We only become depressed if we feel out of control of our lives. A quick guide to escaping the darkness.
(unless clinically depressed)
Being out of control can include:
- Failing to deal with money matters
- Not addressing relationship issues properly
- Putting important tasks on the back burner
- Emotional upset over an unresolved situation
- Feeling that we are being treated unfairly
- Failing to satisfy a long held goal
- Feeling stuck in a situation
- Repeating dysfunctional behaviours
- Addiction (get professional help)
These are only a few of the more common reasons people can begin to feel out of control of their lives. There can be many more reasons.
Depression tends to creep into our heads when we start to realise there is a whole long queue of issues lining up that we have not addressed.
Soon an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom engulfs our days. We become unhappy, stop smiling, can’t focus on things properly and don’t even hear what people are saying to us at times. The future seems dark and unattractive.
We just want to run away and stop thinking about it all ASAP. Of course there are simple steps we can take to start to regain control of our lives but first lets take a look at what is going on in our head scientifically.
The science of depression
There is a whole lot that goes on in the human brain with depression or even with just basic sadness. Understanding what happens to the chemistry of your brain in relation to stress is really very interesting. In my case I discovered that I have a seretonin depletion. This is the chemical that is responsible for popping up and smacking stress down when it arrives, enabling us to ward off severe anxiety. Once this gets overused anxiety becomes a serious issue. The next guy to pop up and rumble your world is the panic attacks!. Not good , not nice and very unpleasant. It can feel like you are dying! But… This is only usually associated with people who have long term depression brought on by deeper psychological damage derived from PTSD or traumas in childhood that have not been addressed
There is a good side to sadness
According to Joseph Paul Forgas, Ph.D., sadness reduces two key judgement biases that affect how we view people.
The Fundamental Attribution Error: This is the tendency to believe that people are intentional when they make mistakes or say something wrong. When you’re sad, you’re less likely to think the worst of people.
The Halo Effect: On the opposite end of the spectrum, people also believe that certain people–whether it’s because they’re attractive, successful, or family members–can do no wrong. Sadness gives you a less biased view of people so you also don’t exaggerate their goodness.
Forgas also found that sadness helps people assess situations more accurately because the feeling promotes a more detailed and attentive thinking style.
For more information of what actually goes on in your head when you feel sadness you might like to read this interesting article published by the NY Times.
Anyway…. Enough of the academia! Lets get to the solutions!
How to fight depression caused by lack of control
It may seem like a crazy thing to say at first but actually all the real opportunities to escape the horrible feelings of depression are in the problems themselves.
Problems are opportunities!
Once we decide that all our problems are in fact fantastic opportunities then we take the first step. We get positive!
Scream out loud : “Yesssss…… My problems will set me free! Yeeeee Haaaa!” Go on! Do it now….. Punch the air and force yourself into immediately shifting your current mood! Try it. It works!
Ok now you are feeling a tad better lets get to work.
Every problem is in fact an opportunity for a road out of depression.
But we need to know what we can deal with and what we can not.
The serenity prayer/poem thing is pretty damned good on this one:
“Please give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom… To know the difference!”
So….. write a list of all the things on your mind. All the things that are worrying you, making you sad or nagging you in the rear of your mind on a negative level. Once you have done this read down it and make decisions of what you can change and what you cannot change.
A quick tip of things you cant change:
- The dead
- The past
- Other people
If any of your worries fall into these categories then you will never change them and MUST accept them as a part of nature.
These are things you cannot change so you wont be trying. This only leaves acceptance. You must practice acceptance and learn to be at one calmly with aspects of nature.
Things you can change
- People’s perception of you
- Your environment
- Your financial state
- Tasks you put on the back burner
If you are in any doubt of what you can and cant change just ask Google!
The next step is taking action on the very first item on your list of things you can change
- If you have an apology to make then do that. Maybe send an email, text or write a letter.
- If you owe money then write a letter or email explaining your current financial state with an assurance of how much you can afford monthly. This is the most you can do.
- If you hate your job then start applying for new ones. Its a numbers game. This is all you can do. Apply for new jobs over and over until the numbers fall in your favour. Be cheerful and eager at every interview and accept that you will win through in the end. You just have to keep going.
- If you are getting over a relationship and it has definitely ended (be realistic ok?) then change your routine. Fill your life with new activities, keep busy, take a course, work out, better yourself in some way. Fill that time with productivity where you are now dwelling over how you would normally be seeing that person. Your brain just needs retraining into a new routine. After 2 week you will feel a lot better.
- If you dislike your environment then either take steps to improve it or move from it completely. Take that action.
You get the idea right?
You just have to recognise that problems are opportunities to escape depression All it takes is action! As you begin to take action then you will gain a sense of being in control. The more you feel in control the happier you become.
This WILL work…. just have faith, smile and carry on calmly….
You are special in many ways, your ability to take action when it matters is one of the things that make you special!
And…. I am always here if you need to talk. Just shoot me a message and I will be very happy to help if I can!
I wrote and recorded a song for people feeling depressed and out of control. Have a listen to:
“Your so special”
If you like this then be sure to check out my album Dancing for the money man