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Acknowledging Your Depression
How often do you experience depression? Do you find yourself feeling depressed at least once a day? Have you ever experienced non-stop depression for days, weeks, or even months? Is your depression mild or severe?
Although the root cause of depression can range from chemical imbalances to simple memories, it is important to know that bad memories can cause chemical imbalances and chemical imbalances can cause bad memories. Conversely, good thoughts and memories can put you chemically in balance, and chemicals can cause good thoughts. Diet and environment can also adversely affect or compliment your state of mind.
If you have experienced what I call talk-therapy, where the patient is encouraged to rehash old pain, did you experience only temporary relief from your bouts of depression? Not always but sometimes, dwelling on the past will actually increase depression. Acknowledging the past and taking responsibility for past actions can be important in relieving reoccurring bouts of depression, but sometimes reliving the past can increase the intensity of depression.
On the other hand, if you were given drugs to counteract your depression, did you find yourself dropping back into depression after several months of treatment or if you stopped taking the prescribed drugs? If you have enjoyed depression-free living while taking drugs, are you faced with relapse if you discontinue your medication?
The reason I’m asking you these questions is so that you come face to face with your personal reality regarding your depression — your reality as it is at this time in your life. We also hope that you realize that your future reality is what you make of it through your choices from now and into your future.
If your depression is based on guilt from something you did in the past, then it may help you to make amends with people that were affected by your past actions. Clearing the past in your mind by taking corrective actions now may help to increase your good feelings about yourself and to alleviate guilt.
Realize that you probably have much more control over your depression than you think or that you have been told by medical professionals or other authorities in the mental health field.
Drug treatment should only be the last resort in dealing with depression. Many professionals are too willing to prescribe drugs to reduce symptoms rather than addressing the cause. In a few rare cases, drugs are necessary because particular people’s bodies cannot create the chemicals that control brain and nervous system activity and response. Many drugs have seriously bad side affects and some can cause dependency and even deteriorate your system.
Learn to trust yourself and learn to make your own decisions regarding your health and indeed, your very life. Many doctors and professionals simply guess as to what is going on with their patients and how to treat conditions. Don’t always trust only one opinion about your condition. Furthermore, things change over time, so it may not be necessary to continue medication or therapy your entire life. Always check with your doctor and request periodic reviews and be ready to shift into new treatments or even out of treatment. Be wary of any professional that is not willing to reevaluate your mental status and physical condition. Seek out honest health professionals that value your health and best interests.
Remember, hospitals and health professions are really businesses, and although they say they want to cure you completely (and some do), if they actually cured everyone, then they would be out of business. Again, if it is necessary to be treated by a professional, find one that honestly cares about your health and who is determined to help you.
Thoughts and Memories
Thoughts and memories can be extremely powerful. Emotions such as depression can be easily influenced by thoughts. Overwhelming thoughts such as past negative experiences can seem to flood your mind uncontrollably.
The reality is, you have no control over the past but you do have some control over your present. The goals will be to increase your control and awareness over your present and indeed, your reality. It is true that you cannot control everything about the present, but you have more control than you might realize at this point.
Typically, depression usually originates from the perception that something seems to be out of your control or influence. Frustration can lead to feelings of powerlessness. Indeed, life does seem to deal us setbacks and blocks, knocking us back two steps for every step forward. However, now is the time to take control of your current reality and even to create your future by making supportive decisions and taking steps toward your goals. Know this – outside influence are not against you. Things happen, good and bad — that is reality. Use setbacks as learning tools to adjust your actions. Increase your confidence in knowing that your are in charge of your life and your future.
If something painful happened in your past, or if you are overwhelmed by guilt due to decisions that you made, it is important for you to know that you cannot change the past. The past is done and gone. Nevertheless, know that you can fill your mind with pleasant thoughts of your present and your future.
Reality, Goals, and Building Excitement
Having positive goals and taking supportive steps to achieve those goals can be an effective way to counteract and eliminate depression, other negative emotions, and counter-productive thoughts. By filling your life by creating values for yourself and others, it is possible to create continuous and lifelong happiness and excitement for yourself. Isn’t that the purpose of life — to be happy and do what you love? I guarantee you that doing what you love will increase your well being, confidence, and excitement for living. Choose to live your life as a blessing and not as a burden. Making conscious decisions are just the beginning though. You must take action!
It is important to base all of your thoughts, decisions and goals on reality. Unfortunately, we are taught through various means to create problems or so-called unseen “realities” in our mind where none actually exist in reality. We are taught to rely on faith in non-worldly events or fictitious processes to help us make decisions or to help us out of negative states of mind. Jumping to erroneous conclusions or relying on things such as divine inspiration, astrology or other mystical methods to make your decisions have no basis in reality. You and you alone are responsible for your decisions and actions. Becoming your own decision-maker, indeed being your own self-authority is just the beginning. You must learn to decide for yourself, take more action, adjust if necessary, and take more action!
There are too many belief systems in the world today that feed people with false expectations. How many times have you been told that anything is possible? Think about it. If anything is possible, then certain possibilities will mutually exclude other possibilities. Narrowing down this same claim to personal attainment, as an example — no matter how much he wants to, is it possible for an operatic bass to sing as a soprano? That is not likely, due mainly to his physical limitations. You see, not everything is possible.
In reality, you cannot be anything you want. We all have limitations, and it is up to you to find out if you have unchangeable limitations relative to your goals. There is nothing wrong with having high hopes as long as you are always realistic about what you are capable of currently, and if you can effectively train yourself to reach your goals. It may take big adjustments in your steps to get where you want to be, so don’t give up so easily.
If you set your mind to it, great things are realistically possible. You may surprise yourself in what you can achieve. You will surprise everyone around you if you excel beyond your current abilities. Build excitement by setting goals and achieving the milestones on your way to personal greatness! Take small steps at first or whenever necessary, and then build momentum and excitement as you learn from the experience and adjust your actions. If you overreach, then simply pull back a little and try again.
Do not be dissuaded by people that tell you to be “realistic” when you know you have the means and abilities to achieve what you want. It is up to you to decide what you want to accomplish in your life. Throughout history, people have been told that what they are attempting is foolish or impossible, and yet some of those people have gone on to prove the so-called “authorities” wrong.
Don’t sit around and let your life slip away by doing nothing. This will usually lead to conjuring up the past, which has the potential of pushing you deeper into depression. Get up and do something that will bring you pleasure and happiness. Keep busy. Things at rest tend to stay at rest. Things in motion tend to stay in motion.
Start by making a list of the top 5 or 10 things you’ve always wanted to do. Now pick one and think of the supportive steps that you can take right now to bring you closer to that goal. NOW TAKE THAT FIRST STEP! Get the momentum going. Make a conscious choice to replace wasted time and depressing thoughts with action and obtainable goals.
Don’t bother telling people who typically put you down or who are negative about your goals. If you do, and they are negative, have confidence in your decision and let their negativity fade away. Share your goals with people that will support you. However, don’t rely on other people’s positive opinions and input. Learn to rely on your own positive attitude and decision making process to succeed.