Dealing with depression is one of the most difficult challenges a person can face in life. Depression takes away our joy, steals our dreams and makes life heavy-laden for even simple tasks like going to the grocery store. There is hope.
The secret to mastering depression is to map your depression slide pattern. Your slide pattern is a picture of how depression starts and creeps into your life and the rate at which you descend into total darkness. Depression does not start in total darkness. Life is generally sailing along fine when all of sudden we begin feeling little joy. It’s the small things we notice first. We don’t watch our favorite TV comedy or want to meet that friend for lunch. Overall, however, life is still rolling along. This state is a grey state not totally joyless.
What we need to define is how we fall from total light (life is great) to total darkness (absence of joy and energy, a state of total paralysis) and the rate at which we fall. This is our depression slide pattern. Our depression slide pattern is unique to each of us. It is unique to our personality, our surroundings, our past experiences and our day to day activities.
As an example, in my personal case, I start in the life is great phase, 0% darkness. My relationships are stable. I enjoy my hobbies. I have big dreams for my future. I feel no depression. Then, for unknown reasons, my mood gradually declines over a period of 5-7 days until I slide into 50% darkness. Once I hit 50% I rapidly drop to total darkness in just 1-2 days. This is my unique pattern. In 100% total darkness, I am so depressed that I don’t even know the telephone exists. I absolutely can’t call a friend for help because I am not aware they exist either. What I do know is that I must catch myself before I fall into that final dark state.
The state of total darkness is analogous to being wrapped tightly in black cellophane. The cellophane is so tight you can’t see anything beyond the tip of your nose. You are not aware of anything that surrounds you. You are inwardly focused and can only experience inward pain. This is a dangerous state to be in.
So how do you prevent yourself from getting into total darkness which is full deep depression? Map and understand your depression slide pattern. I know that I must personally catch myself and seek help from others when I reach the 50% level. Seeking help pulls me out of my depressive state and helps me enjoy life again. This doesn’t happen overnight but, at least it reverses my declining mood so that I can be whole again.
So the essential prescription for overcoming your depression is:
- Map and understand the secrets of your depression slide pattern.
- Tell yourself it’s OK to reach out to others for help and reach out before you hit any precipitous drop into total darkness.
- And by all means talk!. Tell friends how you’re feeling ,over and over again if you have to. Friends want to help!