Depression. Depression. Depression.
You know that phenomena when you repeat a word multiple times and it suddenly loses its meaning?
That’s how I feel about depression.
Mental health has become a burning topic in the last couple of years – everybody is talking about it.
And while this is supposed to be a great thing overall, raising awareness, speaking openly about mental issues and treating them like the sickness they are, I tend to see a slightly different side to it.
The biggest problem with mainstream topics is that suddenly everyone becomes an expert in that field. Also, everyone has a magical solution they’d like to pitch you.
More often than not, people who are truly suffering, myself included, do not find this unsolicited advice helpful. In most cases, those types of suggestions end up in the mental recycle bin as soon as they’re received.
So, let’s start with what I’m NOT going to tell you in this article.
- I’m NOT going to tell you to try yoga because it’ll solve all your problems
- I’m NOT going to tell you to pick up exercise because you just need to move around a bit
- I’m NOT going to tell you to find a hobby because you just need a distraction
- I’m definitely not going to tell you to get over yourself because everybody has it rough sometimes
Instead, I’m going to focus on methods that I personally found helpful in this ongoing battle with depression.
Although you might find some of them slightly unconventional, try to remember that unconventional problems require unconventional solutions.
Find What Fuels You
Telling someone with depression to find passion and ambition is like telling a blind person to describe their favourite colour – it’s pretty impossible, right?
What’s interesting is that depression can affect people in completely different ways – some people do have a passion but are too exhausted to follow it, others get out of their beds to simply catch up with their crying schedule and some can’t even get up at all.
Me – I’m angry.
I’ve been depressed basically my whole life and since I can remember people were telling me that I always seem so irritable and enraged.
And I am – I’m downright furious, all the time.
Although managing depression with anger led up to various outbursts, meltdowns, fights and arguments, I strongly believe it was what helped me survive all these years.
But recently I realised that I’ve been doing it all wrong.
What I needed was a paradigm shift.
I realised that my rage, my fuel shouldn’t be spent carelessly by fighting with others, arguing with loved ones…rather I should use it in my favour – against my depression.
I’ve come to think of my depression as my superpower and I’m going to use it against itself.
I’m going to fight fire with fire, and this time – I’m going to win.
So, for the first time in your life, turn the other way. Look deep inside to find what’s suffocating you – and employ it. Find that last grain of strength and show yourself that you have what it takes to beat this – because you do, we all do.
Pride and Prejudice
One of the most prominent aspects of my personality is certainly my pride.
Those who know me, know that I don’t like to ask for help. I hate losing (especially at UNO) and I most definitely don’t allow others to walk over me.
Now, pride is tricky – it’s good to have it but it’s also smart to dose it.
I’ve noticed a lot of people who struggle with depression and other mental health issues are too proud to ask for help. Too proud to admit that there’s something wrong at all.
And I was one of those people…until recently.
Therapy? Medicine? Pfft, I’d wave off my hand claiming that I’m strong enough to handle this on my own.
The reality? I’m not. And I don’t have to be.
After years of struggling, I’ve decided to take off my veil of pride and finally seek help – professional help. I’ve decided to open myself to other solutions, different methods and therapy.
I have decided to do whatever it takes to defeat this thing that’s been eating me up inside out.
Because, in the end, what’s the use of my pride when I’m walking around like an empty shell?
Embrace the Withdrawal
Do you know what happens when you finally overcome depression?
No, me neither.
For the longest time, I’ve been dreading that outcome. It might sound silly, after all, we all just want to be able to live, rather than survive each and every day…right?
But I couldn’t help but think of what would happen to me if I ever came to the point of defeating depression. Would I change? What would happen to my personality? Would I be rewired differently?
Would I lose myself?
Knowing only dismay and terror for the majority of my life has made me into who I am. I don’t necessarily have to like every part of me, but I’ve managed to accept myself with all my flaws and baggage.
Like a drug addict trying to get clean, but at the same time clinging to his past life, I was anxiously anticipating what awaits me on the other side.
I still am.
But now I have something that I didn’t have before. I have hope.
I have hope that the other version of myself will be as accepting of me and my traits as was the former one. I have hope that I’ll come out of this war as an upgraded level 80 mage compared to the noob I was before.
And I have hope that everyone fighting the same battle we’ll join me in combat against the common enemy.
My journey has only begun.
If you’re anxious to see what happens next – stay tuned. I’ll be updating you on my process and hopefully – my progress.