So, let’s talk about depression because it’s a deal that’s affecting a lot of us. I for one have two sides. A light and happy side, and a darker side that sometimes wants to hide, and shut out the world.
According to the World Health Organization 300 million people around the world have depression and nearly 50 percent of the people who are diagnosed with it are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that’s linked to mental illness.
That’s concerning, I think!
Based on the assession of a compilation of symptoms, a person is typically diagnosed and then labeled as depressed. To go along with that, they may also be diagnosed and labeled as behavior disordered, bipolar and/or mentally ill. And they could easily be led to assume and believe that that’s their lot in life. And that besides take medicine, there is nothing they can do about it.
I know because I’ve been dealing with depression my whole life and I’ve found a way to master it without going on meds, or settling for an unhappy and low quality of life.
I’ve experienced depression as an empty, flat, numb, nothing, helpless, hopeless, low energy, lackluster feeing that makes you feel perpetually exhausted and overwhelmed, like you are broken and dry inside with no desire or ability to fix it. Depression feels like a deep dark bottomless black hole.
There’s a second part to depression. And that’s the feeling of shame and unworthiness that you feel over having it, like you’re lazy and flawed and less than, and there’s something inferiorly wrong with you because you feel the way you do.
Depression can come in waves and it can range from mild to severe.
Whether you are the type of mildly depressed that makes you want to hide out in bed and not answer the door or phone. . . or whether you have the chronic type of depression where you literally feel so exhausted and low all the time that you can barely function, it’s a real thing.
I’ve dealt with enough serious depression in my own life to make me want to dive in and study it. I’ve kept track of what I’ve done to make depression worse, and I’ve also tracked what I did (DO) to pull myself out of it.
Here’s what I’ve learned.
At a physical level depression is caused by neurochemicals and neuro transmitters in the brain being off kilter (aka a chemical imbalance).
On an emotional level depression is caused by stuffing unprocessed experiences from the past. Stuffed emotion causes heaviness, and then exhaustion comes from the weight of carrying heavy emotion around. It’s a cycle that keeps you feeling hopelessly heavy and down.
Then there’s the power of belief and thought, which causes neurons in the brain to fire together and create a mind loop cycle of thought and behavior driven HABITS that reinforce and repeat depressing patterns. The brain becomes bent on seeing the negative and hopelessness and helplessness in the world and creating situations that (seem to) prove life is never going to get better, and this creates a continuing depressing cycle.
Some people are born with a genetic predisposition towards depression, and others develop depression as a result of the life they’ve lived.
There are lots of reasons why people get depressed but the WHY (what caused it) doesn’t matter. What matters is what you choose to do about it.
WHAT matters is that chemicals can be rebalanced, and conditioning can be changed, and depression can be reversed!
What’s important here is what a person decides to do about depression. What matters is how strong their desire is to rise above it.
There are definitely things you can do to make depression WORSE. Including, having a victim mindset and dwelling on all the situations in life where you’ve been screwed over, and looking back and thinking about the people from your past who’ve hurt you and taken advantage of you. Dwelling on your past and telling sad old stories and complaining and blaming either yourself and others for what went wrong. This makes you a victim and other people villains in your mind, and it makes you feel justified… and it leaves you feeling more hopeless and depressed than ever. So does being negative and looking for proof that life is hard and crappy and focusing on what’s bad and wrong.
Other ways to keep the depression cycle going are loathing yourself and beating yourself up. Feeling ashamed of your body and not taking care of it. Living in clutter and squalor. And numbing yourself with food, alcohol, shopping, phonography, video games, etc. to help you avoid feeling and facing emotion. Filling your body with chemicals and foods that are known to be harmful. Those are all ways to feed depression and make it worse.
The GOOD NEWS is there are simple THINGS YOU CAN DO TO lift depression and make yourself FEEL BETTER. Here you go.
DECIDE TO STEP UP YOUR GAME
Ask more of yourself. Decide to do what it takes, and when you’re having a good day really go for it and gain momentum!
CREATE A POSITIVE BUBBLE AROUND YOU
Force your brain to see the positivity and goodness around you. Fill your brain with fresh and positive thoughts – listen to podcasts, etc. on a regular basis. Listen to other people who are upbeat and going places and expose your mind to new thoughts and ideas. Look around you for positive bright happy things each day and fill a page a day with them (journal about them).
SET HEALHTY BOUNDARIES
Separate yourself from negative thoughts and negative people. Say no to people and activities that drag you down. Force yourself to disconnect and walk away when you realize that you’re in an old rut. When you find yourself thinking disparaging thoughts, train your mind to stop and go a new direction.
WANT MORE OUT OF LIFE
Ask yourself what you’d do if you knew you couldn’t fail. Set little goals you can look forward to. Make plans and follow through with them. Focus on what you want in the future. Create successes in your mind. The more successes you have the more excited you’ll feel about life. Imagine your future being bright.
Make decisions (vs. I don’t care, and it doesn’t matter) so you feel empowered to choose and can be more in charge of your life. Go through the motions of doing things that are good for you, even when you don’t feel like doing them. Take a shower and get dressed every day. Make your bed and clean up your space. Move your body and exercise – this is HUGE for shifting and lifting depression!! Having a morning routine and sticking to it is super helpful.
Meditation creates a pause in your brain and helps you get back on track with upgraded desires and habits. Make it a practice to take a break and quiet your mind on a regular basis. Start with 5 minutes a day and simply focus on your breathe.
I can’t say enough about this. . . Do it to get your body moving and your heart pumping, and to move a glum mood on out. Exercise literally causes your brain to release feel good hormones and lifts you right out of a funk! Do it on a regular basis to improve your health and create and abundance of light hearted energy! If you don’t know where to start, I like these short and super effective workouts a lot.
DRINK ENOUGH WATER
It goes without saying that your body and brain need an adequate amount of water. Not soda, or coffee, or bottled juice, or alcohol etc. They need pure water and they need a lot of it. In fact, the rule of thumb is your body needs half it’s body weight in ounces, of water every day, to function optimally. Simply drinking enough water for a month can create miracles all the way around.
NOURISH YOUR BRAIN AND YOUR BODY WITH VITALLY FRESH FOODS
What you put into your body significantly affects how your brain functions. Eat an abundance of vitally fresh organic plant foods and take high quality nutritional daily supplements to feed your body and brain the nutrients they need and keep them working properly.
In addition to eating a mostly vegan diet, here’s what I specifically do to keep myself feeling up.
Celery juice is pretty much a miracle food that fixes and prevents a bunch of ills. I buy organic celery by the case and drink a quart of it every morning on an empty stomach and it’s been a game changer for me. Honestly I feel a lot better in general since I started drinking celery juice, and a real perk is it has completely cleared up brain fog and helps me be in a much happier mood!
LIFELONG VITALITY PACK
These are doTERRA’s daily supplements. I take them because they’re a super high-quality balanced blend of the nutrients my body and brain need to function optimally and considering everything that’s in them they’re a really great deal. They cost me a lot less than it would if I tried to get their equivalent at a health food store, and instead of having to deal with dozens of bottles I get everything I need in three. I take the recommended daily amount.
These are digestive enzymes hanging out that significantly help with digestion and also supports the brain. I take them with meals and end up taking 4-6 a day.
At their basic level, essential oils are pure chemistry scientifically known to positively affect the brain. Purity is important because synthetic oils can’t have the same positive effect which is why I only use doTERRA oils.
Essential oils I’ve found to be helpful include, DDR Prime (I take it internally in capsules), and basil, geranium, clary sage, bergamot, frankincense, grapefruit, sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, wild orange, rose, and balance. I drop these oils under my tongue, and I diffuse them, and I apply them to my throat and back of neck and earlobes, and bottoms of my feet.
I don’t have a rhyme or reason to which oils I use or when I use them. I just automatically find myself going to oils and putting them on and in me often because they’re simple, and they make me feel better! They’re the fastest and easiest way I know to lift a funk and get me into a brighter mood.
Bottom line here is, I’m prone to diving into depression so I have to watch myself and protect against it.
I choose to do things every day to keep me up. I know what I’ve mapped out to make depression better works, because I do it.
If you suffer from depression, I know there’s hope for you too.
Decide you’re worth it. Ask more from yourself. Get your chin up and do what it takes to keep it up, because THIS is your life and it’s too beautiful and good to waste.