The Pursuit of Excellence Practical steps toward happiness


Depression Lies

The strangest thing happened to me a few months ago. For the first time in my life I became consistently happy.

Since 18 I've known that I suffer from depression, but until I stepped out of it I didn't realize how it had been affecting me, and how severely. These last 6 months I've been walking around in a euphoric daze. I keep waiting for the crash, but it never comes.

People tell me odd things like, "you're beautiful, and "you're coming into your power." I'm not always sure what they mean, but by Zeus, I agree with them.

So how did I get here? It's been a gradual and winding path, but let me chart it for you.

Don't mind the weather

depressionThe first change came after I read a seemingly innocuous comment made in a comment thread, buried in a now forgotten post on a social media site.

"The best tool I've found to fight depression," the stranger began, "is to realize that thoughts are like the weather. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Think of it like storm clouds -- they pass, and they don't mean anything."

And he's right. I knew intuitively that this attitude was the key to beating this horrible affliction, but I still had trouble letting go of a lot of things from a troubled past.

The biggest by far was a girl. Not just any girl, but the only human being in the world that ever understood me. I lost her and couldn't get over that. So I decided to see her again.

That meeting went over like a gas leak in a fireworks factory.

The short version is that she stormed out of the restaurant, then for 20 minutes we yelled at each other in a parking lot.

That sucked.

But it was my most cathartic experience. Picture a steel cable running between her and I. For two years after our breakup I was tethered to her, and when you're linked to someone like this it's impossible not to think about her 50 times a day.

After that evening's shouting and crying was done, I could see the cable starting to fray and snap in places. It's not severed but it sure as hell isn't pulling on me like it used to.

I've made my peace with this woman and have been able to move on with my life, not just in relationships but in all my endeavours.

Don't take life too seriously; you'll never get out alive

This happened in March, around the same time I had a serious setback with my business; I lost a big contract that was supposed to be a done deal.

Naturally, I went out and got 20 sheets to the wind. Pissed up like a pro. I was angry.

But you know what? The next day I woke up and realized,

"Holy shit, if I take this work so seriously, it will kill me."

So I treated it as a passing storm cloud, exactly what it was. A blip on the radar. A stone I kicked off my path.

I've decided to do nothing, except for fun. It's an adventure, this life, not a damned serious chore full of false tragedy like depression would have you believe.

Depression is a disease, like reality TV

This whole change coincided with another major life decision: the one to get myself on some pills. No pharmaceuticals, but a natural supplement called 5-HTP. I resisted this for more than 10 years.

"Depression happens because you have real issues in your life or your past, and you can't work through them if you're drugged up."

What a crock pot of shit. The real escapism is depression. That's the false reality.

I still feel sad, angry, and depressed some days. I haven't lost the capacity for a full range of emotion. In fact, I'm now working with a full toolbox. To those negative emotions I've added joy, humour, wonder, mindfulness.

I no longer define myself as "a sensitive soul who suffers from depression." Why would I want to?

Do mind your mind

The last sea-change I made was taking my meditation seriously. I got myself a life shifting book called 'The Mindful Way Through Depression' that expands on this idea of thoughts as passing clouds, and gives you the tools to live that philosophy.

Now, when I sit on the subway every morning, I just watch people, and it's my favourite part of the day.

Go out and get yourself a new paradigm because you CAN beat depression. Don't waste ten years, like me.

The sooner the better.