Understand Depression And Change Your Life
Photo Credit:Daquella Manera
Depression for me has always been that voice within me that has cast doubt on my abilities and drained me of my confidence and motivation. Sometimes it struck with no apparent cause and other times the reasons were clear. I know as a guy, it was never easy for me to talk about it. It’s not one of those things that you sit down with other guys and talk about. The more I think about it, the more I understand why alcohol is so popular. It’s one of those understood ways to cope with depression even though it is horribly ineffective in the long term. Once I began to become more self-aware of myself I started to notice that I was letting depressing thoughts and feelings run amok within me. Within my mind I envisioned myself at a literal fork in a road. One path leading down the same nonsensical self-destructive path I had been following and one path with endless opportunity and change. I made a conscious choice to step off the path I had been on even though change can be scary. These are my thoughts and observations since making that change.
Some people go on struggling through depression for their entire lives without relief. Many of us try to deny the symptoms and pretend that everything is fine until it cripples our lives and forces us to make a change. “Band-aiding” depression so to speak has become big business in the United States and abroad. It would appear as though these companies expect the general public to believe that taking a pill is the answer to any problem you may face. Fortunately for them, millions have bought into this system of beliefs. There are certainly benefits to some medications that treat depression but they can not be believed to be a cure. Only a supplement to a more thorough system. People who derive the most benefit from these medications typically have chemical imbalances within the brain.
Although quite complex, I have found that depression can be treated in some of the most simplistic ways. First of all, just as with a disease, determining what is causing it is the first step. Sometimes this is not easy and for those of us that are not very good at introspection, therapy derives it’s benefit. Even more important is to be aware of the thoughts being manifested in your mind. The topic of changing the way you think is so important that my next blog will be devoted entirely to this. All I will say in regards to depression and your thoughts is that allowing negative and destructive thoughts to manifest in your mind will only lead to a destructive and negative life. And of course the opposite is also true if you allow positive and constructive thoughts to flourish.
The problem in treating depression in the United States specifically is that people’s attention spans and patience have reached an all time low. Seeking the instant fix is not only desired but essential if any product or idea is to be successful. As human beings we can conquer every other species, create incredible technology and even grow organs in a laboratory. Despite these amazing accomplishments, we continue to repeat the mistakes of history over and over again. Learning from the knowledge of those past is our Achilles heel. Much of the knowledge about battling depression and understanding the workings of the mind have come from centuries past. The ideas and beliefs are not desirable to those who want to drink a miracle shake or pop a pill because they require dedication and time.
Depression originates when the mind, body and spirit are not in harmony. When you take a step back and look at the lives we lead, it is not at all difficult to understand why. Our lives revolve around constantly making ends meet by making more and more money while abandoning proper nutrition, exercise and always comparing ourselves to more successful counterparts. In order to overcome our feelings of inferiority, we buy bigger and more expensive cars, houses, phones or anything else that can help fill the void in our lives. When this does not work we begin to feel hopeless because society tells us that these things should make us happy. This is the American dream after all. The secret to happiness is so simple that it has been right in front of you all along. The secret to happiness has always been within you. By abandoning your imagination, making money your idol and destroying your body with harmful foods and chemicals; you have fallen out of line with nature. Being happy is a choice. Once again, being aware of your thoughts is incredibly important.
I know many people will come out and say that there are circumstances beyond their control that have created very depressing situations. There is no denying this and I certainly will not say that anyone can become immune to being sad or depressed without being a robot. There are definitive differences between those that are truly happy and those that are either miserable or pretend to be happy. The first thing to understand is that a significant number of depressing circumstances in your life are a direct result of your destructive thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Eliminating these circumstances is a matter of destroying the process at it’s origins. Once again, this would be your thoughts. For those circumstances that have befallen you out of no fault of your own, being able to step back and get perspective on the situation is crucial. What I mean by this is that most of us tend to become overwhelmed with how this event has and will affect us. Some of the most devastating occurrences in our lives teach the most important lessons. You simply have to look. If you still can’t refrain from self pity, helping others has a magical effect on those who can’t stop thinking about how terrible and hopeless things are.
To sum up, for the vast majority of us, taking a pill is not going to cure depression. You must treat your mind, body and spirit with respect. Your moods are a product of all three working in harmony. Depression is most often your body telling you that something is wrong. Just as pain from placing your hand on a hot stove is telling you to move your hand. Those that heed the call, can and have made miraculous changes in their life. It’s all your choice.
As a final thought I would like to say that much of what I just mentioned can easily appear as “easier said than done”. I fully get that and I am right there with you. For many people, making these changes can be a life long challenge. Just remember that none of it is in vain. Even the small adjustments and steps we take, create enormous ripple effects through both our own lives and those around us.