This is something I've wanted to post on for a while actually, and I'm glad this will definitely be read by some people! I must first state that what I am going to talk about here is from a viewpoint of personal experience, science and/or logic. I am not going to talk about these things from a subjective point of view. There are ways to get rid of both these things as I've done it myself a number of times (they only came back when I let them - that was no less than a good few months after I got rid of them).
Both depression and anxiety are linked to choice, circumstance and focus. Obviously, we cannot change our circumstances easily. However, our choices and focus are completely up to us. We could at any moment choose to do something completely out of the ordinary. That also means we can choose to do what is right. The same applies with focus.
Feel free to only read certain sections of this. It is long (I hope I'm not notorious for this!). I have separated it into 4 posts for easy reading. Hopefully, that doesn't violate any rules.
The first time I became depressed was actually around half a year before finishing Year 10/11th grade. I was on the whole very discouraged about not having many true friends, an English exam I would take at the end of the year, music (both piano and composing), family and the fact I was feeling this way. It doesn't sound serious but I treated it at first as something I couldn't get rid of. Interestingly, every other time I have been depressed was characterised by feeling these same things - discouragement about friends, exams, music, family and the discouragement in the first place.
Anxiety is something I didn't really realise I had had until I started trying to avoid certain situations at school like sport, dinner queues for hot food (I never had any school dinners!) and answering really really obvious questions in class. All I knew about it is that it was debilitating - I wanted to do things but felt like I couldn't. I was afraid of being judged by people who were, in all fairness, probably afraid of lots of other things themselves. I didn't want to stand out.
One thing I've learnt is that no matter what someone else tells you about these things, the real way to overcome it is through yourself. You are the only one who can decide to try and live life better or be a better person. If you've ever had depression, you will know that you find it incredibly hard to decide to do something other than what you are used to. For me, it was hiding in my room and listening to music or reading something. When I got a laptop, it was Marble Blast The way I view depression and anxiety is that they aren't actually mental illnesses (controversial I know), but simply very bad problems that can be solved. It takes hard work and perseverance, but trust me, it's possible.
What someone thinks is good isn't necessarily positive. If someone enjoys bullying somebody, that behaviour is certainly not positive, but to them it is 'good' - they like doing it and feel comfortable doing it. What is positive is morally good. This is the basis on which I am using the words 'positive' and 'negative.'
To me, depression is choosing to focus on the negative. That doesn't mean being sad about everything all the time. Depression is as far away from sadness as possible. It is actually characterised by a decrease in brain activity pertaining to emotions. You don't feel happy or sad about anything. Getting my first laptop on my birthday was a really tough experience because I had to fake being really excited about it. I somehow managed it but I felt pretty embarrassed.
Depression can absolutely not be focussing on anything positive - if that was the case, there wouldn't be swirling thoughts in the brain all the time. Negative thoughts actually damage the brain (and body - especially through tension) and cause it not to work properly. Often with depression, it can be hard to focus on one particular thought or feeling. This lack of focus is due to the brain's capabilities having been decreased.
Simply put, to get rid of depression, you have to focus on positive things. The hard part is doing it! I would suggest to try and focus intensely on one thing - anything - and think about as many aspects of that thing. Even something simple like an onion has many layers... Once you learn to focus on all aspects of something, it will be easier for you to focus on positive things all the time. It will also be easier for you to focus on one negative thing all the time rather than be swimming in lots of negative thoughts. Find ways to prove to yourself that the negative thoughts you are thinking are not true.
Personally, I also tried fake smiling - even if you don't mean it, it does really do something. Don't destroy your face and hold it forever, but when you think about it, do it. Something else that won't be popular - try fake laughing. Yep. It's good to embarrass yourself. Just don't do it amongst a number of outspoken people. Try doing it in your room. If you keep it up, it'll actually really do something.
Don't give up. Keep thinking about where you want to be - you want to end up happy and positive. Focus on what you want for your future, and inspire yourself.
Have you ever been afraid of being genuinely happy? Or have you ever known with utmost certainty what is going to happen to you at every single point in the future?
Obviously not. At least to the second question. Anxiety is a negative assumption. Assuming that something negative will happen or has happened. Not so long ago I accidentally put a screenshot of something personal on a remote place on the old MB Discord server... and only one person saw it. I looked in the General chat and saw something possibly related to it, but if so, loosely. As I looked through other messages, I believed I was being made fun of. Then someone asked me one small question and it made me go into hiding from the community for a week, afraid I'd done something terribly wrong.
Actually, all I'd done was accidentally post one picture instead of a different one. I had done nothing wrong. But anxiety is what made me think I had - I actually believed something incorrect.
Your body can be in different stages of stress. Stage 1 is normal - it is being alert and conscious of what you are doing. Stage 2 and stage 3 are stress gone wrong. It can be noticed when you are physically tense or strained, or mentally pressured. Stage 2 is when you try to resist stress - you recognise that it is not normal. Stage 3 is when you are exhausted and you let it all happen to you. One time, I felt like I was going to be sick all the time, but I never was. This is an example of mental pressure and physical strain. If you feel not right in yourself, physically or mentally, you are most likely in stage 2 or stage 3 stress.
A big thing about anxiety is being afraid of judgment. The reality is often people are not judging you! If you brave enough to ask someone you trust, tell them about something you think they are judging you on. You will find 95% of the time that they weren't even conscious of it or thought the opposite of what you thought.
The way to get rid of anxiety is to change what you believe about yourself. If you want a positive statement from somebody here, ask Frostfire or myself - Frosty is always encouraging. I think that I am too, although I don't know everybody here. The reality is that you really are amazing, even if you don't see any evidence of that. If you are alive, that is amazing. The likelihood of you - specifically you; the combination of one sperm and one egg that made you - actually occurring is so small it's not even worth trying to imagine - see
if you want to know what I'm talking about. (It actually overestimates in some places, so the 'x' in the final '1 in x' is probably a little too low.) That alone is pretty cool. And, the fact that you can do things like brushing your teeth actually at one point was done for you. You learned to do it over a period of time. You learned the motions. And you can do way more than that. It is actually the case that nonconsciously, you make around 4 billion decisions per second. And if you've been thinking for 10 years, you've made 1,261,440,000,000,000,000 decisions in your life - that could be about 1/5 of the number of grains of sand on earth. You've built beaches! And if that's not enough, you're part of a community of Marble Blasters, a rare community where people generally value each other and are welcoming and supportive. You've probably got some other interests or talents - be glad about them! Some people would wish they could do what you do. I wish I could build custom levels, but I'm naturally not that quick at it and not so good at coming up with interesting ideas.
I really wanted to talk about this, as I'm one of those people you can't put into a box no matter how hard you try. I used to think I was a tomgirl when I was younger, but now I realise I'm just a sensitive guy who can act like an excited child with the brainpower of an 18-year-old. Don't get me wrong, I have had some identity struggles, so I know what's it like, and sometimes there are genuine reasons for these things (i.e. genetics), but perhaps it is would be an idea to re-evaluate it and see if you can think of a good reason why.
Most people here are guys, so that's what I'll talk about. Obviously, some people are naturally introverted or extroverted. However, that doesn't mean that being an extrovert is any better than being an introvert. Generalising for the sake of simplicity, guys who are arrogant or boastful tend to deal with their worries and problems by expressing them openly; and guys who are quiet, shy or maybe a little bit dorky try to deal with their worries and problems internally. However, none of these things work. You need a balance of both. When I've felt depressed or anxious, I've always told someone I trust. It relieves a burden from you. But I also didn't tell everybody I trusted. It's important to think about your own problems yourself as well as to get someone to help you. It means that you feel you have a sense of responsibility as well as a right. I think that's important.
This is interesting, because of course, everybody is in a different situation. Some are wonderful and some are dire. However, it is most eye-opening that from a comparison made by researchers, 95% of schoolchildren in Soweto are essentially keen to learn yet 80% of Harvard students suffer from debilitating depression that stops them from functioning (these figures are from 2004). That suggests that circumstance only really accounts for a small amount of how we feel on the inside about our lives.
The circumstances we are already in are not caused by ourselves. We cannot just change our parents, and some things like where we live are too hard to change readily. Genetics are intrinsically linked to circumstances, as our genetic make-up is directly influenced by our parents. However, there are some circumstances we can change. These are the ones we create for ourselves. You (generally) have the choice to join a sports team, learn a new skill, eat certain food or make the friends you want to. Simply making wise choices that aren't based on our feelings is a sure way to live well. I've chosen to leave this community (not indefinitely!) when I start at music college because of the nature of what I'll be involved in, plus the fact that I want to do some new things in my life, like try out a sport - something I've previously been highly uncomfortable with. But I know that it will be for my good, even if I don't like it at first. I will definitely miss you all, but I'm sure I will come back when the time is right (probably just before a *cough* tourney *cough* starts).
One interesting science concept is called 'cognitive dissonance.' An example would be saying positive things about yourself if you have low self-esteem. This sounds like I'm contradicting myself - I'm not, as there is importance in honesty and realism. When you say/do something that matches your thoughts, it is more meaningful to your brain than a downright lie. But doing/saying something in opposition to yourself confuses you. Once you have the right perspective, it is actually possible to change your thoughts. This means you can change your genes. Therefore, circumstances are not able to control you. (This is scientific fact - do a Google search on 'epigenetics.')
One of the most challenging times for me was auditioning to go to a music school for Sixth Form/Junior and Senior years. I was very very anxious about it, but I knew that if I focussed on any kind of inability to get in, then it was not even worth trying. On the main audition day, I was honestly pretty scared. It felt uncomfortable. But I chose to give it what I could, and I was accepted in. To my surprise, I was still feeling depressed and worried after I was given the offer! I've now learnt through that not to focus on the circumstance, but to focus on the task at hand. They accepted me on the basis of potential, not ability.
Tackling depression and/or anxiety is a difficult and serious thing, and it also takes some time. I found that it kept coming back sometimes because I didn't properly get rid of it. All I can say is that living life free of both of those things is more than worth it. It is more than worth pursuing happiness for your own self as it is for others. I sincerely hope anyone who has read this and takes it to heart finds the place they want to be in. I am also more than willing to partially stay in this community to talk with anyone about anything. I won't judge. I wanted to finish with an all-time favourite quote from J.R.R. Tolkien, one of my favourite authors:
Thanks for making these posts.
I've also heard it can be helpful to fake smile or fake laugh. By doing so you trick your brain to react as if you are actually smiling in a way. People respond differently too when someone smiles, which can in turn help you to feel better about yourself.
There's some risk in telling someone who suffers from depression that he is the one responsible for solving the depression though. Generally someone that's suffering from a depression already blames himself for most (if not all) that is going wrong in his life, therefore it could also make the depression worse.
I do think depression and certain types of anxiety are illnesses, I do feel that the terms are too generalized and only really should be applied if the person isn't able to get out of it by himself for a longer period of time. Depression and anxiety can also be symptoms and if you start treating them as illnesses while there's a different cause, it can really influence your recovery in a negative way. (What really bothers me about whether it's an illness or not is that a new version of the DSM (manual for mental disorders) can really contradict the previous one, or change entire categories of 'illnesses'.. IMO mental disorders shouldn't even be in there until there is undeniable proof for it, or it shouldn't be used as a manual for mental disorders. It should be a system to support people, not a labeling system.)
What I'd advice someone who feels like he isn't able to get out of the depression on their own is to try and talk to someone. I think its better if it's a professional, but I can imagine someone being more comfortable talking to someone close to them.The advantages in telling a professional about your issues are that they (should) know how to deal with it, you aren't confronted with the issues you've discussed each time you see that person socially and you can close the door of the psychologist's office when you are done and leave the issues in that room, so to speak.
I'm quite against using anti-depressants as a way of treatment for depression. By using anti-depressants you don't solve the issue, you only treat the symptoms. In my opinion those should only be used as a last resort and only as a tool to make therapy more effective for a small period of time, not a way to make it appear as if issues are resolved while they aren't.
Last edit: 29 Aug 2017 22:12 by Regislian.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Xedron, CylinderKnot
Your comments are also useful here Regi. I see what you are saying about someone who is depressed saying they are responsible - to me, logically, it makes sense even though I know it is hard-hitting. I did come at the issue from more of a personal viewpoint, because I have never gone for medical help before, and these are only my own pathways out, but I didn't mean to suggest it's the only way. I tried to back it with science and logical arguments too. I've changed the title so that it's not misleading!
I agree that some 'mental illnesses' are not the underlying problem, and that sometimes it is caused by something else. I think with particularly difficult situations, going to a professional is undeniably the best option. Being around people who actually care always helps as well, rather than hiding from them, even if it's uncomfortable at first.