Are you making this critical mistake in recovering from depression?
This is really subtle and something that took me years to figure out in my head.
If you are stuck in this mindset, it is one of the most dangerous traps you can get stuck in.
Fortunately once you can recognize it you can eliminate it.
0:38 – Can Watching Motivational Speeches Fix Depression?
1:38 – Depression Versus Sadness
2:22 – When You Are “Sad”, You Can “Snap Out Of It”
3:10 – It is “Just In Your Head”
4:06 – You Won’t Be Able to Recover and Get Help
5:30 – You Are Having a Real Experience
It was a nice sunny day in Thailand. I met a counselor from New Zealand and we had been discussing depression in depth the night before.
We show up at this organic vegetable restaurant. It is a stand in an alleyway, your typical “hole in the wall” type of establishment. The lady there is always over enthusiastic to see me.
The tables were full so we sat down with someone already at the restaurant. Naturally, we got talking. One thing led to another, and he asked, “What do you do?” I told him about the website and how I help people overcome depression without medication. He starts to perk up a bit.
He then says, “You know what I do if I start to feel a little depressed?” Of course I respond, “Yes!”
He says, “Oh I just get on YouTube and watch a few motivational videos. That always does the trick and I’m not depressed anymore.”
I didn’t say anything, but I knew my friend was thinking the same thing. We both had had experience with depression ourselves and worked with numerous people who were struggling with depression.
If I could have just watched a motivational video and it would have brought me out of my depression, than that would not have been the depression I’m talking about. When I used to get depressed, a motivational video isn’t going to do anything. When I’m laying on the floor and can’t get up, watching anything is not going to get me out of that depression. That is the depression I am talking about. I am not talking about mere sadness.
Which made me realize a lot about what I have learned and one of the key things I had to stop in order to recover.
Do You Disassociate from Your Depression?
How many times have you had an argument with a friend or family member about whether or not depression is a “choice”?
How many times have you been told to just “snap out of it” or “shake it off” because people think depression isn’t real?
For the majority of my life, I went on believing that depression was a character flaw that I had. I wasn’t depressed, I just had certain issues. I couldn’t think positive. I didn’t have strong willpower. I was weak and not a cool person.
What made it even worse, was other people believed the same thing. Even depressed people believed that depression was a choice or that depression simply didn’t exist. Interestingly, these people were still depressed.
If a person hasn’t ever been depressed in their lives, the only way they might understand depression’s depth is if a loved one suffered through depression. Otherwise, most people aren’t quite sure what depression means.
Take two people. One person has a great life. Everything is going great. The second person has a good life, but he just broke up with his girlfriend and lost his job at the same time. The first person wakes up everyday and has absolutely no energy at all and constantly daydreams about killing himself. The second person feels down from losing his job and breaking up with his girlfriend.
What do they both have in common? They both say that they are “depressed”. Except for the first person has something going on in his physical body and mind that is preventing him from experiencing any sort of pleasure in life where as the second person is simply feeling down because of life circumstances.
How do we know what people mean when they say they are depressed?
Most People Confuse Depression with “Sadness”
When we are actually depressed, we hate ourselves, we have no energy, we don’t feel any pleasure out of life, or we even experience physical symptoms like body sluggishness or soreness.
When we are actually depressed, we can’t just snap out of it. We are trying 110% everyday to snap out of it and yet we can’t. If I lose my job, I have the ability to think positive and look at the brighter side of life. I have the ability to find a new job, to experience a little grief and move on. I can go walk in the park and literally “shake it off.”
But if I a wake up in the morning and feel completely depleted of all life, if I wake up and have severe anxiety to the point where I mess up my words and can’t even talk right, if I wake up in the morning and realize I’d rather kill myself than live for no reason, than that is not sadness.
The problem is we use the word depression for far too many different circumstances. If I could, I’d change the English vocabulary to have different words for being depressed and being down/sad.
Why Believing Depression Isn’t Real Will Stop You From Recovering
I started to go crazy and completely distrust all of my own feelings and thoughts because I was experiencing such severe symptoms of depression and I couldn’t express them to anybody. When I tried to tell people about how I was feeling, they would tell me that it was “all in my head.”
At this point I didn’t even trust myself. I started to not believe my own inner experience. I disassociated from my feelings and what was really going on inside to try and believe that it really was all in my head.
If you are experiencing severe and constant low self-esteem, low energy, low enthusiasm, severe obsessive thoughts, or feeling numb all the time, and you have already tried positive thinking and have failed over and over again, then realize that you have a real issue. Not being able to get out of bed all day feeling completely numb and worthless despite watching Anthony Robbins videos all day means it probably isn’t all in “your head.”
Thinking that depression isn’t real will stop you from recovering and stop you from seeking help. That is why this belief is so dangerous and why that belief stopped me from my own personal recovery for so many years.
When I went skydiving and still felt depressed afterwards, that is when I finally accepted that, yes, depression is real. I have depression. I need help. That is when I finally started to recover.
The most dangerous thing you can do while depressed is to think that depression isn’t real. To disassociate from your true feelings and experience. To believe that it is all in your head, even though you’ve spent the last few years feeling that way.
And the thing is, depression isn’t crazy. You aren’t weird or weak for having depression. You’ve just found yourself in this state called depression. Once you realize that is all that is, then you can seek help and begin seeking out the root causes of your depression to fix it.