I’m open about my struggles with depression. My battle with the disorder has been ongoing since I was a little girl and I never really understood why I was feeling the way I do.
In 2015, I gave birth to my first child and instead of celebrating the newly arrived love of my life, I was depressed.
When my son was 2 weeks old, I remember feeling that life was meaningless. I contemplated suicide and had pictures in my head about ways that I can die.
That time, ending it all was the solution to all my problems and sufferings.
I forced myself into intense therapy.
I took anti-depressants and vitamins daily to finally feel what happiness is but it was ineffective.
I spiraled back into the pits of darkness and it was only when I did these 5 things that I finally confronted the demon that had possessed me for years. Enough was enough.
1. Make your own purpose
“Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it.”
– Stephen Hawking
There is no such thing as universal purpose but individualist purpose. What I mean by this is that everybody’s sense of purpose varies from person to person just like everybody’s sense of work is different.
Work doesn’t always necessarily mean a 9-5 job in an office.
It could mean anything.
For example, I enjoy philosophy. In fact, I love the philosophy of everyday people to the point that I have made it my purpose to seek out wisdom and knowledge of people that are willing to share it with me. The reason that I do this is that intellectuals come in many disguises waiting to be discovered like diamonds in the rough.
If painting gives you a sense of purpose, do it.
If recusing animals gives you a sense of purpose, do it.
Whatever it is that you think will give you structure in your life that you’re wailing to wake up to, do it.
2. Think about what is making you unhappy and try to fix it
This is harder than it sounds. It means that you have to sit down and write a list of what is making you unhappy and then coming up with solutions to the things that you see problematic.
Remember, this is not an overnight thing and you really have to dig within all the yuckiness of yourself to figure out what the issues are.
People would rather sit and complain about their lives all day long without doing a damn thing about it and if something goes wrong, they would much rather put the blame on someone else and play the victim because it’s much easier to live a life without any personal responsibility.
“You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.”
― Jordan B. Peterson
All the knots and tangles of your existence takes some time to untangle, but it is the willingness to start somewhere that counts the most. Facing the things that make us sad is very scary but with time and patience, you will begin your transformation process to live a life of meaning and fulfillment.
3. Accept that you can’t change everything
We’re not all Supermen or Superwomen.
We’re told that we’re special by our parents and when we go out into the real world, it turns out that we’re not and then we become depressed and feel useless when we haven’t done anything extraordinary by the age of 30.
The universe itself is chaotic yet orderly.
Same thing with our life.
Maya Angelou said it best:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
My family is susceptible to depressive disorders. I can’t change my genes but I can definitely change the way that I see it by accepting that this is something a part of me that I have to live with for the rest of my life and not fall into the cycle of being ashamed of it.
4. I took personal responsibility
I was physically and verbally abused by my father and I was very angry with him for a long time.
I blamed him for my depression and anxiety.
I blamed him for all the things that was wrong with my life.
I blamed him for the actions that I’ve done that had negative consequences.
I’ve finally learned that he was not the one that was making me bitter…. I was.
I took personal responsibility and told myself that in order to get out of the funk that I was feeling, I needed to do it myself and leave what my father did to me where it belong — the past.
When I started acknowledging that I was responsible for my life choices, I started to feel the clouds moving away from my head.
My dad was not in control of me. I was.
(If you’re ready to take ultimate responsibility for your life, Ideapod has created this great eBook to help you take action).
5. Get the hell out of the house
I think the longest that I have ever stayed in my house was 3 months.
I was too tired to do anything.
I looked like a complete slob and I felt like one.
I painfully forced myself out into the world and what do you know! I was feeling much better even thought I was just sitting on my back porch drinking a cup of coffee.
We’re social beings and even if you’re an introvert or ambivert (like me), there are activities out there you can do alone or with others that will lighten your mood.
A friend of mine who also suffers from depression likes to go jogging at the dog park. She doesn’t have a dog of her own but she likes to pet them as she passes them along the trails. It puts her in a very good mood.
Another friend of mine likes to go the library because of the smell of old books.
Get out and do something no matter how silly it is.
In the end, there are many causes of depression and all the suggestions that I have stated above will or will not work for you. However, give a go and hopefully it will help you realize that your depression is not in control of you and the sun always shines after the rain.
You can read more of my work at faroutwisdom.com.