Depression doesn’t go away

Have you ever felt like your depression would never end no matter what you do? Does it seem like you’ll always be depressed? Are you almost to the point of giving up and just accepting it as the norm?

I’ve been so depressed that I couldn’t even remember what a positive emotion felt like. I’ve been so depressed that I didn’t leave the house for weeks at a time. I’ve been so depressed that I wanted to give up on life, and I nearly did. If you ever felt like that, you might be wondering if you should talk about your depression..

I don’t feel like that anymore, at least for now. Emotions are cyclical that way; maybe some day I will experience a depression that deep again. But my toolbox for dealing with depression is always growing. I want to share one of those tools with you right now.

There will always be something to be depressed about

Always. I don’t care if everything in your life is perfect. Focus on something negative; focus on it long and hard enough, and you will be depressed.

At one point in my life I was fortunate enough to change careers from a thankless manual labor job to a comfortable office environment. It was great at first. Then I found a way to get depressed again. Before, I blamed my exhausting job and brutal bosses for my depression. At the new job, I blamed the monotony of office work. I say again, there will always be something to get depressed about.

If you have a history of being depressed, then you’re very skilled at finding things to get depressed about. You are a master at focusing on the negative. You’ll even find ways to rationalize it. Right now you might be getting defensive and saying you can’t help it. Maybe you can’t. But why not try? You’ve tried before, it doesn’t work, nothing helps, and you have a million other excuses?

I know. Depression is addicting. That’s why you need to start small. Take advantage of the knowledge of upward and downward spirals to start climbing out of that addiction.

Happiness doesn’t go away

There will always be something to be happy about. Does that sound cheesy, stupid, insane, or just flat out wrong? I understand if it does. I’ve been there, believe me.

In every moment of your life, you have unlimited options: literally infinite things you can choose to focus on. How many do you focus on regularly? Maybe a dozen? How many of those are negative?

I’ve been in ruts where all I’d think about is how my ex did me wrong, how my parents ruined my life, how depressed I was. Guess what: no amount of focusing on that stuff helped. It only made things worse.

You can make the choice right now to focus on something different. Focus on something that’s not depressing. Focus on something that’s beautiful, challenging, hilarious, relaxing; just focus on something else. Just give it a try, and tell me how it goes.

Should you talk about your depression?

If you’ve suffered with depression, you’ve probably wondered if you should tell your family, friends, or coworkers about it. Depression affects people differently; you might prefer not to burden others with it, or you might secretly wish someone would listen and help you through it.

I was the former. I can remember many nights spent alone in my room trying to escape my depression. I’d play World of Warcraft or some other online game: anything to take my mind off of my suffering. I preferred isolation, and I believed I should be able to fix myself.

You don’t need to suffer alone. Tell someone you love about what you’re going through. This can be scary. It’s 2017 and there’s still a stigma around mental illness. Some people might overreact and treat you differently; others might blow you off and call you a drama queen. That can really hurt.

When I was in high school I drove home in the middle of a party because I felt incredibly uncomfortable. When I told my brother I thought it might be social anxiety, he unintentionally blew me off. He didn’t realize how serious it was. He told me to try not to focus on it, and it would go away. The fact that he didn’t understand just made me feel even more alone, and after that I believed that confiding in others was pointless.

Find a community

If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone close to you about your depression, or if you do tell them and they aren’t supportive, don’t give up. Tell someone else. Reach out to a community that understands what you’re going through. Comment on this post, and I will be more than happy to reply. Also feel free to email me at ReviveLiveThrive@gmail.com or message me on twitter @ReviveLivThrive. One of the main purposes of ReviveLiveThrive.com is to unite depression sufferers so we can support each other.

What should you say?

Be open, and be honest. Don’t downplay, and don’t exaggerate. It’s amazing what a relief it can be to tell another human being exactly what you’re going through. A great book that relates to this is called “Radical Honesty” by Dr. Brad Blanton (warning: he curses a lot in the book).

Some people will be overwhelmed and not know how to respond. That’s fine. Don’t expect any single person to suddenly become your therapist and fix all of your problems. Your depression is no longer a secret burden that you bear, and that’s a start.

I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone I knew about my depression, so I joined an online forum. Typing a giant post about all the suffering I’d been through was cathartic. Some others who suffered with depression replied and related their similar experiences to me, and I no longer felt so alone.

How much should you say?

At a certain point, talking about your depression changes from relief to obsession. When you stop feeling relieved and start feeling more depressed, it’s time to stop talking about it, at least for the moment. Not surprisingly, focusing on something negative for an extended period of time makes you feel more negative.

To avoid that negative feeling while talking about depression, I like to focus on coping mechanisms and recovery rather than just on how bad it is. This website is focused on support and improving! Check out the about section to learn more.

Journaling

If you still don’t feel comfortable, even with an online community, journaling can help. Thoughts get all jumbled up in our minds and overwhelm us. The simple act of putting thoughts into words, even on paper or in a notes app, can really help. Take it a step further with video journaling!

Build upon your discussions

Talking about your depression can be useful, but don’t stop there. Take action as well. Do little things to start improving your circumstances. Check out my article on upward and downward spirals.

Please remember that this post just contains my person opinions, and I’m not a doctor! Check out my disclaimer.

Well, you read the post. Now do what it says, and talk to me about your depression! Leave a comment, and let’s talk about it. Again, feel free to email me or message me on twitter. Share this post with someone who needs it! Thank you so much for being here.

Upward and Downward Spirals

A Life-Changing Depression Tool

Taking advantage of upward and downward spirals has immensely helped me deal with depression. Here’s what I mean. There are certain things that I can do that have an effect on how I feel. It’s surprising how these little things can build exponentially and create massive differences on my emotional state and my experience of life over time. Using these tools can drastically reduce my depression.

It starts like this. I think or do something that is either positive or negative. By that I mean it makes me feel good or bad, or it’s something I believe is good or bad. For example, going for a run is something that makes me feel good. Let’s say I’m feeling depressed, and I want to start feeling better. I’m tired, but I decide to push myself and go for a run. It might be uncomfortable at first, but afterward endorphins are released. I feel euphoric, and I also know that I did something healthy and that I pushed myself.

These positive thoughts and feelings stay in the back of my mind throughout the day and inspire me to do MORE positive things. I might still be depressed, but I feel proud of myself, and my body is more relaxed from the exercise. Now, when I think about what to eat after my run, I’m more likely to choose a healthy option. That healthy food makes me feel even better, because it gives my body clean, sustainable energy. The knowledge that I’m being healthy boosts my self esteem as well. I’m taking care of myself, so that provides my brain with evidence that I love myself, and these types of thoughts are helpful in dealing with depression.

The Momentum Builds

Now I’ve done two positive things, and the momentum is building. I’m more likely to read a book rather than watch TV, clean my apartment rather than play video games, and so on. These appear to be somewhat minor activities, but the upward spiral continues exponentially. If I can maintain this trend over the course of days, weeks, or even months, the results can be truly amazing. At a certain point, the habits become second nature. I don’t need to think about it or exert as much willpower anymore. That’s great news, because when I’m depressed I certainly have less energy and willpower.

I am convinced that starting small and building upward momentum like this can create massive changes in your life. When you’re depressed, you don’t feel like making a big change. You don’t even feel like making a small one. But it’s easier to start small. Do one small thing, and the momentum that it creates will help you do the next, and before you know it you’re making massive improvements in your life. This is an extremely useful tool for climbing out of depression.

It may not cure your depression, but it can help you change some of the circumstances that contribute to you being depressed. For example, it might be extremely difficult for you to find a new job if you’re depressed. If you start small and just implement one small positive action today and continue that trend over time, that job search might seem much easier once you’ve got the momentum of an upward spiral.

Avoid the Downward Spiral

The same thing applies to downward spirals. If I eat junk food, skip a work out, spend all day watching TV, or do any other habit I perceive to be negative, I lose motivation to do positive things. I sink lower and lower into the downward spiral. This can be extremely dangerous if I’m already depressed. I’ve been at some very low points in my life when things seemed hopeless. Stopping that downward spiral can be so hard to do. Just start with one small positive action.

Try today. Do one small thing that you really believe is good for you, something healthy. Of course, be safe, don’t do anything crazy, and check with a doctor first. I’m just sharing what works for me, and I hope it works for you. I truly believe that upward and downward spirals can completely transform lives. It is an absolutely vital tool to deal with depression.

Comment below! Share your experience with upward and downward spirals. Share this post on your social media. Check out the about page to learn more about this website. Get involved! And as always, thank you for reading.