7 Ways To Beat Depression

By Anni


My depression is tired.  Tired of forcing myself to get out of bed in the morning. Tired of forcing myself to do things I don’t feel like doing. Performing.  All day, every day.

My depression resents being brought into this world, not meant for the likes of me. And then being left to deal with it, utterly unprepared.

Regret. So many bad choices. Mistakes I made that brought me to this day, the day that I don’t want to be in. The day I feel stuck in.

My depression is disappointment. Disappointment in myself. Too weak, too sensitive, too easily influenced. Overwhelmed. Worthless. Purposeless. Tired.

Always tired.

I don’t want to die. But I don’t want to live either.

I want rest. I want general anesthesia for a year, five years, ten. Give me a dreamless dream.  Indefinitely.  Give me a break. I’m tired of being in this world.

I don’t belong here.

These thoughts are always there. They have permanent residence in my brain. They will be there always. They are my truth. They can’t be argued away.

The more you argue, the more I will defend them.

Sometimes they are on the surface, all I can think about, taking over my consciousness.

But eventually they will retreat. They always do.  They’ll go into hiding – somewhere in the folds of my brain – and other truths take their place. Sometimes for weeks or months. Sometimes years will go by before they resurface.

And that’s why there is hope. As sure as my depression is to live on forever, as sure it is to go into remission. Every single time.

And there are things I can do. Things I have learned that help. Help make it go away. Help make it stay away a little bit longer.

I want to share these things with you.

But everyone is different. My things might help you, they might not. But even if my personal solutions are not exactly right for you, I want to give you hope that there are things. There are ways to beat depression.  It is worth looking.

So here are the seven things I do to help myself stay out of depression.

7 ways to beat depression from someone who has been there.

7 Ways To Beat Depression

1. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY (EXERCISE!)

The stronger my body, the stronger my mind. Good food, good sleep, good exercise. If my body doesn’t get these, my mind won’t feel good. That’s just the way it has always worked for me.

Related: How To Start An Exercise Routine And Stick To It

2. GIVE YOUR BRAIN ENERGY

I’ve had little bouts of feeling down throughout my entire life, but I’ve had two episodes of major depression that brought me to the brink of total and prolonged hopelessness. Both times I was in a situation where I had virtually no alone time built into my schedule. My daily routine was driven by other people’s needs and agendas and I failed to make sure that I was getting what I needed.

Extraverts get energized by interacting with other people. Introverts have their energy depleted by other people and they need time alone to recharge.

Even though I’m an introvert, I can act like the extraverts in my life and copy their lifestyle preferences for quite a while.  But eventually it always backfires.  If I constantly act opposite to my true temperament and if I neglect my need for alone time for too long, my brain gets so tired it becomes vulnerable to depression. I literally run out of steam to keep going.

If I give myself the solitude I need to recharge, I feel more energized and I’m better equipped to handle daily hassles – the mountains shrink back to molehills.

If you are an extravert, you need to do the exact opposite of what I do to give your brain energy. Whereas I crave quiet solitude, you need to fill your days with people and activity to feel your best.

Related: How To Find Out Your Personality Type

3. PUT YOUR BRAIN IN FLOW

Another way to make life feel better is to do more things that feel good. But when I’m depressed, nothing feels good and I’m pretty convinced that nothing ever will.

The thing to remember is… There have been times when I felt good in the past. This is a glimmer of hope that something might feel good again. It’s possible to feel good.

It might take a giant effort to force myself to try and it might not feel good right away, but the road out of depression requires getting out of bed and trying to do something, anything – even if it’s something tiny – with an open mind. I may have forgotten how, but it’s possible to feel good, and it will only come back to me if I give it a chance.

The tricky thing about this one is figuring out what ACTUALLY feels good to you and puts your brain in “flow”. We are all wired differently and your “flow” may come from something completely different than people around you. I now believe that when I used to say “but nothing feels good” it wasn’t that there was nothing in the world that would make me feel good. It was that I was following the people around me, who for the most part were very different from me, and their feel-good activities were not right for me. Most of the things that I was told should feel good just didn’t do it for me.

I needed to find my own thing.

I needed to find my own meandering path to contentment and walk on it with confidence even if most other people find their happiness on a different road.

Related: How To Make Your Brain Happy

4. FIND YOUR PASSION AND PURPOSE

I have found that my mental well-being is closely related to how I’m feeling about my work. If I’m spending the majority of my waking hours stressed or bored or doing something meaningless, it’s probably not terribly surprising that I’ll start feeling like shit about life in general.

Ideally we would all spend our days doing something we feel passionate about and something that gives us a sense of purpose. My eventual goal is to spend every day doing something I both enjoy (passion) and something that allows me to make a positive difference in the world (purpose).

Of the seven things listed in this article, pursuing your passion and purpose can be one of the hardest to achieve. Real life can show its stubborn face and block your way. We have bills to pay, kids to feed… But I firmly believe that it’s still a very worthwhile goal to pursue with great rewards when you get there.

And here’s the awesome thing. Even if you can’t spend all day every day on your passion and purpose just now, it helps to figure out what they are for you and incorporate at least some of it in your life right away.

Related: How To Figure Out What To Be When You Grow Up – As A Grown-Up

5. CONNECT WITH YOUR PEOPLE

Depression comes with loneliness. I’m swimming upstream in a sea of humans all going in the opposite direction from where I want to go. I feel too different to belong, too different to forge connections.  When I’m overwhelmed with these feelings, it’s easy for me to just want to give up on the world and say I’m done. On the upside, the more I’m able to feel connected to other people, the more I want to participate and live.

Most people need at least one trusted person in their corner. Someone who will be there for you no matter what. Someone who lets you be 100% you. For me, this is my rock of a husband. For you, it could be a friend or a colleague or a parent or a sibling.

But I think it also helps to feel connected in a broader sense. As an introvert, I find it easiest to find these connections via reading and writing. As a writer, I’m able to skip the small-talk and bring up issues that matter to me. The beauty of publishing my writing on the internet is that it allows me to connect with people all over the world who struggle with the same things I struggle with.

I also find connection via articles and books and movies that share my view of the world. I’m reminded of how amazingly creative people are. I’m reminded that I’m not as alone as I sometimes feel with who I am and what my values are.

Related: What To Do When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong

Related: What To Do When You Feel Like Nobody Understands

6. KEEP A FEEL-GOOD DIARY

People prone to depression often have a tendency to see the glass as half empty and I’m no different in that regard. As a matter of fact, I would go as far as to say that my glass is at times completely dry with not one drop in it. 🙂

Now, don’t worry, I won’t tell you to “just think positive” or “just change your attitude”. However, it definitely doesn’t hurt to systematically remind yourself of the good moments that sometimes manage to sneak into your otherwise shit-pile of a day.

Recently, I had a rough day with a giant headache and consequently unfinished to-do list, and at first glance, the day felt like a big, fat waste. But before going to bed, I tried to think of three things that made me feel good that day: 1) seeing my kids running around in the yard happily chasing each other, 2) my husband and I looking up the Knight Rider theme song online (cause we are total dorks), and 3) vegging and watching reality TV (too embarrassed to mention specific show). Mostly silly and trivial things, but they brought me little moments of joy. So maybe the day wasn’t a complete waste.

Related: 3 Potential Reasons Why You Are Not Happy (And How To Fix Them)

7. SEE DEPRESSION AS AN ALARM

I once saw depression as a disease of which I was a helpless victim and for which the cure came in a bottle of pills.

But nowadays I like to see my depression as an alarm. An alarm that rings from my brain telling me that something isn’t quite right. I’m off balance. I’m not living my best life.

Maybe my body is not getting what it needs. Maybe my brain is burned out without energy. Maybe I’m not doing things that make me feel good. Maybe my passion and purpose are lost. Maybe my relationships are in trouble. Maybe there is so much negative in my life that it’s overwhelming the positive bits.

Depression tells me something is off.

I feel stuck. I feel like I have no options. I’m convinced I will never feel better again. But in reality, I’m just temporarily lost, at a crossroads, not sure where to turn next. I’m lost in a tired fog.

Depression forces me to take a break, to get rest, to re-assess. It forces me to figure out how to give myself what I need. And when I do, the new direction will come.

Depression is an alarm that propels me to seek change and to improve my circumstances.

And that’s the way I want it to be with my depression. I don’t want to feel numb to it. I don’t want to settle. I would rather feel a pain so deep it forces me to change.

I want depression to ring its bell and help propel me forward in my life.

P.S. Wanna Learn More About Creating A Life You ACTUALLY Like?

If you’d like to learn more about implementing the kinds of changes I talk about in this article, you might be interested in my free video class.  You’ll learn:

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  • The simple 5-step framework for turning your life around even if it seems way out of reach and you have no clue how to get started.
  • The 3 critical mistakes that keep people stuck in life and how YOU can avoid them.

If you are interested, just enter your email address in the form below so I can send you an access link.

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About the author 

Anni

Hi! I'm a life coach, a Certified MBTI® Practitioner, and a mentor for stressed out introverts and highly sensitive people. I used to be one myself! My mission is to help you discover your true self and create a life you ACTUALLY like.

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  1. Hi Anni,
    I stumbled upon your blog on pinterest and started reading your articles. I have not gotten too far yet but what most of what I’ve read so far has me want to yell “yes, yes, yes” as I totally get what you are talking about. I find it refreshing to read about someone elses’s struggle with depression so openly and helpful.
    I’m having bouts of depression for about 3 years – the first time being the worst as I had no clue what was going on with me. But as my husband’s family has experience with this, they quickly saw it and helped me.
    A year ago I went to a day clinic where I learned a lot about myself and my inner beliefs (I always have to give 100%, if I don’t perform I am worthless…) and how I can start to form them into something more positive (80% is okay, a humann is constantly changing and it is okay to just be….). This was the turning point and I took up talk therapy. This is helping me a lot as I have found a therapist who is very solution oriented and helps me develop tools that work for me.
    I can especially relate to this article and would like to share something I’ve just talked about in said therapy.
    Point 6 talks about thinking about happy moments in the day. I’ve tried to recap those moments also at the end of the day but found it hard to do sometimes because there is just so much that happens during a cause of the day.
    So the ide is to take along small stones and keep them i.e in the right pocket. So every time during the day you feel happy or experience a nice moment you put one stone from the right pocket to the left. At the end of the day you empty the left pocket and see instantly that it might not have beeb such a bad day because of the stones you were able to move. I think this is a very nice idea as it is instantly rewarding and you don’t need to stress about making mental notes of good things that happened. I will try this out very soon.
    Just an idea I wanted to share with you. I will for sure keep reading your wonderful blog.
    Your new fan from Germany
    Patricia

    1. Hi Patricia! Thank you SO much for writing and sharing your story. Sometimes I start doubting myself and wondering if I’ve revealed too much, so the encouragement is really helpful. I try really hard to be honest about my struggles with the hope that others with similar issues will feel less alone. 🙂 It’s great to hear that you have found the help you need. And I really love the stone idea and will give it a try!

  2. Hi Anni,
    Last year june I had a nervous breakdown. I have never been a depressed person or been able to wrap my head around it, even though my Mother (did) & Daughter suffer with depression. I was an event planner for 17yrs. Loved my job and never missed a beat. Well with having a hysterectomy and my hormones all in a tailspin, DOWN I went. I want to go back out there but some invisible force makes me, me the person that was unstoppable, stop and think then rethink.
    After reading your article and finding my personality type. I am going to be what I want to be and make my brain and life happy.
    Thank you so much. I will continue to keep reading.
    Thank you, Heather

    1. Hi Heather, Thank you for reading and commenting. For some reason your comment made me think of this quote: “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Cheers to being what you want to be! 🙂

  3. Good morning Anni! I stumbled across your post on Pinterest. This is how I feel most days. I write about my depression journey on my blog. You mentioned in a comment above if you were revealing too much. No. You’re being totally transparent. This is your journey; your story. It helped me as I can relate to the struggle and I’m fighting my way out. My episodes have increased, but I’m pushing through them as I want more for my life and I now realize that’s it’s possible. Everyday is a new opportunity to make things better. Thank you for sharing your story and strategies that are helping you move forward. I plan to try some of these myself. If you get a chance, stop by my blog. Say hello! I plan to come back and read more. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in fighting my depression. Have a great day Anni! ?

    1. Hi Hope! Thank you so much for commenting and for the encouragement. It means a lot to me. And I sincerely hope you find what you need to feel better. It IS possible. 🙂

  4. Hello Anni,

    I found your article from Pinterest and wanted to tell you thank you for having the courage to put your life out here for the world to see. I do not live with depression, but my teenage daughter does. I am learning about it and how to help her live with it. Articles such as yours help me understand by giving insight into what she is going through that she doesn’t quite know how to articulate or understand herself yet. You also provide options for solutions which can only be provided from experience, of which I do not have. Keep living an authentic life. Thank you!

    1. Hi Angela,

      Thank you so much for letting me know the articles are helpful. The encouragement from readers really helps me keep going. And I hope your daughter finds the solutions that are right for her. I’m a mother too, so I can imagine how difficult it must be to watch your child struggling.

  5. What if you have no passion and no purpose? And what if you have no people to connect with? If you have those things, I’d dare say you’re not actually depressed, but just “feeling blue.” I don’t think these suggestions are helpful for people who are actually depressed.

    1. Hi Scott,

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      I fully agree that people who already have passion, purpose, and connection in their lives are probably not going to get depressed. When I was depressed myself, I very much lacked passion, purpose, and connection. I also had no idea how to get those things, which further added to my hopelessness.

      The point I was trying to make in this article was that in order to get out of depression it might be necessary to figure out how to find passion, purpose, and connection (and the other things I listed).

      To embark on that journey when you are depressed and hopeless requires taking a leap of faith and believing that it’s possible to find these things even though you haven’t yet. One of my goals with this website is to show that it’s possible, because it happened to me.

      And if your obstacle is not knowing how to go about finding passion, purpose, and connection, there are many articles on these topics on this website.

      If you have any other questions, just let me know.

      Anni

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