You Can Beat Depression... if you recognize it as depression
I found this article when I searched for the phrase "beat depression."
Many of us are depressed. Depression can be low-grade or raging... I am most interested in the low-grade depression, it is easier to beat depression that is low-grade without medication.
The writer of this article uses valid arguments for self-management, but misses a lot of factors, like what did he do, exactly, that allowed him to beat depression to begin with.
He says he took responsibility for his feeling down and out, ad he kicked the medications... so far so good.
But what he isn't saying is that depression is a sign of something.
What is it a sign of? In my experience, as a once depressed person (for 40 years!) I have noticed a few common characteristics with my coaching clients.
- I lacked desire.
- I was not happy with myself
- I could not see myself clearly doing what I thought I wanted to do... the picture was there like fuzzy patches, but not like a movie.
So, how do you get out of these three interconnected and synergistic (negatively) states of mind?
I think that the easiest is to start with number 2.
Why? Because it is easier go get happy(er) with yourself, especially because you need energy for the other two, and having a good feeling about yourself will give you energy.
You can also start really small, like doing something that you consider hard to do, but still doable, like
- picking up the piling up newspapers or mail and putting them in the trash.
- Taking out the trash. Doing your laundry (if you haven't been, like me).
- Or adding up the bills to see if you can pay them, and if you can't, how short you are.
- Saying something nice to someone.
- Taking a different route to home.
As you can see, these actions look quite inconsequential, but they actually give you energy, and make you feel better about yourself, so you can start to beat depression.
A few years ago I did a course that was very effective in dragging me out of my depression. The first homework was to ask everyone I talked to what they loved about their life.
I didn't think anyone loved anything, I was so miserable, but to my surprise people broke out in a wide smile and started to recount the things they loved. Every time I met a person I had already asked, they made a point of telling me some new things they forgot to tell me the previous time.
I saw that I brought happiness to people, and I started to view myself with more love, and eventually I came out of my misery.
This is a great exercise, I highly recommend.
Now, let's hear what our "author" has to say:
I beat depression without medication and so can you. For years I was caught in the unforgiving clutches of manic depression, "bipolar disorder" or what ever else people call being unhappy. Taking complete responsibility for my self was the key, and I'm happy to share what I've discovered with you here.
There are thousands of people and doctors who are more than willing to say that you need to be on medication or that you need the advice of some "expert" with a degree hanging on their wall in order to feel happy. And I guarantee that every one of those people or doctors want your money in exchange for their so-called expert advice or medication. In reality, only you are an expert on you. Only you know what makes you tick and what you should do to improve the quality of your life. The shocking and often avoided truth is: No one else can figure this out for you!
By nature, people seek easy and automatic answers to their problems. And unfortunately, there are stadiums full of others chomping at the bit to tell people where to go and how to live their life for a nominal fee. I know this first hand. I've had my share of being manipulated and taken advantage of by society's "experts" on how to be happy. I noticed one common denominator between them: none of them got to the root of my problem. Their intention was not to help me but to "use me" to help them selves.
Eventually I saw through their facade and immediately took all of my prescribed pills and threw them in the garbage. I felt horrible for a couple days while those toxic chemicals were flushing out of my system. And yes, that's exactly what they are: toxic chemicals. I'm referring to the dozens of different prescription psychiatric medications. Becoming dependant on something outside of you is indeed a destructive dead end road to travel. And putting those foreign substances in your body throws your body's natural chemistry out of whack. Not to mention the horrible side effects they all have.
Most doctors are quick to say someone has a "chemical imbalance" and therefore they should "buy my drugs so I can afford a second yacht!" My question is: a chemical imbalance compared to whom? Every person's body chemistry is different. No one can be compared to others because we are all individuals in completely different situations with different body chemistries.
No one is unhappy because they have a "Prozac deficiency." Your headache doesn't come from having an Advil deficiency. You don't need masks for your problems, you need to stop doing the things that cause the problems! So what are these things that cause depression? Well it's a complicated and dynamic answer. Bare with me for a few sentences so I can give you accurate context:
Unfortunately, society judges mental stability by how well one can accept or conform to the screwed up society we live in. All you have to do is turn on the news to see blatant dishonesties, corruption, war, murder, fraud, and despair every where around us. If we are grounded in reality enough to recognize all of this as fundamentally wrong and against honest productive life, then often we develop mental disorders if we lack the tools to properly deal with such things going on around us.
Yes, everywhere you turn you see an uphill battle: Public education is set up to keep us specialized with impotent minds. The result is we end up never thinking for ourselves and we take orders from someone for 40 years until we're handed a measly retirement. We never fulfill our dreams or even have a clue about how to start to achieve them.
And the business structure is set up the same way. We're expected to clock in from 9-5 every day and do what we're told in stagnate routine ruts void of creation and exhilaration. This is not the way conscious life is meant to exist. Very few people develop enough integrated thinking capabilities to work for themselves doing what they enjoy.
Yes folks, it's an inconvenient truth, but the establishment of society is set up for us to fail in life. From birth we are programmed to fall in line, serve someone else, and do what we're told. And unfortunately you can never find happiness if you're constantly living for someone else. Almost everyone lives a boring stagnate routine life and has to numb the pain on weekends with whatever they can get their hands on. Being strong enough to admit that this is the way things are is the first step in overcoming those bad cards we are all dealt. Denying that things are set up this way is a sure fire way to remain specialized and depressed your whole life.
And now for the biggest tangible value in this article: So where does happiness come from? How do I acquire it? Again genuine happiness does not come from a pill, fancy cars or clothing or from what some PHD tells you to do. Happiness comes from within yourself and it is your prime responsibility to build your amount of happiness.
Happiness comes from putting value into society. It's as simple as that. Human beings are social animals and we derive genuine happiness when we use our honest efforts to put something of tangible value into our society. Ever notice why politicians, tort lawyers, most religious leaders, dishonest journalists and the like are genuinely unhappy people? Despite their fake smiles and keen ability to hood wink others into thinking they "have it made", they are unhappy inside because they take more out of society than they put in. People like this such as the common criminal are parasites on society and quietly envy the honest productive individual who lives through rational action.
It takes honest effort to live in accordance with reality. It requires honest effort to take a brutally honest look at your self and figure out what makes you happy. Once you find out what you enjoy doing...what you are passionate about, you can pursue it and claim your own amassing happiness.
One of my passions is internet marketing. I focus on it everyday because it is something I enjoy. The crazy world around me can do what it wants...but in my private world of bettering myself and acquiring more genuine happiness, I see things for what they are. I look forward to developing my internet marketing skills. I'm drawn to it. Sometimes I wake up at 3:00 in the morning and get on the computer to pursue my passion. This is where genuine happiness comes from. It comes from defining what you're passionate about and pursuing it; nothing more. Your family, romantic partner, and vacations don't give you happiness. They are simply avenues to express and feel your earned self worth and happiness.
Happiness comes from honest productive work. This can come in the form of many different things. The bottom line is: it must be enjoyable for you and a benefit to society. For example: Take a married couple of a man who does honest and enjoyable work that benefits society and his wife who makes a supportive and functional home life for him. They both contribute tangible values to society. He does directly and she does indirectly through him. Now any woman can rise as high as any man in any career...My point is that if you make your livelihood into enjoyable, honest productive work which truly benefits society, you've found the key to happiness. I stopped letting others tell me what to do, who I should be, and what a "good life" is. I quit depending on others for guidance. I took the time to look within to find out what I enjoy doing. This is an extremely important first step. You must put forth the effort it takes to find what you're passionate about- if you don't know what it is yet.
After defining what I was passionate about, I decided to look out for my own best interest (since no one else was) and I started taking small steps each day to pursue my passion. As you can see, I'm a very individualistic person. My passion for internet marketing allows me to work from home without anyone breathing down my neck and telling me what to do. Personally, for me this is perfect. After a year or so of stumbling around online, I found a very potent online club for learning internet marketing. I joined the club and to my surprise, I started learning everything there is to know about internet marketing and how to sell products online. I now have the tools to fulfill my dreams. This is just my path. Obviously yours might be quite different. The key is simply finding out for yourself what you enjoy doing and pursue it. No one can do this for you; you have to do it yourself.
I learned to pick my self up by the bootstraps and make a tangible and constant self investment into my future every day. I'm sure you can do the same if being genuinely happy is important enough to you. Just keep in mind, it does take work, there is no easy answer. But if you find something you're passionate about and pursue it at least a little bit every day, you are guaranteed to gain happiness...And who knows? One day you might find yourself doing it for a living!
Once you start feeling good about yourself, and continue doing the little actions that give you energy, it will be easier to see what it is that you would like to do with your life, and one day you'll wake up and you beat depression for good.