You’ve Relapsed Into Depression… Now What?

As we are walking around exploring the waterfalls in Thailand I can’t help but feel… nothing. I am sitting here with a beautiful woman staring at waterfalls halfway across the world and I’m too tired to care.

How does she not know that in my head I secretly want to die right now?  Are all these depressive thoughts in my mind not visible on my face?  Can people not tell that I feel like I’m going insane?

Topics Discussed:
1:10 – Getting Depressed and Confused After Eating Food
2:00 – Feeling Nothing At a Waterfall While On a Date
2:50 – Falling Asleep Randomly In the Middle of the Day
3:37 – Going Completely Insane
4:45 – Wanting To Kill Myself
5:30 – Asking For Help and Doing Whatever I Have to for Recovery
6:05 – Talking to a Guy Named Manhattan Mango
7:30 – Taking the Right Actions Despite The Depression
8:15 – Recovery from a Relapse Of Depression
9:00 – Not Being Able To Talk To People While Depressed
10:35 – Ask For Help Regardless Of What Your Thoughts Are Telling You

We ride the scooter back to my apartment to grab some money so we can go eat some food.  As we go back into my apartment it is 6:00pm.  I decide to lay down for a second.  She doesn’t understand what depressed means, so I say that I am sad.  She doesn’t understand how I can be sad just riding a scooter around visiting various waterfalls.

All a sudden I’m opening my eyes.  I don’t really know where I am.  There is some weird music being played next door. I can very distinctly hear two undertones of the chords that I would never normally notice.  It keeps alternating back and forth and sounds like it is inside my room.  The band must be inside my room. I can’t really understand the rest of the music, I just keep hearing these two chords.

Those two chords…  Back and forth… Back and forth… They sound like middle eastern chords.  I’m in a war zone and I am destined to die.  I feel like I’m going schizophrenic.  I am so confused.  The type of confusion you can’t escape.  You are trapped in this prison where you don’t really know what’s going on, yet you know you don’t know what’s going on, but you don’t know what to do about knowing you don’t know what’s going on.

Sitting there staring around, the two chords keep playing over and over.  I know I’m going crazy.  I sit up in my bed.  The suicidal thoughts start to come in.  I let out of a few tears of pure confusion and not knowing what to do.

“I’m here again TJ.  After 3 years of thinking you’ve figured it out, you haven’t.  Now is the time to finally end it.”

Whoa.  Wait a minute.  Just don’t do anything.  All you can do is get up. Those thoughts aren’t real.  They are just simply a side effect of the depression. Those thoughts aren’t “you.”  They are just a side effect of the depression.  No need to freak out or think it has anything to do with “me.”

Start moving.  Go somewhere to eat.  Oh yeah, there is someone else here sleeping.  Just wake her up and go eat something. It’ll pass.

A Relapse Into Depression… And How I Overcame It.

I haven’t had a serious relapse into depression where I got suicidal thoughts for around 3 years as of this writing.  When it started to come back, I got a little scared.

For one, I had to let go of my ego.  For three years I had successfully avoided the beast.  For three years I hadn’t had to go to “the place.”

I had to accept the situation for what it was.

I ate something weird in Thailand and got extremely sick.  Ever since, my digestive system has been completely out of whack.  Ever since that incident I’ve felt off.

Slowly I just couldn’t handle food more and more.  It got to the point where I would eat a meal and I would get a headache, have bloating, and fall into a depression.

Every morning I started to wake up and not be able to get out.  I would force myself to get up and go run for 30 minutes.  It would give me temporary relief.  Healthy eating, vitamins, amino acids, and daily exercise were failing me to defeat my depression.  My digestive system was shot and I didn’t know what to do.  Uh oh…

The Importance of Realizing You Don’t Know Everything About Depression

If you did, you probably wouldn’t be depressed right now, right?

If there is one thing I want this site to represent is that you need to open your mind to other approaches and try everything until you find the cause of your depression.  Hopefully for you that can happen right now.  For me I didn’t allow myself to consider other approaches until I wrote an agreement I’d kill myself in a year if I didn’t find the answer.  That’s when I started trying other things and I got my first glimpse of real relief from depression.  The type of relief where I had self-esteem and motivation in life.

This time the depression snuck in a little differently.  I was doing everything right.  Exercising, eating healthy, etc.  But my digestive system must have gotten trashed by whatever I ate here in Thailand.  I accepted that it was time to get a 3rd opinion.  I wasn’t the most knowledgeable when it came to digestive issues as I never had had them this serious before.  Not only that, but I had no clue that digestive issues could cause depression this serious.

I sat there for weeks and weeks trying to figure it out on my own and hoping that it would go away naturally. Then it started to progress and I got more and more depressed.  So it was time to finally admit I needed help.

Asking For Help In Any Way Possible

When depressed this waterfall does nothing for you

When depressed this waterfall does nothing for you

When you are depressed, the hardest thing in the world is to ask for help. The next hardest thing is to properly receive help.  For some reason depression warps our minds to make us believe that we don’t deserve help.

I went to the hospital here in Thailand.  I saw a regular doctor and they said that I had post infectious IBS.  After looking up IBS, it seemed like it was just as confusing as an issue as depression.  They prescribed me a probiotic and some stuff so that my digestive system didn’t freak out every time I ate some food.

I was still having some scary thoughts so I booked an online session with a life coach.

The life coach explained to me that it was alright that I was suffering a little depression right then and there.  I didn’t have to be perfect for the people reading my site in order to help them.  He also made it really clear that it was okay to ask for help.  Even the most successful people need help all the time.  A lot of successful people are successful because they have the most help.

The thing is, the life coach didn’t tell me anything new.  But it was the act of reaching out for help and receiving it that helped me realize that I am still a valuable human being.  It was me taking action for myself and not just sitting there wallowing in my pain.

Chatting With A Random Person On The Internet

You know those hotlines that are for suicide?  Why is that when I am most depressed is the time when I am least likely to use them?

I wasn’t suicidally depressed anymore, but I was still feeling crappy.  I decided to just get on there and do it.  The time difference living in Thailand didn’t allow me to talk to someone on the phone, so I chose the chat option. A new chatroom opened up with a guy named ManhattanMango.

I started talking to him.  Just saying I felt depressed and confused.  I knew that he couldn’t actually do anything for me.  It was simply the act of me reaching for help that I knew was the real benefit here.  The other person never really helps us in certain sense, it is always us helping ourselves through another person.

After 3 minutes of talking to him it made me create a username.  I made my username ManhattanMango.  As soon as I reentered the chatroom he told me that that it was confusing that we had the same name.  I told him “I know.”

After talking to this guy and having fun unloading everything onto him, I felt better.  And some guy that lives in Manhattan and eats mangos now knows everything about my fears and desires.

Naturopathic Doctor

Another problem with depression is whenever I get depressed I have this weird belief that I should hold onto every penny that I have.  One of the filters that goes through my mind is that help isn’t worth the cost.

Wait a minute… I have a few hundred dollars to spare.  And I am suicidally depressed.  Am I telling myself that the best use of that money is sitting in my wallet while my depression worsens?

Even if we looked at it purely in an accounting sense, spending a few hundred dollars to fix my depression will not only possibly save my life, but I won’t be able to even make much money while I’m depressed.  Not spending the money to fix my depression will cause me to lose out on making money.

I wish I could think like that even while I’m depressed.  But I don’t.  I didn’t seek additional help until all a sudden I got the thought of a shotgun barrel pointed at my forehead.  Oh yeah, depression isn’t about willpower TJ. You need help.

I booked an appointment with a naturopathic doctor.  I started taking digestive enzymes, phytisone, and stopped taking my current probiotic.  The strain of bacteria in it didn’t seem to be affecting my digestive system very well and I needed to take something different.  I ordered the other form.

I also needed to drastically change what I eat for a few weeks for my gut to heal.

Did I sit there analyzing everything she said? No.  I just did it.

Doing What You Know Needs To Be Done… Regardless of No Energy

I ran every single day in the sun.  Every single time it sucked.  It was the hardest thing in the world to just get out of bed.

But I knew it needed to be done.  And over time, the depression would eventually lift.

I knew I had to go get healthy meals in.  Although I would have much rather laid there and not eaten anything, I knew I had to step out the door and do it.

I knew I had to ask for help and pay a professional to fix my digestive issues.  So I did.

I knew I needed to reach out regardless of how painful it was to show another human being what I was going through. So I did.

Relief and Looking Back

Now I’m writing these words and I feel good again.  There is something magical about coming out of a depression.  It’s like that classic overused image of being in some dark, nasty, rat infested tunnel trying to climb out and suddenly you “see the light.”  You feel better and you just want to hug everyone you see because of how valuable being healthy feels.

I hadn’t been that depressed for so long I was starting to forget just how hard it is to get help and take the actions necessary to move forwards.  It all makes perfect sense when you can think straight, but when you get to the point where you are so confused the song being played at the restaurant next door starts to sound like a middle eastern war song, it’s hard to take action.

I had moments of clarity where I knew I just had to ask for help and move.  I was going to be in pain for a few days to a week and I had to ride it out.  I had to shell out a few hundred bucks to receive the attention I needed.

I came out depression free once again, but I know that if you are suffering the same thing it might seem like an impossible task to pick up the phone and call somebody.

So please, get the help you need, force yourself to take the most basic of actions towards finding the root cause of your depression, and fix it.  Then go enjoy your mangoes in Manhattan ;).

If you are suicidal chat with a hotline.  If you need help find a therapist.  If you are having physical problems find a qualified doctor.  If you need to solve your depression completely sign up for my course.  Just make that first step and know that eventually the depression will fade.

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  • http://www.sarahlibros.blogspot.com/ Sarah Libros

    TJ-
    Thank you for sharing. I’m currently in a place of feeling the depression creeping back in and trying to maintain the motivation to fight it. This is very useful to me right now.

    • TJ Nelson

      Thanks Sarah, I was 100% honest with this one. Depression can be a tricky one. Maybe it is too cold over there in london? 🙂

    • Bootsie

      I have found that when I try to fight it it is worse. If I ride it out it passes quicker. Even hard to get help when you are feeling like that but if that is what you need to do, do it.

  • Carmen Luckino

    thanks so much for sharing TJ. you are so courageous !

    • TJ Nelson

      Thank you Carmen!

  • Bootsie

    Thank you for sharing.

    • TJ Nelson

      My pleasure.

  • Bootsie

    There is something to the stomach thing and depression too. Some of the nuerotransmitters hang out in the gut before getting to the brain. I shared about this 8 months of stress dealing with someone, then had a few days of not eating right ended up with stomach cramps and bloating and extreme fatigue and depression to the point of feeling like I was dying inside and then thinking about dying. Like driving off a cliff, of just falling asleep and never waking up. JUST NOT CARING. Right the depression experts would say take a walk by a beautiful waterfall. Sorry doesn’t work when you are depressed. When not depressed it will give you happy feelings.

    • TJ Nelson

      Yes, depression is very different from feeling down or sad.

      It is a state that you are in that affects how everything feels.