Why Therapy Failed Me For Years

Topics Discussed

0:35 – My Therapist That Started To Cry
1:05 – Even Good Therapists Couldn’t Cure Me
1:30 – The Books That Changed It All
2:05 – Problem With Changing Your Thoughts and Cognitive Approaches
2:20 – Depression is a State
3:30 – Depression And Negative Thoughts Are Two Sides To One Coin
4:12 – Negative Thoughts Can Be The Result Of Depression
4:43 – Other Things Work Once You’re In This State Of Mind
5:36 – In A Depressed State Its Hard For Other Things To Work
6:10 – After All Those Years Of Depression This Is What Worked For Me
7:35 – What To Do This Week

I once went to a therapist.  I went in thinking that this person was going to “fix” me.

Finally, I’ll have the cure to my depression for the rest of my life.

I went in and he asked me why I wanted to see him.  As I told him my story, he began to cry.

This actually made me feel worse, because if I made a therapist cry I probably had a messed up story.

I walked away, thinking I was going to stay depressed forever.

Although that therapist wasn’t probably using the best approach, it wasn’t the only therapist I had seen.  I actually had two other amazingly good therapists.  They really were doing a great job.

The only problem was, I still wasn’t 100%, even working with these great therapists.

That’s because depression isn’t always just the result of a cognitive problem.  In fact, if you’ve tried traditional approaches and they failed you, that’s because…

Depression Is A State

It took me so long to realize this.  So many years of my life were wasted thinking that I had to “think” differently or that there was something inherently wrong with myself and that is why I was depressed.

Then I started really looking into vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and nutrition.  I started testing my Vitamin D levels, taking a bunch of magnesium, and making sure my hormones were in check.

Suddenly, I started having positive thoughts… As if they were happening on their own!

Wait a minute… Aren’t we supposed to have to force these positive thoughts?

Don’t get me wrong.  Making sure your thoughts are based in reality is essential to living a healthy and sane life.

But changing your thoughts to fix your depression is just one side of the coin.

Negative Thoughts Are Also A “Symptom” Of Depression

There are two sides of the coin with depression and thoughts.  On the one hand, negative thought loops will make you depressed.  On the other hand, being depressed will cause negative thought loops.

It took me many years to realize there was another side to the coin.

How positive your thoughts are is also an indicator of your level of depression.

If you feel great, have a bunch of energy, just got done exercising in the sun, and have all the systems in your body running smoothly, you’re thoughts are going to reflect that.  If you have been sick for two weeks, eat McDonalds every day, have a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency, and can’t digest gluten, it’s probably a good thing you are having negative thoughts.  At least they are showing you that something is wrong so that you can look into how to fix your issue.

Realizing that thoughts are often a sign rather than the cause of your depression was one of the first steps in me being depression free.  Thoughts can cause depression, but thoughts also are a result of depression.

When Therapy Started To Work

Therapy started to work when I started fixing the physical causes for my depression.  I got to the point where I was able to implement what therapy taught me.  I had the energy to make the changes necessary in my life.  I had the mental clarity required to process new thoughts and not just think about suicide.

If you’ve been depressed for a long time it is likely that you have let relationships go, maybe haven’t showered in a couple days, and haven’t worked out in a month.  Changing those aspects of your life is critical to staying depression free.  But in a depressed state you aren’t going to have the energy to do so.

You might still get sad, but in a healthy state of mind it will just be that… Temporary sadness.  Not something that lasts 2 months straight.

I can’t work on myself or change my thoughts until my state was in a place that I could work from.

Nutrition and balancing the brain and body is the foundation upon which all the other methods began to work.

What a relief.  Finally I’m not struggling with severe pain everyday trying to do what I need to do.  Instead I can go after my goals and change my life from a place of energy.

Tried to change your thoughts for years and still depressed?  Tried to change “yourself” or “think positive” or “visualize success” and still feel like complete shit?  Then you need to look at the deeper reasons why you feel that way.  Maybe those negative thoughts are a blessing and will finally get you to fix your thyroid problem.

Seriously.  Get some tests done on your Vitamin B and D levels, check your Thyroid (especially if you have weight problems), check your sex hormones, and make sure you don’t have any food allergens.  Stop eating sugar.  Take some probiotics.  Do it this week.

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  • rod26

    Hi TJ, at first, i have to congratulate you because you have the guts to stand up and for deciding to kick depression ass 🙂
    I´ve been reading some entries of your blog and I have to say that it was like reading some parts of my life, so I´m glad to know that several people have been struggling against depression as well, so i´m not the only one. I decided to write you because,
    I´ve been struggling against depression and negative thoughts for several years, even though I´ve never tried to kill myself or anything like that but I don´t remember when was the last time I really enjoyed doing something (even I had the opportunity to travel overseas, but I didn´t enjoy my trips 100%) It´s like I don´t have feelings, I don´t enjoy about things like I used to. My answer to the common question: how was it? was/is “mmm… not bad” while other people answer to that: “that was freaking awesome!”
    I also went to a therapist for 8 – 9 months, I have to say some things made sense, while other I was still confused (and I actually am) Or maybe the therapy doesn´t make sence for me?

    Since 1 year I started to working out and things have been changing a little bit (well, I should say, I´ve been changing a little bit) but I still feel like shit sometimes.

    Now going back to this entry you just wrote, I´m agree with you that sometimes medication is not always the best answer. I remember I watched a BBC series on TV called “Food Hospital” (you should take a look, if you´re interested in this topic 🙂 ). It was about 2 doctors and 1 nutriologist that really believe that many of the illnesses can be cured only using proper nutrition and changing the diet plans. So the cured many illnesses of their patients just changing the way what, how and when they eat.

    Once again, I´m glad that you finally can say that you overcome depression after several years. I hope, I can say the same soon, as well 🙂

    greets from chile (I found your blog surfing on the internet) and sorry for the my bad english and for the long response

    • TJ Nelson

      You are from Chile? I went to Chile to learn Spanish several years ago. A lot of people saw a Youtube video of me speaking spanish and commented on it, probably because it was so funny. If you search “Gringo Speaking Spanish” my video is the fourth one down.

      I’m going to check out the Food Hospital and see if I can download an episode or two.

      Have you changed your nutrition at all?

      Keep at it, eventually you will find the root cause of your depression. Feel free to shoot me an email or subscribe to the email list at any time. I reply to everybody.

      • rod26

        oh, really? what a coincidence! (btw, where did you learn spanish here in chile? I remember that my uni – located in valparaiso – always made tandem meetings between exchange students and the chilean ones, in order to master a foreign language. I assisted to a few of them) I just watched your video, your spanish is quite good!

        The Food Hospital episodes you can watch them on youtube. You don´t need to download them.

        Now to this topic: Even though I´ve been eating quite clean (I hate fast food, McDonalds, etc) now I´ve been more interested in sport nutrition, since I began to working out. So I´ve changed my diet plan a little bit according to those principles.

        Sometimes I though about the root of my “dark thoughts” and how to try to avoid them, sometimes I got successed, sometimes not

        what´s your e-mail?

        best regards,

        • TJ Nelson

          I learned in Valparaíso! I think it was catolica de valparaiso. We might have done some language exchange, who knows.

          My email is tj@dominatedepression.com.

  • Tomspy77

    Again, great site, better then the other bs I read that never clicks with me but what if your body is not good and you cannot exercise or for two years you have been REALLY poor and most of your life you were poor and cannot afford EXPENSIVE healthy food and EXPENSIVE supplements?

    • TJ Nelson

      What are you eating now? I eat super healthy and spend less money on food than most people.

      • Tomspy77

        I am awaiting a two year journey through a disability case and now pretty much ramen as the state has issued with my snap card and I literally have no funds for anything let alone healthy food and supplements..however, unlike most crap sites I read I feel your advice is spot on, it is a combo of things, not just one.

        Thing is, I am kind of in a very unique and stressful situation which is a long story..I write too if you have the time to look up the Journey Back parts one and two at a site called BayArt (and I ma not trying to spam here at all on mom’s grave), but those circumstances as you might imagine make it even harder to get well.