What I Do To Fight Depression
I talk about my past experiences to try to help anyone I can in whatever situation they may be dealing with. I’m an open book and always have been. If you ask me a question I’ll do my best to answer it if I know the answers or can just share personal experiences.
I share the good and the bad because no matter what you read from others. And no matter how good appearances are. Everyone goes through rough times.
On this blog I’ve shared my failures and triumphs when it comes to investing. Some issues both health and personal in my private life. And have a series called Famous Failures detailing now hugely successful people and some of their failures, problems, and haters they had to deal with on the way to success.
The hope being with all this like everything else on this “investment” blog is to help people.
One of the things I’ve talked about here besides value investing and finance that strikes a chord with readers is how I’ve dealt with my depression.
Even in the developed world mental health issues are still a huge taboo due to fear, embarrassment, masculinity, arrogance, shame, and other emotional responses.
But this is nothing to be ashamed of…
According to research about 20 percent of people in the United States deal with a mental illness in any given year. Classified as minor anxiety and going all the way up to schizophrenia.
This site breaks down those numbers even further to specific illnesses. And this three page PDF talks about some of the demographics and economics of mental illness.
Today I want to shed some more light on this topic…
Below is an unedited email I sent to a reader/emailer who asked how I’ve dealt with depression. How I continue to battle it when it crops up. And some of the things I do to keep myself out of that state.
I was going to keep this private but with the blessing of the emailer I’ve decided to make this public. I’m doing this because in the last several weeks a person I went to high school with committed suicide after silently dealing with depression.
Like in many cases everyone I’ve talked with said they had no idea he was dealing with anything.
I hope by releasing this someone who may be dealing with similar issues may find some answers.
The person who emailed me asked specifically about habits I used to get and keep myself out of a depressive state.
I also want to preface the following advice by stating that I’m obviously not a medical expert in any fashion.
I’m only stating what worked for me in the hope of helping others. If you are seriously depressed please talk with a professional or someone you trust to start getting help.
Hey (NAME REMOVED),
Thanks for reaching out. And hope you’re doing well.
The problem with recommending specific habits is that changing any habit – either good or bad – takes time. Hard work. And dedication. Only you can know what your true passions and goals are.
The best thing specifically I recommend for you is to read the books The Power of Habit. Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength. Choose Yourself. Mindset. And The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science. Also my blog posts “You Can Do Anything You Put Your Mind To.” And 17 Things That Changed My Life – which it looks like you’ve already read. These will help you learn for yourself what may help you when you need it.
Outside of that I can recommend some more general things that helped me fight through depression.
- Find someone you trust absolutely that you can talk to when you need to.
I’m close to all my family but didn’t want to burden them with how I was feeling. And didn’t want to be embarrassed if I told them what I was thinking about and dealing with. If I didn’t have someone I could have talked to – my wife – I don’t know what I would have done.
2. Read as much as possible about things that interest you.
I’m interested in a variety of things now so this is easy. But growing up I never read and I hated it. I’ve learned more in the past 5 years about things I’m interested in – including how to make myself get out of a depressive state when I’m falling back into one – than I have in my previous 20+ years of life.
This is a dual goal as well… At least for me the more I learn the happier it makes me because I love learning and am curious about everything. Not sure if this will work for you or not. But if you’re like it me its crazy how much learning helped me.
3. This may be the most important thing – Find something you’re deeply passionate about and pursue it.
When I was at my worst health and depression wise it was when I felt worthless to everyone and everything. Finding some passions and feeling like I was useful to others helped me out of that state more than anything. For me it was learning, value investing, and helping others. I’ve added saltwater fishing to that list now that I’ve moved to Florida and I’ll talk more about this next. Again, these helped me more than anything else.
4. Find something that helps you think and relax.
I’m a workaholic, especially now that for the most part my dizziness is gone and I can do more things. I also have two young daughters I have to take care of and a wife that I’m always trying to make money to contribute towards supporting our family.
To this day I have to force myself to stop worrying about what I’m going to work on next. What needs to get done now. How many hours did I work today. And what I “should” be doing instead of taking some time for myself.
MY UPDATED NOTE HERE: This is all pressure I put on myself… No one else says I need to be doing anything. Even as a kid I can remember always being like this and pushing myself as much as possible. Many times in the past to the detriment to my physical and mental well-being.
Yes, I know this isn’t the healthiest way to live. And it’s still something I have to work on every day. But I want to work, learn, and improve as much as possible to help build a better life for my family and others I’m helping.
To me if I’m not doing this I’m failing not only myself but others.
Now let’s get back to the unedited email I sent to the reader.
Until I got down to Florida and started saltwater fishing nothing I did would get me out of the above mindset. But when I’m in or on the water casting, retying line and lure, baiting up my hooks, and trying to catch fish I don’t think about anything else for the few hours I’m out there each week instead of what I’m trying to do at the time.
Ever since I can remember I’ve had horrible insomnia… Some days it takes me three, four, even five plus hours to fall asleep. But now that I’ve started going fishing more I’ve also slept better at nights after letting my mind rest for a few hours each week while on the water. This all has helped my mental and physical health.
Try to find your version of fishing that will help you relax and take your mind off other things. Something you can do by yourself or with a few close friends. Even if its only for a few hours a week. This short amount of time has helped me a lot already.
I hope this helps. And I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.
Please let me know your thoughts on this in the comments below. If it helped you in any way. And please let me know if you have any tips you personally use to put yourself in a better mood.
If you know someone this article may help please pass it along to them. You never know whose life you may change today with one of your actions so be as helpful as you can to everyone.