how to overcome depression

We Are All A Bunch Of Liars

We are all a bunch of liars

Have you ever walked down the street and looked into the eyes of people walking by you? I mean, really looked.

Most people are looking down (if they’re not looking at their phones). They look angry. Stressed. Depressed. And I bet if you walked up to any one of those people and asked them “How are you doing today?” they would pep up, put on a smile and say “I’m doing good!”

We are all a bunch of liars.

Every one of us is hurting. Deeply. And our pain is just beneath the surface. Some of us stuff it down more than others, but we all have that nagging feeling in our stomachs.

It’s the feeling that tells us we are alone. The feeling that tells us we aren’t ok.

It’s the fear that people don’t like us. It’s the fear that people may discover the real us, and abandon us forever.

Yet we go out into the world and tell everyone we are fine. And why wouldn’t they believe us?

We smile. Then we tell some self deprecating joke to lighten the mood. If it gets really bad, we will ask them how they are doing to take the attention off of ourselves.

What we really want to do is start crying, find someone to give us a hug and tell us it’s going to be ok.

Yet we don’t do it. We don’t ask for help.

We ignore our emotions. Tell ourselves we are ok. And then some tiny, little thing will go wrong and the next thing you know we are in a pint of ice cream crying asking…

What happened?

You’re hurt, that is what happened.

Someone hurt you a long time ago. Probably a lot of different people. It all starts when we are kids. Someone does something awful to us, even if they don’t mean to. Then we get programmed with some misinformation about ourselves (ie “I’m stupid” or “I’m ugly”) then we choose to believe it. Since we believe these lies, we attract people into our lives that will help reinforce them.

It’s crazy, right? We actually bring the people into our lives who make us feel the worst.

And then what happens? You become full of resentment, fear and shame. The next thing you know you are 35, walking down the street staring at the ground. Angry. Stressed. Depressed.

So what is the truth?

We never talk about this stuff. We are so scared to. We think that if we share our deepest, darkest secrets with another human, they would think we were nuts. At best, they would make fun of us. At worst, they would have us arrested or committed.

The opposite is actually true. Think about it. Since we are all walking around with this stuff, we are all waiting for the same thing.

We are desperately waiting for someone to open up to us and tell us their deepest, darkest secret.

Once someone opens up to us, then we feel like we can finally open up to them. We realize we are not the only one with secrets. We are not alone. We are not broken. We are just human.

Once we open up and share our secrets with someone, three things happen.

  1. We get relief

  2. The other person gets relief

  3. The other person usually reacts with understanding and empathy because they have similar feelings and we both discover we are not alone.

All the pain we are holding onto can be let go through a simple conversation with another human being.

But someone has to go first.

The world is waiting to hear your story. Your deepest, darkest secrets could save someone’s life. Your deepest shame could be someone else’s hope. That is what you have inside of you. The opportunity to change or even save someone’s life.

We have to stop lying.

What if we started being totally honest with the next person who asked us how we were doing? Imagine how freeing that would be.

That is how you change the world. One honest conversation at a time.

People Need People: The Role Of Community

I had a friend in college who always used to say “No man is an island.” I mean, he said it all the time. We used to make fun of him because he said it so much.

But even back then, we knew he was right. We knew that if we had to go through our college years alone, we would be miserable. We would probably drop out of college and move in to our favorite cardboard box.

There was no way we could do life without each other.

And then we grew up. My friends moved away. I started to believe that I didn’t need people. And the next thing you know, I am a 500-pound alcoholic living a miserable, lonely life.

What happened?

What happened is I moved to that island. Maybe not physically, but I moved there in my mind. After getting hurt once or twice, I decided I didn’t like that too much. I decided I was going to live with as little human interaction as possible. I mean, people were the problem, right?

If I just keep people away, I can focus on me. I can do whatever I need to do to be happy. I won’t get distracted by other people’s agendas. I can just focus on myself. That is what I thought my solution was. But I was wrong.

It turns out people weren’t the problem. They were actually the solution.

All this life of isolation brought me was extreme misery, depression and loneliness. It seems so obvious now, but I really couldn’t understand why I was so sad. I did everything I thought I was supposed to do to be happy.

I needed people. I needed people bad. And once I realized this, I started taking drastic actions. The first thing I did, and probably one of the best things I have ever done for myself, was I got a job at Applebee’s.

Now, this may not seem like the dream job, and for sure, it wasn’t, but what it was was a chance for me to meet people. Not only meet people, but bond with them.

If you have every worked in the service industry, you know it is hard work. And you are in the trenches with your fellow “Applebuddy’s” every day. There is a strong bond that is created with that.

And even though I quit that job years ago, I am still friends with a lot of those people to this day. That says a lot to me.

It says that I needed these people. And maybe they needed me too. We were all so hungry for connection and we found it at America’s favorite grill and bar.

If you are feeling isolated or depressed, I would challenge you to look at your community. Are you involved with others? Are you calling friends regularly? Are you going to neighborhood events? Are you talking to people at church after the service?

There are so many things we can do to bring people into our lives. I promise, your new friends are out there just waiting for you to say “hi.” That one simple word can change your life. It for sure changed mine.

And if all else fails, I know Applebee’s is always hiring.

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Why Am I Depressed?

Why am i depressed?

I have struggled with depression my whole life. I have had some really great years and I’ve also had some really dark years. But mostly my life has been a day to day combination of both.

When I joined Overeaters Anonymous and started working the 12 steps, I thought “Finally, I found my solution. Now I’ll never be depressed ever again!” Just typing that now makes me realize how silly that thought was, but I so desperately wanted to be free from this sadness that I believed there was a simple solution. All I had to do was fix it and I’m good, right?!

Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

I have been in the program for a little over a year now. It’s been amazing. I have learned so much and have really grown too. Yet, these last few days I have found myself struggling with depression again.

Why is this still happening? I am doing the work. I thought I fixed this!

The truth is there is no “fixing” it. There are things I can do in my daily life to deal with it. And I do believe over time it will get better, but I don’t think it ever goes away. It’s a part of me.

But here is the good news. I don’t have to deal with it alone anymore. I have a sponsor I can talk this stuff through with. I have my fellows that I can hang out with. And most of all, I can turn my sadness over to God and He comforts me. I’ve heard people say that my whole life but I only recently started to understand what that truly meant.

It means that I know I am loved. Unconditionally. It means it’s ok to feel my emotions. It’s ok to feel depressed. I don’t have to fix it. I can sit in it and feel it. Experience it instead of running away from it. And I know I can handle it because God is with me. Always.

I can be depressed and know that my life has a lot of worth because I am a creation of God. I can be depressed and know that God still has a plan for my life. I can be depressed and still see the joy around me. I can be depressed and know that I won’t feel like this forever.

With God all of these things are possible. And He has shown me time and time again that he will not fail me. He will not abandon me.

And that means I’m going to be ok.

Once I realize that, I can deal with the depression a lot better. It’s different now than it was in those dark years a long time ago. The difference is God. And God is good.

I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately: “How do people do life without God?” I really don’t know. I know when I tried, it did not work. I know that I am grateful to have found God again and to have Him to turn to. I can’t imagine doing life any other way.

How To Make The Right Choice

We have a choice to make and we must make it every day.

Are we going to fight or give up?

Both are very real options and when we get up every day, we have to choose which one it’s going to be. And to not choose is in itself a decision to give up. It’s crucial that we make this decision first thing every morning. It will be the difference between success and failure in our lives.

Abstinence and sobriety take work. It takes an intentional attitude and an actual plan that we follow. So if we choose to fight, then we need to follow through by making a plan for our day and then following it.

The power of planning cannot be overstated. It doesn’t need to be an overly detailed plan, either. We just need to plan the following five things:

  1. What are we going to eat?

  2. When are we going to eat?

  3. How are we going to serve?

  4. What are we going to do to live out our true purpose in life?

  5. What are we going to do if temptation strikes?

If we have a plan that includes these five things, then we are going to win the fight that day. And at the end of the day, we can lay our heads down in victory, ready to get up the next day and make the choice to do it again.

And if one day, the fight seems like to much to bare, it’s ok. We don’t have to win every battle, we just need to keep showing up and choosing to fight. That’s how we will win the war. Success is nothing but a series of battles won, one day at a time. If we choose to fight every day, then we are guaranteed to have the successful life we have always dreamed of.