Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dealing With Depression.

I talk to several people who have gone through or are going through some tough times in their lives and are battling some heavy issues with depression. I can tell you as somebody who also battled depression for several years and still does to some extent I have no real answers. I do however know what has helped myself.

1. "Cut the fat" For some people it may comes as surprise that one thing I did to try and beat depression was to purge several people from my inner circle and not try to attract a larger crowd. The truth is there were a lot of people that were not only not a help they were in fact a huge part of the problem. This even includes some family members. If somebody in my life either feeds my depression or feeds off of it to make themselves feel better I do not allow those people around me anymore. There certainly are some people who will try to help you and God bless them but many more it seems will take advantage of you when you are vulnerable. By the same token find those people who love you and stick by you and return the favor 10X over and be there for them. They've seen you through some real shit and never flinched you need to let them know you'll do the same for them if you have to.

2. "Confront Yourself" You are the reason you are depressed. People stop shitting on you when you stop either letting them (see #1) or you stop shitting on yourself. You don't need to find yourself, I don't even know what that means, but you do have to confront yourself and not to pity yourself either. You need to ask hard questions and get answers you need and not answers you want.

3. "Find your comfort zone" I never met a person who had no interest. Mine are Nebraska football, Music, James Bond Etc... I find when I have tough times I find I go to Nebraska football for comfort. That answer came to me after my Father's passing. I found myself collecting more old programs and newspapers that pertained to Nebraska football than I ever had before which is saying something because it's always been a huge interest. On the increasingly rare times I find depression sneaking in I usually now smoke a cigar and listen to some music. If all else fails I take some sleeping pills and go to sleep. Everyone has interest and passions don't be afraid to lean on them in tough times.

4. "Stop being a victim." This goes back to #2. Some people who suffer from depression get off on being depressed it's actually what truly makes them happy. And what makes them even happier is bringing their friends down with them. At some point you have to stop allowing yourself to be a victim. Ask what is it that I am doing that makes me so miserable? What am I doing to make it better? Am I using this miserable feeling as away to gain sympathy and putting guilt trips on my friends?

5. "Stop searching for shit to be depressed about" Admitted it, we've all done it. Things start going a little too smooth and we start getting uncomfortable in our new-found stability so we start looking for shit that makes us feel depressed. For many people depression is as much a comfort as a liability. There are millions of people who want to free themselves of crippling depression and there are millions who wear it proudly like a glove. In fact most of us who suffer from depression or have suffered from depression are in fact both. To this day there is a level of what I believe is depression that I find comforting from time to time (below) but I don't go looking for things to make me feel like shit. In fact I work to keep those things and people as far away as possible.

6. "Some Depression is a good thing" Ok this seems like I am going against everything I have already said but I am not. There is a level of depression that to this day I find comforting. It's hard to explain. it's not a fuck I want to die depression, it's not a everybody is out to get me depression and it's not a man I totally suck depression. It's a feeling that truthfully I can't accurately describe.

7. "Stop being scared of being happy" This was the hard one for me. For years I said the higher you fly the harder the crash. I actually feared happiness for the sure equal or worse despair I would experience as my punishment for daring to be happy. I've learned that in my life the opposite is actually true. For everything that as happened to me that brought me pain something equally as great or better has come from it.

8. "This too shall pass" When I have a particularly bad day I tell myself at some point this day will be over and never heard from again. No matter how bad it gets it will end and a new start will be here and I will not let any situation beat me twice.

9. "Seek help and accept help" I personally am not a huge fan of therapist ( many to me are in fact highly educated prostitutes who pretend to care for an hour for the right fee) and yet I acknowledge that many are quite good and many people do find the help and support they need from these people. I also believe that anybody who doesn't want to be helped, and there are millions, can't be helped. And it seems to me that anybody who doesn't help themselves is also beyond much help from others.

So there are my thoughts. Take them for what they are worth. I don't pretend they are the right answers for you or anybody else but they have helped me.

4 comments:

et said...

Count, you are spot-on with this.

#1 - "Cut the fat" - yes. I too learned this one the hard way. Don't people your life with enablers that make chronic depression possible.

#6 "Some depression is a good thing" and #7 "Stop being scared of being happy"...I'd put these together with #8 "This too shall pass" into a general statement about having realistic expectations for yourself. The people with the seeming-perfect lives that the depressed person envies? They, too, have their dark moments, just as the gloomiest among us have bright spots. The only way to ride the rollercoaster without puking is to recognize going in that there will be Ups as well as Downs.

My addition at #10 - "Reach for the YES" This isn't to say be impulsive and stupid and reckless...but in any situation try to consciously look for reasons to say yes, rather than no, to new experiences, opportunities and discoveries. It's an easy way to put positive thinking into practice without feeling like some sort of Pollyanna.

Also, I'm glad you're back, Count. Missed you during your Alaska trip. Pictures soon, I hope?

Anonymous said...

One thing I want to add, and I don't want to make a long ass post, but depression can also be "chemical"

In other words, yes, one's attitude can make you depressed but also there are chemical imbalances going on in the brain which lead to those feelings of hopelessness.

It is a damn life-wrecking experience and there seems to be no clear explanation as to why the imbalance occurs. People who otherwise are completely healthy can experience episodes of depression for no apparent reason.

This is when professional help is needed. I don't mean a shrink, but a doctor qualified to dispense anti-depressants. This itself, can be pretty difficult.

Great post, Count!

Average American Patriot

Count Istvan said...

One thing I want to add, and I don't want to make a long ass post, but depression can also be "chemical"

No question.

Count Istvan said...

Reminder...

So to Bob, Bob, Bob, Bob, UberNiperBillyJohn, Chris, Ralph, ESPECIALLY RALPH and any other waste of our precious time think about this when you decide to post here. If and when I see your posts they will be erased.

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