Dealing with Situational Depression

(Blue stress)


Becoming caught up in a depressive cycle is indeed a horrible experience. The good news, however, is that no one has to remain locked in the negative chain created by depression. All it takes is to learn the several practical life-changing skills that I am going to share with you in these pages.

The Solution to depression is to -

"Do the exact opposite to what depression wants you to do."

But what does this statement really mean?

Read on to find out.



beating depression

Original picture by Franco

Can you relate with the blue stress?

A constant fight for survival (A personal experience)

One of my clients describes their experience with stress and depression like this.

“This is the cycle I find myself following all the time.

At first, I feel I am fine, and then things happen that make me begin to feel like I am not coping so well. I begin to feel like I am drowning.

Then something else happens, which makes me feel like I am beginning to paddle the waters frantically, I can feel I am sinking but all my efforts do not seem to be helping the situation at all.

Then I begin to feel like the water is engulfing me almost like my situation is becoming hopeless and the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming dimmer and dimmer. I feel like I keep popping my head out of the water occasionally to breathe, but eventually I notice that I don’t even have the energy to even do that.

It feels like my situation is completely hopeless. At this stage, I lose the motivation to fight.

It’s like What’s the point? I will only always continue to fail, so why bother?

Strangely, If I don’t fight I fear that I will drown under the problems. But then If I fight I am still never able to overcome my problem. It’s a losing battle.”

The freeze mode of stress

The powerless feelings caused by situational depression can be likened to the freeze mode of the fight, flight or freeze stress reaction.

You might have heard about how rabbits can have a tendency to freeze in the headlights of an incoming car. It is as though they experience a temporary paralysis of their muscles.

I have often times wondered if the rabbits froze because they had just resigned to their faith. Seeing the speeding car coming, they conclude that the possibility of escaping from the speeding incoming car was nil since they cannot hop fast enough.

In a similar way, when we feel very low in our mood, we can feel totally powerless because we feel that the difficulties that beset us are more than what can cope with. We feel cornered; in the headlights of catastrophe just like the rabbits.

This is why suicide often ends up seeming like an attractive way out (if I am dead I won’t feel like this anymore, If I am dead, I won't be able to cause the people I love pain anymore).   

A practical strategy: Moving against the grain of depression

The solution to situational depression is easier than most people realize.

The Solution to depression is to -

"Do the exact opposite to what depression wants you to do."

Unfortunately, the easiness of this solution is what makes it complicated. People just seem to expect a massively complex solution because of the complicated experience they have had.

It is also useful to note that, this emotional difficulty forces us to always on surviving. The toxic blue stress makes us keep looking back at the depressive beast chasing us. All we can focus on is how we can escape from it.

As such, life becomes overshadowed by stress, depression and all the experiences that support it.

Even in the face of strong evidence that we are gaining adequate distance from depression, the focus is always on-

“How much farther can I run from depression?”

We are not even able to enjoy the few moments of not feeling depressed.

Life becomes all about “just surviving.”   


The problem

The more we expend all our energy in just surviving the more depression will tighten it's grips around us.

A total shift in focus required in order to overcome depression. The shift in focus required, needs us to undergo a change in our thinking and behavioral patterns.   

Depression has a tendency to "Narrow Out" our perspective by forcing us to only see negatives everywhere we look. See the blinkered specs for more on this.

The solution

Instead of constantly fighting for survival, we can try the following-

Depression wants us to isolate ourselves and do nothing. Instead, we can keep ourselves active by regularly engaging in enjoyable activities.

We can put ourselves in places where we can gradually begin to achieve positive goals.

Depression wants us to think through every little mistake we have made. Instead let us take adequate note of each achievement we make.

Depression wants us to believe that small achievements are not important. Instead, let us savour every tiny bit of achievement no matter how small.

Depression wants us to keep away from people because they won't understand. Instead let us find people who are kind natured, people who make us feel uplifted and develop friendship with them.

Depression wants us to think no one values us. Instead let us pay more attention to those friends who praise us and appreciate us. Let us acknowledge the fact that these friends find us valuable and stop pushing people who care away because we feel they won’t value us if the really know us.

Let us give ourselves a break by learning to lean on our friends when we are not coping and not trying to go through our difficulties alone all the time. (After all we are always happy for them to lean on us)

My personal advice today

I know that these things are all easier said than done, But do them anyway.

Next time you begin to feel that familiar "low mood" feeling, think... What am I being moved to do ? Once you get the answer, write down and do the exact opposite.

This is very important. The more we work against the grains of depression, the more we find that we are able to break from it.

We need to do our best to focus less on our perceived internal flaws so that our life’s path is not determined by those internal flaws.



Dealing with Situational Depression

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