I am flattered. Google searches actually return my website. I don’t have 1 million views per day but my blog is being read by people all over the world! To me it feels like magic, that there are all these techniques that allow me to see how people found my blog. Two search terms that particularly struck me were: “there’s got to be a way to lift myself out of depression”, and “reasons to stay alive”.
These 2 searches, and indeed other search phrases, struck me because I hadn’t really been able to comprehend how prevalent depression is being felt throughout the world until I see the number of searches. And it also gave me hope, because the fact that these people out there are looking and reaching out means that they are on their roads to recovery. And what is more flattering is that these people actually wrote to me and told me their stories and experience! It is indeed encouraging.
So I feel that, having gone through it myself, and indeed at the point of transition and reorienting myself, I need to try to share my struggles even more so that perhaps somewhere out there, someone googling finds my blurbs helpful. Yet as my friend cautioned me recently, I should stop indulging in the depressive moods and thoughts. I agree. Therefore, when I write about the past now, I am of the mentality of confronting and reflecting on past events to serve as a guide for myself to live my present moments; I am not obsessive about the dark hours. More importantly, I write to let those who need it, know: “you are not alone”.
After I saw these 2 search terms, I kept trying to answer the questions to myself. How did I lift myself out of depression? And why should I stay alive? I have had a relatively short period of struggle compared to a lot of fellow friends who have gone through the same illness or are still going through it. Common remarks I hear from them are that they feel guilty for being depressed, because there seem to be no apparent reason to be so. Others find it difficult to find constant support from their friends because people around them get tired of the gloominess associated with a person in depressive moods. Some get exasperated when doctors told them “it’s all in the mind”, and yet how to control the mind? And still others do not have the financial means to see a doctor for professional help.
In these situations, what does one do? I dare say that unless you have gone through it yourself, you would not be able to empathize those hollows and desperate hopelessness. The fatigue and exhaustion, the darkness, and the loss of control over your own mind can drive you insane – you cannot really say to a depressed person “snap out of it” and expect them to be able to. In those times, nothing anyone says or do can really affect their thoughts. Even worse, do not accuse us of dwelling on “unimportant matters” or tell us we are wrong to feel the way we feel. It could drive us to death. We feel guilty enough as it is being depressed so there is no need for anyone else to add on to it.
There is no hard and fast solution I guess. Anti-depressants help the body with serotonin levels and keep the spirits up. But at the end of the day, I think only we, ourselves can lift ourselves out of depression. With or without a psychologist’s help, we must try to regain control of our thoughts gradually.
First, I think it is important stay away from those who criticize you and do not allow you to embrace depression. It is part of you. It will build you (but obviously I, myself couldn’t not believe that in all sincerity a year ago when I was aching in pain mentally and physically). Their criticisms reflect their ignorance of what you are going through and will not help you in the long run. Stay away from the reprimands. Allow yourself to full experience the pain and troubles, otherwise you will be distracted by feeling guilty all the time instead of focusing on addressing the issues.
Perhaps, also ask yourself, search inside. Think about the good things you have done, and the blessings you have. What are your hobbies, what do you like doing? What is bothering you? What or who from your past makes you feel so bad about yourself? Are there some habits that are to your own detriment? What are you unhappy about in work, life, relationships, family, your dog? Perhaps, like me, you will have trouble identifying the actual causes and pinpointing the reasons for your depression. But it doesn’t matter. Every little thing counts. Just jot them down randomly. Write them down, break them down into little blocks and tackle them one by one. Think of ways to control the unhappy thoughts—will the worst scenario really happen? Do you need to move to another country, find another job, dump your girlfriend? If so, how can you go about doing it? Write up a realistic plan. Research your plans.
Be selfish, think of YOU first. You deserve to. You need to. Take as much time as you need.
There is always a way out. I know you don’t believe me now and it definitely doesn’t feel that way. But take my word for it. I took the way out, so can you.
And, if no one else understands you, if your family forsake you and your friends desert you, and no one would listen to you ramble on, well, I will. Write to me. Talk to me. I am no psychologist but I can share with you the therapy I went through if you are interested, or perhaps just listen (read) your thoughts if that’s all you need. I won’t judge, I won’t criticize, and I won’t laugh at you. I probably don’t even know you, but I have been through this, I know what it is like. I, too, am trying to start a “new” life and let the experience mould me.
We can get through this together. Be you. Be me.