Depression is a sly little thing, it’s something that once you get acquainted with, it’s hard to get unacquainted. Once you start, it somehow barges into your life so much that in the end being depressed becomes a habit, a go-to move your brain takes every time anything big or small happens. Suddenly you find yourself in a cycle of waking up wishing a sharp sword would just cut through your chest and falling asleep to the thought of getting into a car crash.
I, myself found my way out of the labyrinth of depression just last year after 6 years of hopeless wandering, fighting whatever the labyrinth threw at me. And although the labyrinth comes in different forms for everyone, I thought I should outline a couple of tips to help those still stuck in there to get out faster.
1. Learn what your depression is based on
Now in my previous post ‘Primarily Learned‘ I told you about my victim mentality and how I grew up more than half of my life without my parents. I grew up spending a lot of time alone without family or friends and I grew up convinced that what I needed to be happy was to have them. I was depressed that no one was there for me and that I had no one to lean on. So this was the very base of my depression, the fact that I convinced myself that the formula to happiness is something that I didn’t have.
Everyone has formulated their own formula to achieve happiness. ‘If I have that, I’d be happy’ ‘If I achieve this, I’d be happy’ ‘If only I could do ___, I’d be happy’ ‘If only I/they was better, I’d be happy’ And with these formulas we confine happiness to a certain set of things and without them we’d never feel that ultimate happiness. What we need to learn is to let go of this formula. The things we convinced ourselves that we needed to be happy, we need to let those go. Now I moved to Germany alone and I have spent the past 7 months without friends but I spend each day happy and not put down by the thought that I need friends to be happy. You may think this only works in my situation but if you simplify and simplify and simplify your problem to its basis your mind would be so much clearer. Is the ultimate basis that you’re trying to make two parties happy when there’s no way for the two parties to be happy? Or what is it for you? Once you get down to the basis, the way out of the labyrinth is much clearer.
2. Enjoy the little things and realize it’s not okay to be depressed.
I said it, realize it’s not okay to be depressed. These days, everyone’s going around saying it’s okay to be sad and depressed. It’s okay. NO. When I saw those post when I was depressed I just saw it as an excuse, ‘it’s fine, they said it’s fine for me to be depressed’
I know that realizing that it’s not okay to be depressed is not the equivalent to not being depressed. You don’t just realize and suddenly you’re able to control your depression and I’m not telling you to tell yourself off and fell bad about being depressed. The point is to move your mindset out of depression becoming a habit and an instinct.
I said it in my ‘Primarily Learned‘ post and I’ll say it again. Enjoy the little things. Really just stop and appreciate. Do not live your life looking downwards, shrinking your whole world to just one patch of darkness but look up at marvel. It does not take a whole lot to feel a bit of happiness. Do not aim for some sort of unattainable, possibly non-existent ‘ultimate happiness’. I personally feel a bit of happiness just looking at the colour yellow. It’s spring, look at the colours around you, look at new life budding all around you and if you’re in the South Hemisphere, bro, GO EAT SOME FEIJOAS!!! (I can’t even get them here!) Enjoy. The. Little. Things.
3. Incorporate feeling accomplished into your life and challenge yourself
How I actually got out of depression is that I worked for a company 6 days a week 12-16 hours a day. I had the most responsibility in the company other than the boss and I just had no time to be depressed. I had no time at all to think negative thoughts. I was either exhausted or concentrating on work. Even though I worked so much, I enjoyed it, I felt very accomplished and I was pushed beyond what I thought my limit was.
A way to feel accomplish is to challenge yourself. Now I’m not telling you to join a sweatshop and work till you die. The challenge you set for yourself does not need to be on a huge scale. Now that I’m not in that environment anymore, I challenge myself with the smallest challenges. For example, where I’m staying there’s a trampoline, I challenged myself to do a front flip. I bounced and I bounced for so long and I did not manage to accomplish my challenge BUT during the time I was bouncing I was giggling so hard because the fear of doing a front flip charged my body with adrenaline so that even though from the outside it just looks like I’m bouncing, I’m internally freaking out and it was so. much. fun. The result of the challenge does not have to be perfect but you should enjoy the attempt.
Although finding your way out of depression isn’t as easy as unfriending someone on Facebook, you definitely can do it. GIRL/BOY you. can. do. it. What you also need to do is to not make getting over depression as big of a hurdle as you think. Getting over depression is not feeling of ultimate happiness or loving yourself to the uttermost, but going ‘hey, today wasn’t so bad.’ ‘hey, this week wasn’t so bad’ ‘hey, these negative thoughts are appearing less and less’. Jump over the first hurdle and keep on slowly getting better and better. If you relapse don’t worry, but learn to catch yourself each time your brain’s go-to move is to be depressed, realize it.