“People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying. People think depression is dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to life. You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again.” -HeathyPlace.com
I discovered self-development books as a Sophomore in High school and it changed my life dramatically. Prior to reading self-help books, I was a skinny and reserved High school kid. After reading a substantial amount of self-development books, I started to make a lot of positive changes in my life.
I started to eat a healthy diet, lift weights, talk to more people and I even enrolled in a public speaking course. I completely changed myself for the fresh start given to me in college. I excelled my first year and made a good amount of friends. At the end of my Sophomore year in college, I felt like I plateaued. I had the desire to change so much I took the following semester off of college and backpacked Thailand.
I would constantly read self-development books, blogs, and motivational quotes to help me navigate through my life. I had unrealistic expectations for myself and a burning desire to constantly change myself…
…And it drove me absolutely neurotic.
I remember I would always walk around Thailand late at night to various nightclubs and bars drinking alcohol by myself. I was only 20 years old at the time. This was the first time I had ever traveled internationally, and I was out drinking alone because I felt numb.
I kept a journal to record my thoughts. The journal quickly filled up with pages upon pages of the thoughts that flooded through my head. I felt like I like a prisoner — trapped in my own head. I wanted to go outside all the time and…
When I returned to the States from traveling, I knew something was wrong. I had been feeling bad for so long….I knew I needed help. I checked myself into my college’s therapy clinic and I started to see a therapist every week.
I was so ashamed…I did not tell anybody.
——- Fast forward a year ——-
I can still vividly remember the day my therapist told me that I did not need therapy anymore. My therapist told me I was well equipped with the necessary tools to counter the self-critic and that I not need therapy anymore. That was really great to hear. I learned so much through therapy, I want to pass along some useful tips I learned that have helped me work through and overcome my severe depression.
- Get Professional Help
If you are struggling with depression and are on the fence about seeing a professional for help—get help. You would go see a doctor if you were seriously physically injured, right?
Well, it is the same thing. A therapist or psychologist is like a doctor for your mind. Therapists or psychologists are like doctors because they will listen to your symptoms, diagnose you, and then recommend you solutions to heal your “injuries”.
I struggled for so long trying to fix it on my own, I wish I would have sought help sooner. I expedited my healing when I finally saw a therapist. Just being able to talk to someone else openly about my problems had amazing healing benefits.
I was ashamed at first, but after a while, I started to tell people I was in therapy. There is honestly no shame in getting help and wanting to better your life.
It can be pricey to seek to a professionals help, but I would suggest you think of it as an investment in yourself. If money is really an issue, there are a ton of ways that you can find cheaper therapy options or even free counseling. Colleges have therapists in training where you can get really cheap or even free therapy sessions. There are government programs that offer free counseling if you cannot afford it. The programs vary from state to state so you need to check your state’s availability.
Here is a list of free and affordable mental health resources.
- Challenge Your Beliefs
Mark Manson, a New York Times best-selling author, says: “most people, when their beliefs are challenged, hold onto them as though they are a life vest on a sinking ship, The problem is that oftentimes their beliefs are the sinking ship.”
It is true. It is easy to think that just because you thought of something, and it is coming from your own brain…it is automatically true. People rarely challenge the soundness of their own beliefs.
My therapy clinic had specialized in Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a therapy technique that treats problems and improves happiness by modifying emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. CBT required that I catch the thoughts in my head and question the validity of them.
I had some dysfunctional thoughts that brought about a lot of sadness that I had to dissect and question. It was hard to challenge my deeply withheld beliefs. At the time, challenging some of my beliefs were like trying to challenge my belief that gravity exists! That was how tight I held on to my beliefs.
Let me ask you this: how can you be so sure certain of your beliefs if you have never played Devil’s advocate and seen the other side?
I would be skeptical about your thoughts and do not be afraid to admit that you can be wrong. It was not until I challenged my thoughts and saw the error in my thinking, that I became liberated. Ask yourself: what if the opposite way of what you were thinking were to be true? If some thoughts are not serving you emotionally, realize they could be wrong and alter them by challenging them.
- Try On New Beliefs
You see, people are conditioned to see the world a certain way. Their views or paradigms are their roadmaps they use to navigate through the world. Paradigms can cause a person to believe and only look at things a certain way without considering the possibility of seeing it from a different perspective. When their paradigms of the world cause them to be depressed or feeling down all the time, they probably have an ineffective roadmap.
One would need a paradigm shift to modify their way of thinking and become happier. A paradigm shift is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as: “an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way”
A paradigm shift is essentially exchanging an old belief and trying on a new belief. As I mentioned earlier, some of our beliefs may not be serving us in our lives so challenge them and try on new beliefs.
I struggled for a long time with this. Whenever my therapist would give me a suggestion, I would automatically give them a hundred reasons why they were wrong and pretty much argue with them. It was not until I quieted down, listened to what they said, and tried on new beliefs that I made substantial progress.
My advice is to don’t be afraid of being wrong. Try on new beliefs to see how they can serve you.
Therapy has changed my life significantly. It taught me to be aware of all my emotional motivators, to challenge my automatic thoughts and be able to be more vulnerable.
Now, I am in a way better place in my life.
It is absolutely okay to seek and receive help for your emotional issues. Know that you are not alone. If you are struggling emotionally, get help, stay positive and keep pushing through. I know you will get through it.
I am absolutely sure of it 🙂
-Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA. Brandon Leuangpaseuth is a writer from San Diego, CA, who helps various law firms like George H. Ramos, Jr. & Associates with their public relations.You can connect with him on Linkedin @ bleuangpaseuth.
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