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9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything

9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything

There were days where getting over depression seemed impossible. There were days when I felt good, like really good. So good I thought it was all behind me. The next day I would wonder what all went wrong and if I’d ever be able to break free from my brain.

Personally, I have broken free; for the most part. It was an interesting journey filled with dark rooms and far too many lonely nights watching Rocky.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

1. It Does Get Better

It won’t feel like it will, but it will. Trust me. Yes, I know, easier said than done. Right, I get it. Everything is easier said than done. So do it. Work on it. You can get better.

2. The Crazy Mistakes You Make Now Are OKAY

Life is one ginormous experiment. Unfortunately, in the Western World, the political experiment is not going so well. If you ever find yourself taking politics too seriously, remember that this was all made up. Human beings made it up. Kind of like how we make up the way we live.

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We are born into certain cultures, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay there. You can explore and experiment all you want. Depression can lock you into a world where nothing seems to be working and you feel stuck. That’s okay. Try and get out of it anyways. Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way. I did. But the more you keep working on yourself and your issues, the more momentum you’ll build.

3. Barely Anybody Will Understand What You’re Going Through and That’s OKAY

Your journey through depression is probably a lot different than mine was. But I understand the emotions you’re feeling. I’ve received tons of emails from people who have related to my articles because they described how they feel.

If I had never suffered from depression, I never would have been able to truly understand what depression felt like. So, if somebody doesn’t understand what you’re going through don’t hold it against them. I know the stigma police out there get furious at anybody who doesn’t understand but, listen, it’s fine they don’t understand. It’s why I have a blog and my inbox is full. It’s a place where people can come and know they are not alone in their battles.

Treat your journey like you’re a lone wolf, but take help when it’s available to you.

4. Being Expectation-Free Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing

I used to approach certain books by saying, “This is the book that’s going to change my life.” Then I would be disappointed because they never did. Maybe they helped a bit, but they never left a lasting impact. Why? Because my expectations were drastically too high.

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The same thing happened when I tried different strategies to help my depression and anxiety. I would feel good about them, they would work a little, and I would believe all my troubles were behind me. Of course, they weren’t. Then I would just shut down and give up hope on that strategy.

When I started going into situations or trying strategies with zero expectations, things started changing. I made progress because I wouldn’t get so frustrated if something didn’t work and I’d just keep working at it. My emotions would stay on an even keel and not fluctuate from severe lows to severe highs. I was able to put into practice small, consistent steps of progress and if I got knocked back, it wasn’t impossible to move back forward.

5. No Matter How You Feel About Life At The Moment, It Does Matter

I’m an introspective thinker. I like to analyze. I’ve been through phases where I question everything about life, thinking none of it is actually important. I mean, we are all going to die, so what does it matter how we live? But it all does matter. Life is important. It’s the ultimate gift that’s been handed to us, so we should enjoy it.

If life didn’t matter, then the taste of homemade chocolate chip cookies wouldn’t leave any impression on us. The hug from another human being wouldn’t raise our oxytocin levels naturally. We wouldn’t smile every time we watch a nephew laughing his butt off at the weirdest things. We wouldn’t have emotions if life didn’t matter. Life matters, maybe in ways none of us can understand, but it’s here, and it’s our right to live as fully as we can and enjoy the whole experience.

6. You Will Always Be Struggling With Something; Accept That

Every single one of us wakes up everyday with our own list of problems and insecurities. So why do we attack each other so much? Because of those problems and insecurities.

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If someone doesn’t believe what you believe or doesn’t fully understand you, then leave it at that. Going after people is selfish and shows how small-minded you are.

7. When It Feels Like A Bad Situation, It Probably Is

There were plenty of nights, when I was out drinking with ‘friends’ and trying to forget about my problems. I knew it was a bad situation. I knew I had a test at 7am, and the fact that it was 1am and I still had a beer in my hand was not good.

I knew I was in bad relationships, but never changed them; kind of, just, hoped for the best. If it doesn’t feel likes it’s helping, or something or somebody is holding you back, it’s probably true. Trust your gut.

8. Don’t Try And Fit In

Fitting in may get you accepted, but it won’t get you respected by yourself. You won’t respect yourself for not being who you are. I understand you may not fully know who you are, and that’s okay. But don’t do anything or try and fit in with a group because you think it will make you happy. While it may initially, it won’t last.

I used to love watching football. Now I can barely make it through an entire game if I do watch — I usually catch maybe two games total a year. When a football conversation breaks out, I don’t try and act like I’m as enthusiastic about it as my guests. Who cares? If anybody actually cares enough to dislike you, then why are you still talking to each other? (I used to act like I enjoyed anything the person I was talking with liked, because I didn’t want them to hate me). This point, of course, goes with any subject.

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Be yourself. It will free you into a world of love and laughter that’s not masked by false feelings.

9. Don’t Put Your Faith In Anything Other Than Yourself

This is the big one. I’ve learned this while going through every job I’ve ever hated and even (somewhat) loved.

If you want to make progress and get better, the only faith that matters is the one in yourself.

Do not put your faith in other people, or a company, or a boss, or a Higher power. You can have faith towards them, but don’t put that faith in them. Hopefully they don’t let you down, but if they do, it can be devastating if you believed they were the answer to your problems.

You are the only person who matters on this journey out of depression. Believe in yourself. That’s the only type of faith that matters.

More by this author

Daniel CJ Grant

Daniel is the author of "Notes from a Failure". He writes about failure and success.

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure 3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment 9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything 10 Vintage Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Awesome

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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