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People Who Suffer From Depression Tell Us How It’s Really Like

People Who Suffer From Depression Tell Us How It’s Really Like

Unless you have suffered from depression, it is impossible to know what it’s really like. Even if you grew up with someone who suffered from it, you don’t know what it’s like to be depressed. You just know what it’s like to live with someone who is depressed.

From the outside looking in, depression looks simple. It looks like a prolonged period of sadness and negativity caused by something obvious or tangible. For happy people, it seems like their friend or family member is choosing to let themselves be dragged down by something rather than fighting for their own happiness.

The truth is that depression is so many things and because of this no one understands it. The best neuroscientists in the world still don’t know for sure what causes depression. They don’t know how it works, why it is so different for everyone or how to cure it.

Thus, the only thing you can rely on is how people experience it. Here is what depression is really like according to those who live with it:

Depression Is Not a Choice

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    If you’re not depressed, you might think that depressed people have a choice in the matter. It seems like you can choose whether you want to get over it or fight it. But the truth is that depression is not something you choose. It doesn’t matter if you’re strong or privileged, depression can hit you whether it makes sense or not.

    In an interview with Elle, Miley Cyrus opened up about how people reacted to her depression: “I’m the most antimedication person, but some people need medicine, and there was a time where I needed some too. So many people look at [my depression] as me being ungrateful, but that is not it—I can’t help it.”

    Depression Is Not Sadness

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      Feeling down or sad is not the same as being depressed. Depression affects your whole body. It’s not just your mind that is difficult but your whole body reacts.

      In a tweet, @suxicidal says, “#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs when simple tasks like getting out of bed, going out, eating, sleeping or showering become a mission.”

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      Life with depression feels less like a gloomy day and more like a Sisyphean effort. Some people struggle to find the mental and physical will to get up and go to the bathroom and perform other necessary functions. That is more than being upset.

      When your whole body is telling you “no” almost every single day, you’re not just sad. You’re depressed. You are not trying to overcome obstacles. You are trying to free climb Everest.

      Depression Is a Daily Challenge

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        Depression is something you wake up with every day.

        Certainly, some days are better than others. Not everyone who is depressed feel that every single day drags them down further. Similarly, a single good day won’t turn their depression around either. In fact, @roxiqt tweeted that “#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs when you have one good day, people assume you are cured and should be better now. But that’s not how it works.”

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        This sentiment begs the question: does depression ever get easier?  The answer is no.

        Sofia Hansen, a Quora user, said “I feel like people often fail to mention the guilt, shame and how doing “simple” tasks as talking to a friend is exhausting, and that not everyone has the energy to wear a mask.”

        Depression Is Different for Everyone

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          Scientists don’t know what causes depression in different people. Some reports suggest our increasing use of electronics, such as smartphones, which have already been linked to infertility, are the cause of the disorder. Part of this confusion is because people describe their depression so differently. People experience different symptoms depending on their brains, their personal lives and the kind of depression their facing. However, there is one thing that most people can agree on and J.K. Rowling says it perfectly:

          “Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced… It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”

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          Depression is not about being sad or having a series of bad days. Rather, depression is something that hits you like a truck, sometimes without warning. It is not a mix of sadness or happiness. In fact, for some people, it is the negation of all feeling. Depression is not a choice because if given the option, no one would willingly choose depression.

          Next time you think you know what it is like to be depressed, take a step back. Because until you’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, you have no idea how hard it is struggle everyday against something as crippling as depression.

          Featured photo credit: ryan melaugh via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on October 20, 2020

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

          More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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