How I got out of depression

About 2 years ago I was depressed,

I wasn’t diagnosed and I never really told people but I was depressed and for a while I was suicidal too. It started with an existential crisis or two and then it just sort of spiraled from there until my head was not a place that I enjoyed being in. 

Thankfully I managed to climb out of that deep dark pit, slowly but surely. 

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 

When I was in this dark place every day felt like hell, it was all just a means to an end to get back to sleep, the one time I could escape my own head. I felt done. I didn’t want to deal with this whole “life” thing anymore. To me it felt as if everything is pointless and we are all just waiting to die. I couldn’t think of any other justification for it at the time. 

Im writing in the hopes that it can help just one individual who’s stuck in that same pit. Some tips for what I did that helped me and can maybe help someone else too. 

The number one thing that started a domino effect for me was when I finally came to the realization that I didn’t want to die. I had been trapped in the cycle of I want to die so much so that I couldn’t even make an attempt at gratitude, I could see that I was lucky in comparison to others, I had loving friends and family and good physical health and food on the table. But that didn’t matter to me because it didn’t change how shitty I felt. I just wanted the pain to end. 

The “pain” was the result of my mental self pummeling me into submission. It was negative thought loops that spiraled and spiraled and spiraled constantly and continually. The only way out was either to escape that mental cycle or to die. 

At some point I realized that death wasn’t an option. I needlessy thought it was for a long time, but it wasn’t going to happen because I simply felt too bad about the pain that would cause the people I loved. 

So I had to figure out a way to escape the mental cycle. Once I had that single thought I had already taken the first step to getting better. 

So how did I escape the mental cycle? 

I want to clarify that it wasn't one single thing or a recipe of things that did it.

I had to become aware of my own thoughts and feelings separately from those thoughts and feelings. From there I could evaluate how helpful or detrimental a certain thought was in an attempt to stop a negative thought loop before it started. 

This didnt always work. 

In fact at first it hardly ever worked. 

I essentially had to build up the strength to be able to shutdown negative thoughts and replace them with positive or neutral ones. 

A good way to do this is to change the words you think with. 

Go from “ Fuck me I hate having to go to this shitty class” —> “well I'm gonna be here for an hour whether I want to or not, might as well learn something” 

your brain doesn't know the difference between your forced thoughts and other thoughts

This means that even if you don't mean it when you think “ this is great!” - your brain doesn't know the difference and you might feel a bit better - this is the basis of the entire idea of fake it till you make it. 

But you shouldn't be super satisfied if your still allowing yourself to think that your faking it, you need to fake the part of your brain that knows your faking it too, so that you can almost believe it.

Besides being watchful of my thoughts something else I did was be mindful of the content I watched on my phone. This means anything on Tik-Tok or instagram. 

I am not a big promoter of spending lots of time on social media nowadays but at the time I found it comforting as a distraction. 

One of the things that made me start to be aware of my TikTok/Insta feed was that it was filled with videos that romanticized being depressed, making it feel more normalized to me. 

It’s a lot easier to stay depressed if the content your seeing romanticizes it to the point where you think that being depressed is comfortable and normal. So what I did is I changed my TikTok feed, I started watching more motivational videos and skipping past the sad ones. Slowly my feed changed as well. This doesn't make you not depressed, but constantly seeing videos telling you that you can get better gave me energy and once I watched enough of them, some of the messages were internalized which boosted my mentality further. 

Simply getting rid of the negative energy your seeing makes it harder to be negative. Using this to your advantage by surrounding yourself with positive energy can make a world of difference. 

One of the things that also made it hard to escape the negative cycles in my head as well, was the feeling of comfort I had in escaping everything. It was easier not to deal with reality so I dissociated myself from everything the majority of the time, I would just run on autopilot for days or weeks at a time. I was quieter around my friends and family, and usually unless I was spoken too I was in a deep fog inside my own head, trying to numb myself from feeling anything, so that I couldn’t hurt. 

If someone noticed I was off I would play it off, tell them I was fine, whatever I could do to make them worry less and not bother me. I knew they were only trying to help, but I didn't want help because that sounded like “work” to me. 

I was comfortable hidden in the fog running on autopilot, as much as I hated being in pain mentally, the work required to get help seemed like an impossible task, I was sleep deprived for months because whenever I would go to bed I would have negative spirals until i was too tired to do anything but sleep. This happened so much that I wound up running on an average of 4h of sleep a night for months. 

My energy levels were shot. 

Any work at all was monumental

So in order to get the energy to break out of the mental fog, I had to first start sleeping better, this required being aware of my thoughts as I went to sleep and fight negative energy away. I also switched from listening to sad Juice WRLD music at full volume (which I did to drown out my own thoughts pretty much 24/7 even while going to sleep) to listening to a less sad album (Blonde - Frank Ocean) at a quiet volume.

Figuring out these strategies took time, I was negligent to change what was keeping me comfortable. On some level though, I knew that what was keeping me comfortable was exactly the same things that were keeping me depressed. 

If I had to list 5 takeaways from the darkest time in my life it would be these. 

To anyone on their own mental health journey. I am proud of you for making an effort, any effort no matter how big or small is a win. Never forget to congratulate yourself for what might feel like the smallest of achievements. Getting out of bed in the morning, eating food or taking a shower. It doesn’t matter if these are small things for anyone else, congratulate yourself on a huge victory. 

Focus on the positives and look for every silver lining out there - believe me, theres a lot more than you think ;)

If you did one thing better today than you did yesterday congratulate yourself on progress. Even 1% better today over yesterday is HUGE. 

I hope this helped whoever’s reading this. Things will get better:)