12 Steps To Conquering Your Depression And Boost Your Creativity
Depression is something that is nearly always hidden, especially here on social media. It’s something that sufferers are keen to keep to themselves for fear of showing failure or weakness if people see it. Like your mental health or the lack of it comes with stigma attached. It’s like we are all trying to advertise our personalities to be stronger than we actually are. Mostly taking pride in living life like a campaign. Darwinism at it’s best. Keeping up with this model requires not crying on a friend’s shoulder, talking about how you feel to someone who cares and not telling your story for how it really is.
This is a subject that I can’t help but feel close to, I too suffered insane amounts of depression, border-line ready for ending it all at some points. About 4 years ago I did something about it. I changed. Bit by bit I started to recognise that I am the only person that can make me happy. Depression is a reflection of something negative in the past; same as anxiety is a fear for the same in the future. But what you are feeling at any given time is right now in this moment. So you can choose. Emotions aren’t in the past cause you’re feeling them now. Emotions aren’t in the future cause they haven’t happened yet. If I wanted to end depression for good, then I had to start with giving my self the responsibility of embodying a change in the moment. No matter how addictive it feels, the depression had to stop. I think at this point I’m about 3 years 10 months sober.
I started by seeing a councilor/therapist for about 6 sessions and it helped me realise how trivial my problems were. There was a certain comfort in the anonymity and to today I still strongly believe everyone should see one at some point. If nothing but to witness how small your problems are when those tiny grievances come from your mouth. It spurred my interest in social psychology and pushes me to be the best person I can be. Every week we’d talk about my cognitive behavioral patterns and how my habits always resulted in the same self-perpetuating spiral. I was the catalyst to my own spinning out of control, not some other person or event that I could blame it on. She said I was a great patient because I instantly took to the material and started turning my life around. After 6 weeks I didn’t need to see her anymore but I wanted to carry on my self-studying. Resulting in an acceptance of responsibility for why I was tuning in to feel so low whenever I’d face one of lifes challenges. While doing a bunch of soul searching I connected the dots and started to colour my own emotions and haven’t had a depressed day since.
What’s hard for me is to witness people in my life that I love, people who know how to fix other peoples problems, but still don’t internalise the cognitive systems they know so well and use them to fix them selves first. If you feel like you have a quick way of dealing with depression by shutting yourself away for a few days then re-gathering your spirit (enough to brave the world come Monday), that’s not really dealing with the problem. It’s like re-using a dressing on a gaping wound. Bacteria is going to catch up to you. Whether that be 3 months or 6 months later, you’re going to feel depressed again. Being alone and circulating all those bad things that have come before, won’t allow you to avoid that same depression happening again. It’ll actually have the opposite affect, even if it works for you as a short term fix. At that point you have to admit you’re addicted to that feeling, while you’re at that lowest point – you want to stay there, you love that feeling and that’s why you want no one else around while you’re in it. Just like an addict it’s going to take a huge commitment in your self to break that habit of a lifetime.
Something that keeps me from returning to depression is knowing; it’s going to be a life time practice to keep it away, I can only do this by keeping my head, body and heart as positive and clean as possible. I’d like to suggest you try these tips to keep your depression away;
- Avoid surrounding yourself with negative people (you are the 5 people you spend the most time with), this includes gossiping and talking bad about others. People at the bottom are going to want to keep you there so be wary of whom you’re keeping company.
- Try to eat clean healthy foods, sugars and grains spike your insulin and give you instant gratification. Less ups and downs mean more thinking straight and feeling balanced. Nutritious greens, fats and protein all the way!!!
- Get regular exercise like riding a bike, running or long walks, the fresh air and a bit of sunshine will work wonders.
- If you have a hectic working schedule, try to meditate, do yoga or at least find complete flow and focus in what your doing. Do away with the brain chatter.
- Try getting the right amount of sleep by wearing an eye mask and ears plugs where necessary. Also try f.lux for your screens to normalise light levels before you sleep.
- Educate yourself with quality content and screen out the lo-fi fluff like the news, drama and social media buzz feeds.
- Working is great but try to not burn the candle at both ends. Live life, don’t work it. Have fun at every possible chance, if you don’t get time then – make it.
- Try being altruistic for a change, help others even if there’s no instant reward for yourself. Do something for someone else and make their day.
- Find some projects you’re passionate about and set goals and steps towards achieving them. Start small and see some big progress quickly.
- Love the people around you and treat them, as you’d wish to be treated yourself. This includes smiling, chatting with everyone not just your friends. Throw your self into as many social situations as possible, you can still have all the alone time you need but do it knowing there’s a bunch of people around you that love you back.
- Stop recycling those thoughts, thinking the same things over and over won’t make a single bit of positive difference, do something with those thoughts or start filling your head with something more positive.
- Become conscious of your depression and start taking steps to move on. Stop with the love/hate relationship you have with your depression and start recognising it for the bad habit it is.
I’ve managed to team these 12 steps with being a bit more business savvy with my work and a bit more attentive in my relationships and I feel like superman. All these things mean nothing individually but together they keep me strong. I believe that the body follows the mind and the mind follows the body! As a result I have a sense of purpose in my life, a value that is rooted in me and not an event or in another person.
Whenever I think about how I used to be, I get slightly upset but realise there’s no way I’m allowing myself to get like that again. Which is why I always want to extend a helping hand to anyone I see suffering with depression; I want to help fix them. The trouble is they can only really fix themselves. They have to want that change enough to truly internalise the method in the madness. It’s possible for us all to live a happier life. I hope you choose to!