Depression is a shitty disease. It warps your perception of reality and makes you self-sabotage attempts at overcoming it.
Luckily there are ways to overcome it.
The most important thing to understand is that mood warps your perception of reality. When you are feeling sad you are experiencing a different world, a sad world where nothing is possible. Being in this world is not good for you and you should always do your best to improve your mood. There is nothing positive about being in this world.
Your mood shifts both during a single day and during a week, a month, a year and a lifetime. It is the same process on different timescales. Depression is what we call a sustained period of low mood.
There are many ways of overcoming depression and they all focus on the same thing. Experiencing more stimuli that will make your mind happy.
Stimuli can have many forms.
The famous example of the glass of water
If the glass is half full or half empty is similar to asking question as:
On a scale of 0 to 100 what is your belief in the goodness of life the universe and everything and are you a good person and is the world a good place?
Everyone makes mistakes but it is still important to keep a positive view of yourself and the world. Because the positive view is what gives you the energy you need to act as a good force in the world.
You should think about life as a million moments each day that each have a positive or negative charge.
When too many things have a negative charge our mood changes and we start to feel sad or depressed. If this goes on for too long we might become clinically depressed. Then the glass is half empty.
The problem is that when we are depressed almost everything that used to have a positive charge looses their charge, so it is much harder to overcome depression once we are depressed.
Water food and physical activation
Water, food and physical activation are stimuli that are needed for a healthy life that affects your body and in turn your mind. You should always first ask yourself if your physical needs are met when you are feeling sad.
The problem is that your mind isn’t very good at keeping track of this so you might have to keep telling yourself to eat, drink water and exercise. I would advice you to use reminders or notes to remind yourself of this.
We also have a need for sleep. When we sleep our mind updates our view of the world and processes the things we experienced during the day.
Try to do things that are enjoyable before you go to bed. That way it is more likely that you feel better when you wake up in the morning. However try to make it no too exciting, otherwise you will struggle to fall asleep.
This is why we tell our children bedtimes stories. So they will wake up feeling happy. Grownups need stories too.
Once your physical needs are met we move on to the psychological needs. These are safety and love.
Safety is the feeling that our environment is without any dangers. The most important environment is your home. Make your home a place that you feel comfortable being at all times. Fill it with things you love, plants and perhaps a pet. Color and light matters when decorating a home. Avoid black and use bright colours to stay happy. Make sure there is plenty of light.
The reason why light is important is because this is a stimuli that is processed in your mind. The more stimuli, the more our mind will have to work. The more our mind has to work, the more computations it will perform. The more computations it performs, the more correct the computations. When a computation is correct, we feel happiness.
Like any computer your mind might need a moment to boot up. When you are starting out on a new task it is good to remember that it takes time for your mind to be ready.
Love hurts the poets sang. The reason is that if we accept a person as they are our mind forms a mental model of them inside your own mind. They also shape our own perception of reality. When a person we love does something we disagree with we feel pain.
The good news is that friendship is also a bond held together with love. So is the bond between family members.
If you are searching for love you should first look in the places where you are most likely to find good people.
Psychologists give you love even though we have another name for it. We call it unconditional positive regard. It means that we support and help you no matter what you tell us.
Speaking with a good friend is also a process where you give and receive love. A milder form of love is called kindness. It is a great idea to be kind to everyone.
The reason why kindness feels great is because humans are programmed to be perfect empaths. That is why a baby feels sad if someone else is sad.
With time many forget this. It is a frustrating cycle because many are forced to focus on their own self-interest because everyone else focuses on their own self-interest.
Even though this might be how society works it is a reason why many feel bad. You might feel bad because you are frustrated that society is killing its poets, you might also feel bad because you are acting too much in your own self-interest. You might also feel bad because you forgot to eat a sandwich.
My advice would be to start with friendship. Find good people who encourage you and help them. Takes turn helping each other out.
Everything is temporary
Buddhist monks make mandalas in sand. One of the reasons is to remind themselves and the world that everything is temporary. You should also remember this.
This too shall pass.
Work and happiness
In our professional life we sometimes have to make a choice between doing good and making money.
You are free to make any choice you want but understand that if you become successful millions have stayed behind to make sure society functions.
Social workers, nurses, teachers and construction workers are all examples of groups that forego financial success to make sure that society works.
Don’t be naive and think this is because they are foolish. Nothing can be more wrong. They give up their life for civil service because it is the right thing to do.
Achieving financial success and giving back can also be the right thing to do.
Remember everyone who helped you become who you are and then make a choice for how you want to shape society for the better.
If you need more help the wonderful non-profit 80 000 hours can help you make a decision.
Intimate relationships and happiness.
There is no greater source of happiness and sadness then an intimate relationship with another human.
A good way to build a solid foundation in a relationship is to talk continuously about your view of the world.
Work in progress
This post is a work in progress. It will be updated. Feedback is always welcome. This is version 1.0.