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How Does It Feel To Have Depression? And How Can You Overcome It?

How Does It Feel To Have Depression? And How Can You Overcome It?

I’ve never personally suffered from depression, but my sister suffered from it for years and still today struggles with anger, frustration and lack of self-belief in anything she does. I chose to write this article to get a better understanding of this mental health issue, I guess you could call it, and to help those who have never experienced it first- or secondhand to begin to understand what it’s like and hopefully help someone some day in the future. I have also focused on the words of those who have suffered or are suffering from depression, rather than present my interpretations of their experiences.

I genuinely hope that after reading this and the other articles mentioned you will understand what it’s like to have depression, and also understand not only how difficult it is to live with, but to overcome as well.

What is it actually like to live with depression?

Here’s a list of descriptions or symptoms from those I know who have suffered from depression, from those currently suffering from it and some from my own research. A number of these quotes were taken from a Huffington Post article by Danny Baker, see the full article and more quotes here:

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1. Concentration is difficult. It’s hard to focus, remember or make decisions.
2. Change in sleep – either too much or not enough.
3. Don’t want to nor enjoy eating. A complete loss of appetite.
4. A feeling like you can’t do anything right.
5. Can’t see a future ahead and there are no solutions to any problems you have.
6. You just don’t enjoy life – it’s an effort to smile.
7. Don’t feel like you exist properly in the world. Have a feeling of separation.
8. Constantly feeling like you’re drowning.
9. Can sometimes feel like your mind is replaced by another that makes you feel numb and worthless.
10. A loss of who you are.
11. It drains all the energy from you … you feel like you can’t do anything.
12. Nothing feels, tastes or smells right.
13. Feeling and believing that you just don’t matter.
14. Loss of desire to live your life.
15. Combination of negative emotions: fear, despair, shame, numbness, worthlessness and sometimes guilt.
16. It’s like having tunnel vision. You can only see the bad, overwhelmed with negativity with no reason why.
17. “Cancer of the soul.”
18. Living in a constant fog-like state.
19. The feeling of being completely alone while surrounded by people.
20. Sleep feels like your only escape.
21. Feeling like your mind is paralyzed – numb.
22. It’s like silence – isolation in a room full of people you know.
23. Like being trapped in darkness.
24. Depression can sometimes be a voice in your head that can talk, shout, taunt and chant negative words and phrases at you, trying to convince you that you’re not good enough.
25. Like having everything that was ever good in your life stripped from you.
26. “Depression is a thief – it takes everything and leaves you to die.”
27. Feeling separated from yourself, like watching yourself from the outside.
28. Depression is genuine self-hate with no reason why.
29. Feeling like every morning you’d wished you’d died in your sleep.
30. Like treading water with no energy – a constant battle to keep afloat.

How can depression be treated or overcome?

It goes without saying that living with depression is extremely hard, but overcoming it is even more difficult. There are countless forms of drugs that can be prescribed to someone suffering from depression; even those with anxiety disorders are given forms of antidepressants. Medication is sometimes a way forward for some individuals, but many prefer to first try natural remedies. These have proven to work wonders for people and are without a doubt worth trying. Check out this article written by someone who has overcome depression using natural remedies.

Here are just a few natural remedies to give you an idea of what is available, but obviously, make any treatment decisions in consultation with a medical professional:

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1. Routine
Depression can make it hard to do anything. Days, weeks and months can roll into one another. Establishing a routine, no matter how small, can help get you back on track and build up your days again.

2. Goal setting
Being able to accomplish or even imagine accomplishing something is extremely difficult, but in order to have self-belief again you need to be able to see your progress. Start off small – and I mean small! Something like sitting down for a few minutes in your garden with a cup of tea, reading a page or two of a book, or even just setting a goal to wash the dishes twice a week.

3. Eat right
There’s a saying, “When you eat good, you feel good,” and trust me it’s 100% true. While eating a specific diet won’t fix depression completely, it can have a huge impact and is a good place to start. Treat your body right, give it the right foods and it will reward you. Again, focus on making small changes; don’t try too much too soon. Take it one step at a time.

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4. Exercise
It’s often been said that exercise is one of the best free antidepressants out there! Exercise releases endorphins (those feel-good chemicals). A 20-minute walk can have an incredible effect on brain activity and can help change the perspective you have on yourself and what’s around you. It may not be something you want to do, but it is definitely something you need to do. Force yourself to give it a try – make sure it’s something you like doing though!

5. Sleep
Getting into a routine, exercising and eating right should naturally help your quality of sleep. Try waking up and going to sleep at the same time so your body gets used to the time it’s meant to sleep. Avoid using electronics at night, like your phone, tablet, computer or TV. Try to only associate your bed with sleeping and make it a relaxing place for you to go each night.

6. Get enough vitamin D
By that I don’t mean take supplements, I mean the sun. Due to our lifestyles we don’t spend half as much time outside as we should. Simply being outdoors can help boost your overall mood. So try it! Go outside, relax, take a deep breath and just appreciate the outdoors.

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7. Try to find something you enjoy
I understand that this would require a lot of energy that you may feel you don’t have and you may feel as if there isn’t anything that you’d enjoy, but you just have to keep trying.

8. Try meditation
This practice can work wonders. It will help reduce your stress levels and help stop negative thinking. It’ll change your mind and in turn change your life.

9. Avoid alcohol
Unfortunately, this is a road many take to cope with depression. The problem is that alcohol is a depressant and it will, in time, cause more long-term harm than good. Try to avoid this as much as you can, if not completely!

10. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help in any situation. There are many people who have experienced and are currently experiencing depression that are out there to help. There are plenty of outlets you can turn to: family, friends, doctors, help lines, support groups, the list goes on.

The step that you need to take before any of these is making that decision to help yourself. It may look and feel like an impossibility, but trust me when I say you’re strong enough to beat it and you don’t have to do it alone.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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