What I Wish Someone Had Said To Me When I First Got Depressed

By Anni


I had a bit of a health scare a few weeks ago, and while all turned out well in the end, what struck me was that my prevalent feelings throughout the whole ordeal were worry and sadness. I basically felt what any NORMAL person would feel in such a situation.

It got me thinking about how far I’ve come from the girl in her twenties who could barely tolerate being alive to the woman in her forties who genuinely looks forward to at least another 40 years of life.

When I first got depressed in my twenties, I sought help via all the usual channels. I had physicals to rule out medical causes, I went to therapy for a few years, and I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed anti-depressants.

But none of it made me feel happy to be alive. I continued to tolerate life, but to actually thrive and enjoy life remained a foreign concept throughout all those years. Eventually I abandoned treatment and decided to search for solutions on my own.

It took me many more years to stumble upon the solutions I needed.  The truths I needed to learn. One by one. Here and there. Reading self help books. Pondering.

Looking back now, I can’t help but wonder how differently things might have turned out if I had found my solutions earlier. If someone had taught me the lessons I needed to learn at 25 that I needed 10 plus years to learn on my own.

So with today’s post, I want to be the person I needed when I was younger. If you are still searching for your solutions, I want to share with you what I wish someone had said to me all those years ago when I first started struggling with depression.

The truths I needed to learn are very specific to my personality, so some of them may not apply to you at all, but even if only one sentence in this post strikes a chord, I will be satisfied. 🙂

When I first got depressed I had no clue what to do. Here's what I wish someone had said to me and what I eventually needed to learn in order to overcome depression.

What I Wish Someone Had Said To Me When I First Got Depressed

1 – The fact that nothing feels good right now is not necessarily a sign that there is something physically wrong with your brain that makes you incapable of feeling happy. It may be that you haven’t yet found out what you need in order to feel good. I can help you figure out what your needs are.

2 – You are an introvert. The fact that you don’t want to socialize as much as your extravert husband or your extravert friends is not “withdrawal” and is not a sign of mental illness. You need a lot of quiet time and long periods of solitude to feel your best.

3 – You are highly intuitive. The advice to “be present” and “stay out of your head” and “clear your mind” is not good advice for you. You need more thinking time than you are currently getting and not less. The more you can let your mind run free without distractions, the more the insights and solutions to your problems will come to you naturally.

4 – You are a highly sensitive person. You are easily overstimulated and you need more rest than the average person. But in the end, your sensitivity is more of an asset than a liability.  Your sensitivity is the key to your intuition, empathy, and creativity.

5 – You feel like you don’t belong in this world, because all of your life, you have been mostly surrounded by people with interests and preferences and ways of thinking that are different from yours. The feeling of not belonging is not irrational. You don’t belong in those people’s world. But you can create your own world with people you do belong with.

6 – You don’t enjoy life, because you are living for other people, fulfilling other people’s standards. You need to learn how to align your life with YOUR interests and YOUR preferences. You need to learn how to set boundaries and how to stand up for yourself. You need to learn to let go of people and situations that are not good for you. I can teach you how to do that.

7 – You feel hopeless, because you don’t like your life right now and society is telling you that there is something wrong with you if you don’t like the kind of life that most other people are okay with. You feel hopeless and stuck and like you don’t have any options. But I’m here to tell you right now that there is hope. That you have options. That you can lead a different life. That life doesn’t have to be only about stress and exhaustion and difficulty.

8 – It seems that all these different anti-depressants you have tried are causing more problems than they are solving. Instead of taking medication to tolerate a lifestyle that stresses you out, how about focusing on creating a lifestyle that is less stressful and more suitable for your personality? I can help you figure out what that lifestyle looks like and how to achieve it.

9 – Have you tried running or other exercise to help you relax and reduce your stress levels? Moving your body regularly will alleviate many of the physical anxiety and stress symptoms you are experiencing, and if you choose a solitary sport, exercising will also serve as introvert recharge time.

10 – It’s ok to stop analyzing and re-living the past and focus on improving the present and the future. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future.

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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,
    What a great article. So great in fact, that I had to print it to hang somewhere in my house that I can read it over and over.
    Some of the points you listed I discovered for myself as well, but it is good to see that others suffering from Depression have found a way to change their lives and succeed at living with this sickness. I am looking forward to the day that I will finally get to a point where I can say that I have arrived.
    This article inspires me to keep working on it and that it can happen 🙂
    Best
    Patricia

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Patricia. 🙂 About having arrived… Ironically, right after finishing this article, I had one of those “everything is too hard, I just want to give up” days. I think I’m probably always going to have those very low moments, but the biggest difference now is that I know exactly what kinds of things cause them for me and what I need to do to recover very quickly.

      1. Every point you made in your article described me more and more specifically. Depression is a terrible mental condition to have to be the norm to start out each day. Thank you for your inspirational insight and hope to overcome this debilitating life outlook.

  2. Clinical depression is a hard thing, and “self help” books useless, and people telling one afflicted to “cheer up, worse than useless. One thing necessary is to stop being a people pleaser and not practice their joy, but to find our own joy which may not match those all around us; you receive all sorts of formulaic advice unasked for. Some Psychiatrists of the Freudian school search for something in the past that effects your present state, but tat may have little reason for what you are dealing wit the present. The past is over, and the decisions made now will effect the future. Just about everyone I know loves pizza and I can’t tolerate it and they look at me with amazement; I dislike intensely, football wile others worship it; so what? When I was a kid all around me were bonkers over football and many spectator sports in which I had no interest, and I would rather read a book tat party, and so I did find my own way. When, a child I saw that I was the only one who didn’t like football, but to fir in I pretended that I did, which invited all sort of inner conflict and anxiety, but one day I read in “:Hamlet” “This above all else, to tine own self be true, then it follows as night the day, that then thou will not be false to any man ” Robert W. Foy.

    1. Thanks for commenting and for sharing the very wise Hamlet quote. It’s so hard to be different when you are young – it makes me sad for all the kids who feel like they need to pretend to be someone they are not. I’m with you when it comes to football though. I don’t get the appeal either. 🙂

  3. I think this is a great article, but I honestly was disappointed because the title seems misleading to me. All the things you listed seem like they (obviously) applied to you and maybe someone who is highly sensitive/introverted/etc but not someone who is clinically depressed. I’m not sure what shifted in your life to make you think you were depressed, but it sounds like you were misdiagnosed and just in a life “rut”. As someone is really suffering, I wanted this article to be a beacon of hope, not just the “hey you can learn to thrive” crap. Sorry, but I think this article could use a better suited title.

    1. Dana, I have been depressed for most of my life and I have investigated all the possible causes and cures I could find, ( including the final “cure”). I went to therapy year after year. I tried antidepressant after antidepressant. I was a dutiful patient who trudged on… Then I received some truly HORRIFIC “care” at the hands of incompetent, unethical, dishonest and self important ( Harvard credentialed) “professionals” and it radicalized me . I dared to think for myself. I realized I had way to much faith in their, ( psychologists and psychiatrists) expertise, instincts,and methods. I realized that I hated much of my life ( or rather, the assumptions, institutions and values that it was built on) and that I had to make a life that suited ME, not societal dictates. I think her list is genius, and pretty well matches my recipe for MY happiness. Against doctor’s advice, I ditched medication, then I ditched toxic people ( including family) started volunteering and helping others, ate better, stopped going to parties to please others, slowed down my life, did more things in nature, and declared that I am the number one expert on me and that anyone elses’s opinion should be taken with a grain of salt. The more I have listened to me and trusted myself, the better it has gotten.

  4. I normally don’t leave a comment in fact I never have but I struggle with depression always either very happy or not but to read what Patricia writes about it is more then one chord struck with me thank you very very much it’s going to help me out so much !
    When you think that your thoughts pattern are so different then most you automatically think you are in a mentle state of trouble! Thanks Again Sincerly,
    Margie

  5. I discovered this article on Pinterest! Thank you for posting! What I have found to be effective in my recovery is a book by the late Dr. Claire Weekes. It is called Hope and Help for your Nerves. She was a leading pioneer in the fields of anxiety and depression. Her work has done wonders for me! I will leave a link here in the hopes that someone else finds this information as helpful as I did! I wish HEALTH and RECOVERY for ALL! Here is the link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-and-help-for-your-nerves-claire-weekes/1102806231?ean=9781101639887#/

  6. HI Anni!
    Oddly enough, I was searching for a macaroni recipe on Pinterest and amongst all the recipe choices there was your article. Ha! It was pretty amazing and was something I really needed in that moment. Funny how things work like that. I too read all the books, listened to countless seminars, coaches and counselors and piece together bits that resonate with me. #5 really spoke to me. What you wrote was so simply well put and gave me such an “a-ha” moment. It dawned on me that I’ve been trying to fit a circle in a square peg. Thank you soo much for sharing. This was a gift I didn’t know I’d find looking for a macaroni recipe. 🙂 Have a beautiful day! ((Hugs to you))

    “5 – You feel like you don’t belong in this world, because all of your life, you have been mostly surrounded by people with interests and preferences and ways of thinking that are different from yours. The feeling of not belonging is not irrational. You don’t belong in those people’s world. But you can create your own world with people you do belong with.

  7. Hi Anni, this helped me a lot. The whole article “spoke” to me. Jip, over worked, stressed out and not taking care of MYself pushed me back to ground zero. Lucily I’ve been there before. Just likecyou, back then no anti depressants or psycologist could help…we’re just differently ‘wired’ ☺
    Baby steps every day and get back up is where I’m now. So your article opened up the way forward for me, thank you very much

  8. Big tears coming down over here. I think because I don’t feel so alone when I read this. Thank you for being so honest. I’m about to save a bunch more of your articles so that can read more.

  9. I feel like we’re the same person. It would be weird if I weren’t so grateful. Really looking forward to reading everything. Had a particular ‘Aha Moment’ I didn’t know I needed: “You are an introvert. The fact that you don’t want to socialize as much as your extravert husband or your extravert friends is not “withdrawal” and is not a sign of mental illness. You need a lot of quiet time and long periods of solitude to feel your best.”

    I’ve been isolating and afraid I was making things worse and not wanting to tell anyone because I just wanted to try something different even if I was scared it was wrong. I’m 39 and everything I’ve done to ‘get better’ has led me here: not super happy. Your post is reassuring that maybe I’m on the right track after all even if I’m scared I’m a crazy person.

    1. Thank you for commenting! 🙂 There is absolutely nothing crazy about needing to spend time by yourself. People paint it as “withdrawal” or “isolation” when it’s really about resting, recharging, and getting in touch with yourself. Or even simply enjoying your own company and solitary activities. When I first realized that this was a need of mine that I had been deprived of for a really long time, I needed longer periods of solitude to make up for the “deficiency”. Now I’m in sort of maintenance mode, where I can get by with regular shorter spurts. I have young kids, so finding the time is somewhat of a challenge. 🙂

      1. This solidarity of mine has caused my relationships so many problems am I was so glad to read that I’m not the only one that needs this to get through the rest of my days. I’ve been given medicine and took it but it never helped so I would get the prescription so that my dr thought I was taking it and Nyerere I didn’t. I have had depression since I was a very young child. I’ve never learned how to deal with it so this article was a god send. I could relate the almost all of it. Thank you for writing this article.

  10. This is a great article. Thanks so much. If only someone had told me all of what you shared earlier in my younger years (haha). But it’s certainly important to be impressed of these truths. Definitely will save this article for future reference, and look forward to reading some of your other articles on this topic.

  11. This was everything I needed right now. I’m not clinically depressed, but I am struggling. This helped me be more aware of what I am lacking and take inventory on where I’m at and where I should be. Things can be different. Thank you!

  12. I believe I’ve been struggling with depression for the past year, but I haven’t really received any help. I gotta have something to hang onto, I feel like I’m drowning.

  13. My daughter (13) has suffered from depression and high anxiety since her grandmother died 5 years ago. Since then there have been other traumatic events contributing to her pain.
    She is a sensitive, intuitive, extremely empathetic, and introverted. This pandemic lockdown has not been a good functionally for her.
    Thank you for your articles and website. My daughter is actually reading something at my suggestion. She says she can relate to your words.
    God bless you.

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