How to Beat Depression without Antidepressants
Lies about what depression really is
If you are depressed chances are you have been told at least one of the following:
- Depression is a disease
- Depression is a just a chemical imbalance
- Depression is genetic
- The best cure for depression is antidepressants
- It takes years of therapy to treat depression
Your mother or father might have been depressed, your antidepressants may not be working, you may have been told you just have a chemical imbalance and there is nothing you can do to help yourself. I have encountered many people with depression in both my practice and in my personal life and having suffered from it myself and having been close to suicide at one point, I know what it is like to feel trapped in a nightmare with no end in sight.
The good new is it is possible to overcome depression, no matter how long you've had it or what anybody else has said to you about it. Although depression causes a chemical imbalance, that is the consequence and not the cause of it. Although it is more likely that you will suffer from it if someone close to you has had it that is not because it is a genetic disease but because you have learnt how to think in a depressive way from those who are close to you.
The truth about depression is that you can beat it. It may not be an easy peasy process but it is most certainly possible and the first step is to choose to believe that you can.
The key to overcoming depression
Whenever we want to bring change or overcome a challenge in our lives we must start with changing our thinking.
Your thoughts control your feelings and your feelings control your actions and your actions will influence events and situations in which you put yourself.
The outcome of those situations will then confirm your thoughts and you will be stuck in a negative (or positive) self reinforcing loop.
Whatever you say to yourself again and again your mind will believe it.
Your mind doesn't care if what you tell it is right or wrong, good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Whatever you say to yourself it believes. When rain falls again and again in a groove it will enlarge it to make it become a rivulet, then a stream, then a river and eventually that can even become the Grand Canyon!
The problem is that when you are depressed it is like having a disease of negative rationality. You have already thought and debated about all of the possible solutions to your situation and you have come up for reasons why change is impossible. And if you tell yourself that it will surely become your reality.
But the truth is, it doesn't have to be this way. If you can make your life miserable by indulging in misery inducing thoughts, you can make your life un-miserable too!
Whatever you say to yourself again and again your mind will believe it.
The two main reasons why you are depressed
Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point: Your negative thoughts are like disease carrying rats.
Disclaimer: I love animals and this is just a metaphor, so all of you rat lovers out there, please don't take this literally and replace rats with something awful that you don't like 🙂
The first time you notice that rat in your house you have a choice: you can get deal with it immediately and get rid of it or you can ignore it, carry on leaving crumbs and dirty dishes out and discover that little by little your house has become infested with rats.
Once you have let those rats run amok for enough time you may become desperate and think: my house is a mess, it's dirty and smelly and horrible, it has been like that for as long as I can remember and it's likely it will stay that way and there's nothing I can do about it!
Is that true though? Sure, it is a lot easier to get rid of a rat before your house is filled with them but it's never too late to start disinfesting! So let's start doing that.
What keeps depression going and what to do about it
When you are depressed you are fixating on thoughts about your terrible past (on all the things you did wrong that make you a failure and a poor excuse for a human being) and the catastrophic future that you anticipate.
It is this negative loop of circular thoughts that cause depression
All of these thoughts make you feel so low and miserable that you don't want to get out of the house or do anything much.
It's not possible to defeat this by trying to make yourself feel happy because when you are depressed the anxiety and the low mood make it impossible to feel much at all.
So the best way to defeat the thoughts is with other better thoughts. The negative rationality needs to be defeated with its opposite. The poison is only cured by the medicine.
When you indulge in negative thoughts you give them power. Nobody is going to come and do the dirty work for you, you have to save yourself.
It's your choice to start starving those rats, get the house clean and do whatever it takes to get rid of them, one by one. So pick up one and make an example out of it, then start killing the next one. In other words: take one thought, any negative thought, and start debating the heck out of it.
Fight it, ridicule it, destroy it, doubt it, prove it wrong and don't give up until it's dead. It's not a fact, it's fiction. And even if it were real it's not helpful is it? . So what would be helpful instead? You can only defeat negative thoughts by replacing them with positive helpful ones.
One by one replace each toxic negative poisonous thought with an empowering one until your house is clean again. You may have a rat come in every once in a while but from now on you will deal with it immediately and not tolerate its stay.
One powerful way you can weaken the negative voice in your head is to stop taking it so seriously. What if you started laughing in its face every time it emerged? what if you went: yeah yeah yeah, whatever, I've heard it all before...not listening anymore!
Once you have done that you need to use positive progressive suggestions to help you reprogram your mind. These suggestions must be believable.
So for example, if you cannot believe sentences such as 'I love doing new things and I get out of the house often' then change it into something that improves over time and that you can believe such as "the more I get out of the house the more confident I become' or 'the calmer I am the easier it is to make wise decisions' or 'the more I believe change is possible the more I change" etc
After all what have you got to lose? If you don't do this you may lose your life, if you do you have a chance at happiness!
What can get depression started
What can get the negative thoughts started in the first place is either trauma - which can cause circular fearful and negative thoughts which left unchecked can develop into depression, or living a life without meaning or purpose.
If trauma is the culprit then you will need to process it with the help of a hypnotherapist and then deal with the negative thoughts in the manner described above.
If you are living a life without meaning or purpose the depression is simply an alarm bell that is telling you you are not aligned with your truth and joy. You are not doing what your heart desires and your negative thoughts are just trying to tell you that, albeit in a rather destructive language.
In this case what you need to do is uncover the message behind the harsh words. For example: your mind may be screaming: 'you are a failure! You will never amount to anything! You are still stuck in this meaningless job! You've given up on your dreams! Your mother was right, you are useless!' And after some digging you may find the translation looks like this: 'you always wanted to be an actor. you are not actively pursuing your dream. That is why you are unhappy. You need to get out there and give it a go!, stop procrastinating and do it now!'
When you look at it this way your depression is an amazing opportunity to get your life in order. In order to do this though, you need to take responsibility for your life. Nobody else can save you. It might be hard to hear, it might feel unfair, but the choice is yours. If you do nothing, nothing will change. If you do take just one step in the right direction you are on your way to a different and better destination.
What to do when you are depressed
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL:
Choose to Believe you can do this. What you believe is your reality.
For more details or to get inspired into action watch this video:
If you find it hard to implement these practices you may need extra professional help. Feel free to give me a call and discuss your case with me in detail.
About the Author
Elisa Di Napoli is a Holistic Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Coach. She combines Positive Psychology, Eastern Philosophy, NLP, Hypnosis and Coaching with a holistic approach to shorten your path to better living. She aims to facilitate self change by aiding you in your personal evolution so you may empower yourself to fulfil your true potential.