This video produced by the World Health Organization is probably one of the most accurate visual representations of depression we’ve seen.
There is no shame in seeking help for depression. It is an illness that needs treatment.
Treat it as a life-threatening disease that you need help curing. Because depression can truly erode your life.
It robs you of your joy, peace and appreciation of what’s good about life. It weakens your ability to give and receive love.
Seek help for it. And do what you can, on your own, to help yourself as well.
This two-pronged approach of seeking therapy and caring for self can save your life.
Dr. Andrew Weil, a medical doctor and advocate for natural healing recommends daily exercise to help alleviate the symptoms of depression.
“Human bodies are designed for regular physical activity. The sedentary nature of much of modern life probably plays a significant role in the epidemic incidence of depression today,” Weil says.
“Many studies show that depressed patients who stick to a regimen of aerobic exercise improve as much as those treated with medication.”
Study your diet for nutritional deficiencies as well. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been found to have a role in the onset of depression.
Some resources on the link between vitamin B12 deficiency and depression:
Do you have a recurring sense of hopelessness, a feeling that nothing is ever going to go right in your life? You’re not alone. More people than you think are in your same situation. Reach out and ask for help.
We are so conditioned to listen to everything and everyone else BUT ourselves.
We seek advice from everyone, and then get confused.
But if there is one thing I’ve been taught that opened my eyes and woke me up in a big way, it’s this:
We already know the answer. The answer is inside you. Let it arise.
It sounds so simple. But if it really is so simple, why can’t we do it?
For sure, you’ve had the feeling of jumbled thoughts, emotions and desires–the push-and-pull situations in life like:
Should I leave my job? (But I need the money)
Should I leave this relationship? (But I think I still love him/her)
Should I relocate? (But that would mean starting over)
Should I change careers? (But I’m already good at what I do)
Here are some activities that might let you better hear the inner voice that actually, really knows the answer that’s right for you.
The following activities describe how to retreat from the world even for just a day, so you can hear your inner voice better.
Personal Retreat Day Activities
- Schedule a time where you can be alone even just for one day and stop discussing the issue with everyone else.
- Get cooperation from your family and friends so that they can get out of the way.
- For that day, prepare everything you need–nourishing food, water, so you don’t need to go out and worry about what to eat. Get all the bill-paying and other ordinary day-to-day matters out of the way; do them already ahead of your retreat day.
- Decide on food that is not too heavy or elaborate. Keep it simple.
- Avoid alcohol, sugary drinks and too many stimulants. Limit caffeine.
- Surround yourself with silence. Shut off the computer, phone, TV.
- Resolve not to talk to anyone at all–or minimize talk to just what is absolutely necessary.
- Do your simple activities quietly, without rushing, without panicking, without obsessing.
- Take a long walk in nature if possible.
- Laser-like focus on the issue that needs to be resolved is NOT necessary.
- If you find your mind overly obsessing on the issue, observe that and let it go. Relax.
- Write your thoughts down. Whatever comes up. Don’t censor yourself.
- Have moments of just being still but awake. If you know how to meditate, do it.
- If praying, pray for the answer to arise.
- If you need to cry, then do so. Observe how the grief comes, and then goes.
- Take a nap when you need it
- Take a long, relaxing bath.
The whole point is to quiet your body and mind. Don’t obsess with an end goal of finding an answer, otherwise, calmness will elude you.
In this calm and quiet state, you will have many thoughts come and go through your mind. They are just thoughts. You will have many feelings come and go. They are just feelings. Do not make resolutions or immediately take action on any of these thoughts or feelings.
Of all these thoughts and feelings, the one that rings most true will be apparent. You will know which one it is.
Don’t judge it, deny it or suppress it in our habitual way of rejecting thoughts we don’t like, or obsessively attaching to thoughts we do like. Don’t allow the “but what ifs…” the “shoulds and shouldn’ts” block the voice.
Just allow it to come out. Write it down.
In my personal experience, these things that arise have shown themselves to be the things I actually already knew, but denied because I was insisting on a particular agenda or outcome, and fearing alternatives to my desired outcome.
Sometimes, the voice is saying something you know is the healthiest, most honest option, but might involve pain. Your inner voice is not the voice of fear. It’s the voice that knows what’s best for you.
Sometimes, the inner wisdom that has shown itself to you is not something you can do right away.
And that’s okay. Give yourself time.
Learning to hear and trust your inner voice, this wisdom that resides in you, is a skill. Just keep practicing. Regularly seek silence so that you can hear your inner voice speaking.
We are truly our best teachers, but we need to learn how to listen to that teacher.
Have you every experienced having a thought or feeling pop up and then repress it, for whatever reason, only to later realize later that it was actually the right answer for you?
Well, well, well! The antiselfie could never have made this one up or predicted this one possible negative effect of selfies.
Head lice from selfies? Ew.
A woman who works at a San Francisco Bay Area head lice treatment company noticed a dramatic increase in the number of clients, many of them teen-agers.
Lice infestation is more common among younger children. “Typically it’s younger children I treat, because they’re at higher risk for head-to-head contact,” Marcy McQuillan told the news blog SFist.com.
McQuillan, who works at a place called Nitless Nogins, told the San Francisco news blog that she thinks the popularity of selfies is causing lice infestation in teen-agers.
Here’s McQuillan’s theory: two or more teen-agers put their heads together in that now-ubiquitous “let’s get all our faces to fit in the frame” shot, and Bam! That, McQuillan believes, is when the lice make their transit from head to head.
She advises people to keep their heads separated, and girls to tie their hair up, when taking selfies.
But some doctors aren’t buying McQuillan’s theory.
One of them, Dr. Nick Celano, a resident at the Los Angeles USC Medical Center, told the London Daily Mail that he wasn’t convinced of the selfie-lice link.
“The way we’re taught is that it takes contact for an extended period of time, and 10 seconds is not what I’d consider an extended period of time,” he told the paper. “We’re in rooms with patients that have lice, and we don’t really worry about getting it transmitted from one person to the other while in the room.”
Whatever. The antiselfie says just get some distance during selfie-taking time. Better safe than sorry. Better yet, how about decreasing the number of selfies you take? I mean, do you really need to take another one?
You know them. They’re the ones who love taking pictures of themselves, and posting them online–relentlessly. And we know they’re counting those likes and really lapping up those comments.
It’s those likes, hearts and comments that most selfie addicts live for. Who in this world doesn’t need external validation? However, the question really is: how much reliance on external validation is too much?
Incessant selfie posting is just as delusional as, say, too much drinking. It’s getting drunk on attention and praise.
What’s wrong with that?
In the same way that intoxication is often a way to escape confronting issues, posting those selfies way too often could be a means of avoiding something.
But you’ll never get to know what exactly those issues are if you keep running to and hiding in the world of alcohol, drugs, hookups, and yes, excessive selfies, to make you feel good.
Is there something in your real life that’s not quite impressive or accomplished as you wish it could be? Are you not getting sufficient praise and admiration in areas that are not related to your looks? Or are you actually getting praised only for your looks? What’s really causing you pain?
Selfie addiction is not a way of knowing yourself. Ironically, it’s a way of hiding from yourself.
Whatever the reason, before you snap that next selfie, and spend a great amount of time perfecting it, try to stop and think–what am I really getting out of this? Why do I need all that validation so often? What need am I really trying to fill here?
This honest self-examination is the beginning of real self-love. Real self-love is when you truly start to get to honestly know yourself , and treat yourself with kindness, respect and compassion.
Zen master Dogen once said: “To know yourself is to forget yourself.”
Once you stop running away from your pain, only then can you begin to know yourself.
Once you begin knowing yourself and the things that hurt you, then you can start the process of healing.
Once you start healing, then you can start learning how to truly love yourself.
Once you’ve learned to love and care for yourself, only then can you really forget yourself–and start sharing that love you’re learning and practicing, with others.
This process takes incredible self-awareness and sensitivity; many are able to access this through meditation.
What behavior do you overindulge in incessantly, to the point of mindless compulsion? Eating, drinking, smoking, selfie-taking, sex? Next time, stop and examine the feelings that arise right before you engage in addictive behavior. Try and identify it. Then try and see if you can live with that feeling (pain, sadness, boredom). Instead of blunting it–try and address it and find the root cause. This process will help bring about increased self-knowledge, the start of genuine self-love.
A friend recently revealed something to me what must have been very difficult and painful to admit, because it raised questions about his sexual identity.
He exposed the confusion, loneliness and pain he must be feeling about his current place in the world, emotions he sought to numb with alcohol, pot and risky behavior.
I understood all too well this cycle of pain and attempts to anesthesize pain, only to have the pain come back after the anesthetic wears off.
As he spoke, he seesawed between seeming nonchalance, and guilt, shame and regret; that mix of painful emotions that marks internal conflicts.
Silently, I prayed for him, and for myself–to be able to handle the information I was receiving. Because within me, an internal conflict was also arising. I was torn between compassion and judgment.
As I prayed silently, I was astonished to hear him suddenly pray out loud as well, a call and response familiar to Catholics:
“Hail Mary full of grace…” He asked for help to finish the prayer, since he did not know it by heart. He fumbled through the words, but the purity of his prayer shone through: a desire for acceptance, perhaps a wish for a return to innocence, a plea for understanding and release from pain.
We continued praying together, aloud, for as long as he needed it. In both our eyes, tears. Despite the challenges, we had found prayer to restore some peace, even if just for that moment.
After that moment of prayer, I felt a surge of love and compassion break through the barriers of resentment and confusion that had been building up between us.
I remembered, and experienced for myself, the power of Pope Francis’ now-famous statement in June 2013 that continues to echo around the world.
“If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
My friend might, or might not be gay. Only he will know what his truth is. It may take some work to untangle the confusion, anxiety and emotional chaos in his life, hopefully with the help of compassionate therapy. Whatever his truth is, I could only assure him of acceptance.
Sometimes, after listening wholeheartedly, all we can do for someone else is pray.
Prayer is also a simple stated desire and a sincere wish for the wellbeing of someone else. It can be a powerful way to bring out compassion. It can melt anger. It can create peace.
Whether or not you follow a religious tradition, sincerely ask that peace, and wellbeing arise in yourself, for yourself. Then ask for peace and wellbeing for others who are suffering. It does not have to be aloud, but if appropriate, say it aloud, sincerely, to someone who is suffering. Check how you feel, towards yourself and towards others. Does asking for peace and wellbeing to arise help ease your, and others’ suffering?