Depression and mental health is a common problem amongst people -, especially young men. I, myself, have suffered bouts of depression, where I’m up and then down again for a little while. I tend to have very big highs, and then deeper lows if that makes sense. Sometimes I really on, and sometimes I barely want to leave the house.
In this blog, I want to share some of my personal experiences on what has worked with how to get over depression and maintain some kind of equilibrium.
Change your environment, get perspective
One of the most important things to do if you’re in a bit of a rut is by traveling somewhere else and getting out of your everyday schedule.
The reason being is that we have certain mental anchors with our everyday schedules which trigger particular emotions within us. For example, you drive past the same school on the way to work, which triggers a certain thought about something or other.
Whenever you get out of that area for a period of time, you give your psyche a chance to untangle from the mental triggers of everyday life and see life from a fresh perspective. You always get the opportunity to see life from the bigger picture, rather than being in the trenches.
Cut out toxic relationships
Seriously, whenever I’ve felt low self-esteem, was when I needed validation from other low self-esteem people. When you’re low self-esteem and have friends who are low self-esteem, it’s really fucked, because you essentially end up emotionally manipulating and poison dropping one another to validate the gaping hole within yourself.
Take a toxic relationship for example. If you are with someone out of fear of loss, rather than inspiration to be with that person, then you are not really in love with them, they are just an emotional crutch for you.
For whatever reason, that person acts as some kind of relief, however, because you’re treating the symptoms to a problem and not the route cause to the problem, you’re not actually getting to the true cause of the pain, and so you’re scared for dear life if that person walks away from your life.
Therefore, what you do, is you put the other person down, manipulate and control them until they too have low self-esteem and feel too weak to walk away. From there, what happens, is that you both feel shit about yourselves, but both of you feel too disempowered to walk away, and you’re fucking stuck there for years.
This is literally what many people define as a relationship – how fucked is that?
Shouldn’t a relationship be about the inspiration to appreciate and enjoy someone for who they are alone, not for what they can do for you?
Shouldn’t it be about appreciation without attachment, not possession?
I personally think that to be in a position to have a healthy relationship, you either have to have been raised really well, or do the inner work which essentially heals your inner demons and gets to the route cause of your suffering. From then onwards, you can actually enjoy people, without needing them or possessing them.
If you’re in one of those toxic relationship situations, or you have toxic friends, you should cut them out as soon as possible, because it’s only going to take you further down, and you’ll be doing the shitty behaviours that they’re probably doing, because you become the people you spend time with.
Here’s a piece by the homeboy Jordan Peterson on toxic relationships:
Get a consistent sleeping schedule
I’ve just realised this, but going out until 5 in the morning, and then waking up at 6 to go to work on Monday, will literally fuck up my whole body and mood.
Your body’s circadian rhythms are really important. If you don’t abide by them, then you are going against nature, and you are going to feel seriously depressed. It’s been apart of our human nature since we started as a species. There’s a reason why workers get paid more for nightshifts – it’s the extra financial compensation for feeling depressed every day.
Make sure your sleeping patterns are consistent.
No to alcohol and drugs
Apart from the maybe smoking weed maybe once per year, I don’t do drugs, because I know myself. I have an addictive, compulsive personality, and drugs for me would be like a toddler playing with fire, so I just ignore them altogether.
And I’m not talking about the hippy drugs like ayahuasca or magic mushrooms, I’m talking about cocaine and hard drugs like that.
Fuck that, I’ve seen people ruin their lives from what was once a recreational activity, turning into something that has a grip over them. I have an extended family member who literally went to the best university in the UK, and worked as a journalist for one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world, but was shooting heroin in the toilets of his workplace.
It stems from recreation, but then it turns into you medicating yourself from the daily pressures of life. Thankfully he’s recovered now and sober, but it can happen to literally anyone.
Now that’s a serious case, but I’m just saying it can literally happen to anyone. Drugs and alcohol are expensive and take from you more than they give to you in my opinion. That downtime spent hanging over from drugs or alcohol could be put into something more productive AND you won’t be putting harmful chemical substances into your body.
Have a Goal
Have you ever felt like ‘what’s the point to life?’ Or ‘Why am I here?’
Yes, I have anyway. The truth is, shit can get existential real quick without a goal or direction that you’re heading in, because ultimately without a meaningful goal, there is no hope of some kind of reward or better circumstance.
That’s why I always try and orient myself towards some better future. Some better version of me, whether that be one month from now, six months from now, five years from now. That’s what gives me meaning. It gives me that mountain to climb, and the reason for waking up in the morning to go to work – to put the effort in.
The beautiful thing about having a goal is that you get to choose it.
To me, that’s what happiness is – moving toward a direction in which I want to go in.
That’s also why I’m thankful that I literally had no pressure from my parents to be anything at all when I was a kid. When you see children who grow up to become accountants or lawyers or doctors because their parents told them to do so, or because the child thought that if they didn’t do as their parents told them, they wouldn’t be loved anymore. That’s so fucked up.
Set a goal, but set it for your own purpose/enjoyment/reasons/meaning.
I try and work out every day. I’m not saying I’m going, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just lifting something or doing some kind of exercise which gets me moving. It keeps my hormones in check and gets me in my body and out of my head.
Also, having a good physique is such an awesome feeling.
I don’t think I have to really say much more than that…!
Talk to someone
If you feel like you’re depressed, the best thing I could sometimes tell someone. The reason being is that when I verbalise how I feel, it puts space between my thoughts and me.
It’s like if you think a certain thought and then verbalise it, you realise how ridiculous that thought is, and then you can laugh at it because the thought has been contextualised as not actually you – and humour is the antidote to negative emotion, in my experience.
Obviously, you want to be aware of who you entrust your thoughts and feelings with. But if you have someone you can trust, then go speak to them about it, because they will be able to give you that space, and that vessel to confide in.
There are probably a lot more points you could make about curing depression here, and I could go into a lot more detail too, but I don’t want to overload with too much information in one post.
Also, these are just points I’ve realised from my personal experience – feel free to debate them or reject them, I am not a psychologist or a qualified professional – I’m just a regular dude offering my life experience. I hope you found something useful 🙂