Hi. Are you depressed?
Are you feeling down?
As if life has lost its flavor and everything is gray, terribly dull and unappealing.
As if the slimy grasp of nothingness has taken hold of your soul and has firmly declared that is here to stay.
Let me guess, you are probably living the chaotic, overcomplicated, overplastified, marvelous, western world (which doesn’t really mean anything anymore, since the rampant globalization happening) you have a fairly good probability to experience feelings of depression, hopelessness and anguish, sooner or later.
Are you feeling sleepy and tired all the time? Or are your nights sleepless and munched away by endless mental rumination? Are you hungry all the time, or has your appetite disappeared, so you eat just enough to, well… not die.
Look, acknowledgment is the first step, so, that would be a good start.
Getting to know depression
Pretty much everywhere depression is treated as a medical condition, an illness.
This is not exactly true, and treating it as such could lead to quite some harm.
Depression is not a condition, it is not a sickness, it’s not something you catch in the dirty bathroom of a shady restaurant on the side of a third-hand street.
Depression is not something finite, that has a beginning or an end. It’s a symptom. It’s the sign that there is some sort of deficiency within you. A lacking.
Doctors will happily give you all the pills in the world, but we all know how mostly useless they are at best, and how harmful can they be in the long run. Sure, they will let you function, go to work, do the taxes, mow the lawn, what the government and society need from you.
But will that be enough for you? They will all try to give you a quick fix at first and then transform you into a client of the pharmaceutical industry for an indefinite period of time (until you die).
You don’t want this.
Something is missing. You feel it. And depression is the way that lack of something manifests itself.
Now, it can be as simple as the nutritional deficit of a micronutrient (Vitamin B3, B12, C, and D deficiency). You could have that checked out easily.
Some say it’s inherited, which is partly true, it could be, but a history of depression in your family does not guarantee immediately depression for you right away, it just means that you are prone to it, that you are more vulnerable.
It can also be some sort of psychological trauma that you suppress, something that is missing in your life, more than mere survival, on a higher level of the pyramid, I will talk about it later. Or it can be something more, let’s say – spiritual.
But it could be way simpler than that honestly. Something as simple as the things you do in your day to day life, harmless habits that you haven’t given much thought to, that are slowly giving fuel to your most negative feelings.
#6. Your diet.
Okay, imagine this: you worked hard, harder than everybody you know. You made sacrifices, never bought sneakers you so much wanted, never went to see again that stripper that was definitely checking you out, and saved up money for a lot of time. I mean you suffered for it!
You just got the car of your dreams.
And it’s beautiful.
And it was freaking worth it! Every. Single. Excruciating. Extra. Hour. At. Work.
It roars like the majestic beast she is. It’s shining, glorious under the sun. The leather of the seats is so soft, the texture so rich. The moment your hands wrap around the steering wheel, you know how perfect she is!
And then you drive it, and it’s fast, it’s solid and stable. Adrenaline is rushing in as you approach a punishable by law speed. You are delighted by how well this masterpiece of machinery and high engineering works. How perfectly every gear connects.
Do you like it? I bet you adore it. I know I do. I even got sidetracked a little. Well, bare with me.
What this has to do with depression you ask?
Oh well… well, my friend, would you feed this gorgeous dream car with watered and filled with impurities gasoline? Would you put in the vegetable oil left from the fries? Would you just avoid maintenance altogether?
No, you wouldn’t.
Then why would you put the horrors of the standard american\european diet in your system?
That car is only the second most prized possession you own. The first is your body, the most precious and perfect gift anybody could ask for. It doesn’t make any sense for you to neglect your car, it makes even less sense to neglect your body and the fuel that you nourish it with.
The well being of your body is the well being of your psyche.
Remember that and let’s repeat it.
The well being of your body is the well being of your psyche.
A diet based on processed food, half-assed take away meals, and then there is the senseless indulging in copious amounts just for the taste, and then we have obesity, reduced mobility heart disease, your body failing before your eyes.
Тhe constant inflammatory stress that your body is put under will inevitably affect your mood. Not only they are devoid of virtually any nutrition whatsoever, but these foods also harm your body very badly, in the long run, through the horrid cocktail of unspeakable chemicals (you would literally struggle to even try to pronounce these names)
I know they are delicious, I know they are cheap, I know their fluorescence is appealing. But for your own sake, please, try not to be a slave of the temporary satisfaction of your senses, try not to be a cheap fuck, try not to be a lazy bastard. Invest in your physical and mental health. Seriously, this is the single most important thing. The beginning of everything. Fix your diet.
#5. Mental and Physical stagnation
From the bed to the car. From the car to the office. On the toilet and on the phone. And then back to the car and then to the couch, and then Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, and then to the bed. And a little more of the phone.
If the child in you isn’t crushed by the livid grayness of adulthood, you may also keep on sitting in your man cave, the greasy joypad in your hand, munching on some artificial, sticky sweet goodies. Then add some more sitting here and there in bars, cinema, the sofa, couch potato-ing your way to and more than a few arteries clogged and more than a few health issues.
The flow of your blood, lazy and slimy, just as your mood.
A culture based on sitting for long hours is suicide. Plain and simple.
Physical inertia is the inertia of the mind, the inertia of the mind translates and transforms in powerlessness and emptiness, put that into perspective. It translates into depression, always.
Expression is the key. Stand up and stand tall my friend. Open the door and get the fuck out. Bathe in the sun or in the rain, bathe in the night. Go. Out.
Walk. Walk for half an hour, walk for an hour. Keep an even pace, step after step, feel the blood flowing, feel the electricity in your brain invigorating you.
Express trough movement. Remember, the well being of your body is the well being of your mind. How could a neglected, poisoned, inactive body be the vessel of a healthy mind? Yes, surely you can name someone fitting that description but at the same time being a joyful and happy person. Why not. Sure. Exceptions only confirm the rule.
Don’t try to be that guy. Be better than YOU were.
I don’t care. Stand up, stand tall, get the fuck out and go dancing. Go to yoga, go boxing, get your ass kicked, go to the gym and try to lift some weights, let it burn and let it hurt. Feel miserable near the jacked dudes. Go home, cry a little and then get the fuck out and start over. Express. Run, jump, hit, shake. Go nuts.
Make sure you yell like a lunatic at least 50% of the time.
Trust me on this one alright?
Express by any means necessary. Express your body but also express your mind. Write, draw, sing, it doesn’t have to be good, you just have to do it, pursue the flow state and savor the moment.
Within the moment depression is powerless. Remember this.
How do I know it? I am doing it, I suffer from atypical depression and right now I am kicking its butt. Flow state. As I am writing this I get pumped more and more. I want to do more, I want to take this world by storm. Even if this article never sees the light. Who cares. This is for me, first, and then is for you, eventually. I am an asshole. I don’t care
Shia gets it. Just do it.
#4. Seeing yourself as the victim
As far as I am concerned this life is nothing but a sequence of temporary victories against chaos. But you can have a final victory, the memory of a life well-lived. Nothing compares to that. Think about it, think about it for real, take your time, let it sink. Sounds scary right?
Things are always happening, some of them are trivial, easy to deal with, a piece of cake that you can win quite easily and go on with your life.
Some other things fuck you up.
At first, they look so overwhelming that you, don’t even know where to try to start trying handling them. So overwhelming that the only desire you have is to crawl into a fetal position and let chaos deal with you.
Let it depress you, deflate you, discourage you, devour you.
You want my permission to freak out? Sure, go on.
Ok, enough, now come back. Listen closely.
This is what it is, alright? Since the dawn of time. The good news is that you decide what to do with it. Since the dawn of time, it’s always been your choice. Let chaos happen to you. Be a victim. Or let it just happen and own it. It will not touch you if you don’t give him permission. Remember, this is your greatest freedom that no one can take away from you, ever.
Depression is the symptom of letting chaos in and bowing to it. With so much stuff happening all the time, so many things to do, with so much bullshit coming from everywhere in a meteor shower fashion, it is easy to let it in, to sit and contemplate our misery, to dwell on it, it may also be kind of addicting, you know, embracing the emptiness. A little bit of self-hate, a little bit of victim mentality. A little bit of envy and inferiority complex, it is just what you need. A perfect harmony of self-destruction.
This is what will crush your soul.
On the other hand, you could always act, the choice has always been yours. In spite of everything, decide not to be passive, shit is cray cray anyway so go forth and conquer. You are going to die anyway. Remember. Flow state.
#3. Only dead fish follow the stream
On your way from the grocery shop, or on the bus, anywhere, it probably happened that you casually met an acquaintance with whom you’ve connected on a very superficial and distant level, or, let’s say an old friend who was very close to you, but in time you grew apart, different schools, different groups of friends, different interests.
For some reason the conversation goes beyond the “Hi, how are you”, at some point, you will probably ask about how is their life going, what are they doing. How often do you get “Nothing much” as an answer? And how often “Same old”? How often it is something vague and what about the enthusiasm they communicate it with? How often you are that very person?
Does it bother you? Does it make you feel uncomfortable? If it doesn’t it should.
It should make you cringe. Usually, words like that are imbued with latent negativity and desolate surrender. It should make you uncomfortable, it should fucking piss you off. I don’t want your condescending smile or your awkward laughter.
Because you know what this is? It is the lack of gravity. The absence of drive. The miserable acceptance of an empty and pointless life.
Yes, you can lie to yourself, you can say that it is just a phase. You are actually okay now, life is fine, is comfortable, predictable. You like it that way. I get it.
The harsh truth? You don’t like it. At all.
You know what is not okay?
You, on your deathbed, wishing you had more time, your last moments tainted by regret.
Have you ever read the 5 regrets of the dying? Look it up for yourself.
Deep down you crave for something more, for something fulfilling, for something that benefits you and others. New experiences, new opportunities.
Listen, comfort is a betrayer, ultimately it will erase you, transform you into nothing but a drone that lives through the gift of life automatically.
How can life be enjoyable and vivid if you have nothing to live for? If your job is a dead-end? If your passion lies drowned under a pillar of uncertainty and numbness and fear?
The lack of a purpose causes depression. Emptiness is the slowest destroyer.
What can you do about it? It’s simple: imagine. Anything but this.
Spend time alone, away from everything, be selfish. What is it that you want? What is it that you always wanted to try, to see, to taste, to create?
Set a goal and let it draw you. Attribute to that goal power over you. Give gravity to it. Make it massive and heavy. A mountain.
It will always be worth it in the end.
Spending time alone is really a thing everybody should be doing from time to time. Breaking away from routine and from people is overall a healthy habit and it’s importance can’t be stressed enough. It is the way that I get to know who is this elusive “I” we always keep hearing about. My mind reflecting upon itself creating a circle of self-understanding which can be a really powerful and emotional experience.
But it’s an entirely different thing when we use loneliness as an instrument of isolation, drifting away from relationships with family, friends, lovers, people in general. This habit, it’s an interesting one, because alienation does lead to depression, but depression also leads to alienation in a self-perpetuating, self-fueling ouroboros of misery.
Nobody understands you, nobody is worth listening to, nobody is able to remotely comprehend the abyss in which you dwell, where your senses and your feeling are being grinded and mashed into a homogeneous mess of nothingness.
Seeking professional help, many of the times results in nothing (this is why people spend sometimes years in therapy, but it’s all good, because… you know, it costs money).
The placebo effect of putting the responsibility on someone else and expecting him to fix you because you are paying him doesn’t really work quite well most of the time, and if it does, how can you rely on yourself later on? Because we all have low moments, it’s only human, how will you handle yours? How will you handle you?
It is something you must force yourself to do, if the connection is lost and if you don’t work to fix it, in most of cases the effort of your closest people will be vain and hollow.
The fix? Be there.
Learn to cherish those who stand by you, those who saw you at your worst, let them in, celebrate their existence and be grateful for them.
Even the five-hundred-pound aunt that you just can’t stand has something of value to say. It could really make her happy, maybe just the fact that you listened to her for a while. You see, making other people happy is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. This is one of the highest truths in existence.
Take that humungous aunt of your out to eat.
Write a love letter to that girl you like, attach a rose to it (a letter, with pen and paper, not a text. Not an email). Don’t expect anything, do it because it makes you feel cool. Who knows what might happen. Cook for your family.
Take out to the luna park your obnoxious nephew, buy him some candy (ok maybe that came out weird), listen to him make sure he has fun.
There is something about giving that cannot be described, but if you embrace it, everything will be given back to you!
#1. Аddiction to negativity
You certainly have heard the term “drama queen”, sure, it’s a feminine adjective, but it’s applications are actually unisex. Have you ever met someone who is always complaining? Always being the victim of the universe.
The truth is that we can actually become addicted to negative emotions because they can make us feel like the troubled protagonists of a Shakespearean drama. Except it is tremendously boring to everyone else. But it usually gets one job done: attention, and there is also a miserable secondary sense of fulfillment that people get by bitching and complaining.
Many of the things that we do we do for attention in some sort of form or another. If we cannot give the world something useful, we get what we need by other means. Craving attention just to push it away.
Our minds love patterns, patterns build comfort and create a sense of security. Too bad that our mind is not able to distinguish a positive from a negative habit, a constructive form of a destructive pattern. It is not its job, our mind is only a tool meant to follow instructions, it operates like a computer, systematically processing the data you feed it, giving priority to the most occurring thoughts. It’s up to your judgment on deciding which program will you insert and run.
If you accept depression and learn to live with it, it will actually become natural for you to stay depressed, you get familiar with the condition and, you could even feel weird if you stop being depressed. You can even become dependent on it, enthralled by the false sense of security you get from it.
Comfort does usually doesn’t mean well-being, forget about satisfaction and happiness, it just means that your primary needs are satisfied (food and water) and every action towards something with a deeper meaning is condemned and discarded.
It’s funny how the simplest choice of words encloses the deepest wisdom: “Be positive” “Smile”. It is not easy but is very very simple.
All you need is to get pissed, get angry about this thing that you created that is pouring out into the world a weakened and miserable version of you.
In conclusion, we can say that depression is not an undefeatable adversary, there is always hope. You just need to act.
Thank you for reading.