Ah life. It truly truly truly is a beautiful thing, it's just such a shame that we've been conditioned to believe that life is suffering, that life is hard work, that life sucks. Think about how many brain patterns we have formed during our upbringing, to make us feel badly about ourselves, to make us feel that life is no fun, to make us believe that materialism and money are the only forms of happiness, to make us believe that our happiness depends on things outside of ourselves, and to make us believe that happiness is a farfetched myth that is always just around the corner and just out of our reach.
People seem to accept misery as if it is their only option. People seem to just accept that they are depressed as if there are no solutions or ways out. People seem to accept that life is suffering. Life can be tough, I won't deny that, I don't think anyone can deny that, but the more you conscientiously work on yourself, your happiness, your life, and most importantly, your attitude, then life becomes funner, happier, and easier. But we accept misery and I do believe this is our biggest downfall.
Now, this next part I ask you to keep reading before you get offended--because this may be your initial reaction, that is not the purpose of this article but to empower you, so please keep reading--I'm here to at least try to help.
Depression is not a choice--but staying there is.
The truth is that depression comes to so many of us, and that part isn't much of a choice (especially due to the society we live in that pretty much tells us to be depressed), but the choice does lie in staying there. It can be hella difficult to climb out of the depths of depression--again I don't think anyone can deny that--it's not as easy as waking up one day and declaring that you are no longer depressed. As awesome as that would be, it's just not really possible. We have created so many brain habits and thought patterns that got us into the state of depression, therefor it takes a conscious amount of work to reprogram your brain out of it. But it is possible and anyone can do it. It takes work, it takes time, it takes some real turbulent ups and downs, but anyone can do it. And those turbulent ups and downs are worth it when you realize that you're going to get better. But you have to want to get better. If you don't truly put your heart into wanting and trying then you'll never get motivated enough to reprogram that brain. Enthusiasm, even if it's faked at first, is extremely viable. You can choose to wake up in the morning and stay depressed and not change. Or you can wake up in the morning and pretend to smile, you can force yourself into enthusiasm. The more you wake up trying the more you'll start to feel the changes emerge in your attitude and in your life. No one said it would be easy, but it is the most worthwhile trying and fighting you'll ever do. Because life is about being happy. And if we give up on trying to be happy, if we give up on fighting our way out of depression or misery, then it's like we've given up on life. There is never a reason to give up. Ever. Because if you reach that point where you feel like giving up, guess what? You have nothing left to lose! You can take the boldest chances of your life, and you can make the biggest leaps. Choose to change, no matter how small it may feel but never just give up.
Now, this topic has been on my mind a lot lately because, with ReLove Plan.et, I truly want to try to help people and when some people are unreachable then it teaches me to take a step back, to put myself back in the suicidal depressed shoes I once lived in and reflect on the feelings, emotions, and bumps that I struggled with; so that I may find new approaches or advise that may reach people. Because I think everyone can and should be happy and if I can change one person's life then I know it will ripple.
Do what you Can.
Again, people accept depression as if they have no other options, as if happiness simply is not and will never be feasible for them. But it is. People complain about being unhappy, or just accept that they are unhappy and are silently more and more depressed about it. But they don't DO anything about it! This is the part that bothers me. Maybe because I have been there, maybe because I see people do it far too often, maybe because a part of me just can't stand to see others depressed when they don't have to be, and maybe because it's just plain hard to watch people continually self-destruct, but I want to shake people and tell them they can do better, that they Can be happy. This is why this blog started in the first place; because I know what trying can accomplish, because I've been into the depths of hell, pain, misery, self-loathing, and suicidal thoughts, and I never ever thought I would climb out of it but I did. Because I got up and decided to try and not accept that depression was my only option in life.
Trying doesn't mean you have to make drastic changes with the snap of your fingers, trying means you're going to start, it means taking that first step forward. When I say that it bothers me to see people not trying, I'm not talking about people's inability to just "think positive" and change their attitudes in an instant--that stuff takes time and is not usually a beginners step if you have severe depression. That being said, you can always try and start to change your attitude--but I'll get to that later. These are the steps that I'm talking about that people fail to work on: diet and exercise.
People turn to anti-depressants before they even try. It's not that I don't get it, I mean everyone wants to feel better, but from what I've seen antidepressants don't help anyone--I still have yet to meet someone on antidepressants who actually feels happy, good, or even not a zombie. Get off that shit! It's making you numb and it won't make you better, and in the meantime you're becoming hella dependent on chemicals that will make it even harder to actually get better. Not only that, but antidepressants are prescribed like giving out candy to kids on halloween. I once had a friend in high school who was having a hard time with her parents and was acting out a little. She was brought to the doctor who prescribed her prozac. My mind was blown! This girl was my best friend, we talked to each other about everything, and she wasn't depressed, not by a long shot. Hormonal, sure, frustrated, maybe; depressed, no! I talked to her about not going on them and she admitted to not being depressed and that she just wanted to make her parents happy. I am so glad, and I know that she is too, that she never went on them.
What I'm getting at is that antidepressants are a bandaid, and while that bandaid remains, the problems beneath are festering and building and will never heal until they are allowed to surface, be worked through, and released.
Okay, so get off antidepressants and don't turn to them in the first place if that is something you've been contemplating.
Getting back to those steps people can take to get better but don't do…
Exercise has been proven to be just as effective as antidepressants when it comes to relieving depression. How many depressed people actually exercise? If you're depressed, start exercising! Go for a run, get an elliptical or stationary bike, go to the gym, get a bike, go hiking. Hell, you can just WALK for 30 minutes a day and that's all you need! I know that you probably won't feel motivated to exercise. I know that at first you won't feel like it's doing anything. Do it anyway. Because it absolutely does help.
Eat properly! People complain about being depressed yet have you taken a look at your diet? How many foods are you eating that are diminishing your health? Your brain--therefor happiness--depends on a healthy body! How many foods are you eating that are depressants? Do you consume alcohol or do drugs? Do you drink coffee regularly or other highly caffeinated beverages? Do you eat sugar like most people do? Do you eat processed packaged foods? Again, I know that you won't feel motivated to eat right because when you're depressed one of the last things you really care about is yourself, therefor your health. Do it anyway. Sugar alone is one of the most potent depressants you can put into your body, yet people consume sugar as if it's nothing. When I give into a sugar craving, I go crazy, bonkers, like I want to throw my fist into a wall. Sugar is crazy! I mean really really crazy and it'll make you even crazier. Alcohol as well, terrible depressant on the body. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense. Eat more veggies, eat more fruits, eat REAL food, and stop eating foods that are making you depressed!
So, if you're telling people that you can't help but be depressed, if you are telling people that you can't change, that happiness is simply not for you, and that trying is really hard, well… yeah, trying may be hard, it may be challenging, it may be hard to get motivated at first, but you CAN get better, you CAN get happy, and there are steps you can start taking to get better.
Start with that 30 minutes of exercise a day, and start by really disciplining yourself with your eating habits. I promise you that once you start doing these things alone then you'll start to feel a difference; and then you'll be able to focus more on changing your attitude, reading helpful books that you'll be able to apply to your life, and the journey will just get easier and easier from there.
You can also take natural remedies to help boost your serotonin and get your brain working the way it should--because years of depression take a real toll on your body's natural ability to produce serotonin. I highly recommend doing this. Some suggestions are: St.John's Wort, 5-HTP, sam-E, or rhodiola. Make sure you're getting your balanced omegas and DHA as well, these will help and are easy ways to boost your brain power. Make sure you're getting enough B-12, B-6 and other B vitamins. And make sure you're getting enough vitamin D.
These are all steps. You are not helpless. You CAN change. But you have to want to and you have to try. Take it in steps and don't beat yourself up if the change is slow, it does take time! But trying and struggling with that trying is better than just struggling without improvement. If you really need help then I do recommend seeing a therapist or councillor as well. If you can't afford one, lots of places have free councillors available through social services--take advantage if you have them around you because they are amazing people who are there to help you.
It's never too late to try, it's never too late to start again. You can be happy, trust me. So please start taking steps.
Much much love!
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