A Key Strategy I Use to Beat Depression
I struggled with depression for a large majority of my life. I was back and forth, one day thinking I was over it, then sinking into it for a month and thinking I’d just have to live with it for the rest of my life.
I used to hate that I was introspective and constantly “stuck in my head” because it felt like that’s where all the pain was. But because I’m introspective and I’m constantly analyzing thoughts and patterns and trying to figure out why things work the way they do, I’m happy for all the time I spent struggling with depression because I was able to figure out how it works, how to counter it, and now how to walk other people through it.
Today I want to share one of the key strategies I use to conquer depression, anxiety and paralyzing feelings if they dare to creep in.
How Clickbait Taught Me Self-Control
Yesterday I was talking to my friend, and he was expressing his hatred for click bait headlines, and how he doesn’t like to be on Reddit because there’s so much depressing content, but he feel compelled to click for fear of missing out on some important information he might need to know.
So I explained to him that I was stuck there for a really long time. One of the big tricks clickbait uses is preying on our natural curiosity.
We have a natural desire to learn and grow and gain knowledge, and we want that information as consice and compact as possible. So what do we find in clickbait headlines?
10 things you NEED to know…
Everything you need to know about…
Everything we know so far about…
…And you won’t believe what happens next!
All of those things are designed to bypass our ability to think and make a rational decisions by drilling straight into our emotions, because when we act on emotion we are more likely to make decisions impulsively rather than thoughtfully.
I hated clickbait for years, but like my friend I kept finding myself clicking and scrolling continuously because my curiosity for the subject matter offered was greater than my hatred for the ethics in which they were pretending to offer substantial information.
It wasn’t until my hatred for the ethics began to outweigh my desire for the information that I finally gained the power to say “no!” to the click. In fact, I have a mental blacklist of sites I will not click, because I’m determined not to support the ethics with which they deliver information.
Now if I do a Google search for something and one of those mental-blacklisted sites pops up, I’ll skip the information altogether if theirs is the only site I can get the information (usually it’s not).
What does this have to do with depression?
Now, applying this same mindset to depression is how I stay out of it whenever those initial thoughts and feelings start to creep in.
Whereas before I was led by the emotions those thoughts invoke, and I would sink deeper into those feelings of despair, now that I understand how depression works against me, and as a result hate the ethics of the manipulation, I’m able to ignore feelings and continue moving in spite of them.
So for example, last week I received a letter from the State of Montana, stating that they recalculated my taxes from 2014 and realized I owe them $400, and if I don’t pay them in 2 weeks they’ll add penalties and interest and it will just keep piling up.
I’ve been paying my 2014 taxes since 2014, just got it down to the last $50 I owe, and just when I thought I was done with it, they drop another heavy load on top. Worse, I just had my hours cut in half, had to get a second job at a pizza place, have been hit with numerous bills, and I don’t have the money.
So the thoughts and feelings of helplessness began to creep in, and I found myself slowly curling up into the fetal position on my bed, body heating up, and the paralysis of fear and helplessness kicking in.
However, as soon as I realized what was creeping into my life, with that rose my hatred for depression. And with a burst of energy I sat up and spoke back at that thing,
“I don’t care what I feel right now, I’m not going down that road because nothing is there for me. I don’t have the means to deal with this problem right now, but I’ll deal with it when I get there. I’ll do the best I can do deal with the problem, and I’ll deal with the consequences if those come too. But I will not sink down into that place of despair where I believe I’m helpless and powerless. I refuse to let this thing intimidate me.
I will continue forward with what I’m working on, and that’s that. I’ll deal with the rest the best I can when I get to the point that I can deal with it.”
And that’s that. I get up, go back to work, and I let my hatred for depression as the oppressor it is be the kick I need to resist and stand up against it.
Does it always change the feelings? No. But that’s not what I’m after. The vulnerability lies in me basing the truth of my position on the thoughts and feelings that crop into my head. So I disempower that vulnerability when I stand my ground and refuse to let the truth be define by whatever I’m currently feeling.
I revoke the right for external circumstances to manipulate internal feelings enough to dictate how I behave and respond. In doing so I chop the head of the snake. Sure, it still slithers and moves in a disturbing manner, but I’m no longer afraid of its bite.
The Deception of the Depressed
The mistake many trapped in depression and other mental issues make is thinking those feelings are proof of who they are. So if I feel depressed off and on for 15 years, I eventually conclude that I must be depressed. In other words, it’s a part of me as a person, meaning I’ll never be rid of it. It makes it feel a little better to deal with because it gives you label to help understand what’s happening, but it never empowers you to be free. In fact, it removes the right you have to be empowered because now this thing has convinced you it’s in you, and to remove it would like removing a part of you.
It’s why I think so many are so quick to be offended when someone talks the way I’m talking now, because it takes away the permission they’ve given themselves to be harassed by this thing. And I totally get it because I totally did the same thing! I struggled with depression for so long that I finally gave in and said, “Fine. I’m depressed. It’s a sickness. I’ll always be depressed until I die. Let’s just go get some pills to numb this thing so I can actually function in life.”
But it was in the meeting with the doctor where I remembered who I am, and that I was made to be free. I wasn’t made to “cope” I was made to conquer. So I made the decision [I’m not saying you need to make the same one] to stand up, resist, and fight back. I made the decision to ignore feelings and build myself up in the truth. Now I’m free.
See, if you think it’s who you are you can’t position yourself to resist or fight because it would be like fighting against yourself. But if you separate yourself from the problem, you start to find empowerment to resist, because you’re not afraid of catching yourself with a right hook in the process of resistance and taking a swing at this thing.
That’s the trick that keeps me out of depression, anxiety, fear, and the lot of other emotions that only exist to kill us. I don’t view them as internal issues in my head, rather I view them like an external entity whose only intention is to break into my house and harm me. There is no negotiation with this thing, it doesn’t want peace and it’s not showing up to talk. It has only one thing on its mind: “Kill Daniel,” meaning if I’m to survive, I need only one thing on mind when it shows up “Kill first.”
That’s that! I hope this will empower you to fight back and get free, and if you think it will help anyone struggling with these issues, please send this their way.
As always, if you have any questions, please ask anything! Note that I have policy not to respond to cynicism and personal attacks. If you want to conversation, I am wide open for that. If all you want is to disprove me or defend something you’re not willing to let go of, I don’t have anything to say in that area.
D. R. Silva, To The Hopeless
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Disclaimer: No advice on this site should ever be taken as official medical diagnosis or medical/legal advice. Sharing of this information should not be viewed as a claim to a "cure," a recommendation to stop medication, or anything other than what it is: a person on the internet sharing personal life experiences, circumstances, and knowledge that I hope will benefit others. To The Hopeless (Daniel R. Silva) claims no responsibility for any damage that might be caused by the misuse of the information provided on this website. If in doubt, consult a doctor, counselor, or other trained professional.