The ONLY Way to Beat Depression
For you very young readers, you probably have no idea what real depression is. Maybe you’ve been a little blue, but not depressed. But for everyone else we know just how crippling it is. The worst thing about depression is: there is little to no benefit from it. It makes you not want to take action. And when you do take action, you underperform. To succeed in anything you more often than not have to give it your 100%. So depression pretty much guarantees you will be a loser.
While some psychologists argue that depression engages our critical thinking skills to avoid being depressed in the future, the problem is depression can be so crippling that we don’t take the necessary action despite how much we’ve learned. Thus, if you are constantly sliding back into depression, you are probably not learning from your situation or not taking the necessary action. Let’s change that.
Depression, like fear, is deeply rooted in our primitive minds. Scientists have linked depression to the 5HT1A receptor which is found in more than 99% of the population. Without getting too deep into it, depression must serve an evolutionary purpose for it to be built into almost everyone’s DNA. Some scientists think depression helps us by focusing our thoughts entirely on our problem (as the depressed person will think of the same situation over and over again). And there has been some evidence that depressed people score slightly higher on tests with complex problems; say a math test.
Regardless if the explanation above is correct, depression keeps us from trying, but we also don’t succeed which can make us even more depressed. While in the past not taking action might have saved us from death, our current society has so many safety nets it is much better to take action, even if we fail again, learn from our failure, and try again until we succeed. That’s how Michael Jordan did it.
Basically, we don’t need depression anymore. Life isn’t a college math problem. Most of life is simply showing up. Taking action. Depression keeps us from doing just that. Depression does us more harm than good in this era.
How do we stop depression from robbing us from fulfilling lives? To answer that, let’s look at what causes depression first.
The Cause of Depression
Depression is caused from the body’s response to a certain type of stress. A stress created in the mind, specifically from a loss.
Depression comes from the stress of opportunity we lost; while anger is from opportunity taken away.
Think of the most common depressing moment for men. Losing their girlfriend. His depression comes from the opportunity lost of being in love. Now if he lost his girlfriend because his best friend slept with her, there would be anger towards his friend for taking away his opportunity of a happy, healthy relationship. And depression could be there as well as he might feel like he failed to do his part in the relationship in some shape, form, or fashion.
The explanation above is short, simple, and cold, especially for someone dealing with a broken heart. But it is the truth.
However, do exercise discretion and compassion with your words when dealing with someone with a broken heart or when breaking up with someone. Don’t give my cold statement above.
The past is in the past. There is nothing we can do about it…besides getting some closure.
But the problem with closure is it doesn’t compensate us for our opportunity lost. Just because you get closure with an ex-girlfriend doesn’t mean you can automatically find love with the next girl you see. Who knows you may never find love ever again and that is why it hurts so much.
However, closure is a necessary first step to stop being depressed (and I think you will naturally find it yourself because our minds are hardwired to look for it). But what is much more important and also necessary to beat depression, and many fail to do this, is to create new opportunities in the present. When you get closure it may temporarily take away your depression, but it will eventually come back when you still feel trapped in your current situation that lacks opportunities.
Thus, the ONLY way to beat depression is to create the opportunities it took away.
Let’s say you are a young, single guy who is depressed because he got his heart broken. And suddenly three beautiful, young girls walk by you. One even smiles and winks at you. I don’t know about you, but I’m suddenly not feeling so depressed anymore.
The reason why is because your mind starts to go wild thinking of all the possibilities: a fun-filled date, mind-blowing sex, falling in love, and even possibly having a family. Basically, everything having to do with the opportunity of reproduction.
When the mind starts to see possibilities for an amazing, fulfilling, incredible future it cannot be depressed.
To put your mind in this state, the same state you had as a child thinking about your future, you must put yourself in situations that it sees these great possibilities.
Strategies for Beating Depression
For these strategies to work, you must first get closure about whatever made you depressed in the first place. Closure is always there if you want it. Often we feel like we can’t get closure on something if someone won’t apologize for, or at least admit to, what they did to you. In that scenario, removing that person from your life will give you the closure you need. It may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but remember they ultimately were the ones that removed themselves from your life by the actions they took not the other way around. Besides, who knows that person might come around and apologize once they see you have moved on.
1.) Creating Opportunities (Reproduction) – So you are depressed because your girlfriend left you. You probably want to go in a hole and die. Don’t stay locked up in your room. Go somewhere with attractive girls your own age. You are probably thinking nightclubs. Right? But you don’t have to and should not wait until nighttime to find someone. Go somewhere during the day: bookstore, college campus, popular lunch area, networking events, pool parties, etc. The sooner you meet someone the sooner the pain will go away. Ya, the answer is simple: get a new girlfriend.
A final note, what I want to mention is to put yourself in a situation that will bring you plenty of opportunities with the opposite sex. Move to an apartment in the big city, downtown, or next to a college campus. Take a job or hobby that will put you in contact with plenty of girls (or guys). Move in with roommates of the same age. Don’t just stay in your parent’s basement. Take action.
2.) Creating Opportunities (Resources) – Something happened where you are out of resources. Usually money. You went to college and are now in a massive amount of debt, lost your job, stuck in a job, or you don’t have a pot to piss in. You now feel depressed from being trapped. Remember, the best way to take care of depression is to take action.
–Get rid of expenses. There are a lot of expenses you can get rid of; even ones you think you must have like a cell phone. Cancel your mobile service, but keep the phone to use for email and internet calls/camera chats where ever you get WiFi (but make sure to prepay for minutes on an emergency mobile phone). Move next to work or downtown and sell your car. Move in with the parents for free rent. You get the idea.
–Unique ways to live. If unemployed get food stamps and welfare. You’ve paid taxes all your life (at the very least sales tax) for the system. And the system is there for you when you are at your lowest. It is no different than putting a claim to your car insurance. Just don’t stay on welfare or else, yes, it is very different from car insurance.
–Call your creditors. Let them know of your situation. Banks, government, privates parties, friends, and family members, I’ve never had anyone not try to work with me if I called them. Unless it is the mafia you owe money to, you should have nothing to worry about.
–Don’t be afraid to quit your job. I know how it is to feel trapped in a career. But remember, life is what you make of it. Don’t like your job? Quit and find another one. Or work for yourself. Do it today. Don’t ever stay with a job out of obligation to people at work or to pay your bills. Put yourself first. Besides, there is always some person or organization that can help you in your situation, but you have to ask. And the best way to find a new temporary or permanent job, or a career is to talk to people face-to-face. People want to help you. It is in their nature.
Once you realize money never really controlled your life like you thought, the lack of it can never make you depressed again.
3.) Fixing what Depression has Taken from You – The event that caused your depression, or even depression itself, can take away a lot in our lives: our physical health, social resources, and even our mental health. You need to fix these areas to move on or else depression can come back when you are reminded of what you lost. Remember the mind and body will heal itself if you give it time and the right environment. It can take years, but it will heal if you give it time. For your social life, you just need to take the same action as creating reproduction opportunities: put yourself in a situation where you can easily make friends.
4.) Build Something that Creates Opportunity – I feel like this can be a real ace up your sleeve to destroy depression if done right. Sometimes we really are stuck somewhere that we can’t do anything about (for example prison), but you can always do this one thing.
Basically, do something you enjoy and that will create opportunities for you (more money, more chances to fall in love, more sex, more connections, more friends, etc.). Typically, if you have chosen the right option you will get a great sense of pride when you start creating it and when you look back at it. This is your mind rewarding you for taking action that creates opportunities. So what are a few examples? Here are a few ideas: create a college club, a volunteer program, your own business, a sports club, or even something as simple as creating your own website.
That is it, guys. The biggest lesson here is to take action. Opportunity doesn’t come knocking on your door; you have to knock on his. Don’t let depression cripple you to be a bedridden hermit. Only you can prevent forest fires, I mean, only you can stop your own depression.
P.S. Check the follow-up article about depression.
P.S.S. Still struggling with depression? Check out this video.