As a depression survivor, I’ve been helping others fight it for over 2 years now. I’m a blogger and storytelling is something I’m good at, so I shared my story and what helped me recover. More than 200 000 people have read it since and I’ve exchanged more than 3000 emails with people from all around the world. But too few took action on my advice, so I had to change something in my approach.
It recently dawned on me that people lack the basic understanding where depression comes from and what it is. I also lacked it when I was depressed, so no advice seemed persuasive enough. Today I’m starting the reconstruction of this whole blog in order to give you the whole picture. The way to beat this cruel enemy is to really understand it.
2 years ago, depression brought me on my knees and kept me there for 6 excruciating months. It was so bad that I still can’t believe I made it through. I was just incredibly lucky to try the right thing at the right time. It wasn’t a “hallelujah” moment, just a glimpse into how my mind works and what causes it to malfunction like this. 2 weeks later I was back on my feet*. I knew how I did it but still didn’t begin to understand WHY it worked. I’ve spent those whole 2 years since to figure out why. I was sure it wasn’t an accident and that I was onto something that could help others like me spare themselves this torture.
In a series of articles in the following weeks, I’ll try to explain everything. I’m not saying my methods are the only way to beat depression – just that they worked for me, and they worked quickly. Although I can’t promise they will help you as quickly, I will tell you exactly what I did, how I did it why I think it helped. Please read on.
In 2015 I quit my well paid job as a brand manager to pursue my dream of being independent and owning my own brand. I was extremely naive and unprepared for how hard this road was. I only had 6 months worth of savings and hoped I will make things work despite not having any idea what I want to do for a living and time not being on my side. I thought my enthusiasm will compensate. I worked day and night – din’t rest, didn’t exercise, didn’t socialize, didn’t sleep much. I was literally all-in because I didn’t want to go back to being a “corporate slave”. Chances are, you’ve heard this story somewhere else before and know it doesn’t end well. It didn’t for me, too.
Betting all my cards on starting my own business and making it work in 6 months was Russian roulette. One day in the end of June 2015 I got one rejection too many and everything fell apart. I remember feeling crushed and defeated for the first time in my life. I had suddenly lost all hope and desire to try any more. This had never happened to me. All of a sudden, I didn’t want to read, to meet friends, to enjoy food, to watch movies, to play guitar, to draw, to blog. Everything I had adored until then started losing its meaning. It took me a month to realize I was suffering from a major depression breakdown. But before I did, I already had all of the symptoms:
- Complete insomnia (for months)
- Severe digestion problems (I could only eat bananas and biscuits)
- Crippling indecision (It took me hours to decide what to wear or whether to pick up the phone)
- IQ meltdown (I lost my job, could hardly form complex sentences and started forgetting words)
- Devastating regret (I was heartbroken for everything I haven’t done and haven’t tried as I was sure I would never get another chance to do and try it)
- Absolute numbness (I watched my family cry for me and I couldn’t feel a thing)
- Panic & anxiety (I was constantly scared and incessantly trying to read and to think myself OUT of depression. This only kept making things worse)
I was hopeless. It was so hard and I felt so trapped that my mind started telling me the world would be a better place without me. To be honest, I had barely talked about this with my family, but I was suicidal for 5 months. I spent 5 months looking for a way to end this agony. The only things that stopped me from taking my own life were fear and the aforementioned indecision. Not love for my family, just fear. I hated myself for this even more. No matter how long I make this article, words could never in a lifetime do justice to the suffering I was going through. Of course, the fact that you’re reading this article hints you might know the feeling.
For 5 months I had read every article, taken several anti-depressants and tried every meditation technique, exercise and therapy I found online. Nothing ever helped. I had so much information in my brain that I wouldn’t notice the key to my overnight recovery even if it was on the tip of my tongue.
Then, one day I stumbled upon another depression survivor on the web named Douglas. His recovery story wasn’t anything unheard of but there was something interesting he mentioned. He said he tricked his own brain into believing he was OK using a certain type of visualizations. This in turn started to lift the clouds of depression.
It sounded too simple to be working but I was desperate, so I kept reading. He elaborated on what he did and how his subconscious reacted. I gave the visualizations a try that same evening. Call it luck or help from above but I felt they did something in my brain. I felt hopeful and calm for the first time in 5 months – very briefly, maybe for a minute, but it was still a miracle. By then I had become so numb that I had trouble feeling any emotion – even love for my mom and sadness for my own self. But those visualizations certainly sparked something. So the next morning I did it again. I kept doing it twice a day because those were the only moment I felt sane and calm again.
Plus, I could feel they were working. I didn’t know why, nor did I have any idea if they’re going to help me recover. I was just addicted to feeling OK, even for a little while every day.
In a week I could sleep again, in another week I could eat and exercise*. Only a month after I started the visualizations, I felt strong enough to look for a new job and applied at several places. I was lucky again to find one quickly (any job would do at that moment, I just wanted to get out of my apartment). I can’t believe how good it felt to be working again – I wasn’t a burden to my family at last.
Most people would just be happy depression is over. But I’m prone to introversion and depressive thoughts and I feared depression will come back. I had also read it comes stronger every next time. So I decided I’ll give it my all to UNDERSTAND how on Earth I recovered and why.
Before trying the visualizations, it’s important that you also understand what they are and why they would work at all. To explain that, I first have to explain what causes depression in the first place: LINK (coming soon)
* DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. As I am not a therapist, so I cannot guarantee specific results. The results from applying my methods may vary from person to person. But I’ve done my utmost to explain how and why they worked for me and I’m deeply hoping they can help you with your recovery too.