I used to have a bit of a temper myself lol. My family also has a temper, and I was brought up in an angry and violent environment.
My parents did not teach me how to manage my emotions. Well, how could they when they didn't even know how to manage their own emotions? So my temper was understandable at the time as I wasn't taught any differently.
I had to unlearn the faults of my parents, and parent myself to become a better person. I am now good at keeping my temper under control.
One of the main things I do when I feel my blood boil is take a breath and think about God or Jesus. And instead of reacting to the situation, I will act on it. For example, someone does or says something to me that I didn’t like. My blood will naturally boil immediately. The old me would react immediately very aggressively. But I really hate myself when I was like that, so I worked on changing it.
Nowadays, I will avoid reacting angrily and instead just bite my tongue and listen to them to get a better understanding of what is behind their words and where they are coming from.
When it is my turn to talk, I will be direct, but respond with tons of love, compassion, understanding. I let them know that I hear them. I let them know that I appreciate them and their position. I will do my best to make them feel validated, even if I feel they are at fault. But at the same time, I don’t allow myself to be mistreated by saying nothing aka I will be assertive, not passive.
It completely neutralises the situation immediately. You’ve not only treated yourself with respect but other people, too. You’ve kept both sides dignity intact. Furthermore, I don’t feel angry anymore, and they are even more likely to respond likewise and more willing to listen and understand my side.
If a situation makes me angry (which is uncommon), I do something similar by changing my perspective.
It takes practice, but gets much easier the more you do it, just like anything else.
The Bible helps me a lot because it instructs us to keep our anger under control—think Cain and Abel.
I do think talking about our feelings is healthy. However, sometimes we will have bad experiences when we do this, which in turn puts us off talking to people about how we feel altogether.
As for your question…
I have researched about depression as an “illness”, including the causes, risk factors, signs and symptoms, and treatments.
I’ve also read many medical journals about depression, the different theories of depression, how it affects our brain (particularly the hippocampus part of the brain), the role of stress in depression, how it affects our memory, learning, cognition, behavior, neurotransmitter imbalances, etc.
I’ve looked at medical journals and books about herbs, foods, and supplements that can help with depression.
I studied naturopathy to understand human health better so that I could hopefully use what I learnt to overcome my own depression.
I have also looked into the Buddhism perspective on depression and how to overcome it from their viewpoint. It’s actually an interesting viewpoint that I find valuable.
I have also looked into the Biblical viewpoint of depression.
I have sought help from doctors, therapists, psychologist, psychiatrist, counsellors, and youth workers. I learnt a bit about depression, but mostly effective coping strategies from them. It didn’t work at the time because I was too depressed to be responsive to psychotherapy, but it comes in handy in my life now.
In my depression experience, I developed several of my own theories as to why I was depressed and possible solutions. I thought I was onto something. But when experimented on myself, they didn’t work. It was just the short burst of motivation that gave me hope, but with no lasting results. Eventually I discovered my own way out, which is what everyone with depression needs to do.
There are many causes and risk factors for depression, and it will vary from person to person.
As such, I will use myself as a case study to give you an idea of how I approached my own depression and anxiety…
The causes and risk factors to my depression include…
> Neurotransmitter imbalances
> Traumatic childhood experiences and poor upbringing
> Lack of family connections, love, support and encouragement
> Lack of resources, financial stress, etc
> My personality traits that were learned from my upbringing (e.g., low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence, anxiety, insecurities, etc.)
> Prolonged stress
> And so forth
I was a damaged goods, that’s for sure. Then to top it off, depression just added more issues to the mix, altering my personality so that I was just an empty shell of my former self.
Then I had comorbid anxiety to compound things, with depression feeding the anxiety and anxiety fuelling the depression. Lovely.
Then when I learnt more about how depression causes atrophy of part of our brain that affects memory and learning, then I felt like I was screwed. I thought, that explains why I have a terrible memory and a learning disability lol. I laughed and cried at the same time about this
So not only did depression kill my personality, but now I had a small brain to match my dead personality.
So I understood very well what was going on in my life that made me depressed and was keeping me depressed.
I knew that I had to do something about the depression because I couldn’t live like this. I was fed up living with depression and growing angry from it. The only problem was, I had no idea how I would accomplish this mission.
I mean, how do you overcome depression when it paralyses you on so many levels? I’m sure you know full well yourself what this feels like.
I tried different things to overcome depression. I read self-help books. I listened to motivational speakers or life coaches, I saw a therapist, counsellors, youth workers, doctors, psychiatrist, and I even tried medication...
None of it worked.
At best, I had short-lived motivation… but the depression remained.
I thought that if depression originates from my poor upbringing and life, then all I had to do was choose to change my life and take action. Easier said than done when you're imprisoned in your own negative and highly distorted view of self and the world, always thinking about ending your life, and suffering so much from the time you open your eyes to the time you sleep. It is hard to be driven to positively change your life when all you want to do is end it to stop the unbearable pain, when you are empty, when you are exhausted, when you are feeling helpless and hopeless.
I could not figure out what was wrong with me nor could I seem to make any progress. Whatever progress I made, I felt just as miserable and helpless.
As I said, the cause/s will be different for everyone. But the one thing I discovered was that all the “positive talk” in the world won’t help if your neurotransmitters that are responsible for your happiness and well-being are out of whack.
I reasoned that by trying to overcome depression, I was focusing on depression. This was an old theory that I developed way back when. However, the approach I tried at the time was to redirect it to changing my thinking and perspective in life.
It didn’t occur to me at the time I was doing this that my health was counteracting it. My biochemistry was out of whack, so it was impossible to sustain positive thoughts, think rationally, or to put things into perspective.
This also works with premise that antidepressant medication makes you more receptive to psychotherapy, hence why both are more effective together than just psychotherapy alone.
However, I also learnt in my journey whilst studying naturopathy that depression is not a Prozac deficiency. Synthetic antidepressants was not going to deal with the cause of depression. Furthermore, if my diet wasn't supporting good health, then it would only counteract the effects of the synthetic antidepressants anyway.
So rather than redirect my focus to changing my thoughts, I used my reasoning mentioned above to redirect it to optimizing my health. Health was the key. I figured I would make my health stronger than the illness, as my thinking at the time was that disease cannot exist in a healthy body.
I also changed my environment so that I could give myself the best opportunity to make positive changes and thrive.
The result: My diet, lifestyle, and exercise rebalanced my biochemistry... naturally and without side effects that drugs give you. And, because my body was pumping out neurotransmitters that I need to be happy in adequate and balanced amounts, my thought patterns naturally reflected this. In other words, my view of self and the world was much more balanced.
I still had to recreate and reprogram myself because, while I was living with depression for so many years, I developed bad thinking patterns and behaviors that reflected my depressed state of mind. So I had to recreate myself based on my new found perspective of self and the world.
It will be different for everyone. Once you identify and correct the weaknesses or areas in your life that need improving, depression has no choice but to dissipate or at least be more manageable. Well, that is what I believe, anyway.
For me, the first place I would start is making sure to establish a healthy environment, diet, and lifestyle. This will at least give you the best opportunity to make positive changes and adjustments in your life. It will also make it easier cope.
Lowering stress is also key. I was studying while I was depressed, so I had increased stress from the study and melt downs many times over. But I ate a strict diet of nutritious foods and exercised regularly to counteract the stress and to cope better physically and mentally.
Never underestimate the importance of nutrition and exercise. I feel that many people neglect these two fundamental aspects of our lives. It will be a natural antidepressant, help you to cope with stress, make you stronger and more resilient, and it will ensure that your body has what it needs to function properly.
For me, it was enough to help me move to the next phase of my depression journey, which was to reprogram myself and recreate my life. It will always take work… our health and lives take work. Just like a garden requires regular nurture and maintenance, so too do our lives.
I hope this helps.
I was looking up something else, but came across a quote by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung: "What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size
I didn't get too in-depth with what this means according to Carl Jung because of time constraints at the moment, but it makes sense in my own experience.
I found it interesting because I've said in this and other posts that trying to overcome depression meant that I was focusing on depression. This makes sense why it persisted and I couldn't move forward from it. I was resisting depression, trying to push it away. Only, by doing this, I ended up attracting more of it into my life. Not only that, but the more I tried to fight depression off, the weaker I became and the stronger depression grew.
So it makes sense that when I stopped resisting it, embraced depression in my life, and redirected my focus to something else (my health in this instance), it dissolved. Very interesting! As I said in other posts, accepting depression in my life actually was the turning point where I could make positive change and progress. This is contrary to what we would naturally do, but it seemed to work. And this quote gives me a clearer picture and better understanding of why it worked.