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What is depression about?
Depression can hit you at any time and any place. Sometimes it makes sense when it hits. Like when someone you know has died or you go through a breakup. Other times, it can hit for seemingly no reason.
And depression can affect you to varying degrees, from mild to moderate to severe.
With mild, people might not know you have depression. You can still put on a happy face. You might even be happy.
With moderate, it starts to get noticeable. Depression gets to you more and might slow you down.
With severe, you’re lucky if you can force yourself to move. You can’t even pretend to be happy. It’s tough, if not nearly impossible, to muster much, if any, energy to do anything.
I’ve been through all kinds of depression, and it still gets to me sometimes. Thankfully, I am much better now about applying the solutions discussed in this post.
While I’m not a mental health professional, I do have experience with depression going back to my childhood.
If you’re wondering “What to Do When Your Depression Hits the Hardest,” consider the following solutions and see if you can add some of your own. Having as much in your arsenal as possible should help you return to a healthy mental state and stay there.
Problem #1: Too Much Focus on Bad News
Fear is a path to depression. Fear leads to negativity. Negativity leads to helplessness. Helplessness leads to depression.
For whatever reasons I won’t go into here, mainstream media overwhelmingly focuses on negativity. And too much negativity can lead to depression.
To learn more about the link between negativity and depression, read the excellent book “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D.
Maybe there’s so much focus on negativity worldwide because humanity is still stuck in survival mode. Throughout history, humans have had to watch out for danger at the expense of focusing on the positive.
Also, too much focus on bad news can keep us from having more energy and the ability to improve our lives. If we’re trapped in negativity, we only see problems, not solutions. That’s unhealthy and inaccurate. There are always solutions.
Solution #1: Much More Focus on Good News
Love is a path to happiness. Love leads to positivity. Positivity leads to strength. Strength leads to joy.
To learn more about the link between positivity and happiness, read the excellent book “Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D.
Your quality of life depends on where you put your focus. Sure, you could focus on bad news. Or you could focus on good news instead.
You might have to look around for it, but it is available. I focus on sources that report good news. Humanity has a long way to go, but the strides we are making are still encouraging.
Any story has multiple perspectives, and I find focusing on the positive side more helpful.
For example, violence has kept decreasing. To learn more about that, you can read “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” by Steven Pinker.
www.Cracked.com has also had numerous articles about how the quality of life worldwide has improved.
Look for the good news that isn’t being reported in mainstream media. There is a lot more progress happening than you might think. See what focusing on good news does for your mental health. I highly recommend it.
Problem #2: Thinking Only of Yourself
At the Landmark Advanced Course, I learned about the 8 levels of life. If you think only of yourself, you’re missing out on all the other levels of life. The level of the individual is the foundational level of life, the bottom level. Above that, the rest of the levels involve other people.
The course leader stated that the level of the individual is where depression occurs. I thought back over my life and realized that to be the case. Something I noticed with depression is that it’s way too me-focused. I have felt alone, as if nobody else has ever experienced what I have. I’ve felt like my needs aren’t met and can’t be. I’ve felt like I’m the only one that matters. Or, even worse, the only one that doesn’t matter. I’ve felt like it’s all about me.
Depression has been extremely isolating. I haven’t wanted to have anything to do with other people. I didn’t think I was good enough. It’s gone the other way, too. I didn’t think they were good enough. I’ve tended to be silent, isolated, and negative. It’s been a nasty experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
Unfortunately, depression is a much too common experience.
What have your moods been like when you’ve thought only of yourself for extended periods?
Have you been sad? Angry? Depressed?
Solution #2: Thinking Beyond Yourself
The first level of life is the level of the individual. As you work your way up the levels of life, you’ll find that each progressive level involves more and more people.
Here are the 8 levels of life, from lowest to highest:
- Romantic relationship;
- Country; and
Which level are you mainly at?
The higher you go, the more you see that life isn’t only about you. It’s about others, too. And that can have an energizing effect.
How many lives can you affect for the better?
Looked at a certain way, life becomes a game. Sure, money is a way of keeping score of your impact as you help others. But also, the number of lives you’ve impacted positively is another way – and arguably the healthiest way – to keep score.
When you think beyond yourself, you open yourself to all the other levels of life. You grant yourself the chance to become a multi-dimensional being. At the level of the individual, you’re stuck being one-dimensional. But you don’t have to stay stuck there. You can advance yourself. It’s your choice. It’s all within your power.
As you think of others and what you can give them, you become others-focused instead of me-focused. You start moving beyond victimhood and into victory.
As you’re likely well aware, thinking and doing are two different things. It’s not enough only to think something. You have to do it, too.
And that’s somewhere else depression can get in the way.
Problem #3: Not Taking Enough Action
Depression can have a crippling effect. Getting out of bed can seem like a monumental effort. Standing up can seem almost impossible. Taking care of your most basic needs can seem like it isn’t worth the effort.
I’ve been there. I couldn’t see beyond myself, which led to many years of having depression as my constant companion.
I wasn’t sure I would ever publicly share any of these things. Then as part of my personal development journey, I discovered that my greatest pain could reveal my greatest gift. Since other people have the same experiences I’ve had, my progress can be an example for them and reassurance that a higher quality of life is possible for them, too.
The more depressed I’ve been, the more action I’ve needed to take. Depression is an indicator that I wasn’t doing enough.
A nasty thing about depression is that I didn’t see the point of taking action and didn’t think it would result in any positive changes. So, I didn’t take action.
If you’re anything like me, you’re depressed because you’re not taking enough action. Depression shows that you’re unhappy about something in your life. You can choose to be happy, and you can choose to do something about your situation.
You can choose to see that there is a point in doing something and that there are positive changes from doing that.
Solution #3: Taking Massive, Inspired Action
Tony Robbins used to have depression. He was isolated, living alone, overweight, listening to sad songs, feeling sorry for himself, and broke.
A friend visited Tony and asked, “What happened to you, man?”
Tony saw how far he had gone and chose to climb out of the pit he was in. He chose to do something about his depression. He chose to transform his life. This materialized first as a desire to run until he couldn’t anymore. He ran as fast as he could and as far as he could.
This simple act was enough to show Tony the giant within himself. He shed the extra weight in only 6 weeks and kept it off. He got married and became a stepfather. Tony went from being an employee to having his own businesses. He went from earning $38,000.00 a year to earning $1,000,000.00 a year in only 1 year. He went from renting an apartment to renting a castle. And he is considered the father of the life coaching industry.
Tony Robbins took massive action. And you can, too.
Do you have the desire to transform your life?
Do you see that you even can?
The massive, inspired action doesn’t have to be big at first. All you can do is start with where you’re at. As you move on, you’ll be capable of doing more.
If you feel fear and if you have depression, those are indicators that you need to take action. Massive, inspired action. Things you haven’t done before. Things you used to do. Things that can make a difference in your life and other people’s lives, too.
What you do for others, you do for yourself. What you do unto others will be done unto you. So, it’s best if it’s something positive.
For me, this website is part of the massive, inspired action I’m taking. For many years, I kept to myself and didn’t share about my life. I didn’t help people nearly as much as I could. Now, I’m admitting I have something useful to offer people. It’s going to expand from here. And I look forward to experiencing what else I can give and where else that will lead.
Life can be exciting. But only if I let it. Writing and sharing are two of my cures for depression. Healthy self-expression helps me as I help others.
What are your cures for depression? What actions can you take that help other people?
How can you spread your love? How can you express the best and brightest you have to offer?
It would be a great honor if any of the contributions I’ve made help lead to you embracing yourself as the giant and the genius that you are.
You are here to love and be loved. Share who you are with the world. You are a treasure, a gift. You are love itself.
Allow yourself to advance from service to self to service to others. You can experience the reality that as you meet others’ needs healthily, you get your needs met, too.
Before I go, there’s one more problem to address…
Problem #4: Trying to Solve Depression by Yourself
You can only get so far on your own.
I’ve tried making progress by myself. And while I still get further along, it isn’t nearly as much as when I have at least one other person to make progress with. The difference is exponential.
Which would you rather have? Centimeters or kilometers? Inches or miles? A regular step or a quantum leap?
I have my own experience to draw from, whatever studying I’ve done on my own, and other people’s experiences. And this goes with what I said earlier about the levels of life. By yourself, you might still have depression. But once you involve others in mutually beneficial ways, you can cure your depression.
As an introvert, I have times when I prefer to be by myself. But too much time alone brings on depression, stifles creativity, and gets me overthinking. Those facts remind me to be around other people.
No one is an island. Your depression doesn’t only affect you. It affects more people than you realize.
Since depression isn’t an individual problem, the solution isn’t either.
Solution #4: Be with Supportive People
Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to cure depression. And if your case is severe enough, people already know you have depression without you needing to tell them. However, they might still be waiting for you to contact them. They can reach out to you, but if you don’t reach back, then nothing happens.
If you think you have something to hide when it comes to depression, look at it this way. Which is more important: looking good and still having depression OR being honest about what you’re experiencing and having the support you need to overcome it?
Relationships are all we have in life. You are worth the time, the attention, and the effort. And so are the people you’ve been keeping yourself from.
Unless you’re surrounded by people who care only about themselves, you’ve got people around you who will support you in achieving greater mental health. And other kinds of health, too, for that matter.
And on the flip side, unless you’ve been horrible to people, you’ve likely got people around you who have your back. People who want to help you, are champions for you, and want to see you win.
This is my challenge to you. It has two parts.
The first part is to start a project you care about that would benefit at least one person. And see if you can get someone to work with you on it. The project could be as practical as possible, something silly, or somewhere in between. You choose.
Most of all, enjoy the project and the opportunity to help at least one other person. Enjoy the distraction from your depression. You’re focusing on something good and positive. You’re thinking beyond yourself. You’re getting started with taking massive, inspired action. And you’re also beginning to spend time with supportive people.
The second part of my challenge is to open up to at least one person about your depression. Ensure that this person cares about you and will be respectful and understanding. You can’t always predict how someone will respond or react, but you might be able to tell in advance.
Depression isn’t as much of a taboo topic as it used to be. Thankfully, it’s getting to be safer to talk about it.
You could start by discussing your depression with a family member or a friend. Alternatively, you could talk with a counselor or call a depression hotline.
Help is available. Always remember that.
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Until next time,