My Battle With Depression
I’m not unique when I say that I have lived a good chunk of my life battling depression.
Chances are that you or someone you know has had the experience of feeling this crippling weight of negative emotion at some point in their lives.
Some people spend hours there. Some spend life times.
Either way, it’s a subject that I believe needs to be talked about more in our society from a healthy, constructive place, carried out with realistic intentions for measurable healing.
It’s challenging to get out of bed in the morning when you’re depressed. You’d much rather lay there and be numb to your issues you know you will eventually have to face.
You feel powerless to make any kind of positive change. Life becomes stagnant, dull, and sometimes hopeless.
When you’re not sheltering yourselves under the covers, most of your moments are spent caged inside the hardened desire to not feel the way you’re feeling.
It hurts mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and even sometimes physically.
I can remember praying to “God” to help me feel good again. The harder part was that I actually knew why I was depressed. You would think having that awareness would make me feel better, and a lot of times it did.
People close to me thought I was bipolar because some days I would be bubbling with joy, and others I would be sulking behind closed doors.
This went on for almost 3 years. I hid it well though; most people probably thought there was nothing negative going on for me.
I was supposed to be the “Happy Life Coach,” and so that’s the character I portrayed.
Sometimes it was authentic, sometimes it was a facade. Like so many others, I valued appearing happy and successful in the eyes of others, rather than admit the truth.
I was struggling. I did want help. I didn’t know who to go to. Nothing seemed to help long term. I didn’t know what to do...
My invulnerable ego got the best of me for years which turned out to be the catalyst for an ongoing wheel of pain and suffering.
Had I known what I know now, the journey would have been a lot easier.
A Note On Depression
First off, a disclaimer…
I am not a certified health physician. If you have any kind of mental, emotional, or physical disorder, please consult your doctor before reading further.
The following statements are contradictory to many people’s understanding of human emotion, but my school of thought has taught me to look at mental/emotional health from a more holistic point of view, rather than a limited objective one.
I don’t believe I am “right” when I talk about health practices, but I do believe that what I have learned from some of the greatest modern wellness educators is more beneficial for human beings than what is considered healthy and popular practice.
What I share here has significantly helped me and many others measurably decrease the amount of depression they experience in their lives.
I personally encourage anyone to at least consider the following with an open mind. I share it with no other intention than to help you or someone close to you create a happy life for themselves without enduring the burden of depression.
These teachings are universal, meaning anyone can learn, understand, and apply them to heal any kind of negativity in their lives.
There is a reason why medicating people, instead of observing and understanding the cause of their symptoms, is a more popular option than the holistic route.
It’s easier to change symptoms short term than it is to heal the root of the issue. We do this because we lack love and compassion as a society.
In other words, if we truly wanted to heal people, our first instinct wouldn’t be to put drugs into their bodies. It would be to compassionately connect and understand their pain and trauma so we could cure them, rather than numb them from their pain.
Do you think it’s normal that approximately 300,000,000 people on our planet are currently experiencing some form of depression in their daily lives?
If we changed our standards for what we considered to be a normal way of living, this number would seem insane.
In reality, it is insane. It is not necessary for humans to live depressed lives, and I think this needs to be observed a whole lot more than it currently is.
The problem is that we are not brought up in a society that breeds, nor supports, self empowered attitudes, thoughts and personal beliefs.
We are taught to value what other people think of us, and measure our self worth up against that disconnected yard stick.
We are taught that we are victims to almost everything we experience, and therefor, don’t have the capability to be responsible for the way we feel about the things that happen in our lives on a moment to moment basis.
Those who don’t feel empowered tend to end up being the ones who suffer from depression.
Those who do feel empowered typically take ownership for the way they feel instead of blaming outside circumstances and people for the way they feel.
These people have come to a realization on purpose or by coincidence that they can choose to feel good about something instead of feeling bad about it.
Depression is programmable and therefor unprogrammable as well.
No matter who you are, where you came from, or how depressed you are...You can heal your depression.
I have done it without the use of medication and so have many others using the practical practices and techniques I will share in this post as well as future ones.
This is the core belief that differentiates the way I and my teachers view mental/emotional health from the way traditional therapy approaches it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that medication should necessarily be entirely ruled out as an option for healing. For some people it is a healthy option, depending on many variables.
However, long term medication does not change the real issue within the depressed mind, it only puts a bandage on it. It just covers up the reason the suffering was there in the first place, but it never changes. It just gets ignored.
Do we want to be a people that ignores problems, or do we want to choose to look at them consciously and fully?
Believing that you are a victim to depression will also make you believe that you don’t have the power to heal yourself using a more holistic approach.
I’m not going to tell you that you shouldn’t take medication or to not listen to your doctor.
I’m telling you that you have options, and it’s a healthy idea for you to explore them with discernment.
Don’t believe what I or anyone says on blind faith. Consider, experiment and learn from your experiences responsibly. It could be the most important thing you ever do for your life.
Is Suffering An Option?
From what I have come to know and understand from thousands of hours of personal and spiritual development, learning from some of the top teachers in the industry, is that depression, or any negative emotion for that matter, occurs for one reason and one reason only.
When looked at closely, one can realize that all negative emotion is a reaction caused by your mind (which you ultimately have responsibility for controlling) consistently focusing on thoughts that are out of harmony with what you have evolved to know you truly want on a mind, body, and soul level.
That last paragraph should be read and considered multiple times. It is the most empowering way that I have learned one can approach mental/emotional healing.
On the contrary, if suffering is not a reaction to our thinking, then how did it get there?
Many people will call suffering a disease, disorder, chemical imbalance, or some other label that may suggest that you had no part in the creation of it, and even worse, have no power in healing it.
But how is this true? How can a disease just appear out of thin air? How can some people heal, while others seem to be plagued until the day they die?
It is a universal law that says for every effect there is a cause.
So what is the real cause?
This brings up a debate that will exist until science can prove what my teachers have been saying for centuries.
Your mind creates everything in your experience whether you’re aware of it or not.
The way you think about your life is the cause, and your experience is the effect.
When you allow yourself to play using this frame of reality, you give yourself a gift that very few people give themselves.
You give yourself a first class ticket to freedom from your depression and all negative emotion.
But freedom doesn’t exist in accepting those words as truth.
Freedom comes from applying practices in your life that can measurably lead you there.
How I Became Depression Free
The thing that will cure you of your depression does not and cannot exist outside of you.
The cure has to exist within you if you want it to be consistent.
Why? Because the things in your life — relationships, lovers, careers, money, fame, power, drugs, alcohol (or whatever you are currently using as an excuse to feel happy or depressed) — will always have an end. They are inconsistent in your experience and so are the effects they carry.
If your happiness is attached to something outside of yourself, your happiness will die when the thing dies or leaves your experience.
If you want to be happy consistently, you have to choose to be happy for no reason.
How did I do it?
I was depressed for a lot of reasons.
I was holding myself back because I had a low sense of self worth in regards to the person I had become while pursuing my dreams of going to LA to be a professional film actor.
As I was going to theatre school I continued going deeper and deeper into the spiritual path I’d been on for a few years prior.
Thoughts, feelings, and therefor my values shifted within.
I started caring more about helping the world be a better place to live than I cared about being in movies.
I started caring more about being on stage helping people, rather than being on stage entertaining people.
The former simply became more important to me than the ladder.
With much mindful debate and value assessing, I eventually decided to abandon the acting path altogether and fully throw myself into spiritual exploration.
The majority of my time was devoted to experimenting with some kind of self enhancement practice.
I was meditating for an hour every day for about a year. I never stopped listening to spiritual teachers on the internet. I always had my nose in books that inspired, uplifted, and educated me on how to be the best person I could be.
I tried different eating habits, health regiments and supplements.
Even though I was doing all of that, I still couldn’t shake my depression completely.
You see, I was depressed because I allowed myself to become disconnected (unintentionally) from the person I had grown into.
All depression is rooted in psychological, and therefor emotional disconnection from our highest sense of self.
But like so many of us, I was trying to transform my inner state of depression by becoming something more on the outside.
I wanted to help people so bad, but I didn’t know how, and I hated that about myself.
I repeatedly judged and questioned myself for abandoning the acting dream I had for so many years to pursue something that was still such a big mystery to me.
Instead of accepting the beginners journey, I thought I had to be perfect. So that’s what I pretended to be for years.
I pretended like I had it all together.
I thought I was supposed to already be a guru without fully walking the path of getting there.
How foolish of me. Had I known that everything was working out for me, and truly accepted that, my ride into spiritual realization would have gone so much smoother.
With practice and determination, I learned to let go and process all the reasons I was pissed off at myself. I eventually accepted, grew, and stepped into my role as a spiritual/personal development coach.
I’m not going to lie to and tell you that it’s simple to change this over night.
However, I will say that you can change it with practical, measurable practices.
Enlightenment is achieved through a process of consciously shifting your thoughts and belief systems into alignment with ones that simply feel good to you.
How To Feel Good Now
Your depression exists within you right now because you have yet to learn to let go of the negative thinking patterns you’re unconsciously holding onto.
My highest advice to anyone who is really interested in evolving any kind of negativity from their experience is as follows.
You must care more about how you feel in any given moment than all other things put together.
You must realize and accept that there is absolutely nothing in your world that is more significant and important than the way you feel right now.
For this reason, enlightenment, or “being happy,” is not something you achieve once and then have for the rest of your life.
That is a great myth. No one is perfect. Everyone suffers to some degree at different points all throughout their life.
However...You can get to a place when it almost never happens to you.
I am a living example of someone who was depressed and used this philosophy and teaching to consciously bring myself into a positive state of being on a moment to moment basis.
At first it became an obsession.
In the beginning I would psychologically punish myself if I caught myself in a negative headspace, which of course just breaded more negativity.
This is what I like to refer to as “resisting the resistance.”
It doesn’t work. You can’t fight pain with more pain. You have to find a soft, easier, more loving, compassionate approach to the path to healing.
Practicing Better Feeling Thoughts
Take the following quote and write it in on a piece of paper.
Take that paper and place it somewhere where you will take time to read it every day.
Don't just read it. Allow yourself to feel it.
The more you feel it, the more you will take your power back.
The more you take your power back, the more you will consciously shift your depression into more positive states of being.
You can heal your life by intending to heal your life.
You can change the way you feel when you intend to change the way you feel.
The reason why meditation works is because it is a practice in which you stop yourself from thinking thought altogether.
If you have any resistant thoughts, and you engage in meditation, you will practice creating habits of non-resistance, which breeds higher vibrational, better feeling, healthier thoughts.
An example of transforming your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
Imagine saying the following statement, or some other statement with the a similar weight negativity.
- I hate my life. The government is insanely out of whack. How are things ever going to get better?
When you recognize a thought like this in your mind that holds a great deal of resistance to what is, you cause a blockage within yourself from allowing positive thought to come in.
If you were to practice observing yourself feeling the negativity as you think these kinds of thoughts, you may consciously say something like this to yourself instead.
- Because it is my dominant intention to let go of any resistance within me, I feel that these thoughts do not feel good as I think them, and therefor are not serving me on my path to well being.
- Instead of finding reasons to be mad at myself or my government (or whoever/whatever for that matter) why don’t I spend some time just focusing on releasing my frustration, anger, fear, grief, worry, or pessimism?
- Is it possible for me, from where I am, to make a different choice about how I’m perceiving myself and my relationship to my government?
- When I give myself my power back I gain access to the greatest power there is, which is the power to think and feel something different than I do now.
The key here is that if you truly care more about how you feel than you do about your attachment to your beliefs about yourself and your government, you will always choose a thought path with the least resistance.
You can start to choose better feeling thoughts, and overtime and with practice, you can change your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs around all things, subjects, relationships, and circumstances in your life.
This practice is an art. The more you do it, the better you will become; and the rewards are abundant and meaningful.
Don’t ask for things to be different in your life. Ask for your perception of them to be different.
The key to healing your depression is changing the way you think and feel about everything in your life.
It’s about taking your power back. It’s about taking responsibility for the way you feel.
It may seem like a challenging path from where you are, but when you begin this practice, you will notice a shift. Overtime, the gap between your healthy, positive self, and where you are, will diminish the more you practice feeling good regardless of what’s currently happening in your experience.
I hope this served you.