I won't spend too many words on describing the worst phase of depression. I've been there, you've been there, we know: it sucks!!!
You feel powerless, hopeless, you think about killing yourself. The headaches, the chronic fatigue, the sleepless nights, the eating too much or anything at all, the anxiety, the feeling out of control, useless, being unable to perform any job etc...
Let's say it's something you wouldn't even wish on your worst enemy!
If you're reading this article in this moment chances are that you ( or someone you know and care for ) are not in such an awful place right now yet, the shadow of depression still looms over you.
So far you've tried different ways, different approaches, you've tried to distract yourself, you might have started all sort of new things trying to fill up your life.
You might have also felt good for a while but eventually went down in the dumps again.
The so called "ups & downs " that most people claim to be normal in life, though you know very well that these were too unbearable to be considered as normal.
Doctors might have labeled you as "bipolar".
When you thought you've achieved a relatively good place, where you could feel comfortable in your own little world, still you were probably wondering:
" Is this all? Is this what life is all about? ",
and after a while you've started feeling dissatisfied again, comparing yourself to others - who seemed to enjoy life more than you did - or even to a former better and happier you.
Deep in your heart you had the wish to overcome depression FOR GOOD but simply you couldn't believe that was somehow a possibility.
You tried to shush your inner voice that was constantly reminding you how crappy was the life you apparently had signed up for.
You might have thought : " Life isn't supposed to be this hard! This is so unfair! ".
Deeper inside you were still longing for that PASSION, that DRIVE that you've been missing for such a long time.
And this might be exactly where you're standing right now, while you're reading this:
longing for a life lived to the fullest.
Yet, maybe you're too resigned at this point, or too afraid ( totally legitimately! ) to try to even move a step outside that comfort zone - a rather decent state of mind and lifestyle - that you've worked so hard to achieve after all these hell-like years passed wishing to kill yourself.
You might be scared of waking up again that "monster" that now , at least , seems to be asleep.
How do you feel if I tell you that I don't have even a hint of such a fear?
Do you feel relieved? Can you see a ray of hope?
And, do you know why I'm not afraid at all of any kind of rebound anymore?
Because now I KNOW exactly why I became depressed in the first place and how the mechanism of depression - which has nothing to do with my or your personal story - does work!
I know HOW and WHY depression showed up in the first place therefore now I can prevent it to pass by EVER AGAIN!
Well, now you know a little bit about my story, I mean, the depression part of it it's pretty much matching with what I've already mentioned above so, I'll just make a little summary of its different phases as they used to occur to me:
1) BEING IN THE WORST DUMPS ( suicidal thoughts )
2) TRYING TO ACCEPT IT AND ACHIEVING A
RATHER GOOD PLACE ( comfort zone )
RATHER GOOD PLACE ( comfort zone )
3) FEELING SOMEHOW STILL DISSATISFIED
( jealousy / comparing )
4) STOPPING LYING TO MYSELF, ADMITTING THE
WISH TO OVERCOME IT FOR GOOD ( wish for passion )
Let's stop here at phase number 4) for a moment.In all of these years ( 10 of them!!! ) of ups & downs, after reaching this point normally I couldn't believe overcoming depression was possible so I eventually went back to phase number 1) or similar ( starting that vicious cycle once again! ).
But the last time I reached phase number 4) was different: sick and tired of the same old story repeating itself over and over again, I opted for another approach to the problem.
I decided to forget about anything else and just focus on what did count the most for me at that moment of my life: getting out from depression FOR GOOD!!!
Here is exactly where my researches started.
First of all, I switched from asking myself:
" Why am I depressed? " to " How can I overcome depression once and for all? " kind of question.
WHY =====> HOW
So, the first part of my research was intended to find someone who actually set a precedent so that I could ask this person how he/she could overcome depression for good, find out his/her secret and emulate it.
Unfortunately my results were a little discouraging. In fact, of all the people I found who were depressed once and now seemed to be okay, they were either:
having a not so bad/decent life free from depression
though following a strict routine but didn't know exactly
in order to avoid the breaking of how that happened
a very delicate balance and very
often still depending on drugs or
sleeping pills ( nothing I could
call " freedom " )
Neither of them could give me the answer I needed.
Certainly I didn't want just to give in and live half alive nor just sit down and wait for depression to magically disappear.
I needed a valid, universal solution, practicable for everyone. So, I didn't stop and kept searching.
At this point, I shrunk it down to what I thought was my biggest issue: MOTIVATION.
It seemed to me to be a key matter in depression:
" How can I keep myself motivated towards life, towards things in general?? ".
That was my question.
Focusing on this problem, my researches led me to some interesting findings and scientific facts.
The more I was looking up for information on motivation, the more I was stumbling on one word:
For example, I found out that apparently 90% of our thoughts - and consequently actions! - are managed by our subconscious mind, so the type of beliefs we hold in it tremendously affects us and our life. Ergo, harboring some kind of negative beliefs - about ourselves, about life itself - in our subconscious holds us back from living the life we wish, sabotaging - on long and often even short term - all our good conscious intentions and endeavors to change things.
I then realized that I was constantly doing that, without understanding exactly why, and it frustrated me A LOT!!! Leaving me drained and hopeless after any effort in changing my life that eventually ended up in just another fiasco!
In fact, very often, even if I had great enthusiasm or ideas in my mind , I felt too afraid to fail or not to be able to handle the responsibility of embarking on any kind of a new journey. And I was always really scared that depression would have showed up again and ruined everything - as it did several times in the past.
In short: I was stuck!
Well, by looking more into self-sabotage matter I learned that the genesis of it, it's what some people name:
A limiting belief is an idea, a negative one , about your own self or the world in general - such as: " I'm stupid " or " There's too much shit in this world to be happy " - , that worms in your mind and that , reinforced by repetition, ends to imprint on your subconscious, it becomes familiar to it and the subconscious ends to believe this idea as an unquestionable truth.
These limiting beliefs will then interfere with your conscious mind ( remember? The unconscious ordains 90% of our thoughts!!! ) despite your will and your efforts pushing and striving to another direction.
The problem is that we often aren't even aware of most of our limiting beliefs.
Have you seen the movie " Inception "? ( if not , I really recommend it to you! ).
Leonardo DiCaprio's wife ends up convincing herself that the reality she was experiencing was just a dream and this idea rooted so deeply in her mind that eventually she killed herself, thinking she wouldn't really die.
Limiting beliefs can easily enter our subconscious mind when we are very little, during our childhood, resulting from the sometime involuntary, thoughtless remarks or words - for example " You're stupid " or " You're not beautiful "- said by someone we had in great consideration ( such as someone among family, friends, school or society in general, mass media included ).
Well, we're not here today to blame anyone as it would be pointless in the matter of what we are trying to do here, that is: overcoming depression.
Maybe as a kid we didn't have too much of a choice, we didn't have the discernment to reject certain words but as grown-ups, it's up to us, we can certainly distinguish between positive and negative, good and bad, useful and useless and deliberately decide what to believe in, which ideas and beliefs to keep within ourselves and which ones to discard instead.
No matter what our past might have been!
As for me, at this point I tried to be completely honest with myself and put on paper all my limiting beliefs, without any kind of censorship!
I'll share with you some of these beliefs I used to embrace and that were literally making me create hell on earth:
" I'm not worthwhile " " I'm a failure " " I'm a broken machine " " People never change "
" I don't deserve to be happy " " I have bad genes " " I'm not consistent " " The world sucks " ....
and I could go on and on!!! I was quite shocked because they were endless!!!
Yet , it was really helpful to write them down so that I could clearly see and face them.
You can figure, when such a huge amount of limiting beliefs piles up, it's inevitable to swirl in the spiral of the negative pattern thinking par excellence: depression!
The good news is that this situation can be turned upside down!
Let me explain you how.
So, the next natural step for me was asking:
" Ok, I understand the role of limiting beliefs and it makes a lot of sense, then:
HOW DO I GET RID OF THESE LIMITING BELIEFS?
HOW DO I REPROGRAM MY SUBCONSCIOUS MIND SO THAT
IT WOULD ACT FOR MY BENEFIT INSTEAD OF AGAINST MYSELF? "
So my researches continued and I found out that one possible solution lies in deliberately and consistently instill in the subconscious mind new messages, new, more suitable beliefs and ideas.
However, in order to have these messages be understood and properly taken in by the unconscious, its language must be used.
What's the subconscious' language then?
Apparently it does speak a language made of emotions ( as unlike the conscious mind, the subconscious isn't rational rather irrational ) and pictures ( we dream in pictures, don't we? ).
At this point, I decided: my limiting, negative beliefs needed to be substituted with new, positive, good, pleasant convictions and related images.
First of all I started by focusing on my own self and the limiting beliefs related to me as a person.
I got rid of them, I literally shredded the paper on which I wrote them before - as a symbolic "farewell"- and again, I took a pen and paper and this time I started writing several new positive " I'm ... " kind of affirmations.
If I used to believe something like:
" I'm stupid " , then I had to change it with ====> " I'm clever " ( which my conscious mind
actually thought I was ^__^ )
" I'm not beautiful " with =======> " I'm gorgeous! " or " I can be beautiful " etc...
I changed the old beliefs with new affirmations that felt meaningful and empowering to me!
Everyone can easily and certainly feel the emotional difference attached to these two different types of expressions:
" I'm not beautiful " =======> " I can be beautiful ".
It isn't a chance the success of songs such as:
You're beautiful by James Blunt or Just the way you are ( You're amazing ) by Bruno Mars!
Anyway, remember: the affirmations you choose must have a positive emotional valence to you! You'll feel it when the affirmation is right and works for you.
For example, sometimes some of these straightforward affirmations still sounded a little fake to me, such as substituting:
" I'm fat " kind of conviction with =====> " I'm trim and fit " when I actually had to lose some extra pounds, didn't sound quite right to me!
In those cases, I instead formulated the affirmations in form of:
"I can be..." ( as shown above ) or
" I want to be..... "
E.g. " I want to be trim and fit " , " I want to be happy " , " I want to enjoy life " etc...
In short, I was making a whole, detailed description of the person I wanted to be, to become - without limits!!! And my list was reaaaaally long!!!
This little exercise, done with just a piece of paper and a pen, made me instantly feel a lot better, it gave me such a good vibe. It was like making a wish list for my own self.
Adding the use of pictures to these positive affirmations made the process a lot more powerful because it helped me also visualizing my new self and the life I actually wanted for myself.
I looked for pictures of a former, happier, fitter myself or in case I didn't have any pictures that fell into the category related to the affirmation at issue, I googled for images of smiling, happy, fit people or whatever was representing the new positive belief I wanted to make mine. Some examples:
( Same as with the affirmations, do choose images that tell you something, that excite, that move you. )
I created a photo collage and with this simple and enjoyable exercise I could already feel good and the reason was that , after a long time of negative thinking, I was purposely shifting my mind to the positive.
I was literally tripping myself with a new, pleasant sort of mind movie! ( the very opposite of what I had been doing till that moment with depression, during which I had more of a "horror movie" running in my mind! ).
All of this energized me a lot! I could feel that it was working good! It restored my energy level and made me feel motivated so that I could actually and finally take action to create the changes I did want to see in my life!
The idea of doing this on a regular, daily basis to stabilize the results and made it my subconscious second nature, so that it could get addicted to a new positive vibe and keep focused on the nice and good, was simply thrilling me!! I mean this was really working , plus it was totally fun and feasible! Nothing too complicated or demanding!
At this point I was so excited and actually found out that there were - and there are - several ways and means one can use in order to crystallize the results I myself was experiencing.
Among the ones I personally know ( there might be more out there! ):
- Hypnosis: I've never actually tried the proper hypnosis myself but seems to work on the same
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming ( NLP ): a very interesting technique that offers very good strategies
" to trick " the subconscious. I love it and it's one of my
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
to anyone who is suffering from depression I would highly recommend reading a wonderful book that had a great impact on my understanding of depression and its mechanisms. This book is FEELING GOOD by Doctor David Burns. I honestly believe this book should be even used as a text book in Universities! This is a sort of manual that explains depression, its symptoms and offers practical strategies to successfully change one's mood. Just by reading it the first time I FINALLY felt understood, I felt as "someone out there really understands what depression is all about and how whoever is suffering from it ACTUALLY feels. A real life saver and changer!
I think it could be useful also for people taking care of someone who is going through depression.
All right, this was in short how I got free from depression once and for all!
I daily did the exercise of writing down my wish list, looking at nice pictures and focusing on the positive, I was also reading encouraging books, listening to empowering music and tracks, I was doing everything in order to keep that good vibe - it was my new obsession! - and in less than one month I guess , cannot really say exactly when it happened but, I was on on auto-pilot mode and now I can't stop having positive thoughts and being super happy!
Now my life is like an effortless virtuous cycle!
I truly did reprogram my subconscious to my benefit!
Overcoming depression was my absolute priority and I did it!
The reason why I wrote and shared this article is that I absolutely believe YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!
My life has never been so amusing as it is right now: I wake up every morning overjoyed and very looking forward to starting the day ahead!
I'M HAPPY and I LOVE MY LIFE and I CAN SCREAM IT TO THE WORLD!!!
I feel like a kid but with the benefits and freedom of an adult!
I do hope reading this article of mine was somehow inspiring, that it restored hope and helped you seeing a possibility to get out of the turmoil of depression.
Because IT IS POSSIBLE!
Just remember one thing:
if you did somehow recognize yourself in my story of depression, you are like me and if I could overcome it, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!
No matter what your past has been, what bad experiences you had, you can reinvent yourself anew, right here, right now!!
Take your time but take action - you can do what I did or try to find another way if this doesn't suit you- but be consistent, forget about anything else, because I'm sure that nothing is more important to you, in this moment, than say goodbye to depression and be free from it, for ever!!!
If you need any help or have any question, please leave a comment or feel free to contact me by sending a message - and liking if you want ;-) - to my Facebook page (note: due to the many messages I receive daily, I cannot guarantee anymore a personal answer to everyone. Thanks for your understanding):
And if you have found this article helpful and you think it might help someone else who is still struggling with depression, please share it or send a link to its page via email!
This same article is now available also in Italian:
So, if you have some Italian friends who might appreciate it, do not hesitate to share it with them!
I wish my experience could help as many people as possible because, everyone deserves to be the best version of him/herself and enjoy life to the fullest!!!
Thank you very much for reading this article!
All the best to you!!! Love,