Personally, I believe severe depression isn’t caused by just one thing, rather a multitude of underlying issues. One thing may be the tipping point to it but it wasn’t just that that caused it. This is why I believe getting over is a process and there is no quick fix.
It’s a tricky, messy process as well. Sometimes when you think you’re out of the woods, you realise you’re not that far from where you started. Then sometimes you wake up one day and the sadness is a little less than it was yesterday.
There’s no one or perfect way to overcome depression, so I’ll share my experience and what I believe can work for others. Please note, this should not be considered medical advice, seek professional help for most cases.
There was a moment in my life where I could not get off my bed. A huge boulder lay on top of my chest, I had no willpower to do anything, not to eat or even do my favourite thing, create. I felt weak, helpless, useless, like a complete failure. I had no one around me, nor anyone to turn to and I had no idea how to stop the pain.
The boulder that lay on my chest was my depression. I found myself with my own worst enemy, my thoughts. How did it all come to this? Where did it all go wrong? My intentions were good, what am I paying for? These thoughts plagued me for some time.
Fast-forward 8-years later and I’m chasing and accomplishing my biggest dreams, with the love of my life, my “high school sweetheart” and the happiest I’ve ever been. I wake up every day passionate about life and the people around me.
Life has never been better.
So how did I reach this state of elation? How did I bounce back from one of the worst moments in my life? It didn’t happen overnight of course. It takes time, patience and a little faith because nothing worth it ever comes quickly.
I’m not going to preach to you any 10-step program, some unrealistic or idealistic way of life or a “buy my shit” sales pitch. I’ll just ask you for your most valuable thing, time.
So here we go, Step-1, just kidding but I’ll start with this:
I did not give up. This makes all the difference trust me. I persevered even when I had no will to. I pushed through the darkest nights and the heaviest of mornings. Despite the hollow feeling, I knew somewhere in there I had to keep moving forward. I did NOT give up.
You have to be aware of your depression as well. Please admit to yourself you’re not in a good state. I’ve seen so many people in a state of depression unwilling to admit it and continue their sad lives, pretentious, toxic and making others miserable in the process. Don’t be that person. Accept your situation and fix it. It’s the only way you’ll move forward.
Learn to let go.
Letting go of ideals, letting go of what you thought would be, a person, a vision, or whatever is keeping you back is key to your healing. Let go of toxic people around you as well. My interpretation of depression is that it’s your life-changing gears. Let it go.
Everyone has their own way of letting go. I tried several ways like others did, but that didn’t work for me. Depression is like an open wound but the medication to heal is different for everyone. Through trial and error, I found my method, you can too.
I then stopped feeling sorry for myself. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong? All fair questions to ask, but answers far too complex for a mind in this state and best left for another time.
A state of depression isn’t binary, that’s why it’s so difficult to figure out. At some point, wallowing in this state has to stop, the kicker is, only you alone can stop it.
It’s pointless to dwell in your pity, you’re only digging the hole deeper.
We all make a mess of our lives at some point. Time to pick up yourself and move on.
After moving on I decided anything I do would be a step up, so why not do what I always wanted to do. Like shedding old skin, I let go of my past and started over. You can’t go back to the way things were although you long for it badly.
This brings me to my next piece of advice…
Stop living the life everyone thinks you ought to live and start living the life you always wanted. Stop trying to appease others. Stop looking for approval or validation, even from the ones closest to you.
Stop living the ideals of someone else’s life and start living yours.
This even goes all the way down to your profession and the company you keep. So many of us follow a dogmatic way and lose who we truly are during this process.
When you start pursuing your dreams, also start declaring what you do NOT want in your life. This was a key element I learned on my own and I wished someone told me this. It sounds simple enough, but it’s easier said than done.
If you don’t declare what you don’t want, you’re going to attract the same things that put you in your state of depression all over again. You need to feel in your core what you don’t want, not just a casual declaration. It wasn’t until I did this, did I truly get over a lot of things.
My final advice wouldn’t be possible without this. Through it all, I ate healthily, slept relatively well and did not resort to drugs or alcohol. Low energy can lead to further unnecessary depression so get some sound rest. Never did I consume too much junk, comfort food or turn to alcohol. This greatly affects your psyche and what you put in you becomes you. Wanna feel like sh*t? Then go ahead, eat sh*t. To defeat depression arm yourself with healthy food, though comfort food is tempting and get ample rest!
Like that person left in the woods to die, inside a box buried deep, I clawed my way out, tooth and nail. When I finally got out to the surface, that wasn’t the end of it. I had to find my direction and figure my way back to society, on my own.
That’s what overcoming depression felt like to me. After it all my takeaway is, if you’re going to suffer for the life you don’t love, might as well suffer for the things you love to do.