The first time I remember being clinically depressed, I was 11. My family had abruptly moved halfway across the country. I hated my new school, I hated my new life. We moved again a year later, and I recovered.
Sometimes, depression is triggered by a situation - perhaps one over which we have no control. Someone dies, someone leaves your life, someone fires you, sues you or hates you.
Sometimes, according to doctors, depression is caused by something inside you - chemicals in your brain that screw with your thinking.
It's been my personal experience that one leads to the other which leads to the other until....well, you wake up one day, stare at the wall and think, "I just can't do this again."
Maybe you get out of bed, maybe you don't. Depends on lots of things, mostly whether or not you can afford to stay miserable and whether or not you have responsibilities for other people or even pets.
Let's assume you can relate to what I'm writing so far. You're reading these words and thinking, "Heck yeah! That's me!"
I have to tell you: you've been tricked.
The very fact that you're reading an article on depression on the Huffington Post is some tiny, small voice inside of you saying, "I've had enough! Let's get this over with already!" Gotcha!
Now we've got to stoke your flame.
The first part of that process: Recognize that YOU don't want to be depressed anymore. Some people secretly enjoy the feeling, especially if it gets them attention. They are like teenage girls who threaten suicide if their parents take away their cell phone or ground them for the weekend. Yawn. It gets old after a while. Evidently, that's not you.
The second part: Fan the flame.There's stuff you can do. You can get a therapist. You can take herbs or vitamins. You can get a prescription to anti-depressants (which may make it easier for you to resolve/heal from the underlying trigger). You can learn about things you can do to get through it faster. (Click here to see my upcoming webinar "Recover From Depression: Feel Better Faster").
The third part: Keep at it.Don't expect a legitimate clinical depression to disappear in 24 hours! It doesn't work that way, especially if brain chemical imbalance has become involved. It's sort of one step forward,six inches back, nine inches forward, three inches back. One thing that seem to really help is to pick one goal, even if you have to fake that you care about it, and do everything you can to progress toward that goal. It can be anything:
- Get a new job
- Get a new girlfriend
- Clean the kitchen
- Lose 3 lbs this month
- Spend more time with my kids
Then, write out what it will look like when you get it - your ideal outcome. And sketch out the very first tiny little step you can take in the right direction. (Yeah, I know that sounds hype-y when you're depressed, but it works for some reason).
The fourth part: Take that tiny step. Whew! Rest up. Reward yourself. Celebrate your progress.
Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."
And when you're done resting on your laurels, summon up the courage and strength to devise and take the second step.
Depression doesn't have to be a life sentence. Being depressed is not a permanent condition - although I know it feels like it. You don't have to commit to being listless and sad for the rest of your life. There's no point in staying depressed. Since you're still alive, you may as well make the best of it.
To get some more practical, gentle, easy ideas about how to get un-depressed (is that a word?) please consider attending my free webinar on depression recovery. You never know - you might just find it's possible to recover and feel "normal" again - and it can happen faster and easier than you think it will.