The Very First Step to Heal Depression
When I was in the deepest depression I had ever had to endure, I couldn’t see a way out. I felt like there was a conspiracy intent on making me suffer. At the time I thought the universe was perfectly aligned in such a way so as to inflict the maximum amount of pain on me. I didn’t just think this, I knew it to be a fact. If you’re suffering from depression, or you have suffered from the depression in the past, you know what this feels like. It’s you , the size of a flea, against a winter storm in the middle of the Atlantic, with no one to help, no one to understand. Just you and a powerful force fully intent on harming you. It feels like being in the ring with a raging Mike Tyson, helpless and unable to fight back. All you can do is try to cover your face while the punches keep coming.
If you’ve never experienced depression you can’t begin to imagine what this feels like. What makes it worse is that you have to put on a mask. You have to smile and pretend there’s nothing wrong. You laugh at people’s jokes, you do what you have to. You go to work, you go shopping, you shower, you feed yourself. You can’t express yourself fully. You must fight the insatiable desire, need, to run screaming into the street and run away to somewhere far, far away. But you can’t, so you suffer in silence, watching the days, weeks, months and years go by. Watching other people live a normal life. All the meanwhile you can’t figure out how to do the same. If only you had even some answers. But you don’t. You suffer in silence.
This state, for me, lasted decades. Looking back now I believe I was always depressed, from the very beginning. You see, I grew up in a violent, loveless home. I don’t exaggerate when I say that there was never any love in my house. The words “I love you” were never, ever spoken in that house. Ever! There was only anger, contempt, screaming, violence and fear, so I spent all my childhood, and most of my adolescence alone, either in my room or in the backyard or in the garage, tinkering with one thing or another. In those days (the 60s and 70s), there was no internet or electronic gadgets. We only had one TV and an encyclopedia. That was my internet, my Youtube, my google, my Facebook. No friends, and no connection to the outside world. Just loneliness and solitude, pain and fear and a feeling of yearning for a normal life. Envy of others that seemed to be normal or happy.
In the end I came to realise (in my very early 40s), that the only way things were going to change for me was if I died or if I made up my mind to make the changes. I thought about both and both were equally acceptable to me at the time.
One day, as this woman’s video will show you, I realised that one of the biggest contributing factors to my depression was my thoughts. I realised that my neural pathways were so entrenched that I saw everything in life through the filters of depression. This realisation made me see that if I removed those filters and tried to see the beauty in the little things in life things might change for me so I started on my journey of recovery and healing, unaided by anyone.
During those early days of recovery I told myself that I wasn’t allowed to think about the negatives in my life. This is kind of hard to do when you feel like you’re drowning, but at the same time, when you surrender to what is, your emotional ties to it slacken and even disappear, as they did for me. I got to the point that I didn’t care about anything any more. Now this might sound as though it’s a bad thing, but it wasn’t for me. It helped me to release everything that was weighing me down and so the healing began.
During those early days I wasn’t working, I wasn’t able to work because my depression took me to the point of being totally unable to function in any way. One of the first things I did was to spend ALL of my time watching comedy. There are physiological reasons why this is extremely helpful. Reasons proven by medicine many, many years ago. (You can read more about that here, in a blog I wrote recently). So I laughed a lot and when I wasn’t laughing, I was listening to very soothing music and either writing or creating works of art on my computer.
Over time, the chemicals that make you depressed began to lessen within my body and brain, and because I was now always in a creative or humorous state, I started to feel better physically and emotionally. The weird thing was that because I began to feel better, I began to see the beauty in everything. My coffee tasted better. The beach was brighter and louder. The sand was warmer and the ocean, a beautiful shade of blue or jade, depending on the time of day. During this period I was able to walk among the humans and see the beauty in people. Suddenly I could see friends talking to each other in the street, or at the beach. Laughing. Everything began to look beautiful. Food began to taste better. Music sounded better. My kids were more beautiful and my love for them grew every day more and more.
In the end, I realised that I had made the right choice. I chose to end my depression. I chose to be normal. I chose to be happy. I don’t know if I’ll ever be happy, but I do know that I’m not unhappy any more. I feel better and stronger than I have ever felt in my life. Today, eight years later, I still don’t have depression and all I still want is to be better than the day before. Today I know that if I didn’t come to my own rescue, nobody else would. I had to make that decision.
Today, I still use humor every day. It helps me enjoy life better. Today, I’m a much better version of myself and I am proud of myself. Life is about me. For me. And in the process, I help to make other people’s lives better for them – because I am better for me.