The truth about depression – Part 2

Carrying on with the topic of depression I thought I would discuss ways to tackle negativity and move on with your life. If you haven’t read my last email, you can do so here (The truth about depression – Part 1)
I think your best bet in life when you are stressed or feeling low is to shoulder your suffering, take responsibility and to move forward. This may seem like strange advice but keep reading! Taking my advice can mean that you are vulnerable on all sorts of fronts, but it’s your best tactic. What we have to realise is that many people have a misconception – if it’s your best tactic then you’ll get a desirable outcome. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, there is no guarantee that it will always work and give you what you want. Let me put it this way, in a lot of the cases you simply just don’t have a better option. One thing that I always remind myself is not to ever use my circumstances as an excuse, mostly because it would blur the line between myself and my situation – something you don’t want to find yourself doing. You don’t want to give yourself an excuse to not move forward, to give in and let this affliction completely define who you are despite knowing that there is a possibility that it will not work out.

I had a patient many years ago who suffered from a rare autoimmune condition called myositis. It’s an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy muscle tissue which results in inflammation, swelling and pain. This leads to the eventual weakness of muscle fibres. The intensity of pain she had to endure was very difficult to comprehend. She told me once that on some days she just felt so terrible and the condition made her feel so depressed that even though she did not want to die, she did not want to live either. It was always a struggle to get up in the morning. She just simply didn’t want to get up and had no desire to go to work – it just was not worth the effort.  I remember what I said to her was probably not very empathetic at the time but a necessary piece of advice for her to get out of the depressed state that she was in. I literally lay out two options for her – either she stays in bed miserable or she could get out and head to work because the alternative is worse. It was a moment of realisation and enlightenment for her and that moment is vividly imprinted in my mind.

It’s crucial that we always try to push and encourage ourselves to bear as much as we can. I would say that is the best strategy because we need to have as much of a life as we can despite unbearable problems we are cursed with. Only by doing so can we come through our ordeals with our character intact and strengthened. I’m not saying that shouldering your suffering and bearing the responsibility for your life is a panacea to depression or anxiety. We are all at different stages in life and to some extent vulnerable to all sorts of things that are uncontrollable. However, on the face of that, it is still our best bet because there still isn’t a better strategy than tackling your problem head-on and taking responsibility.  
I want to end this week’s blog by giving some motivation to people out there enduring the unbearable. You might have just been laid off from your dream job and now working in a job that you did not see yourself doing or desire. I agree, there’s nothing amazing about that. However, I disagree at the same time because I really believe that people are capable of doing a hell of a good job, and I mean that. You can take whatever job that you have and either make it an absolute misery for yourself or notice that no matter where you are in life, there is always richness and complexity that exists. Yes, perhaps your current new job is not where you wanted to be, but it’s not nothing either, and you can always make it a lot better than it is. When the next opportunity comes, you can grab it and start living the life you truly deserve or you could finally realise that the job you got yourself into is not bad at all and it really gives you the satisfaction that you have long been craving – and congratulations you’ve found a new purpose in life! Either way, you are moving in a nice uphill trajectory. An uphill trajectory is what you want in life and is actually much better than having financial abundance and only moving in a horizontal line. There is a meaning to your life. There is nothing more exciting to finally realise that you are heading somewhere better than where you started off. It’s an amazing feeling to see things that are not so good being replaced by something better.

So please do not stay in a dark place for too long. It certainly feels comfortable remaining in the dark because moving to the light takes courage and requires you to venture out of your comfort zone. However, once you’re in the light, I can guarantee for sure that it’s where you belong.

To a happier you,