Depression is No Flu

Depression is No Flu

I’m just back from France. I’ve spent a bit more than a month there for the summer. It was great, thanks for asking. A bit cold though.

When my friends and family asked me about my job, I talked about this blog instead. So I unexpectedly ended up spending a good amount of time talking about psychological issues, and trying to help.

I’ll repeat myself, but France is not an easy place. My personal experience says it’s harder than in developing places, like Macau where I live for example. Things are slow, things are expensive, the government wants to control everything, taxes are heavy. Choices are limited. Choices seem limited.

So when people started telling me they were depressed, I was not really surprised. The gloomy feeling has always been there. What was missing until now was a bit of awareness and a word to put a label.

But there’s something else to the story.

Below is a nice summary of how all the conversations about depression went:

“Oh, the doctor said I had depression. I didn’t see that coming. I took pills for a year, then I stopped, but I’m still depressed. I am really unlucky.”

What struck me was that people seemed to think that depression is like a common cold: you get sick, you take pills, and it’s gone. Like it’s just some chemical imbalance sickness in the brain and that they can’t do anything about.

But it’s not.

WHAT DEPRESSION IS AND WHAT DEPRESSION ISN’T?

Let’s first remove the weird belief: depression is not weakness. It seems a pretty recurrent belief, but it’s plain wrong.

Depression is not about being weak, it’s not about not being able to suck it up, it’s not about not being manly enough, or strong enough.

So what is it then?

Depression is a call to action. It’s a signal.

It’s a signal telling you that you’re not satisfied with your life, and that you have to do something about it.

It’s a great signal. It’s a signal that will force you to grow. It’s a signal that’s gonna push you to the next level, if you let it do so.

You’ll have to reflect, you’ll have to realize things, you’ll have to take actions, you’ll have to clean your head. You’ll have to change for the better.

BUT WHY DO WE GET DEPRESSED?

Depression happens when there’s a gap between the life we want to have and the life we currently have AND we feel powerless about it.

The problem is not the gap. There’s always gonna be a gap. We will always want more: more money, more happiness, more time, more freedom, more love, more peace, more possessions. Or less possessions (which is more of less). This is normal. If you have nothing to run after you’ll get bored forever.

The real issue is that we feel we cannot do anything about that gap.

But this is just a feeling. We are not powerless. Never. We can think, we can choose, we can decide, we can accept.

What we need is a not a doctor prescribing pills. What we need is ourselves building courage, making decisions, taking responsibilities for these decisions, going forward and learning on the way.

SO HOW DO WE GET RID OF DEPRESSION?

Not just by taking pills. Pills can help, but if your outer world and your inner world are the same than a year ago, well, bad news my friend.

To get out of depression, something has to change. What can you change? Only things you have control over. And this is how:

1. By taking action

This one I talked about it already here and here because it’s important. Take action on all the things you can control: change job, start an organization, write down plans and ideas, travel, watch a movie, read a book, express yourself, make new friends, break old sucky friendships, take a class, talk to your crush, whatever. Really, whatever has to be done that is in your power, do it. How do you know what needs to be done? If you don’t know, sit down, think, and write. What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? What do you care about? Find out. If you don’t know, try anything and get your own feedback. Read my previous articles!

2. By changing your mindset

This one is rather new but is also very important. For all the things you cannot control you will have to change your mindset. You can decide whether everyone is a dick to you or whether everyone is just trying their best to survive. You can decide not to accept the death of someone close or you can decide to accept that it’s life, it’s gonna take time to heal and everything will be ok at the end. You can decide whether your divorce is a failure or whether staying in an unhealthy marriage is a failure. You always have a choice on what things mean to you. You can choose an empowering meaning, or you can choose an disempowering meaning. But you cannot choose what life gives you. So you have to change how you see things.

These are the only 2 things you have power over: YOU taking action and YOU changing your mindset. It’s simple, but not easy. It’s work. It requires courage. It requires awareness and reflection. It requires learning new healthy mindsets, and practicing them.

But like everything, the more you do it the better you become at it, and the easier it gets. It’s simple, but not easy.

Just popping pills is easier, but not simpler.

One comment on “Depression is No Flu

  1. Below are some tips on overcoming depirsseon. believe me it works.Make yourself busy. We all need to feel like we’re involved in something significant. We need to participate in something outside ourselves. You might consider volunteering at a local women’s shelter or food pantry. That will elevate your mood as well as your self esteem.Exercise is good for us, but physical contact is equally important. Exercise affects brain chemicals, and the healing touch of physical closeness does too. If you’re depressed, hug somebody anybody, everybody! A hug is good medicine. It reduces stress and tension and it boosts your immunity to illness. Hugs raise self esteem and lower blood pressure. They feel good and make people happy. And they’re free! Hugs are the universal language that communicates love and acceptance. They’re healthy for the hugger as well as the hugee. Take up a sporting activity like walking, cycling, tennis, golf, water sports, riding, gliding, sailing, football, badminton. Something with a personal achievement goal. Spectator sports do not count and have little value for the purpose of defeating depirsseon. Like alcohol (with which they are often associated) and television, they are simply ephemeral distractions. Depression cannot exist when the adrenaline is surging. Try bungee jumping.Avoid substances that are unknown to cause mood swings or depirsseonlike alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and high sugar foods.Learn to laugh. It really will make you feel better. Visit a local joke shop or toy shop. Buy books and magazines that you find entertaining and amusing rather than just educational. hire a funny video and invite one or two friends round to enjoy it with you.Build up your self-confidence. People who suffer from depirsseon often lack self-assurance. Write an advertisement for yourself listing all your good qualities. Carry your advert with you and look at it whenever you’re feeling down.Have a pet. The pet, however, be it a parrot, a cat, a mouse or a dog do not have this problem. They love their ‘master’ unconditionally and this is fully reflected through their behavior. It is much easier overcoming depirsseon and making your way back to normalcy when you are faced with the exceptional love of a pet (or more). It was observed that people whom pets were given want to become better, want to become useful, want to love back and hence slowly escape the clutches of depirsseon and return to their old selfs.Talk to someone about it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Have you ever felt better by getting something off your chest? Of course you have. Did talking about a problem in the past help to put it into perspective and perhaps make it easier to deal with. I would guess you have probably been there too. Depression is no different. Find someone you can trust and get talking about it. Friends, family, your doctor, support groups both online and off .You might even find that someone comes up with an idea you have never thought of which just might work for you.

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