Pills destroy your brain and at best kinda make you numb to the fact that you are feeling like shit and that something is seriously bothering you.
Physical activity, running or boxing or whatever, getting some sun, screaming while listening to loud music, smashing some plates, long walks in nature, healthy food, avoiding social media, cutting out anyone who makes you feel worse… Sure all that helps. To some extent.
Therapy? Most therapists suck and have the same solution to any problem they encounter. They project their own shit on their clients or repeat theories, because that is much safer than just telling you openly what they feel when they interact with you. A great therapist is willing to take risks, not afraid to admit he/she simply doesn’t know, does not try to seduce you – I don’t mean just sexually, but in its broadest sense – and never intentionally hurts you. And LISTENS. That’s the very least one can expect. Perhaps the biggest pitfall of therapy is that the therapist wants to know too much and feels too little. Especially psychiatrists can be awful, since they know the most and tend to feel the least.
Anyway, since your chances of finding a great therapist are pretty low, you have to turn to other things. I do recommend keeping up the search for a great therapist though. I do believe having the right therapist can work wonders.
I should have saved this one for last as it’s perhaps the most radical. It’s ‘hip’ these days and getting hipper by the day. Am not going to explain here what it is. There is tons of information out there. Look into it. It’s a drug that will show you the roots of your pain and what to do about it.
Just one thing I would like to stress: this drug is becoming popular. As with anything some people offering this are primarily interested in financial gain. Look for a center where they take ayahuasca seriously and the profit motive is secondary to actually helping people.
2. Accepting full responsibility for your life. In fact, admitting to yourself that you have failed.
Our culture has been reduced to Success, success, success. Perform. Gain. Grow. Acquire. Display your good fortune, good health, youth, etc. The worst insult these days is ‘loser’. Far worse than ‘son of a bitch’ or anything like that. So admitting you have failed is hard and almost taboo.
It’s also liberating as fuck.
Not everything that happened to us is our fault. In fact, sometimes it’s crucial to accept that some shitty thing was definitely not our fault. Some things are our fault (assuming you believe in free will). No matter the ‘source’ of the shitty thing, the point is to accept it. Accept that that was your life up until now and decide that you are chosing a different path now.
This includes taking a step back, breaking old patterns, even letting go of ambitions you have long nurtured but never materialized.
In short: Deciding you are going to allow yourself to feel joy IN SPITE of what happened before.
Yes, this is a choice you can make.
3. Narrow it down. Ask yourself: What is the ONE thing I can do that would make everything easier?
When we are in hell we tend to look anywhere for solutions and make long lists of every possible thing that needs to happen to get out of there. The result is that we feel overwhelmed and are now in hell plus stressed and beating ourselves up for not making much headway with this to do list.
No matter how you turn it there will always be ONE thing you can do to make it all a whole easier. Look for it.
4. Plaster the walls of a room with images that make you feel alive
Your favorite bands, favorite movie scenes, pictures of friends, photos of people you admire, anything at all. It will remind you how much there is to you, how much there is you care about.
5. Write everything you no longer want in your life on a piece of paper. Wrap the paper around a rock and throw it as hard as you can into the deepest river, lake or sea you can find.
6. Go help others, volunteer!
Of course if one of your destructive patterns is that you are always there for others, this will only work if you have learned to allow yourself to receive.
To be very brief here, there are three kinds of fucked up people: attackers, victims and chronic saviors. Obviously, if you are a savior more helping isn’t what you should be doing. You should learn that you don’t need to be rescueing anyone in order to feel you have the right to exist. Learn to receive..For that go to number 7.
7. Go and get a massage
Professional or not, get a massage. Unhappy people have bodies that are locked up. They are ‘armoured’ as Wilhelm Reich put it. Letting go during a massage will set you free. We ARE our bodies. Our emotions translate into bodily states and vice versa. For a step further go to 8.
8. Great sex
Ok, so this one is the hardest one to get, because it depends on like a zillion different factors whether sex is going to do you good and not leave you hangovered. Still, no matter what you do, great sex should be part of your goal if you want to be truly alive and happy.
I know too many people who subliminate their sex drive. They go and run extreme 100 km marathons or get obsessed about politics or start collecting lemonade glasses. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of that, but sorry, no great sex = not a truly happy person. Unless you are a truly asexual person or your libido is truly gone, or you are fulfilled by some kind of religious fervor, but those cases are not that common.
Just as admitting failure is taboo so is admitting one is sexually frustrated. Especially since our culture surrounds us with the suggestion that sex is everywhere, that we have all been sexually liberated and that everyone is fucking their brains out. Nothing could be further from the truth. Only the tiniest minority has a blissful sex life.
Therefore I would say that most people in the ‘developed’ world fall into one of these categories
– a small group of people that has an inspiring purpose in their life AND a blissful sex life
– a small, but bigger group that has at least one of the two fulfilling things mentioned above
– a large group, probably the largest one, of people that is not exactly depressed, but automated, not too joyful, looking to compensate not having either one happiness pillar. The degree to which one tries to compensate can run from low intensity to outright pathological. People in this category usually have some sort of addiction, but usually not to any illegal substance, more something like watching series, consuming information, eating or drinking a bit too much, constantly trying to meet up with friends, you know, filling the void.
– a substantial group of people who are simply dragging themselves through a repetitive quagmire of despair, there is almost nothing to compensate for their lack of fulfilment, there is almost only suffering. The ultimate compensation here can be severe drug addiction, but not every person in this category turns to drugs.
By the way, by blissful sex life I mean the capacity to experience AND give a full body orgasm. Check out the work of Alexander Lowen for more on that.
9. Move to a different country, with a different culture, different language, etc.
None of the points on this list are THE cure, but all of them can be part of the cure.
What will this one do for you? It’s the surest way to give you an entirely different experience.
We are all bound to repeat our traumas. This is a fundamental human characteristic. We are bound to repeat our pain until we understand its source and can kill it, finally.
Moving to a completely different world can shock you out of patterns, make you understand your reality better, cut ties with negative influences, perhaps it can show you that false truths you have assumed to be true and are causing you pain are just that: dogmas you picked up along the way that do not serve you.
It’s also a great way to start with a completely new slate.
These nine points are by no means the final word on how to deal with depression. If you have ideas of your own please share them in the comments. Thank you!