5 Lessons about Depression

17 July, 2016

Depression doesn’t give you a heads up: it can show up in the blink of an eye. Although some symptoms may occur (even some well in advance), the difference between having tendencies and experiencing the actual condition is the same as being a step away from a deep hole and actually falling into one. It can happen right after experiencing an immense joy or right when you believed you’d achieved everything you ever wanted.

The look in a child’s eye, observing a sunset or other everyday events, seemingly friendly and comforting, or even inconsequential, these can lead to the crisis. For example, recapping our lives or evoking a specific fact of our existence, which still has unresolved points. That’s when the storm begins, one which up until this point had remained dormant.

“The strong might be able to fight for an hour. Those who are even stronger fight for years. But the strongest of all, they fight their entire lives. These are the indispensable ones.” 
-Bertolt Brecht-
sad woman covering face

Depression and learning how to not worry 

Don’t worry. That is to say, don’t anticipate a concern which will cause you anxiety without becoming uninvolved or apathetic to situations and problems associated with our existence. Worrying about the future and impotence in the face of uncertainty and the vicissitudes of life, these frequently lead us to a state of recurrent fear. And this can lead us to a deep depression.

Existence can alter between confusing and difficult. That’s why it’s vital that we not depend as much on circumstances: on what may or may not happen.

The important thing is to grow within our personal structure on a daily basis. Because with this, no matter how difficult or adverse a situation may be, we’ll be able to resolve it and not remain stuck in a maze of doubts and mistakes. Or, even worse, add even more debt to our lives…

Learning who you are 

Analyzing my characteristics and the conditions of my life with good sense and objectivity grants me the opportunity of knowing who I am. Because if I don’t know myself, I’m just like a leaf being tossed around by the wind: without a set direction, judgement or decision-making power. Identifying my strengths and weaknesses will let me know what terrains I can handle and which I can’t.

girl covered with flowers

Because, for example, if my depression is induced or promoted by alcohol, the worst thing I can do is go into a bar and order the first drink. We tend to arrange the circumstances that make us devolve and relapse. We tend to propitiate our own setbacks. It’s good to be prudent, to have courage for the things that require it and not deny our weaknesses. This is the first step towards not repeating our past experiences that didn’t have positive results.

Our existence is full of processes: some longer than others, depending on the level of complexity of the situation. So, he who avoids these processes not only loses his opportunity to learn and be more autonomous, he also creates an outstanding debt towards himself.

“Happiness” can be the cause of my depression 

Strive to understand that life is a mixture of joys and sadness, success and failures, and that a state of immense “happiness” can lead to a great disappointment. Because said “happiness” can be the greatest sophism of my existence. Moreover, “happiness” isn’t a synonym of true well-being. The problem is that sometimes we confuse “euphoria” and “happiness”. The former is exaltation, the latter is peace.

We can indeed believe that we have it all: professional success, career success and even romantic success. And even then we can fall into the deepest of depressions. In fact, sometimes, having it all can be the main cause of the crisis. Because maintaining, for example, a certain social status is very difficult. This takes a toll on our social well-being, and is often detrimental to our personal well-being as well.

It’s worth a shot

If that’s how things went down for you and a deep depression set in, it’s possible to escape it. Specially if you have professional help and a good circle of social support. Obviously, a genie is not going to come out of a magic lamp and give it to you. It’s going to take a lot of personal effort. But the goal is worth all of this. Ourselves and our recovery, these reasons are more than good enough to justify the work put in.

woman hugging giant strawberry

These recovery processes are usually progressive, gradual and difficult. The passage of time becomes slow, and a single day can end up feeling like a century. So you have to be patient and keep in mind that life’s great problems require patience.

In these circumstances, changing one or several lifestyle habits in order to escape this dark place is a must. Exercising and keeping various hobbies that stimulate you is also important during these recovery periods.

Sharing different experiences and points of view with other people that have gone through similar illnesses can also be of great advantage to you. Moreover, avoid the situations that led you to depression as much as possible is in many cases, or almost every case, one of your biggest allies throughout recovery.

Don’t make hasty decisions, especially in important matters 

In high risk situations or during times of crisis, it’s best to take a break and not make any hasty decisions or do something that could even lead to the end of your existence. One bad or horrible moment happens, and the next day life goes on.

Something that’s very strange, but true, is that if a virtue of solidarity and understanding emerges within the person, this can lead to a few moments of tranquility and unexpected relaxation. Our own pain can be channeled through generosity in the face of the pain of others. Giving way to the feeling of usefulness and worth is a way of recovering an unknown and very beautiful part of ourselves.

The suffering and injustices of the world can be a more than valid motivational factor in order to focus our goals towards a more transcendental objective. These can be the road towards personal fulfillment and a way to cure our wounds, understanding and helping heal the wounds of others.

person breaking into tiny pieces

But in the end, it’s not something easy to achieve, and you must be very prepared to address these complex and steep terrains. But even just attempting it is worth it: for everyone else and, of course, for ourselves. We only have one life, and we must do everything in our power to make it have meaning and go beyond mere survival.