QUESTION

So I’ve been depressed since I was about 10 years old (I’m 15 now.)

I’m kind of just now talking with my parents about it and up until now I’ve hid it and delt with it. But I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and I talked to them about it.

Well, they don’t believe me. Which is exactly what I was afraid of.

I’ve always been afraid no one would take me seriously or think I was doing it for attention or that I didn’t know what I was talking about. I just want to go to a shrink or something. And I don’t know what to do. The only person I have, who understands and who I can talk to, is my girlfriend (bless her heart). But I don’t want to have to rely on others anymore when I’m feeling low or going through an episode of depression. I don’t know what to do.

 

Rob’s Thoughts

You’re doing the right things! You’re talking about something you’re struggling with. That’s awesome even if it feels shitty.

My advice for your recovery and continued success looks like this:

  1. Take Responsibility
  2. Decide / Take Action
  3. Get Educated
  4. Connect With Others

 

Take Responsibility

I think this is the MOST important aspect of your inevitable success: taking responsibility for it.

Taking responsibility for yourself, your feelings, your struggles, and your life!

This as ADULT as it gets. I know 40 year olds who still blame the world, who see themselves as victims of the world, and who then demand the rest of the world adapts and changes to meet their sensitivities. So I applaud what you’re doing.

Until someone realizes that their depression is their responsibility, it’s impossible to find longterm lifelong results and recovery, in my opinion.

Often the traumas in our past are not our FAULT but they ARE our RESPONSIBILITY. It’s your life, not someone else, and therefore it’s YOUR job to attend to it.

Now, to be clear, being responsible doesn’t mean you should some how magically know what to do to fix how you feel. There are very skilled humans in this world who specialize in everything.

Being responsible for yourself might mean calling an Uber to drive you home when you’re drunk. And it might mean finding counselling when your head and body aren’t feeling right.

Have patience with yourself, and have compassion for yourself. If somewhere, deep down, you’re not happy with yourself maybe read my other article here.

 

Get Educated

Learning about depression and anxiety, will immediately empower you and will help you start to take back the control you’ve lost. And the world of google search is a great easy first step. Even youtube has amazing resources. So start reading immediately.

The other best resource for solutions to life great inner problems, are doctors and specialists like councillors and psychologists. Here in Canada regular doctors are free to visit, and when in danger we can even get access to specialists at the hospital (like suicide risks, etc.) But I can appreciate that you might not have this sort of access if you don’t have the money. Which is unfortunate for many. That’s why self learning is so powerful, and mostly free online.

So find some books, and start reading immediately. Then find a good councillor, older adult, or mentor. Constantly seek advice from others and slowly gain nuggets of wisdom from those you meet. It’s your responsibility to become your own resource for self knowledge.

The mental habits you have, that have kept you in a depressed state, were learned. And over time, they can also mess up your biology, making your brain chemistry unbalanced.

So recovery might require both medication to rebalance your chemistry, AND new mental perspectives, insights and habits.

If you never get access to medication, or it’s deemed you don’t need it, that’s okay. Because with NEW mental habits you can completely reverse the damage, and heal your chemistry moving forward. It might be slower than direct medication but it’ll work just the same.

 

Take Action

Once you have realized and have become aware that your depression is a problem, then you need to DECIDE that it’s something you will solve. Maybe for yourself. Maybe for your future self. Maybe for your friends or family. What ever your deepest reason for wanting recovery, you must DECIDE you’re going to work towards recovery.

Believe me, making this DECISION in your head and your heart is EVERYTHING and will help move you through all of the baby steps needed to crawl your way out of the hole.

Taking actual action from here might be easier said than done.

If you’re depressed taking any action might feel overwhelming and impossible. Because it’s really hard to do something that we don’t “feel” like doing. Sorta like choosing healthy food when junk food would FEEL so much better in our mouth holes. When we feel sick or weak or depressed we are not going to feel like doing anything.

But the obstacle IS the way. The part of you that is too tired to take action, that’s the part you must practice to ignore and move forward anyways.

And when we’re depressed we feel helpless and tired and probably incapable of taking any action.

In which case you have to trick yourself into moving forward. It’s not about will power, but instead about leverage. You need to leverage other FEELINGS in order to override the negative feelings that are making you stuck. This where you lay in bed feeling shitty, but you spend a little time thinking about your most emotional reasons for wanting to recover. What will it feel like when you’re feeling alive, and excited, and healthy and happy again? How will it affect your family and friends when you’re finally recovered? How much easier will life seem? Get emotional. Go deep into your thoughts and your heart to leverage those feelings, to help you take those first baby steps.

Read the book CAN’T HURT ME by David Goggins if you want to see what pure manly will over emotions looks like. He ran 100 miles in 19 hours, on broken bones while pissing blood, not because he felt like it, but because he had the emotional leverage to keep himself moving forward despite the pain and suffering he was feeling. He’s inspirational and shows us how each of us can do anything, despite our limitations or our feelings.

The mind has the ability to override the body, if we learn how. Hence… GET EDUCATED.

So if you’re feeling exhausted and every step feels like way too much, then think smaller. Think tiny. Think tiny baby steps.

Don’t wanna read a book? Find a the summary of the book online and read a one page synopsis.

Don’t wanna find a councillor because it means you have to get out of bed? Start smaller, and from bed, find some online forums and chat with other people who have the same issues.

The tiniest of steps are enough. Even just laying in bed thinking about your situation and seeing it like a problem you can solve, is a tiny step in the right direction. Knowing that how you feel is just a puzzle that can be solved is a great first step. The rest of the steps will be a tiny bit easier each time.

 

Connect With Others

This step seems to be very often overlooked. And I’m not sure why. I guess it’s anti-intuitive to think that by helping others it will help US feel less depressed. But we humans are empathic. We FEEL how others feel.

Imagine that feeling “happy, and content” was the same as catching a cold and feeling “miserable and tired.”

Now what would you have to do in order to catch “happy and content?” You’d have to expose yourself to others who already have this affliction. So do that.

Either force yourself to be around people who are full of optimism and joy. Or find ways to help others in need, thereby leaving them feeling a little bit better… and therefore leaving yourself feeling sorta proud and happy for that person that you just helped.

Maybe a friend is having a really hard time with something, and all they need is a shoulder to cry on, or an ear they can vent to. That could be you. You could put aside your struggle, get out of your own head, and be that amazing friend who just listens and cares.

I promise you, this last step is probably the most powerful of the bunch.

Helping others who have it really hard gives us perspective, and often leaves us feeling good about ourselves.

This last step might be the best method for recovery. Experiencing how you can make someone else feel better is incredibly therapeutic. Through empathy, and compassion for someone else, you can remind yourself how awesome you really are.

Do the hard work, you’re worth it!

😀

~ Robby

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