When I first thought about this subject, I researched on my favorite social media platform Pinterest, and I was astounded by the many sad, helpless quotes from people who suffer from severe depression and feel alone and by how popular those quotes are. Assuming that people repin these quotes because they speak of their feelings?
“I’m the type of girl who smiles to make everyone’s day. Even though I’m dying on the inside.”
“I’m exhausted from trying to be strong than I feel.”
“Sleep isn’t sleep anymore. It’s an escape.”
And many more.
They push my buttons because I’ve been through the same pain. In those darkest days of my life, I went to bed every night crying until I was too tired to continue. The next morning when I woke up, I would dread that I had to spend another day feeling stuck and exhausted. I would go to work and meet with friends and family, smiling at everyone while sobbing inside. Like most people with depression, I rarely tell others how I feel because I don’t think they will understand.
A spiritual teacher Teal Swan once said, “Depression is suffering, suffering alone, and seeing no way out.” In that kind of state, life isn’t worth living.
At firsts, I read tons of self-help books and tried to heal myself. Those principles and theories stay in my head, but they did little to soothe the pain. So I had to work out strategies on my own so that I could suffer less. Much as I was devastated, there was a voice in my head that said I shouldn’t just give up.
And neither should you. Life has a lot more to offer than what you can see at this point, although you think it has mistreated you so far.
That’s why I want to share with you what you can do to cope with your depression, especially when you feel so devastated that you want to quit. These tips won’t heal you, and as I will mention later, you will still need to ask for professional help. But they can help you relieve some pain.
And the most important thing for you to know is that you’re not alone in this. You might not find someone readily available to listen to and understand your struggle, but there are many people out there who suffer from what you suffer from, care deeply about you and try to reach you to help you.
#1. Refrain from Asking for Help Immediately
I’m not a big fan of seeking help immediately when I’m depressed unless I’m a hundred percent sure that the person can understand my pain and accept it without judgment, which is rare.
Seek help or talking to others are important and necessary, but they can come later. Imagine someone telling you that there is nothing to be depressed about because your life is beautiful. Similarly, words of encouragement do little to help when you’re drained and exhausted and don’t want to try anymore.
It’s not that others intend to invalidate your suffering or trivialize your pain. We view reality through our lenses. An outsider can’t experience what you experience and won’t understand why you feel the way you feel.
For example, your colleagues who admire your achievement may find it hard to believe that you habitually doubt and criticize yourself. Similarly, your friends who grew up in a loving, secure environment might tease you for being weak when you feel unsafe to speak your truth.
I used to think that people around me should understand my suffering and help me through it. It turned out they couldn’t, and that added to my pain. However, once I accepted that fact that others couldn’t understand my struggle because they didn’t have my experience, I had more peace.
#2. Stop Trying to Feel Good
Depression itself doesn’t cause suffering but trying to run away from it does.
When you struggle with depression, there is always an inner critic that judges your feelings and prompts you to feel “good” as soon as possible. Ironically, the more self-help and positive thinking stuff you have fed yourself, the stronger the voice will be.
What you resist persists. Fighting against your grief strengthens its power over you. The more you don’t want to feel bad, the worse you will feel.
Accept it that you’re sad and allow yourself to cry and grieve as much as you want. There’s nothing wrong about feeling heartbroken after a breakup or beaten down when you didn’t get the promotion you wanted so much. Don’t try to reason why you shouldn’t feel the way you feel. You need to grieve, and that’s okay.
Letting yourself run through the sadness help you get rid of it faster. The day when I realized how my parents have ruined my childhood and planted the seed of my depression, I let myself sink into the pain that I was neglected, abused, ignored, and abandoned. After some good cry, I felt relieved, and the pain became more manageable.
#3. Writer Down Your Struggle
When no one understands your suffering, write it down as if you were talking to someone who unconditionally loves and accepts you. Putting pen to paper makes you feel less lonely and gives your emotions an outlet. You can address it to yourself, to a friend, to the Universe, to God, or whoever that works for you.
Depression often occurs when a lot of negative thoughts and worries swirl around in the head, but you might not know them until you write them and see what’s bothering you. You don’t have to check your grammar or be eloquent or articulate. Just let your thoughts and feelings flow freely.
#4. Take ONE Self-Loving Action
When you’re in pain, you see no way out, and you might assume the rest of your life will go on like this, if not worse. It is not the case, but I also understand that it’s hard for you to see otherwise at this point.
Don’t make assumptions about how your life will unfold or whether you will ever recover from depression. Instead, focus on the ONE next action you can take. The answer might be just to cry, to get more sleep, to eat, or to go for a walk. Act on it.
Make sure that this ONE action is a self-loving one, as it will lift your vibration and brighten your mood. By taking one self-loving step after another, you will eventually kick your depression away (at least temporarily) and be in a better position to make plans to heal.
On the other hand, don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t feel like when you’re depressed, whether it is to stick to your healthy diet or your workout routine. Doing so will only make you more miserable.
#5. Breathe and Focus on the Heart
Your depression won’t go away overnight, but it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer endlessly.
Anytime you’re slipping into the depressive mode, pause, take deep breaths, and put your focus on your heart center. We often feel stuck because our mind gets entangled with the past or the future. Our heart, on the other hand, knows no time and is always blissful and loving. Focusing on it helps divert your attention to the present moment and alleviates your stress and anxiety.
Do this as much as you can. You can even set alarms and remind yourself to do this exercise every twenty to thirty minutes throughout the day.
#6. Seek Professional Help
Like I mentioned before, professional help is essential when you’re ready to receive it. That is, when you get through the state where you see no hope for recovery at all.
Go for a traditional psychotherapist or a spiritual healer who you trust and consultant them on a regular basis. Then come up with a plan or a list of things to do that can complement your therapy, such as meditation, affirmation, journaling, using subliminal messages or binaural beats, etc. Start small and make sure that you only include things that you can stick to. If you take baby steps consistently, you will see drastic improvements in the long run.
Last but not the least, learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally. People who suffer from depression are often critical of themselves, don’t know how to set boundaries, and ignore their needs and wants. You’re the center of the Universe, and nothing external will improve before you can take care of and make peace with yourself.