Eight things I would have want to know when I was depressed
Feeling depressed, that’s a really bad feeling. If you have ever felt, or still feel, depressed, you know it. Maybe you’ve been feeling down for a while. Maybe you cry a lot, or don’t cry at all anymore. Maybe you lie in bed for days on end, unable to do anything at all. Do you snarl at everyone, or don’t respond when someone asks you something. Maybe you even have thoughts of leaving life. And then suddenly there is this realization: I am depressed. I’ve been there too. A long time ago thankfully. But I can kind of imagine what it’s like for you. Because for a while I felt depressed as hell myself.
I don’t know your story. and I can’t magic away your depressed feelings. but I can list for you what would have helped me back then. so I hope it helps you too. If you decide to read on, I’d like to ask you to read the entire text to the end. Here it comes:
1. There is nothing wrong with you
It probably doesn’t feel that way when I say this. Because you probably have thoughts in which you ask yourself how it is that you feel this way and others don’t. And you’re right: most people don’t feel depressed. thank goodness for that. But that doesn’t help you. It may only reinforce your sense of loneliness. the feeling that you’re the only one who feels so shitty. the feeling that others don’t understand you. But the fact that you feel misunderstood is a sign that nothing is wrong with you. That you feel bad, or perhaps feel nothing at all, is a sign that there is nothing wrong with you. You have adapted to the circumstances of your life. You have done that in the way that was best for you. But there was no best way for you. there was no way out of your situation. You had no way to feel better. You were dependent on others. Who did not see you, did not understand you, did not love you or did not think you were important enough. That was not your fault. There was and is nothing wrong with you. But, that brings me to the second point:
2. Your situation is or was hopeless
Chances are you have been in a situation from a younger age where there was no way out for you to feel better. You tried tremendously hard. You tried all sorts of things. Maybe you were angry. Maybe you just started taking care of everyone. Maybe you crawled away so no one could see you. But there was no way out. Your emotional situation was hopeless. Why I know this is because feeling depressed always goes hand in hand with feeling hopeless. Let me explain:
3. You have a tremendous zest for life
This sounds really crazy. Because everyone knows that there is a risk of suicide in people who feel depressed. And thoughts of stepping out of life, that proves that there is no zest for life, right? If you feel depressed, you have, as crazy as that sounds, a great zest for life. But that zest for life of yours has been wiped out. In every direction you wanted to move, you were stopped. You are a caged bird in a cage that is much too small. And a bird trapped like that will eventually stop moving. Will feel so trapped. Will feel so hopeless, that suicide sometimes seems to be the only way out. Thinking about suicide at such a time is a sign of taking the initiative, of being smart, of thinking of solutions. Because the situation is hopeless.
4. You think a lot
Please note that I am not urging anyone to get out of life! I just want to show you why people think about this. Why you might have thought about this. Or still thinking about it. Your solution does not lie in thinking. Thinking keeps you caged, locked in. But you can think as the best. Because in your head you have always been busy analyzing your situation. How can you change this? Where are your possibilities? And if you feel depressed, it is because you have come to the conclusion that there is no way out. With thinking you have not saved yourself and you will not do that with thinking. Thinking has become a way of life for you. Which doesn’t work. Sorry if I put it so bluntly. But that is the reality. Changes are you’ve figured this out for yourself. So what does work?
5. You are not depressed. You are suffering from depression.
First, I’d like to explain to you this essential difference. As I wrote above, there is nothing wrong with you. The moment you say about yourself, or others about you, that you are depressed, there is a huge risk lurking. The risk that you identify with your depression. The risk that you cannot see yourself separately from your depression. Your depression will become even more dominant in your life. While your are not your depression. You were in the unfortunate circumstances that led to your depressive feelings. And depressive thoughts. Depression consists mainly of depressive thoughts. With them you keep yourself trapped in your cage. and because that cage is sometimes only what you know, it feels, bizarrely, like a safe place. The hopeless thoughts you have keep you stuck in the place you know. But you are not your thoughts. You are that soul who began this life full of good cheer. That human being who stepped onto this earth uninhibited to have so many experiences. To give so much love. To help others. To enjoy all the wonderful things and people around you. You are that enterprising, curious human being who was limited in your search. You are that soul who was hurt, felt no space to be themselves. The soul who felt not good enough. Who yearned for arms around them when they were not available. Who was not seen when you needed it most. So your little cage got smaller and smaller. And you can only look out and see what you do not have, what you do not feel. The sun on your face. Maybe even that, when you feel severely depressed, you still know moments that are nice. But in which you no longer allow yourself to feel that. Because you know how temporary it is. And because you know you will fall back into your cage. But dear reader, I hope I can give you a glimmer of hope.
6. To begin with, your situation is temporary
No matter how small or invisible, everything on earth is subject to change. It is important to realize this. For it is one of the things that can bring you comfort. Comfort is what you want to look for. If you are in the fortunate circumstances of having kind people around you: ask if you can have an arm around you. It doesn’t have to be physical (it might be that that’s already too hard for you), but that works best. And when you have found that arm around you, feel how comforting that arm is. Tune in to the comfort you feel. You don’t have to say anything. Just be. And feel. If a physical arm around you does not work, find for example music that gives you comfort. Or sit against a tree that makes you feel safe. Find safety.
7. There is a way out for you too
Your way out of depressive feelings is to feel. Again, that may sound crazy. But realize what I wrote above: depression is mostly made up of thoughts. Allow yourself to feel what you feel. Surrender to your feelings. And do so without letting your thoughts take over. As soon as you start judging your own feelings, let go of those thoughts. Judgments are always thoughts. Stay focused on your feelings. Invite them in. and surrender to them. At first, it will be very uncomfortable. Just dare to do it. It will hurt. Feel that one. That’s okay. There is no harm in that. Cry your lungs out. Scream out everything you feel. And then feel what just happened. Feel! Put your thoughts on the second place for now. Give your thoughts less space, put your feelings on number one. If you do this for a while, you will discover that some light arises. Some space is created. You will feel relief at some point. that is the direction you want to go. When light and space arise in your feelings, then you are unconsciously giving yourself the signal: I am allowed to be here. I matter. Feel how slowly changes occur within yourself. How your wounded soul may feel sunshine again.
8. Find good help
Allow yourself to share with someone how you feel. You don’t have to solve it alone. You don’t have to carry it alone. The process of coming out of depression can be long and painful. So find someone to share this with. But I want to give you a few more important pointers for when you seek help:
- You are not to blame for how you feel! So if someone makes you feel like it’s because of you, avoid that person. You have always done your best.
- No matter how well-intentioned, these phrases betray that someone is not empathizing with you enough:
Couldn’t you have said this before?
But you’re always so closed/shy/introverted, it’s also because you haven’t shown it yourself!
You always come across as so happy, this can’t be?
Your time is up now, come back later
- Pick someone who is able to really listen to you. Someone who makes you feel safe. Emotional safety is super important.
You can also contact me. In the sessions you do with me, you go deep inside. I guide you in your healing process. In a safe way we explore your trauma together and bring relief. These sessions are not catnip. But they give you what you need. Most people who come to me experience tremendous relief after four to ten sessions. Their lives are much more bearable after that. If you are really done with your own grief/loneliness/shit, if the time has come to experience real deep connection with yourself and others again, see what I can do for you (send me a message).