Discovering what life is about





TL;DR version is in bold. Everything following each bullet is the logic.


You’re depressed, you’ve likely been prone to depression in the past, and you want to better your situation. Life changes don't happen overnight. However, you admitted to recognizing you have a problem— even better, you’re willing to work for positive change, and that’s the hardest part! You’re halfway there.


Take it one step at a time by implementing healthy habits:


Make subtle changes (action items) to your daily routine, and stick to them religiously. In the future, you will notice a drastic improvement when you reflect on where you are then versus where you are now.

Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. It kick-starts your metabolism, resumes hydration, and gives you the energy to begin your day. Bonus: Lemons + warm water. Lemons are high in Vitamin C (boosts your immune system, decreases wrinkles, keeps skin clear), potassium (helps control blood pressure), and pectin fiber (aids weight loss).

Make exercise a top priority. Block off at least an hour a day for some type of movement and work your other priorities around it. Exercise is meditation in motion, one of the healthiest coping mechanisms, and the key to releasing your body’s natural antidepressants. The endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine boosts act as sedatives and analgesics— ever heard of “runner’s high”?

Make time for a hobby. You’ve probably lost interest in everything you once liked. You won’t ever “feel like it”, but force yourself to pick something up that you can lose yourself in. Learn an instrument, some sort of art, a foreign language— the Internet is the great equalizer, so take advantage of the information it can provide. Seek out the adrenaline rush in trying something new. Get inspired and create something from scratch. Hobbies are a healthy distraction, ignites creativity, provides stress relief, and boosts confidence. The beauty of having one is that you don’t need to be proficient in the hobby, you simply enjoy it.

Once you stop learning, you start dying - A. Einstein


When depressed, be sure to avoid:


Alcohol and drugs. Temporarily putting yourself in a vegetative state when you have major depressive disorder is never worth the long term damages to your brain and organs. Chances are, you won’t be in the mindset to care for monitoring the amount you’re drinking or taking. From case to case, it will be tempting— losing yourself for a controlled period of time, forgetting about pain, new experiences. But I can guarantee you that it will be too late for you to regret your earlier decisions when the consequences take effect— pain of permanent organ damage, making mistakes detrimental to others while drunk or high, OD.

People who inadvertently make you feel worse. A few people you know probably came to mind instantly— the ones who intentionally or not, make you feel even guiltier with unhelpful suggestions and accusations:

“Just _____ (be happier, cheer up, think/don’t think about it)”/“Don’t be so _____ (dramatic, serious, sad).” People who say this (again, intentionally or not) are dismissing your condition and insulting your intelligence— hearing this will make you think, “Really? If it were that simple, I would have gotten better ages ago.” However, since you know the other person is most likely trying to be of help, you’ll probably end up staying quiet and just nodding. And now you are internally, feeling even worse than you were before the conversation had begun.

“There are others worse off.” This is always true and never effective. There will always be someone worse off or better off who may or may not be struggling with a disorder. Despite income, gender, lifestyle, sexuality, or religion, no one is weighing life’s circumstances and choosing to suffer through depression. Someone who would tell you this will only end up making you feel ungrateful for what you do have.

“What goes around comes back around.” People love thinking to themselves that bad things happen to those who inflict pain onto others. In actuality, no matter how great of a person you are, there is no guarantee you will be rewarded for it, and vice versa. The concept of “deserving” is a human-made one. If someone would tell you this in the first place, they aren’t your friend. Cut them off.

If you’re a male: “Be a man” or “Man up” Someone who would say this to you will further make you feel emasculated. There is already a pressure in society for men to hide their weaknesses and strive for the capable, “alpha-male” image— You already are a man, and these phrases generally say: You’re only being weak, so toughen up.

Spending large chunks of your time with other depressed people. We’re only animals, and it’s natural to gravitate to others with similar behavioral traits, thought processes, and lifestyles. This will be extremely tempting because of how relatable they are, but in time, you’ll find that your conversations are stuck in a loop. People who loathe themselves and spend their lives ruminating in self-doubt tend to surround themselves with others who loathe themselves. What good could that lead to?

Starting an emotionally intimate relationship. If you are aware of your incapability of properly functioning and caring for yourself, how would you take on the responsibility of caring for another person? Never commit to a relationship when you know you aren’t ready for one, no matter how badly you crave human contact. This will likely put you in a worse situation in the future and creates a detrimental effect on both people. It’s always a good idea to be aware of the consequences beforehand.

An unrealistic expectation and pressure is placed on the SO. The condition that you are in places a significant pressure on the other person— thoughts that plague them daily are: “What would he/she do to themselves or others if I left them?”, “I believe in them, and I have to stay to show that”, “I can’t abandon them, or else ____”, etc. At the same time, seeing their efforts to help will place a pressure on you, causing you to think: “Look how hard he/she is trying for me”, “Am I even improving? I’m so useless” This is the beginning of an inevitably toxic relationship. It is much more likely that someone who is acting as a support system will eventually fall into the cycle of depression themselves no matter how strong or smart they are, than it is that they would pull the other person out.

You will end up further hurting yourself. The process of attachment, potential dependence, losing yourself, and having it become too much for you to handle will worsen your condition. Don’t commit to a relationship for a temporary alleviation of your condition, and be wary if someone else who cannot care for themselves is seeking to develop one with you. It’s incredibly selfish and irresponsible.

On coming to terms with yourself:


Practice healthy introspection. You know yourself better than anyone, and self-awareness is the key. You are obviously intelligent and do a lot of thinking already— otherwise, you wouldn’t be suffering right now (ignorance is bliss). Gear that self-analysis to identifying concrete ways you can improve your ways, rather than despising your existence. Again, you know yourself best and are the only one who can really save yourself. Everyone else interested in helping you is only there as a support.

Work on learning to forgive others and yourself. Growing up, no matter how hard you tried not to hurt others, you somehow always did. Simultaneously, you may have wanted to intentionally hurt someone for whatever reason one day, and you did just that. Now, turn this logic the other way— others who have hurt you often did so unintentionally as well, or had ulterior motives for doing so if it were intentional. It isn’t something that can be helped, and the past has passed (repetitive phrase, yes, but true).

On forgiving others: Make a mental note (write it down to process your thoughts better) of every person who has ever hurt you— verbally, spiritually physically, mentally, sexually. Recognize that forgiveness is a command. Everyone is fighting their own demons, a reality that influences their day-to-day decisions— this by no means justifies their detrimental actions, but understanding this makes forgiving them easier for your own spiritual benefit. You aren’t doing this for them, but for yourself.

On forgiving yourself: Ask yourself— what is it that makes you feel a need to forgive yourself in the first place? Don’t dwell on the mistakes, but identify the cause for negative emotions as a benchmark for how you can prevent them in the future.

Recognize what you want. Reconcile with the person you hurt? Avoid the person you hurt? Learn to stop blaming yourself? Move past the shame? Be at peace with your mistakes?

Recognize what is causing you to feel badly. Realize that what happened in your past, be it five minutes or five years ago, is not the problem. What is negatively affecting you right now is your present reaction to this past event— the sudden overthinking, the overwhelming guilt, the knot in your throat.

Practice mindfulness. Realize that ruminating does nothing positive for you. As soon as you catch yourself reliving negative memories and thoughts again, bring yourself to the present, and redirect your attention to something that makes you feel better (preferably an action item).

Depression is rage spread thin - G. Santayana


Know that you are still in control of your future, and consider help.


Consider seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist. Swallow your pride and think about seeing a professional for both the chemical and mental aspects of what you are going through. You likely have a chemical imbalance. What you're experiencing isn't curable, but it's manageable with treatment. It also isn’t weakness to ask for help, but rather a courageous first step. Since the system is still a business, I’m skeptical about the pros and cons, but you weigh the options and decide what is best for you— whether you explore or commit to a program, therapy, or medication.

On antidepressant medication: Taking medication is only a temporary boost and can be like drinking coffee when you have a fever— you don't feel better and are only more aware that you don't feel better. However, depression is an extremely complex disease and you may need it. It doesn’t cure conditions, it changes brain chemistry. (I believe it is best to leave the medical advice for physicians to provide) Generally, people accept medication when they are desperate enough for any solution and any hope offered will be accepted, but responses are different for everyone, and results may or may not be beneficial to you.

Pros: Alleviated depression symptoms (subtle, but noticeable), the push for you to do things you would never be able to do before using them (smiling, getting out of bed, brushing teeth/taking showers, talking), increased efficiency of psychotherapy (recommended to pair counseling/ therapy with taking medication), some swear antidepressants saved them

Cons: Weight gain (which could lead to more problems), slow benefits (medication is generally tapered over months), medication may be changed repeatedly in search of the most effective dosage/medication combination, you will likely feel less like “yourself” and more like a robot, doctors don’t seem to know what they are doing (society still knows little about mental disorders), possible mere placebo effect, pharmaceutical industry is a business, 0 sex drive and other sexual problems, increased suicidal thoughts, increased anxiety, fatigue, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, stigma that comes when others find out you are taking them, no guarantees

Pharmaceutical companies have had high successes in overcoming physical illnesses of less complex organs, but nobody really knows the first thing about treating the brain, our most delicate possession. Keep this in mind if you’ve reached the point of considering or taking antidepressants.

Depression is the inability to construct a future - R. May


Massive respect to you and anyone here suffering with depression. It says a lot about you, knowing that you are still here and fighting today. Defy all negativity, and absorb all positivity like your life depends on it (it does). Internal motivation is the most unfair advantage a human can have, and sometimes external motivation is the push that we need.


Take your time, heal, and learn to love yourself, no matter how many years it may take.


You’re worth it. Best of luck!


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