My Journey of Healing from Depression - Sarah Alvarez / by Richard Bentley

Sarah is the founder of Healing Hearts which provides Counselling, Life Coaching and Emotional freedom techniques, specialising in trauma and depression. She also runs workshops, support groups and events which teach tools for self love and emotional healing.

Just like a flower, we are all special in our own unique and beautiful way. What is special about you? Now that question may be difficult to answer because life sometimes has a cruel way of picking off our petals and breaking us in two and when you're broken it's very hard to feel special.

I became broken 13 years ago. My mum died unexpectedly when I was 21 years old. And I went through a series of traumatic emotional and physical abuse. For a long time I felt numb. I was so scared as I didn't know why I felt the way I did and didn't know how to pick myself up. I thought that there was something very wrong with me. I felt so ashamed by the way I felt and so weak.

I was brought up mostly by my grandmother who had a stiff upper lip approach to life and it wasn't encouraged to express emotion. Everything I seemed to go through such as going into foster care when I was 13, being bullied at school, I just accepted and didn't have much emotion. It was as if I didn’t feel I had the right to feel anything.

One day I broke down, I cried daily for months, it was like I had a volcano of emotions that had erupted within me. It's now that I look back, I understand that they were emotions I'd never allowed myself to feel for so many years and had deeply suppressed.

I felt inner torment and I felt imprisoned within, I was unable to express how I felt. I tried all I could to help myself to heal. I received counselling and read many self-help books as well as attending self-development workshops.

I started to realise that one of the reasons for my breakdown was that I had internalised people’s treatment and judgement of me, and this is what I based my self-worth on.

I feel one of the biggest foundations of my emotional healing has come from me learning to love myself; building a relationship with myself. As I became more aware of my thought patterns I noticed that I was my own worst enemy, I was so hard on myself. I now challenge unhelpful thoughts. I talk to myself as my own best friend.

Most importantly I honour my feelings whether I feel angry, overwhelmed or sad and when I do this something magical happens; the intensity dies down, I am able to process and release them from a place of compassion.

With self love my inner flower is blooming again, but now more than ever.

I am going to share with you a powerful tool, which helps to ingrain a new pattern in your mind of self-love:

Write down or say out loud to yourself at the end of each day what you are proud of yourself for, however small:

It could be that you made yourself a nice healthy meal, had a nurturing bath or went for a walk.

Love Sarah x

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