Side note regarding the pic: There have recently been some fascinating studies that eating naked has been linked to some health benefits: Higher metabolism, better absorption of the food, and greater tendency to slow eating. (References at the bottom of this post)
Before we jump into how I cope with depression, let me just take a moment to once again express gratitude to all of you that took your time to read my last blog post, comment, sending private messages, and calling me. 🙏🏽❤️💫
I also want to mention that I've been fighting a lot with resistance and procrastination in writing these posts. I mentioned it in my last one, and I even said that I was going to post once a week, to just let it out and give the finger to the perfectionist in me. 7 weeks later: I guess that didn't work so well. At least it didn't take 7 months, which was the case between my first and second posts. Maybe it's a sign it will come down to 7 days between this and the next one? 😆
How do I cope with my depression?
If you read my first blog post, I referred to a quote by Jim Carrey, which is worth repeating:
"I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don't exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren't giving yourself a fighting chance."
And I stapled down all that he said and how important those things are to me and went into further detail on each one of them. All of that has been my core foundation to cope with my depression.
But what do you do when none of these things doesn't work? When you've tried to snap out of it by implementing some or all of the stuff I mentioned? Because that has happened countless times. You feel totally hopeless that this might be the end road with no turning back.
All of the above mentions are more external. I needed and wanted more answers, and for me to get the correct answers, I had to go internal and look deeper inside myself. Psychedelics have helped me tremendously with that (I mentioned it briefly in my first post). This is a topic for an upcoming post where I will share my personal experiences I've had during the 6 years since I tried Psychedelics for the first time.
Self-Awareness is KEY. Acknowledging is KEY. Accepting is KEY. Being Present is KEY. Talking about it is KEY. Gratitude is KEY. All of it is a constant working progress. I never think for a minute that: Ha! I got this shit together now! Done that plenty of times in the past and got whopped big time.
Self-Awareness is KEY
Who am I? A pretty big question to answer if you would ask me, and not the easiest to answer either. You most likely won't find out overnight who you are, but you got to start somewhere. What are my thoughts, my weaknesses, my strengths, my values, all my emotions, and my beliefs? To constantly be more aware of my thoughts and emotions to get a clearer understanding of my personality and who I am.
" Self-awareness is like an onion. There are multiple layers to it, and the more you peel them back, the more likely you're going to start crying at inappropriate times." - Mark Manson
I have found journaling to be my best friend when it comes to self-awareness. Journaling is my Mental Windshield Wipers. Clears any clutter I have on my mind and will also help to put the puzzle pieces together. I genuinely believe that this might be one of the more important things for me to cope with my depression, self-doubts, and self-rejection.
Acknowledging is KEY
Suppressing depression will never work. Fighting it will never work. I will set myself up for a big failure if I do that. I did that for so many years, and I refused to acknowledge it. What I do nowadays instead is that I see depression as a friend that comes and visits from time to time.
I grew up watching the animated cartoon Alfons Åberg and his secret and invisible friend Mållgan (Alfie and His Secret Friend). Mållgan, is my depression. He's always there with me but not always present. When he decides to show up, I make sure to sit down with him and listen to what he says. I make sure not to neglect him, fight him or upset him. Instead, I welcome him, acknowledge him, and I try to understand him. It's not the happiest or most pleasant moment, but we have started to accept each other—especially me accepting him.
Accepting is KEY
The more I acknowledged my depression, the more accepting I became. Acknowledging and Accepting go pretty much hand in hand. I was in so much denial, I was ashamed. I tried so hard, telling myself that naw, this is just a dip. I'm just feeling a bit down temporarily. Depression? Phhfff! No, I don't suffer from that! I'm Benji, this super energetic, happy dude! But when it happens so many times, during all these years, you start to wonder: What the fuck is wrong with me? Maybe it's time to get rid of this thick stubbornness and realize and accept that I have depression?
It wasn't easy, though, totally the opposite. Because I didn't want to be "one of those" that suffers from depression. But I learned that it's part of my life, part of my DNA. It's times when I do some deep inner-work with myself, and even though I know that I often suffer at the moment, I come out so much wiser afterward.
Amor Fati: Accept your fate, and accept the things that come to you in your life, love and embrace it, and make the best out of it.
Being Present is KEY
Meditation helps a lot with being present. It's just me and my breath. Extremely powerful the more I practice it. The more present I am, the less will the inner voice have control over me. The less the inner voice has power over me, the less it will bring depression to me.
Very often, it's the negative self-talk from my inner voice that brings depression to me. How I deal with that is that I try to remind myself that: I am the consciousness who's observing the thoughts. I am not my thoughts.
" We suffer more in imagination than in reality." - Seneca
A book that has helped me a lot in being more present and understanding the inner voice is The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. A beautiful book that I will treat like a bible from now on. There's no other book that has helped me more with understanding my inner voice.
Talking about it is KEY
Come out, it's so important. We need to come out with this more. First of all, for your own sake. But you also help others so much with it.
Since it's so rare for people to talk about depression publicly, it becomes an embarrassment. You think you're weird. Why is this happening to me? You keep it to yourself.
When you hear/read about other people suffering from it, it becomes a huge relief. You are not alone, something you feel so tremendously when you're down in your depression.
As I mentioned in my last post, expose it. I don't want it to be a shame. I want everybody to see Mållgan. I want to make him visible.
As director and my fellow countryman, Ingmar Bergman told his daughter:" The demons hate fresh air."
Vulnerability buys freedom. Freedom to look, say, and do what I want. I am naked; I have nothing shameful or "too-private-to-share-things" to share that's not going to be shared here.
Gratitude is KEY
To round this up, I want to say: That I am, and trying to be, grateful for my down periods when depression comes to visit me. Even though I suffer, and sometimes it has almost killed me. It has also been one of my most prominent teachers in life.
Thank you for reading. 🙏🏽❤️💫
PS. If you know anyone who might benefit from reading this, then please feel free to spread the word by forwarding the link or sharing it on your socials. Thanks for considering.
References: "I just made this up" by Benjamin Vozmediano
Make sure you hit that Subscribe button if you like getting my blog posts directly to your inbox.