lots of music and reached out to more people online. Built new friendships based on love, acceptance, & kindred spirits. Lived for real and showed myself that I wasn’t broken, I wasn’t weak, and I didn’t need fixing.
I got very clear that I’d also played a role in the depression and anxiety. I’d let them sink into my bones and become my primary, my only, identity. I couldn’t separate who I was from how I felt, and the inability to do that kept me trapped in a deep dark hole with no way out.
Living bright lifted me out to a whole new level of experience, and it can do the same for you too. All you have to do is commit yourself to being aware of your triggers and working around them in ways that feel good to you.
This commitment keeps you going when you feel like giving up, keeps you strong when you feel weak, and keeps your faith when you can’t remember why you decided to live bright in the first place.
You’re not here to suffer endlessly. You’re not here to stay locked in pain and steeped in frustration. You’re not here to rot in fear and live a small, tight, constricted life. You’re not here to fade.
You are here to shine. You’re here to expand. You’re here to explore and achieve and succeed. You’re here to be bold, happy, healthy, and vibrant. You’re here to make an impact on whatever scale you choose and enjoy your life experience.
You’re here to live a big, free, expansive life. You’re here to be a star in the cosmos.
That said, you have to decide. You have to decide if you’ll fight for your life. You have to decide if you want a better experience for yourself. You have to decide if you’ll separate your identity from your emotions. You have to decide to rediscover who you were before the depression and anxiety took root.
Once you decide, you create space for magic. You start to take better care of yourself. You become vigilant about the things you say to yourself and others. You show up differently in the world. You choose to get the help you need.
You reach out. You open up. You expand. You unfurl.
Once you decide, you become more active in your recovery. You take greater responsibility for your role. You become invested in getting better for yourself, not anyone else. You choose to live from a more inspired, healthier place.
You change the thought tapes on constant replay in your head. You commit to regular exercise that feels good to you and floods your body with endorphins. You eat healthier food more often. You consciously live bright.
You can stand the heat. You are made for glory. You can live through the night.
You can do this. You are strong. You’ve made it this far. You’ll make it much farther. Trust yourself.
At the end of the day, we remain as we choose to be.
What do you choose today?
Photo credit: Creative Commons via Flickr