Depression Sucks, but How Can You Cope With It?

It’s been a long time…I shouldn’t have left you, without a dope read to help you…help you, hel-hel-hel-help you…no, okay. Shoutout to the late great Aaliyah by the way. That was a remixed line from her music in case you didn’t know. Let’s not waste anymore time and dive right in to the title.

I was inspired to write this entry because today I happened to be on a bit of a YouTube binge. Like any normal person I only half watched this one particular video because…you guessed it, I went straight to the comments. However, in my quest to be entertained by the wild statements of some unrelenting individuals I stumbled upon one comment in particular that hit me, hard. It really broke my heart…I was genuinely saddened reading this. Just for context this video was of this girl singing a cover version of a popular song. Most of the comments were either your typical praise, or harsh critiques…but this one person wrote this:

“Why is she so gorgeous and sings so beautiful and nice, she is perfect! I wish I could be her and not get bullied because I’m fat. Like, OMG, her life is so easy and mine is so bad, but, of course I appreciate the things I have…like my family. I hope I could lose weight but it’s just hard because I always eat when I’m sad and depressed. I just wanted to tell you that you are so lucky!”

That really was tough to read. I felt bad for this woman. Some people would blame her for the issues she is struggling with by placing all of the accountability back on her. I do believe we are accountable for taking control of our lives, but, I think people must first be convinced they have the option to take control of their lives. Let’s be honest, most of us have spent our entire lives following other people. If you pair that with a lifetime of poor habits then you have a recipe for mediocrity and living vicariously through others.

Depression sucks, plain and simple. I know it, I’ve experienced my fair share of it for various reasons, and some things I still am trying to work through myself. However, lately I’ve been on a quest to try and approach life from a different angle. I’m early in my journey but I’ve begun to look differently at the World. It’s simple for people to make blanket statements such as “life is about perspective”, and…”life is what you make it”, but I’m wondering if such claims are insensitive? These phrases, in their essence, are not incorrect, but they’re a bit too vague. They don’t offer any real advice. There are definitely several factors at play here regarding depression, and when considering them it’s hard to place blame or accountability entirely on the depressed. I want to offer some advice to the people who feel much like the woman I quoted.

We are all brought into this world with a certain set of circumstances, and we’ve also been conditioned by our surroundings. I’d like to define circumstance as the factors of your situation (socioeconomic status, genetics, etc.) . I’d like to define conditioning as the mentality and emotions you’ve come to have, and feel, as a result of navigating your circumstances (people, places, and things). Before I dig too deep into this section I want to clarify one thing, I do not believe that your circumstances define you. There are too many stories out there of people who either beat the odds of their circumstances, or simply used their circumstances to their advantage. That’s a statement of fact, however, let’s not neglect the fact that some people are just born into better circumstances than others. I’m not blaming them, but I’m just making it clear that some of us come out of the gates with distinct advantages that others don’t.

Some people are born into poverty, some people are born with bad genetics, some people are born with disabilities, some people are born without families and grow up in foster homes or on the streets, I mean…the list could go on. We don’t get to control how we’re brought into this world…and perhaps the people coming down on the depressed regarding their “perspective” are out of touch in one way or another. Some people have never had the deck stacked against them, and some of those who have…and overcame it, might think a more harsh and direct approach will help people finally get off their asses and be the change they wish to see.

Chill, it’s not that easy. Everyone doesn’t respond the same to “tough love”.

Conditioning is an entirely different beast. I feel like much of our conditioning takes place in those formative years, and ironically enough most of us never fully grow up and move past how we’ve been conditioned to think. Most of our lives we’re told where to go, what to do, when to be there, and just overall who we are. We come to allow these things to guide our lives and define us. We carry these conditions as modes of living, and truths about us. The truth is, you can in some respect be who you want to be, within reason. There are some inevitable things that we simply might not be able to change about ourselves, such as genetic factors, the wealth of our parents, the neighborhood we grew up in. Those things just kind of happen TO you. It can be sucky, but that is indeed just life. However, those things don’t necessarily serve whatever your higher purpose is.

I’m no depression expert so please, take my advice and offering with a grain of salt. I personally feel so many people who experience depression usually experience it on a surface layer kind of level. I’m speaking from personal experience. You look at this vast thing called life, and focus much of your energy into superficial things that don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of your miraculous existence. You’re too tall, you’re too short, you’re too fat, you’re too skinny, you’re too poor, you didn’t get that promotion or job you wanted, you can’t buy that new car or a bigger house, and the list goes on. You’re investing energy into the opinions of people who have chosen to focus on the wrong things as well, and you’re seeking to meet some arbitrary societal standards to appease people who don’t even matter. You’re looking for external validation rather than understanding the value of intrinsic motivation. You were made to be you and build your own box, and yet we want so badly to be inside the box with everyone else. It can be tough, I know.

I just want to encourage you to fill your soul with the things you aspire to be…for YOU, and nobody else. We only get one chance at life and depression is paralyzing you. I love you so much and I want you to make the most of your life and let you know that you are deserving. I’ve had days where I felt like I didn’t even deserve to experience certain things because of how much I was measuring myself against everyone else. I’ve denied myself simple pleasures such as getting a nice meal because of looking too deeply into the “long-term implications financially”. I’ve avoided church because my wardrobe wasn’t right. I’ve avoided going to the park and swimming because I was out of shape and didn’t want to be judged about it. The list could go on….I mean, really ridiculous things like that have allowed me, and I’m sure others, to miss out on some of the simple and more profound pleasures of life. You start to tell yourself that you’re not even worthy to do simple things because you’re simply not good enough by the measure of the rest of society…and I just want to let you know, you are. Please, just…live.

This is my recommendation, and conclusion…

Dear person born into poor circumstances. This won’t be an easy task, but you need to set some very clear goals and expectations of yourself. You need to build discipline and not worry so much about the gifts and talents of the people you see on TV and social media. Either use them as a motivating force to inspire you in your journey, or appreciate what they have and come to realize you may never be that. If it’s the latter, then look inside and see what beautiful gifts you have to offer to the World and master those things. Don’t spend all of your time basking in their successes, admiring their talents, and gushing over their beauty or riches. As a matter of fact, turn down all of the noise and try to shut most of that media off. I understand that in this digital age it’s almost impossible to escape seeing something that makes you feel worse about who you are, but I need you to understand that nobody can play the hand you’ve been dealt, only you can. There are very real and actionable things you can do to improve your circumstances, but don’t look too far ahead…it will only slow you down and trip you up. Have a vision for where you want to be, but take this one simple day and act at a time. Begin to realize you have the ability to recondition your mind, body, and spirit…but only if you can come to terms with the idea that this will not happen overnight. Give yourself permission to live. If you’re grown then I need you to understand you can walk outside and take real steps towards your goals. It might seem like you can’t, and you might have apprehension about taking those first steps in the right direction for fear of judgement. Don’t talk yourself out of it, if you’re reading this then I know you’re ready to take those steps. Embrace the fear and understand that it’s okay to just be you. Block out everyone else’s voice and opinion, unless it’s the people around you who really care about you and are here to cheer for you on your new direction. You might feel you suck right now, but YOU don’t. Focus on becoming the best you that you can be and the World will appreciate it. Give yourself permission to live the best life you can.

Some of this might be redundant because when I’m inspired to write I just do. There’s no proof-reading, just pure thought spilling out onto the screen. If I ever get paid to do this then perhaps I’ll be more considerate, but honestly…this is for me, and whoever needed to hear it. Not for money, just for love.

Love you ALL, and as always, be BLESSED!

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