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How to Get Out of A Life Slump and Defeat The Blues

How to Get Out of A Life Slump and Defeat The Blues

Once upon a time, I was severely ignorant towards people who called themselves depressed, and I was harsh and angry at them because I thought of it as if it were the simplest excuse they could possibly find. Now, I can honestly say that this isn’t something you should learn from your own experience.

By nature, I’m a cynic and a pessimist, which only made it easy for depression to get to me – if you have a mindset similar to mine, you should know that you’re an easy target as well. All it takes is a little push, really, and you might not even notice how deep in you actually are until you break down into tiny puzzle pieces that are extraordinarily difficult to put together.

Like other illnesses of the mind, the cause for depression can be quite difficult to determine. Although there are familiar reasons like trauma or grief, a person who has a loving family, an interesting social life, and a successful career can also fall to their knees beneath depression, and that’s exactly what makes it so dangerous.

Keep Your Friends Close

…and your enemies even closer―you need to study depression because it’s foul and it can sneak up on you. First, you need to understand a properly functioning brain and know about the chemistry balance behind it. When a person is depressed, that balance is being violated.

It all starts with a small part of your brain called the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating your emotions, libido, sleep, appetite, body temperature, etc.― all the basic functions of your body. It also controls the pituitary gland, which is in charge of the primary hormones (including the happy ones) and so, your overall happiness depends on this pea-sized part of your brain.

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Therefore, when you’re depressed, all of your emotions are located in the color spectrum that shows shades of blue, your libido is practically nonexistent, and your sleep habits and appetite go to either one of the two extremes. So basically, the amount of dissatisfaction you have with your life dictates the chemistry in your brain.

It’s A Bottomless Abyss

    I see depression like a big dark cave that lures you in, because it provides you with comfort in isolation. I’m sure you have watched Alice in Wonderland at least once in your life, and I’d like to remind you of the moment when she starts falling down the rabbit hole. The very same things happens to people who start falling into the depths of depression – you don’t know where you’re headed, you don’t want to get there, and it seems like a bottomless abyss.

    After that fear wears off, you decide to willingly trim the sails and ride the wave and decide to just go with it. That sort of limbo is low-maintenance, and you can exist in it without having anyone’s expectations to meet.

    Here, we arrive to the questioning everything phase and not in a curios, healthy way, but regarding the meaning and the point of existence and how random and banal everything around you is. That is when I decided that there’s no need to leave my bed.

    It’s Difficult to Recognize It

    At least before it’s too late, and especially if you have never been in a similar situation before. We all have bad days every now and then, and when you’re depressed, bad days turn into bad weeks and bad weeks turn into bad months.

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    Unless you conduct healthy routines like spending some quality alone time introspecting every day and being fully familiar with the demons of your subconsciousness (which is – let’s face it – a really, really small percentage of people worldwide and most of them are professionally involved with psychology), you won’t see depression coming.

    Darkness from Within

    That’s reason enough to get very close with all symptoms that are its vanguard. Most vocabularies describe depression as a feeling of sadness, but that’s only a mere beginning, because very soon, you move on to hopelessness and severe guilt. Once you get acquainted with these dark shadows and they start following you around and messing with your mood, you should be able to notice a loss of focus and a significant decrease in your overall productivity.

    Accordingly, your confidence levels will sink to the bottoms of the deepest sees, and you’ll start doubting everything – your skills, intelligence, and the ability to make decisions. It will seem like your whole life is a delusion and that you can’t rely on your friends or your family, so those connections will begin dissolving slowly.

    This heaviness will become a physical burden and tiredness will become your constant state. In order to silence your mind, your most probable consolation will be in the form of substance abuse and chances are that you’ll get pretty creative with that matter. At this stage, people who suffer from depression are brainstorming about different ways to bring harm to themselves, as well.

    Somewhere along this ride, the responsibilities you have towards your work will stop having any weight and “worker of the month” will be the very opposite of what you are. For me, this happened in all life aspects, not just the professional one.

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    The Best Defense is A Good Offense

    image02

      War is a common state in nature – exchange of power is in constant flow. War shouldn’t only have a negative connotation, because you can fight for a better life, a better job, or for the ones you love. Although the history of war is filled with ruthless dictators who wanted to conquer the world and redesign it in their own cruel image, those very monsters are an excellent background in a composition of a painting that shows heroes and demonstrates their bravery. If there wasn’t any darkness, we won’t be able to recognize the light, right?

      Break the Chains

      You are faced with two options here – you’ll either let depression destroy you or you can break these chains which are nothing more than a figment of your imagination, and a strong one for that matter. So, if you are capable of creating something that powerful, imagine what you can do when you’re free of these heavy blue shackles.

      Reach Out

      Strength comes from within. I’m positive that people who you love and who care for you deeply will throw you a rope and try to get you out of this abyss, but until you’re ready to grab it and open your mind to the world once more, their efforts will be in vain.

      If you’re a control freak, such as I’m, and you think you can do everything by yourself without anyone’s assistance, this may be a problem for you too. I was fully aware of how unhappy I am, but I needed a lot of time to realize that this isn’t a battle I can win without an army of supporters behind me.

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      It’s pretty selfish of you to think that you’re alone in this or in the whole world, because you’re not – and neither was I. By refusing help, you’re not only hurting yourself, but everyone around you, and if you don’t care enough about yourself, you can find enough strength in you to fight this battle for the people who love you.

      Indulge Yourself

      No matter if this blue period lasts for months or years, it will wreck you – the longer you allow it to linger on, the more of a ruin you’ll become, until there’s nothing left but foundations of a person you once were.

      It’s never too late to fight it off, and this is one battle you cannot always win, because not a cause in the world is hopeless. The bottom line is that you deserve to be happy, and you should do everything in your power to get rid of those negative thoughts and make things happen for you.

      Because of this fact, you can either admire the ruin you once were, or, you can begin believing it was meant for them to get wrecked so you can go back to the healthy part of the temple and move on from there. This image worked for me just fine and more than that, actually, because I know exactly how to reconstruct myself and by which means I should do it.

      But, start with baby steps, because too much of everything may just get you back in bed. As a matter of fact, don’t get up yet – surround yourself with everything you love; books that make you see the world differently, watch movies that strengthen your hope, play music that awakens the most innocent feelings in you. Art is the most extraordinary creation of humankind and it will make you see why your life’s worth living.

      It’s a hell of a journey, and it won’t be easy. There will be times when you’ll think that the abyss is a comfort zone you should return to. You will be exhausted, disappointments won’t stop coming your way, and it may feel like the world is one cruel place that’s governed by fear. The scariest part of a roller-coaster ride is the free fall, isn’t it? And, it wouldn’t be any fun without the scary part, so have faith in yourself.

      Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/2TlAsvhqiL0 via pexels.com

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      Last Updated on August 19, 2019

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

      When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

      In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

      Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

      If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

      According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

      No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

      When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

      Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

      1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

      When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

      Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

      When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

      Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

      In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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      It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

      You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

      Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

      What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

      You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

      That’s where we all should be.

      So, answer me this:

      How are you, really?

      And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

      Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

      Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

      Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

      Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

      It’s taking control.

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      2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

      You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

      You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

      In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

      Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

      You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

      Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

      But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

      It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

      In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

      It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

      Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

      Change will happen.

      Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

      You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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      And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

      You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

      That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

      You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

      When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

      There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

      3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

      Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

      In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

      If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

      Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

      Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

      How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

      Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

      “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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      Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

      Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

      It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

      Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

      “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

      What would you do if you felt you were enough?

      By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

      So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

      Final Thoughts

      By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

      Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

      When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

      You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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      Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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