“Small changes can yield big results if we just take the time and give the effort to make positive changes in the first place. Life does not change for the better on it’s own and it is up to us to go after the change we desire.”
I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and situational depression when I was 17 years old. I’d been aware that something wasn’t quite right since I started having panic attacks at age 13, but it became all too real when I found myself on 20mg of Lexapro, visiting a therapist once a week. Life with anxiety has never really gotten easier, I’ve just learned to manage it.
My mother says she always knew when I was having a depressive episode because my room would suddenly become an absolute wreck. “What you feel inside reflects in your surroundings.” She would say to me. It wasn’t long before I started noticing the pattern myself. It’s almost like my room would know I was depressed before I did.
About a month ago, I came home from a particularly difficult day at work. I couldn’t wait to get in bed and hide from the world in a cocoon of blankets. When I finally made it home after my hour commute, I flung my door open to find piles of rejected outfits from that morning strewn across my bed. Makeup brushes were scattered across my dresser next to a now broken blush. Dust was beginning to claim my record player as it’s own. An ocean of things I hadn’t touched or used in weeks flowed across the floor. To say I was overwhelmed at the sight of my room is an understatement.
I’ve always been a very organized person. My friends would call me to help them tidy up and decorate their new apartments because it’s something I’ve always been good at. Something I genuinely enjoy doing. To see my own space in such disarray really brought home how down I had been feeling. No matter how many jokes I told at work, no matter how many days I made better for others, inside I was heartbroken. I could keep the illusion going on social media and distract myself at work, but eventually I had to come home. I had to face what an emotional mess I was.
In that moment I remembered my mother’s advice, but this time there had to be a drastic change. Something about the space I was in only encouraged my depressive behavior. Even after I would clean up, the room felt heavy. I would sit on my bed and feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. I’d look around the room and feel as if it was closing in on me. It was time for a serious cleanse.
It took me a total of two weeks to get my room exactly how I wanted it, but it was worth every second of work that went into it. I cleaned out my closet, ridding myself of clothes that no longer made me feel like myself. I got rid of books that only reminded me of my past instead of inspiring my future. I filled a total of six trash bags with clutter that no longer served me. I replaced the bulb in my salt lamp and cleaned out my oil diffuser. I took everything off my wall, packing away old photos that made me miss the past instead of looking forward to the future, and put up minimal décor that brings me peace to look at. I got a new, green tea infused memory foam mattress and finally got the solid rest I’d been desperate for the last few months.
This drastic change in surroundings has not only made it easier for me to maintain an organized space, but it has brought me great peace in other areas of my life as well. I sleep better due to the new mattress and use of my oil diffuser. This has allowed me to do better work, find more inspiration in everyday life and gives me the energy to connect on a deeper level with the people around me. Now that I’m not completely exhausted at the end of each day, I finally started on the book I wanted to write and even picked up learning to play the ukulele. Kind of wild how such a small change can make such a huge impact on a person’s life.
I read more because I no longer look at my bookshelf and feel guilt or obligation. The only books that make it to the shelf are ones of positivity and hope. Books that bring me joy and wonder. The books I’ve brought into my life since my room cleanse have been seriously eye-opening. I’ve even had the pleasure of sharing them with my dear friends. Not only does this give my loved ones the gift of that same joy I felt reading the book, but it always seems to strengthen our bond as friends.
I started using my record player again, something I used to love doing, and it has brought me more peace than I could ever put into words. The world stands still when the needle meets the vinyl. Little actions like this are like hitting the reset button on my soul. I always feel refreshed and completely myself after listening to the crackle of a record. This allows me to feel more confident and content in who I am when I’m out in the world. I noticed that the opinions of others began to mean less to me. As long as I’m happy, why should their words have any effect on my life?
My once dark, shadowy room now welcomes the sunlight. My wall décor is minimal. Everything appears brighter and airier. Although it is a small space, it now seems much bigger and I no longer experience the heavy feeling I did before. I have people over much more often now that I feel that my space is roomy and inviting. I even had a friend walk in and say “Wow, your room is so Zen.” And honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better compliment.
Perhaps the most serious change I’ve experienced is my decrease in anxious and depressive episodes. There is a stronger sense of control over my space, so I don’t really stress as much over the things I can’t control. I’ve been able to make peace with the ever changing world around me instead of fearing what it holds for me.
Small changes can yield big results if we just take the time and give the effort to make positive changes in the first place. Life does not change for the better on it’s own and it is up to us to go after the change we desire. To get up out of our negative state and welcome the positive. As long as we are looking forward, always moving toward our desires, choosing the positive outlook, we will wake up one day and find that it has all paid off. We will look back on our lives, proud of what we’ve accomplished. Suddenly the destination won’t matter as much because the journey has been so much more than we ever could’ve hoped for.
Best of luck on your journey. May you find all the wonderful things you deserve.