Guys, first things first. I was severely depressed at a point in my life. 2007. I was suicidal for months. I left my MBA program. I came back from Singapore where I was doing my MBA to India, to get on a psychiatry program insisted upon by my father.
I emerged out of it, in a few months, and went back to get my MBA.
Even now, I feel low, quite low, once in a while, and sometimes longer, but I remind myself of 2007 and what happened during that period causing that severe period of depression. As a consequence, I do whatever I need to do to not repeat it.
Life is inherently tough, for you, and for me. It is tough for most of us, regardless of where we are in life. A minute few of us manage to get things right in place where everything seems to be going all right. Let’s not talk about exceptions.
The purpose of this piece is to help you understand what I understood about depression, through my depression, and that of people who have been close to me. Unfortunately, I have seen a few depressed people for a variety of uncontrollable reasons. Destiny doesn’t spare us from what’s in store for us.
So, if you do this, you will not be depressed for a long time. I fucking guarantee. Read on.
To be positive, is an attitude. It is in your mind. If you allow negative thoughts to lie inside your mind for a long period of time, you are bound to allow an avalanche of negativity to seep in.
Depression is that avalanche. Control your thoughts, as much as you can. Every time you find yourself getting really in a negative zone, do something about it to get the hell out of it!
2. Do not lie in bed for long periods of time
One of the features of my time as a depressed person was that I stayed in my hostel room for entire days, one, two, three. I would just go to the community washroom and run back to the room.
I stayed in bed. The bed started stinking. I did things in bed to release the stress (masturbate). I stayed and stayed in bed for long periods. It sucked.
Do not stay in bed or inside the house even for a day. Go the fuck out. Breathe in fresh air every day. Don’t stay inside your air conditioned houses all day. Breathe in.
You can’t stay depressed.
3. Take action
Results are not in your control but your effort is. If you are feeling depressed because you are not getting results, then you need to take some other form of action.
Getting depressed won’t solve anything. The entire period of my depression, I did nothing. I took no classes and ran away from the course eventually.
4. Ask for help
Don’t shoo away your family and friends. You may be tempted to do that given the state of your mind to be left alone in eternity. But they are your own people and they want to help you.
Don’t shoo them away. Keep them about you. If they try to help you, please allow them to help you. In fact, ask for help. The world isn’t that bad a place.
Just this this one thing and you won’t be able to stay depressed. Body and mind are inter-related. A healthy mind resides inside a fit body, and vice versa.
If you work out/run or whatever and get your blood flowing, your mood will improve and you would want to take some actions about the problem facing you.
One key feature of the entire period of my depression was 0 exercise.
6. Crying is okay
It is alright to cry, even for men. The entire bullshit macho industry which says that men don’t cry has made it so difficult for men to express their vulnerability.
Cry, if that helps you feel lighter. When we are in a low emotional state, crying helps soothe pain, and make us feel better.
Cry, if you must. Absolutely don’t feel embarrassed about it.
7. Take sedatives only if you don’t understand what’s happening
Generally, I would not recommend sedatives. I took them for like a month or two, after coming back to India, and since my family insisted.
My mind wasn’t in a position to think and perhaps the sedatives helped my mind get some sleep, and give the negative thoughts a break.
Mind you, I got depressed at what should have been one of the finest times of my life. I had got admission into a top B-school after having tried for many years, and there I was, comparing myself to the rest of the class, and getting depressed, among other unfathomable reasons.
Don’t take medicines, if you can comprehend this sentence.
8. STOP USING THE WORD-DEPRESSED
Hey, this is important. This is important not just for people who are/have undergone depression but for everyone. Depression is a horrible word, and don’t just throw it casually.
If you have had a bad day, YOU ARE NOT DEPRESSED. You just had a bad day.
If you had a fight with your spouse, YOU ARE NOT DEPRESSED. One fight doesn’t cause depression. Years of fighting could..
If you failed in an exam/job interview, YOU ARE NOT DEPRESSED. You just need to take a break, and figure out the course of action.
9. Take a break from what is happening
You need to temporarily go away from what’s causing you the pain-your job, your marriage, your education, whatever it is. Take a break. Let your mind rest. Life is not going anywhere. You don’t have to run your life with everybody else’s.
Take a break. Things have gone wrong. You need to understand what went wrong where, and fix things, or restart. Whatever it is, you need time to think.
10. You can overcome
I assure you. If you are intelligent enough to read and overcome this, you will overcome whatever it is you are facing. I have gone through many lows in my life, and I have come through each time.
I wasted my childhood on my weaknesses, and never feeling good about my strengths.
I wasted my 20’s in trying to get an MBA.
I got depressed when I went for my MBA, and had to redo it.
In the first job I got after MBA, I was laid off, after a year and a quarter with a loan to pay. I was unemployed for months, and had to take a job at half the salary.
I left my job a few years back to pursue writing and stand-up comedy, and still trying to make it work.
I am writing this article at 2 in the morning because I think it will help people going through/struggling with depression.
You can overcome whatever you are going through. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail, from when he was 44 to when he was 71. 27 fucking years! What have you and I seen. Our problems are smaller than those of people on the street who don’t know if they are getting to eat their next meal.
You will overcome.
This brings me to the end of the piece. If you liked it, please follow me here, comment, and clap.
If you are a publisher and you think I can write for you, please reach out in comments, and I will be in touch. I have recently finished a book on happiness, and it will be out in the market in a couple of months.
Watch this space. Thank you for reading.