The power of depression

It was like being trapped, it was like I knew I’m lost and I can’t do anything about it. I know everybody says the same things about depression: It’s feeling of hopelessness, people think you’re lazy, you have no energy, you see no point in doing things, you see no way out. It all is true, but for someone who has not suffered from depression, these are only words. It’s like you can’t imagine what it feels like to be a bird, you can only speculate. Ok I know that is a little bit odd example.

The point is that depression makes you feel there’s no way the pain or the bad thing whatever it might be can come to an end. The feeling is so strong it makes you hurt really badly; it’s not just some laziness or some romantic poet’s blues.

Why people around you make it worse

Because in many cases people around you don’t understand depression and instead of help they should provide, they make it worse. They think you are lazy or they want to help you by cheering you up, giving all sort of useful advices, “Get yourself together, man!” It makes you feel you are so lousy and self-pitying you really are such a sissy and failure not able to get yourself together and function like they do.

How I understood depression

When I found out in my brief states of clear mind during depression that there is something wrong in the way the reality affects me and so that I really could get myself out of this condition if I changed it – I started to see a hope and build upon it.

What happened to me is that I somehow rationalized the whole thing and saw it must be an illness causing me all this, because there’s no reason life would treat me this bad.

I understood that I feel bad not because what is happening to me, but because I react to it in a way that hurts me and enslaves me.

Once I understood it I was able to start building up on this experience. But it wasn’t an instant success. Depression is not an easy thing to overcome, even if you think you’ve figured the depression out. It is so strong and powerful it makes you doubtful all the time, you question everything and you don’t know what is rational. You cannot tell the beliefs that enslave you from the facts. It holds you so strong you are completely confused and you see there’s no end to the tunnel and it is so strong that it makes so many people suicidal. I hate to use the expression, but it’s true and it should not be overlooked.

So my way out was very slow. I researched depression and found several techniques that would help me out:

Distraction

I would try to distract myself from the bad things in general. Because depression makes you focus on the pain, whatever causes you grief and helplessness and it consumes all your focus. That way you don’t see the good things and opportunities that could normally lead you out from the sadness.

For the purposes of distraction I started reading again the books I’ve enjoyed in the past – books by Kerouac, London, Cortázar, Hemingway, … ok that’s what I like to read, but the point is to be taken away from your situation and live a completely different life someplace else in your head for a while and stop the sadness.

I would watch films that I knew I would enjoy.

I started to draw random shapes into a pocket notebook and developed a nice drawing style and a pleasant habit.

I listened to music.

Working out

I started to work out. At first it was extremely difficult for me. I could not find enough energy, but I tried and I got myself into a routine eventually. This one was tough, but I believe it was most beneficial.

CBT

I was working on my thinking patterns – this is called CBT. For example if a friend called me out, I would normally reject it. Because I was hurting and I was occupied with my grief and pain and I was scared to meet anybody expecting it would be unpleasant, he would not understand my condition, etc. But instead I forced myself to call him back and say I would like to go out. And it turned out to be a good time. So I learnt slowly not to expect only the bad thing to happen and my mind started to change slowly – I taught it that there are opportunities and that success is possible.

A Vision

This is something I find people don’t pay enough attention to when trying to overcome depression or generally accomplish anything. You cannot move forward if you don’t know why you want to go there. It’s not just knowing what you don’t want (depression). If you also know what you want, you have two big drivers to get you out of what you don’t want and place you where you want to be.

I allowed myself to dream big again but instead of pitying myself for not being able to reach my dreams, I made myself work hard.

It might sound like I jumped out of bed and worked right away, but the truth could not be more distant. It all was a painfully slow process which I now think could be sped up if I contacted someone to help me. I didn’t and I don’t think it’s a right way. If you can find someone supportive to help you out, I am sure the process of overcoming depression will be much more effective. I know it now, but I didn’t know it then.

I would make two steps forward and three steps back most of the time, but there were moments of giant leaps and it ended up well for me.

The reason for this article is to show that there is a way out. Although I know first there is no hope in mind of those suffering from depression. They need help and real understanding and if you are suffering from depression, try to find someone supportive and try to understand that you are not the failure, but it’s an illness that you need to overcome.

If you would like to read more about my depression experience and how I got out of it, you can check out my blog at http://whatdepressionfeelslike.com/

Author's Bio: 

Hello, I'm Mike. I've been suffering from depression for many years and I found my way out of it. Time to time I drop an article about my experiences as I am sure they can be helpful to many people. You can check my blog and read my story.