Today I was going to write about the art & fiction studio I built for nurturing creativity at home, but my thoughts and words have carried me instead toward depression, and the truth we all need to hear to finally get a few steps ahead of it. Of course any writing in this direction must be navigated with caution, and also, the best intention, so let’s first take a second to consider why you’d want to hear my personal thoughts on this controversial topic. That way, you can decide whether or not you want to hear my take on things before you go ahead and read further. So here goes…
Through years of suffering the most vicious and debilitating yo-yo of depression myself, I’ve spent countless amounts of time and effort researching psychology, physiology, mental health, philosophy, ancient cultures, self help strategies, (See: Where Self-Help Becomes Self Sabotage) Eastern practices such as yoga and meditation, and more. Of course, as you’d expect from a depressive, I’ve spent equal amounts of time in bed too. If it’s psychology, spirituality, physiology, or physicality related, you can bet your arse I’ve spent many a sleepless night scrawling through the literature. Beyond that, I have myself written a few hundred thousand words on the topic throughout various conversations with coaching clients, on social media, and through blogging and freelancing. I researched and wrote the entire launch site of a clinical psychiatrist out in Toronto (no names, my lips are sealed), and have freelanced multiple articles on the topic. All that aside, I have no degrees, I have no certifications, and I am in no way a practitioner of any kind of medicine or therapy.
With all that out of the way, I can say with absolute certainty that finally, I am not depressed. Not at all. My life is not amazing. I’m not rich. I struggle. (I write and blog for Christ’s sake!) I argue with my family and I go through the motions with my kids and my finances stress me out. But all of those things are met with and dealt with the correct understanding, and don’t fill me with dark, unnatural thoughts or a total lack of energy or system shutdown. I’m not overwhelmed on a mental health basis. And that’s what we’re all here for right? Because our wants and needs don’t align with our thoughts and bodies. Because we want to do things but our lack of energy debilitates us and our inner thoughts dissuade us. We know that it’s not right. We know that it’s ‘infected’ with something. And we want it gone.
I’ve crawled down into the darkest holes and flown through the highest highs. The moments of hopelessness and the fleeting motivation-filled surges have had me on a rollercoaster I couldn’t get off for years. And I don’t want that for any of you. I went through the CBT thing, the therapy thing, the medication thing, the self-help thing, and the ‘its not real’ thing. But none of it helped kick the darkness away for good. Now, over the last couple years, I’ve realised why. All the above ‘methods’ for treatment often carry over the same underlying lie that fundamentally blocks you from improvement. It’s not the methods themselves that are flawed, they’re all perfectly fine. It’s more the way they are delivered. So, are you ready for the truth?
The big deception, the egocentric protective barrier we are so happily spoon-fed, the great illusion, the easy escape, the fundamental lie we are being told is this: It’s not your fault. Yes, in fact, it absolutely is.
It’s not your fault. Yes, in fact, it absolutely is.
Now try for a second to think of depression as a warning sign. As a last ditch effort to force change upon you, rather than a state of mind. Despite the 50+ generation that tell you to just cheer up, and that life’s not that bad, It’s almost common knowledge that depression is more than a state of mind. It’s a severe chemical imbalance bought on by a misalignment between brain and body.
A lesser known, or even thought of, angle, is that depression is your brain’s last attempt to get you to align your actions with your body, your mind, your desires, and your passions. It’s a warning to move toward where you want to be. For too long now you’ve ignored every moment of motivation, every fleeting idea, every sudden urge. You’ve unconsciously suppressed and stunted and failed over and over again, every time you ignore yourself, or start something you don’t finish, and instead hidden behind social media and motivational videos and Netflix and takeaway, dumping instant gratification into your system for failure, over the well deserved pride you can take from a drawn out effort for success. Your body has dumped chemical after chemical into your bloodstream while you’ve numbed yourself to the how’s and whys, until your entire system has nothing left but to render you impaired until change is made.
Understanding this is the first and most important step toward improving your symptoms. It earns you control and responsibility for it. Gives you power over it. Sure, ‘it’s your fault’ is a tough and controversial pill to swallow, but the ‘it’s not your fault’ narrative isn’t offering any long term turnaround for anyone. In my opinion, responsibility for ourselves and our bodies is a sorely missed necessity in our society these days. Our civilisations berate us with all the tools we need to mess ourselves up, but essentially, it is still our choice to partake, and equally our responsibility to put right. We can’t knowingly head further and further down a certain path, and then claim no responsibility for the destination. I understand why others would tell us that ‘it’s not our fault,’ but such a lie, or at the very least, a kind deception, is not what’s going to help us in the long run. Own it. It’s yours. Your body, your mind, your actions, your chemicals. Your responsibility.
Now that you have control and ownership of what’s happening to you, you can start putting yourself back together. Small tiny steps that put your brain and body back in alignment. You say you’re gonna go for a 1 mile run on Sunday, and you do it. Success. You say you’re gonna sell a couple of pointless items around your home and you do it. Success. You cook rather than swinging by McDonald’s, you read the book before watching the movie, you lift weights before sitting down for the night. It’s a process of undoing and rewiring the system that got all unbalanced and tangled up in the first place.
Every small, earned success pulls one more wire out of the mess and straightens it out. There may be hundreds, or thousands to deal with, but the positive effects are cumulative. It is instant gratification that got us here. Rushes and rushes of positive chemicals and hormones dumped into the system, without any real work, effort, or longevity. Ditching that instant gratification is going to be painful. You’re addicted, and it’s harming you. Like cigarettes, or drug misuse. You’ll have to do without those sudden rushes and go through the withdrawals, while earning your positivity in a less frequent, but ultimately more stable and long lasting way.
I guess I’ll wrap it up with this. Ditch porn, drugs, alcohol, and other instant gratification lies that fill you with an altered sense of reality that comes crashing down once the effect wears off. Switch out sudden rushes of unearned positivity with enjoying experiences in your own life, in the real world. Spend less time accumulating likes on ‘social media,’ and more time socialising with real people, away from any media whatsoever. All this shit sends your system into a resistance to positivity in the long run, and does you no real good. What happens if you give a child everything they want whenever they want it for no reason at all? They get spoilt, right. Well our brains and bodies are exactly the same. Evidence of this can be seen in lottery winners and celebrity circles, filled with alcoholism, suicide, depression, and drug addictions.
Take ownership and responsibility for what’s happening in your body, and slowly put it back together bit by bit.
You can start right now by reading a couple of my earliest posts here. How To Take Control of Your Life and How To Achieve Success in Anything. So what do you think? Will this mindset help you finally win out in your battle with depression, or is it ringing a little cray-cray to you? Let me know in the comments!