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How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

Photo by Sandra Lara

Since the start of this year, and for 8 months following that, I have been battling with feeling depressed. And even though I thought I had overcome it during the first few months, its devastating effects lingered and haunted me in subtle ways.

It wasn’t until a series of personal struggles and more episodes of emotional breakdowns that followed, did it eventually “crack” me and had bring me back to a place of serenity.

This is a slice from that story.

I have been writing and rewriting this article on and off for several months, each time exposing different details and insights. With every version, I would allow self-doubt or excuses to over take me, I would then scrap the piece and start over.

Truth be told, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I was ashamed at who I had become. I felt lost. I was struggling with everything and I had to “stand up” again.

Then it occurred to me that, sharing my struggles with you is a good thing. It exposes my own battles, the techniques which help me overcome them, and what I have learned through the experience.

It also shows you that all of us are in this together, in that we all dip into the pit falls of life’s turbulence, but we always recover, and often as a better person.

Depression doesn’t heal overnight, and even though we experience heightened states of happiness during the healing process, complete healing takes time and a lot of loving patience for your self.

I am a believer that things in our lives happen for a reason, a purpose greater than our selves, often greater than what we can fully comprehend.

When “bad” things happen, we have two choices, we can blame and prolong our victim identity, sinking deeper into our victim story, OR, we can choose to see the experience as a gift, an opportunity for personal growth, to expand our self-understanding, to expand our capacity to love ourselves, and to expand our capacity of compassion for others.

I choose to see what happened to me as a gift. The Universe loves me so much that she gave me a series of challenges that knocked me down. She knows that I have within me, all that I need to stand up again.

Like a loving mother, watching her baby learning to walk, she’ll have to allow the child to fall, sometimes hurting herself on the hard floor. The child may cry in pain and protest, but the mother must not interfere, allowing the child to learn on her own. Soon the child learns how to stand, then walk, then run. The Universe is the same way.

I choose to see what happened to me as stepping-stones to learning incredible life lessons that I wouldn’t gain any other way.

I choose to see what I experienced as a pathway of awakening, to discover the sacred within me, which also lies in every one of you.

I choose to view the events that lead to what I experienced as an act of compassion from the Universe, so that I can share my understanding to others experiencing similar pain.

Life is really very good, but we forget sometimes that we have choices at every step of the way. We have the choice to act or react. We have the choice of perspective. We have the choice of stepping back, taking a deep breath, and then moving forward deliberately.

We have the choice of creating, with the power of our mind, how we want the story of our lives to go.

Every moment of everyday, we have a clean slate, in which we can decide what our future will be. If we don’t do so consciously and deliberately, we simply bring what was once in the past into the future, and repeatedly live in the pain of the past.

Every time we tell someone our story of pain, where we play the victim, we are creating the same pain in our future. So, if you want a future free from pain, a future free from the past, tell a different story. Stop complaining, stop looking for sympathy from others, stop dwelling on all the unfairness that life has put you through.

Life is very short, and it is very beautiful – but only if we choose to see it as such. Do you really want to waste the limited time we have on this planet by dwelling on something that happened in the past, which is no longer real? Or choosing with deliberate intention to live life fully, to appreciate the everyday miracles we once took for granted, to focus on things that makes us happy and fulfilled.

3 Steps to Live Consciously & Stop Feeling Depressed

Like many of us, you may be experiencing some sort of problem on your side of the world. The fastest way to free yourself from your problems is the following steps:

Step 1: Stop Creating Problems

Recognize that you don’t want to recreate the problem in your future.

Try asking yourself,

  1. “Do I really want to spend my precious time on this planet worried/concerned about this?”
  2. “Do I want this worry/concern in my future?”

Recognize that your life will be better if you stop focusing on the problem.

Try asking yourself,

  1. “Will my life end if I stop worrying about this?”
  2. “What will happen if I stop worrying about this?”

When you choose to stop focusing on problems and pain, it doesn’t mean that the problem will magically go away. It means that even though the problem still exists on some level, you are choosing to no longer allow it to affect you emotionally. You are choosing to no longer waste energy on it.

Step 2: Focus on What Makes You Happy

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
~ Buddha

Shift your focus towards things that make you feel good. What memories or thoughts make you smile, or feel good when you think about them? Use this memory as an anchor to shift your focus towards something more positive when you need it.

As you go about your day, regularly ask yourself, “What would I be happy doing?”, “What would make me happy right now?”, and then do those things.

Consciously doing things that make you feel good, not only shifts your thought pattern to a more positive one, thus attracting better feeling thoughts and experiences, it also makes you less susceptible to the emotional dips that come the with challenges that life presents us with.

Step 3: Refill Your Consciousness Tank

Conscious awareness is like a muscle, and to keep it healthy and functioning optimally, we need to regularly give it sufficient exercise. What exercise it needs is an individual choice, and one that your inner wisdom knows best. Here are some suggestions:

  • Meditation – no need to formalize this or over think it. Just sit some where quietly for 10-20 minutes, and consciously focus on your breath. When a thought comes, just gently allow it to pass and put your focus back on your breath. The results from this will bring miracles to your life in leaps and bounds (trust me, I’m speaking from personal experience).
  • Yoga – consciously moving your body, and stretching your body with awareness. Yoga is meditation with movement. Not only is it incredible for your consciousness, it does wonders for your physical body. After doing yoga (consciously), it feels as it you’ve had a massage. It is so relaxing and wonderfully healing.
  • Creative Engagement – Take up a hobby that draws on your creativity. Things such as: writing, dancing, drawing, wood working, scrap booking, etc. You fill in the blank with what makes your heart sing. For me, activities that make me feel creative are: writing, graphic design, and photography. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it, do it if it makes you feel creative. That’s the point: that you feel good. If you feel stuck not knowing what to do, I highly recommend getting the book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”.
  • Mindful Practice – being conscious in all that you do, by placing your full awareness in the doing of things. When you’re walking, put your full awareness on your feet, and the feeling of walking. When you’re washing dishes, put your full awareness on your hands and the act of cleaning your dishes. When you’re drinking a glass of water or sipping your cup of coffee in the morning, put your full awareness into the enjoyment of that drink. You can be mindful about anything (even in the bedroom *wink*).
  • Journaling – no need to formalize this. Just grab a pen, a notebook or some loose paper, a glass of water or a mug of tea, and find a quiet place to start dumping what’s on your mind. It’s an incredible practice that allows you to sort out the random thoughts running in your head, and teaches you introspection that leads to a better understanding of yourself. Turning this into a ritual is very rewarding and feeds the soul. I like to do this when everyone’s asleep, then I climb onto my favorite reading chair, turn on the reading light and some candles, curl up in a ball and start writing.
  • Inspirational Reading – reading something that makes you feel empowered, inspired and motivated is not only a positive boost to your psyche, but also reminds you of the magnificence of your Being, and how powerful you are in the creative design of your life. Don’t treat inspirational reading like a fictional book, where you read from front to back and then move on to the next one. If you find something that inspires you, come back and revisit it regularly. I find myself going back to re-read the same book, over and over.
  • Questioning Life – questioning and analyzing your decisions and actions through out your daily life is a good practice to bring more conscious awareness into your day-to-day living. Even when you’ve taken unconscious action, analyzing what happened can be an enriching experience. Find a friend who you can talk about it with, or write it in a journal, or blog about it (like what I’ve done here).

Parting Words on Feeling Depressed

“You cannot control what happens to you,
but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you,
and in that, you will be mastering change
rather than allowing it to master you.”

~ Sri Ram

If you’re currently battling with feeling depressed, or even irritability from life’s problems, I suggest the following personal advice from me to you:

Be gentle with yourself.

It’s okay to feel bad. Healing takes time. Don’t be ashamed.

Take time to love yourself. Take time to get to know yourself.

Meditate for 20 minutes a day. You’ll be glad you did.

Take your self to Starbucks, get your favorite drink (I like white chocolate mocha or hot chai latte), find a comfortable seat, relax and do some people watching.

Expose yourself to people that makes you feel good and leave you feeling energized, instead of deleted.

First thing in the morning, drink a fresh glass of water, do some deep breathing, and then stretch your body out (yoga poses if possible, but optional).

Last thing before sleep, give gratitude for everything you are thankful for, starting with your body and your breath.

Whenever you are feeling cranky or sad, remind yourself to take a long deep breath.

Get a copy of “You Can Heal Your Life” and “Loving What Is” and (if you haven’t already) “The Power of Now”, and read them. Expose yourself to encouraging words of wisdom everyday, I repeat, every single day!

Are you interested in hearing more on the topic of Depression? Let me know your interest in the comments. Got a story you want to share? Speak your mind and share your thoughts with us in the comment section. We’ll see you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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104 thoughts on How I Stopped Feeling Depressed

  1. Sunita Saldhana

    I am normally a very cheerful, optimistic person. But just like you I was unaccountably depressed. Since I am rarely low, I couldn’t deal with this new me. “Truth be told, I was embarrassed. I didn’t want anyone to see me this way. I was ashamed at who I had become. I felt lost. I was struggling with everything and I had to “stand up” again.” These words of yours could be mine. They reflect exactly what I was feeling. Reading your article has helped me tremendously. Thanks a million.

  2. Smiley

    “Expose yourself to encouraging words of wisdom everyday, I repeat, every single day!”

    Thats you Tina! Thanks so much :)

  3. BlackDog

    I would also like to stress that there is a difference between “feeling depressed” and “depression”. Please be careful about your words. Depression isn’t simply healed (if ever), especially not by being told to stop feeling depressed…
    Apart from that – great article.

  4. writergirl

    tina, thank you for this post and for sharing with us your experiences and how you address them. very helpful info..

  5. Hi Tina! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog ( :

    Darkness ceases to exist when it is exposed to light… In fact even the smallest light has the ability to peirce through darkness.

    Talking about dark feelings is the first step to exposing light into a darkened soul. I’m so glad you shared with us your experience and offered practical solutions to those who are in the same boat as you were

  6. Shivank Gandhi

    Thank you for the wonderful information.

    Best Regards,
    Shivank

  7. Juul

    Hello Tina,

    I loved your post. On the other hand i still think that depression is an illness which can be treated. This of course depends on “the heaviness” of the depression. I think it would make so many lifes a lot more bearable when using the right medications and treatment. I know this from own experience within my family and friends. With the proper aid from a psychiatrist and family doctor they are now able to lead a “normal” life. We’ve supported them in taking this huge step, knowing they where in such a dark place which eventually seemed impossible for them to escape from. And the constant brooding about what the world would think of them. A burden too heavy to carry around in the end. What would help as well is when the world would try and accept that depression is an illness. Most of us don’t know how to handle people with a depression. I’ve heard so many times that a friend was to heavy to handle. It is accepted for a while but eventually lead to ignoring and avoiding her company. Still, today I’m so happy and thrilled that she found the strength to seek and find the proper help. I’ve seen her changing. She can laugh and have fun again. Even better..she found her man and just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

    Hope it isn’t too strong the comment. If you can overcome your depression in the ways you described than that’s great. I recognized and can relate to so many things since i was and am able to realize that it can be a gift and have tried to handle it in that way. I guess i always will. But for some of us this Abyss can be to deep…

  8. Hi Tina! Great post. It should help a lot of people battling depression, anxiety and stress-rooted emotional problems. And yes, it’s so true what Sri Ram said that “You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you…” People are often wrapped up with the forces outside of them, instead of ensuring that they are well-equipped to cope with them.

    In the end, we need to have calm, positive and learned attitude toward whatever comes our way. Events, people, trials and concerns aren’t for us to decide… but we can truly decide how we go on with life, dealing with all these well, and still be happy inside out.

    Cheers, Tina! Keep posting!

  9. Cliff

    While I have enjoyed your writings before, depression (true depression, not the “blues”) is a very serious illness and one that will likely need professional help. A lot of depression is “organic” and will respond only to medications. Also there have been great strides in electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for those who are not able to take medication or for those that medication fails to help. To tell someone who is truly depressed to “meditate”, etc. is good advise but minimizes the seriousness of the illness. Depression can take years to cure. Also, suicide is a very real threat for the depressed person and it has far reaching consequences for the survivors. The best results seem to come from a combination of therapy (meditation, etc.) and medication. I think your advice is good but doesn’t go far enough. And yes, I’ve been there.

  10. Miho

    @ Rachel, Jesse and Juul:

    Thank you for your comments! A few years ago I lost a dear friend who couldn’t face life anymore. Furthermore in Holland where i reside for the moment there was recently a suicide committed by a celebrity. A beautiful young actor with 2 young children, beautiful wife and a promising career. I wish i could have helped my friend with all the self help books you all promote! I thought it was amazing that relatives of the mentioned actor appeared on television, who despite their griefs, had the strength to emphasize how important the discussion of depression is and that a good treatment and proper medications may’be could have saved his life! More important is that they pleaded for more open mindness to depression which they consider an illness.
    If you’re not able to see the so called positive things in life, than what good can all these books eventually do?
    This might sound harsh but like most of many, many people i also have my moments of “depression”. I try to sleep it off, or try to focus on other things…until my “Off Days” are over..
    Please don’t mistake the one for another!

    A still grieving replyer

  11. Miho

    And I forgot to mention Uncle Sam! Thank you all for your visions and beliefs. You helped a lot!

  12. Thanks for sharing.

    I used to have severe bouts of depression too. The last time I had a really bad bout of depression was during 2007. I nearly didn’t survive it. The reason why I used to et depressed was because I refused to accept responsibility for my situation and I refused to accept that I needed to suffer. But what got me through it was a glimmer of hope, and over the next couple of years, I reflected a lot, did a lot of introspection and changed the way I thought, the way I perceived, and accepted that I needed to suffer in order to grow. I needed to allow myself to suffer, to learn from the suffering. Now, I don’t get depressed, and I know I never will get clinically depressed again as long as I continue to accept whatever I experience (that is, to remove all inner resistance). I hope all of that made sense!

  13. Michelle C

    As someone working on personal growth, and as a family doctor who treats many people with depression and anxiety, I appreciate your words, Tina. No matter what has happened to us in the past, and no matter what illnesses burden us, we always have a choice.

    It seems that you have struck a chord that some of your commenters do not want to hear. By empowering people to change the way they feel by changing the way they think, you are robbing them of the role as a victim of depression.

    Depression stems from various factors that are intertwined: neurotransmitters, physiology, life situations, behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. You can’t change one without changing the others. So even if you feel too lousy to go for a walk, if you force yourself to do it, you can improve your mood, sleep, and energy. And relying on medications alone will not lift you out of depression. Patients on maximum doses of multiple anti-depressants will not get better, or stay better, until they change their thinking and behavior. This is why cognitive-behavior therapy prevents relapses more than anti-depressants alone.

    Tina, your words are completely valid for everything from “the blues” to severe depression. Sure, with more severe depression you will need medications to enable people to do the mental healing they need to do. I do not write a prescription for depression or anxiety medications without talking to my patients about mindfulness at the same time.

  14. @Michelle C,

    /applause

    I totally agree with what you are saying about changing other things. I’m not a medical doctor (or a doctor of any sort) but even I understand that the body responds to our emotions, our thoughts, etc. The body responds to negativity as well as positivity. Also, take into account, the Law of Attraction, as well as Karma.

    I suggest people read, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and Energy Work by Robert Bruce. Also, either watch The Secret on DVD or read the book.

  15. Cliff

    I think you guys are missing the point. Depression can be a VERY serious problem and not one to be taken lightly. Unfortunately in our society we believe that if you “think” the right thoughts or “read” the right books you can cure yourself (in alot of “mild” cases you can). However, depression has a certain “stigma” attached to it where most people think (although they would never admit it) it is the patient’s fault for not “thinking right”, not reading their Bible enough, or some other inane fault. I have found that most people who give advice on depression either have never had it or never had a loved one who has had it. I have literally seen patients so depressed that they cannot talk, barely move and certainly could not “read” a book. After one 15 minute ECT treatment, they are sitting up talking, LAUGHING, etc. It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I’m not referring to “Michelle C” above (I don’t know you) but most family physicians get the bare minimum of training in psychiatry and are pretty clueless when it comes to treating major depressive episodes. Most of the patients they see have mild cases that usually get better on their own with or without medication. Irreguardless, if you have a loved one suffering from depression it is vitally important that they be monitored to see if it is getting worse or if they ruminations of hurting themselves. If they are you should get them evaluated by the best psychiatrist you can find. This is serious stuff guys. The depressed person really doesn’t think like you do, so don’t expect them to act like you. (thank you for the soap box!)

  16. Michelle C

    Thank you, Gemma.

    Cliff, Rachel, et al – No one (certainly neither Tina nor I) has said that depression is not a very serious problem or illness. I don’t think either of us would be devoting so much thought to it if we took it lightly. No one is denying the role of medications, psychiatric follow-up, or even ECT. No one is even claiming that you can meditate or wishfully think your way out of depression.

    Tina wrote about some tools to help treat depression. She did not say that she wrote a comprehensive review of all treatments of depression. If you interpreted that from her writing, then that is over-generalization and all-or-nothing thinking on your part. If you encourage a kid to stand up for himself, or you teach a woman self-defense, are you implying that you would blame them if they were bullied or raped? Of course not. Similarly, Tina’s words are no more “dangerous” or “destructive” than such empowering messages.

    As for “credentials” – I too was depressed many years ago – complete with hospitalization on a psych ward. There was talk of starting ECT just before I started to get better. And no, I do not think that it was some mental or moral weakness that caused me to be ill. As I said before, there are many factors that go into depression. Neurotransmitters are definitely part of it. I know what it’s like to be in an almost catatonic state, as Cliff described. Luckily people forced me to talk, forced me to get dressed, and forced me to walk. These actions did not cure my depression by themselves, but I’m sure that they worked synergistically with the medications. I wish I knew then what I do now about the power of the mind and the choices that I had the power to make.

    Depression is a mental illness that is episodic in nature. It does not have to be major part of anyone’s identity.

    As for training, the patients that I have seen in training include a man who drank 5 scotch each night after his best friend went missing and was presumed to have committed suicide after a long search in the community. A mother of an infant and toddler who contemplated stabbing herself when she was cutting turkey at a holiday dinner. A man in the intensive care unit who wished he had not been rescued after slashing his neck (cutting through 2 major vessels and his throat). None of these people would have gotten better without medications and close follow-up. All of them benefited from coaching about self-care, positive thinking, and mindfulness.

    So yeah, depression – whether clinically “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe” – is damn serious. And it affects many people, not just the person with the diagnosis. That’s why we need to tackle it from multiple angles. It’s easy to write and take a prescription for anti-depressants. But medications only target one small piece of the puzzle. I’m glad that Tina has shed light on some other pieces. These *pieces* (again, no one is claiming that it is the whole picture) are the tools that build resilience and prevent relapses and recurrences.

  17. Anon

    These are tips for overcoming negativity, which does give them value, but they have nothing to do with depression. Depression is not about dwelling on problems or about having a bad attitude. As Cliff said, it’s a very serious illness, also one of the most over-diagnosed, both by physicians and self-diagnoses, which leads to everyone believing they are an expert on the subject. Unless you’re well-versed in brain chemistry, you’re not an expert.

  18. Gemma

    I suppose you consider yourself an expert too, Anon? Because if you was an expert then you would know that brain chemistry is only a part of the issue!

  19. A few years back i had a terrible spell of depression, and i even started taking prescription medication to try to fix the problem. This didn’t help me at all, infact in some cases i even felt it made it worse. I eventually went to visit a natrualpathic doctor, and she gave me the best advice i have ever recieved:
    A good exercise regime and a healthy diet really helped me break free from my depression.

  20. bob

    Tina,

    I am glad you were able to bounce back. Unfortunately, being a bit blue is normal, since it is one of our basic emotions. but, I think you need to be careful giving the advice like this, since Clinical Depression is very different from a feeling of being blue.

    Clinical Depression is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, and does seem to have a genetic link. It is something that does have to be treated. People cannot just snap out of it.

  21. when i feel depresed or really down even thou it in my personality with having BPD i have to have a self belief that things are going to get better and i try to think of good things and then i look at some of my worst times so i allways think i had worse days it really helps me

  22. Theo

    It’s 5:11 AM. I’ve been awake all night. This is the second night in a row I haven’t slept.

    I *want* to break free, I so want to be free of sadness but every time I come up for air the pain and anxiety of the past year comes rushing back and pulls me under.

    I don’t want to live in the past. But I can’t catch my breath and I can’t escape it. It’s a black hole.

    My father died about eight months ago, just over two weeks after the physicians had determined that his body was overwhelmed with cancer. When I last saw him, it was after a heart attack – they didn’t find him until maybe ten minutes after he fell out of the hospital bed. So he was brain dead. He wasn’t even there any more – all that was left was a fluid bloated shell.

    Several months later, my wife and I finally sold our house – I had been unemployed for the longest stretch ever (and still am), and she had been unemployed for a couple months. That was both pain and grace – better than foreclosure, but so sad.

    And very shortly after that, my wife of five years left me. She was my best friend and companion, but she said she didn’t feel authentic living as a straight person. I respect that, I want her to be well, but I cannot tell you how much I miss her. My father’s death was the greatest pain and loss I knew until that morning she told me she needed a divorce.

    Last week we declared bankruptcy. I should see it as the tactical business decision it is, but all I see is that I failed.

    And now I feel paralyzed. Loss of will. And really frightened. I want to die, just let it all go, but I don’t want to cause pain for my mom, sister, soon to be ex-wife, and others. But I can’t take this much longer.

    That’s the most I’ve been able to write in a long time, and to persons unknown to me, on a random-to-me blog in the middle of the night.

    • @Theo

      Thank you so much for sharing. I feel it through your voice.
      Things will get better. Sometimes, when we hit rock bottom, there isn’t anywhere else we can go but up. Hang in there.

      -Tina

  23. Michelle C

    Theo,

    Sorry to hear about all that you’re going through. Everything looks dark right now, but this too, will pass. Please fight the urge to crawl up into a ball in a dark hole, and reach out to your supports – your mother, your sister, your friends. And your doctor – s/he may not seem like a support person to you, but that’s part of a doctor’s job. Keep reaching out, as you’ve started to do here.

  24. Jennifer

    Hi Tina. I, too, have been a reader of your blog for quite some time and I have found inspiration in the past. I read this post because of its title and found myself frustrated and honestly, a bit angry. I’ve read through all the comments, so I’ll try not to be repetitive, except to reiterate that there is a physical difference between feeling depressed and being Depressed (this is a new finding based on research recently completed: Depression is a physical illness that manifests itself emotionally).

    I have been surviving Treatment Resistant Depression for 16 years. I’ve worked with some of the very best experts in the field, yet no medication/medication combo, unilateral & bilateral ECT, multiple hosptalizations, ongoing therapy (many types) have been able to keep me in a 30%-45% remmission state for more than 3-4 months (this happened once). My Depression is worsening again and although I know how strong I am (multiple doctors have told me most people would have been dead two years into what I was & continue to live with), have a strong support network, have journaled daily for over 18 years, practice yoga & meditation, make my art (I’m a sculptor), do my very best to stay in the moment, the despair, fluctuating with utter emptiness (not good emptiness, emptiness of the soul) is taking over. Again.

    While I appreciate your tips, along with some of the others (Michelle C), they are mainly geared to those who are able to get up out of the chair, have memories that aren’t stained by abuse, are depressed because of something they are worried about something that they can’t control, etc. Michelle C, you state that even if you feel too lousy to go for a walk, you have to force yourself to get up and do it. You talk about having someone help you/pull you up out of the chair for that walk. You talk about choices: choices in the thoughts we focus on, choices in the actions we take. What does one do when the depression is so bad there is no energy to force oneself out of the chair? And if there was it would be dangerous because, as you know (I’m inferring) someone with that level of depression, given energy, is very, very likely to attempt suicide, hence the warnings on anti-depressants that suicide can be a “side-effect” or risk factor: the highest risk time-frame for someone with depression is when an anti-depressant begins to work because it is then that the person begins to have increased energy, yet still feels depressed. So, he or she can now use that energy to actually act on the impulses to commit suicide that have been inside for which previously there was no energy. What does one do when there is no to help you out of the chair? What does one do when the emptiness is so all-encompassing that there are no thoughts? What does one do when the doctors, yoga teachers, and meditation gurus (I do not use that term pergoratively), one-by-one, throw their hands up and say, “I just don’t know anymore. I don’t have anymore suggestions”?

    I am aware of the neuroscience, psychology, genetics, etc. behind depression, and yes, when someone is experiencing a certain level of remmitance, that person should absolutely do everything in his or her power to change destructive thought patterns and behaviors in order to create new, healthier ones. When a person cannot move, when no amount of “Come on Jen, you can do it. Just stand up” can begin to break through the miles deep, miles high iron wall of severe depression surrounding a person, the best thing to do is sit, but try to sit in a gentle state.

    Tina, I, too, believe there is a lesson in my journey with the demons. Forgiveness? Acceptance? Openness? I don’t know, yet. I thought I did, but a funny thing about life’s lessons: we often have to re-learn them time and time again. Just when you think you have it figured out, it finds it’s way to trip you up once again. For me, okay, so I fall again. I’ve fallen before and survived it. I’ve fallen hard, tripped while trying to get up, and fallen farther down that rock rabbit hole, and survived that. I pray I can continue to survive, and soon, once again continue to learn, walk with peace and a gentle heart, reach out to others in need….

    Perhaps your lesson has to do with nuance. Specifically, to understand the difference between feeling depressed and being depressed, know that the former can easily lead to the latter, and there are no easy answers to an individual”s life. It’s easy to make generalities, and often these are helpful, but, please just be careful because someone looking for relief from depression may read your post, know deep in his or her soul that what you say will stop the feelings isn’t even near possible at this point in time, feel a familiar sense of failure and hopelessness deepen, and do something terrible. Or perhaps not. I don’t want to presume what lessons you need to learn in your life. I do want you to be mindful.

    Michelle C., just one more thing: please don’t assume that Tina has “struck a chord that some of your commenters do not want to hear. By empowering people to change the way they feel by changing the way they think, you are robbing them of the role as a victim of depression,” by those of us who are expressing concern or criticism. That seems to be an easy answer to a complex issue. I have to wonder why you felt the need to lump us into such a simplistic group of people who are not mindful, intelligent, educated, and are not doing all we can to change the way we feel every single day? I wonder why or how you can consider we would feel robbed if we no longer had the role of victim of depression without ever having met any one of us? Quite the diagnosis and prognosis being made by a doctor, one whom I’m thankful is not mine. I apologize if that sounds harsh, just calling it like I see it. FYI: most of the people I’ve met who have depression do not consider themselves victims: they refer to themselves as survivors who are trying to become thrivers.

    Peace.

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