“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel
So, I was on my back from an outing this afternoon and I saw a man seated at the side of the road. He looked very unkempt and could easily be mistaken for a mentally retarded person.
He rested his head on his hand wearing a tired expression on his face as if wondering the meaning of life and perhaps how he landed in this situation or maybe if he was indeed psychotic, maybe he was taking a break from his strolls……but his unkempt look was not enough basis to draw a conclusion.
As I hurriedly walked past him on my way to an appointment, the image of his face was mentally imprinted on my mind and I couldn’t help but wonder how he got to this state in life. I wondered if he had a family or if he he had ever experienced any happiness in life.
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
One thing is sure: He didn’t fall from the sky. He was born just like any other person. He must have had a family at one point…. he must have seemed normal and quiet clean at some point….but now he just sat on the road with his head rested on his hand….. most likely lost in thoughts as he didn’t seem to pay attention to the sirens of the army van paving its way through the traffic.
That man has a story to tell. His life didn’t go topsy-turvy all of a sudden. There must be a story….
And just like him, we all have our different stories. The fact that we look clean and well-dressed doesn’t mean all is well with every one of us. People are losing it each day. People are tired of so many things and the condition of the country is not even helping matters.
The other day, I saw the picture of a man who lay on the road waiting for any on-coming vehicle to run him over. He was clearly tired of life.
We live in a world today where many questions arise and it seems we have no answers to them….
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.” ― C.S. Lewis
Why is life this hard? Why can’t I find joy in living? How is it that nothing works for me no matter how hard I try? Why don’t I feel loved and cared for? Why can’t I find fulfillment in my job? …… and the questions go on and on…
I must say that if a census were conducted on the mindset of people, you would be shocked at the percentage of people who are depressed. They are not actually living but instead they are just going through the motions…. They are just existing.
“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton
Depression isn’t just about the crying or sadness or constant mood-swings you experience….It’s more about the numbness of life.
I know how choking or suffocating this kind of lifestyle is because at some point in my life, I experienced it. It felt like life was been sucked out of me every given day and for me it was just …..how did the Bible put it again in its story of creation?…Aha! for me, my life was a case of “…..there was evening and there was morning: the first day”.
I had no purpose or sense of direction. I was just going through the motions but things changed for me when my body, mind and soul cried out for help. I had bottled up so much because I guess I couldn’t find the right words to express myself and even when I did try, I got the feeling that people I confided in couldn’t even understand.
How do you begin to understand the pains and struggles of a bland life? How do you begin to explain to another how unfulfilling your life is and how you seek for more excitement and fun in life?
“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.” ― Katie McGarry
Some friends may be quick to direct you to the bar or night clubs or parties……Yea, you can go party all-night long but when morning comes and you have recovered from the terrible hang-over, you still have your bland and unhappy life waiting for you.
Alcohol and drugs only compound your problems and never gives you a solution not even a temporary one. The truth is, THE ANSWER IS NEVER IN THE BOTTLE OR IN THE WRAP. The answer is in you and in your perception of life.
Now the big question is:
How can you overcome depression?
- Seek help: Whenever you feel the claws of depression coming down on you, seek help immediately. Find someone to talk to, preferably a psychologist. It is imperative that you do not saddle your mind with suppressed issues because one day it’s going to fight back and the result wouldn’t be one you would be pleased with.
Going to a professional for help doesn’t make you a nut case. You seek help because you are strong enough to admit that you need it. You are strong enough to say…”I can no longer do this on my own…Lord, please help me” and indeed He helps you by directing you to the professionals who are properly trained in the art of the mind and can give you the right care you need.
“Its so hard to talk when you want to kill yourself. That’s above and beyond everything else, and it’s not a mental complaint-it’s a physical thing, like it’s physically hard to open your mouth and make the words come out.
They don’t come out smooth and in conjunction with your brain the way normal people’s words do; they come out in chunks as if from a crushed-ice dispenser; you stumble on them as they gather behind your lower lip. So you just keep quiet.” ― Ned Vizzini
The professionals can help you speak even when you do not want to. They would gently bring you out of the clutter and put you in a clean and well arranged state of mind to see and perceive things clearly.
- Help others understand: No one is a mind reader. Help those around you to understand what you are going through though a lot of them wouldn’t but just try. Tell them you are depressed and plead with them to read about it and get better clarifications. Then, I believe it would be easier for them to try to understand you better.
And please, family and friends, when a loved one confides in you about his/her depressed state of mind, don’t laugh it off or see it as one of those things of life…. as Barbara Kingsolver rightly puts it, “There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.”
It may seem easy to you but for someone to open up and bare his/her mind to you, it means the person is in serious trouble and needs great help. Please, make yourself available to help them.
“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” ― Stephen Fry
Your life wouldn’t be put on hold when you offer a bit of yourself to help others. It would give you a sense of fulfillment lending your shoulders for others to lean on in their moments of weakness and it would you be offering a hand of service to them.
- Don’t close in on yourself and shut the world out: If you are unhappy, show that you are unhappy. Don’t feign happiness on the outside while you die on the inside. Even when words seem to fail you, sometimes, people could help you by interpreting your expressions as they really are. Don’t be a complete happy-go-lucky chap that deceives the world with smiles everyday and wets the pillow with tears at night. Open up and get help.
- Overcome crying spells and mood swings: Crying is never a sign of weakness, I always say. One can’t just sit down and decide to cry. Something must prompt it.
Find out what causes your crying spells and mood swings and try to avoid them. The truth is no matter how much external help you get, the bulk of work remains with you. You have to find a way to get better and overcome this.
- Find a way to make yourself happy: Like most of the mentioned points, this is easier said than done but you have to. Always remember that your happiness is not dependent on anyone else but you. You can be happy if you choose to be. You are the boss of yourself and you hold the key to living a great life. Don’t seek to get approval or validation from others in other to be happy.
You hold the key to your happiness. Decide to be happy. Choose to do away with this boring life. Seek out what gives you joy and go do it. Stop holding back. Trust me, you are not as weak or fragile as you think. There is more strength in you than you imagine. Choose a different route to travel on this journey of life and follow it. Life is fun and full of incredible excitement.
Like I always say, “Happiness is ours for the taking and take it, we must without any apologies”.
- Pray, pray and pray: No matter how much you try, if God is not with you, nothing is going to come out of it. Seek God’s face at all times. Remember, He is a loving Father who sees and knows all of our needs even before we ask Him. He is a God that cannot be deceived.
Go to Him as you really are – angry, sad, frustrated, whatever emotions you are experiencing, let Him in always. You can’t hide from Him. You can’t deceive Him. He would help you only if you permit and He would give you so much happiness that the world cannot give. This is a fact I can attest to.
God didn’t create you to be unhappy or sad. His wish for us to have life and have it in abundance as He tells us in his Holy book in John 10:10. It is never God’s wish for you to be in pains or misery. Trust me, He has equipped each and every one of us for our journey through life.
It’s left for us to open our back packs and bring out the solution to whatever problem we encounter in life and if we think we can’t find it in our packs, God is very present beside us to show us the way as he promised over and over again still in His good book, “I am with you always”.
- Boost your self-confidence: Do things that would boost your self-confidence. What are those passions and hobbies you have that causes you to be happy always? Do them. One of the foods depression feeds on is low self-esteem. The more confident and appreciative of who you are, the less hold depression has over you.
- Love yourself: I want to re-emphasize this because it is greatly important. Love yourself and appreciate yourself more. I do not mean this in a narcissistic manner but I need you to have a healthy self-love. See yourself as beautiful, as one deserving of love and respect.
Appreciate your potentials and talents. You are unique and super amazing. The world would be incomplete without your presence. So strive to live greatly and leave behind a wonderful legacy.
“I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.” ― Margaret Atwood
Remember, that you are a blessing to the world and there is no one now nor would there ever be any one like you. So go out there and leave your footprints in the sands of time.
- Develop the habit of reading: You may not find this as a welcome idea especially when you are neck deep in depression. You may wonder how it would be of any help to you but the truth is, reading is the source of knowledge and has the outlet from any hellhole.
In books, you would meet like minds and those who understand you and they would help you out of your misery. Remember, whatever you are experiencing now, others have experienced and even had worse. Like the saying goes, “Nothing is new under the sun”. You are not odd. Never see yourself as such.
Read! Read and keep reading. Books hold the key to knowledge and self-discovery. Try it out and be amazed at the results. Reading opens you up to a whole new world.
- Put down your feelings: I used to have lots of diaries growing up. I would write every bit of what I was feeling and just try to express myself in the pages of a book.
Sometimes, it is tiring but it really does help. It helps you unload your mind and put all your thoughts in the pages of a book. With this, someone may be able to better understand you and give you the right help you need.
- Suicide is never the answer: Aha! this is the quickest solution that comes to the mind of a depressed person. LET ME JUST END MY LIFE. No matter how depressed you get, never for once think that taking your life ends it all. It never really does.
“I don’t want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel
Life is a gift and though it may have its challenges but it is one that should be appreciated and well lived. Suicide only complicates issues especially for your family and loved ones. It doesn’t really bring the desired peace you seek. It just goes to show that you chickened out of your troubles and dumped them on the laps of others to carry for you.
“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.” ― Andrew Solomon
You are not the owner of your life. You have no right to take it. Suicide is the road quitters take. You are not a quitter. You are a victor. You can and will survive this and you will become an inspiration to others. Fight this demon of depression. You can do this.
Remember, THERE IS ALWAYS A REASON TO LIVE.
- Never give in to drugs, alcohol or substance abuse: I have never really understood how any of these works. It is always a temporary “false” relief….in fact it is no relief at all because it never takes away the pain or reality of the situation. When your eyes are fully opened after the effects of the drugs or alcohol has worn off, the problem still stares at you right in the face and sometimes it even gets worse.
So, why damage your life with a lifestyle that doesn’t help but plunges you way deeper into this rut of depression? For a few hours of temporary false relief, you fall deeper into this dark hole which seems endless and sucks the life out of you? C’mon sweetheart, think about it. Is it really worth it?
Truth be told, depression is not an easy fight but you can win it and once you do, you won’t be able to quantify the joy you feel inside of you. You look at yourself in the mirror everyday …… you see where you are coming from and you just smile with a heart welled up with pride and happiness that you are a victor.
Life is forever transformed in your eyes and you want to spend every waking moment of it in gratitude.
Be bold and courageous. Yes, it’s a fight many have fought and lost but also many more have fought and won. I am proud to say I am of the lot that won the fight. If I could do it, sure you can too. You are way braver and stronger than you think. Never assume otherwise. Pick up that sword and severe every tie and hold depression has on you.
“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” ― Goldie Hawn
Depression is darkness. It gently lures you into its lair and swallows you whole. khuanas_corner
Trust me, been in the light is way better than been in the dark. You don’t have to stumble across things to find your way as you would in the dark. The light illuminates your path and you can see where the obstacles are and avoid them. Life is beautiful and awesome.
Take it from someone who knows what you are experiencing now and given a choice, I will forever choose to be in the light than fall back into the darkness and throes of depression.
So these are the few pointers that I could share. I am very sure there are more ways to find help and overcome depression.
Depression is a broad subject and there are so many varied opinions about it but I am sure you would agree with me that the only universal solution to depression; the only step to true healing of depression is YOU.
No matter how much external help you get, it is only you that can make the decision to be free from depression.
THE ONLY WAY OUT OF DEPRESSION IS YOU!!!
This topic to me is inexhaustible. Perhaps some other time, I may bring out a sequel to this write-up.
Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you found it every bit enlightening and informative.
In what other ways have you been able to overcome depression? Kindly share your story in the comment box below and let your story inspire others to be victors and not quitters.