How to Deal With Depression
12 Steps that You can Begin to Implement Today
At first glance, this site might not look like one that is dealing with depression.
Instead, it might look like one that is devoted to weight training, reducing weight, pseudo paleo nutrition, the benefits of deadlifts, squats, pushups, real food to help you lose body fat, gain muscle, transform your body.
There is definitely truth to that.
However, the primary purpose of this site is to help you, your friend or family member discover the simple, practical and effective strategies that they can implement to get out of depression.
How to deal with depression is a subject that is very close to my heart.
You see, many years ago I wanted to end my own life due to the perpetual shock of depression from family estrangement, career loss, home loss, crime, divorce and several other events I wish had never happened.
But they did for me and my guess is that you have experienced your own situations that might have left you in your own perpetual shock of depression.
The perpetual shock of depression has had catastrophic effects on my life of which I still grapple with today.
Back then, I wish I had a mentor who could have walked me through some of the steps that I am going to suggest for you.
Maybe I would not have listened, but I would have liked the opportunity to think about alternative methods for dealing with depression with or without medications.
I want to be that mentor today that I wish I had so many years ago.
No, I do not have a perfect life.
Yes, it is much much better than anything I could have imagined over a decade ago and yes, the strategies I am going to suggest for you have all been guinea tested on me.
If I can help even one learn how to deal with depression and move towards a better life, that alone will have made all the time and effort I have spent to deliver this information worthwhile.
I know the pain and it is real.
I wish you the best and please consult with your doctor before implementing my suggestions as I am not a doctor nor pretending to be one, just a person who was drowning from wave after wave of traumatic events and am now thankfully on dry land.
How common is Depression?
More than you think.
Believe it or not, the National Institute of Health has estimated the number of Americans with Depression at close to 7% of the US population age 18 and older.
Regarding depression, the NIH states that
- Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.3
- Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, 2
- While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
- Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.6
Of course, the risks in depression are obvious, they all have one thing in common, injury to the self.
In the most destructive case, someone who needs to know how to deal with depression and is not winning the battle, might contemplate extreme measures to get relief from the pain in their mind.
Is it not ironic, that the great scourge of depression is essentially within our own mind?
Playing disabling scenes of the past, mulling over disappointments, wallowing in the troubles which are facing us in the present.
Coping methods for dealing with depression usually take the form of some type of self medication, food being a favorite as anyone can attest seeing countless movies where the victim of a romantic heartbreak is seen gorging on ice cream in the wee hours of the evening trying to dull the emotional pain.
Besides food, drugs can also become a crutch, as well as other behaviors which do not serve oneself well.
The pain is real, there is no doubt about that.
If the pain was not real, we would not have more than 30,000 americans opting out by suicide every year as is elaborated on in this list from https://save.org :
- Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.
- There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.
- Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young adults nearly tripled.
- Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
- In the month prior to their suicide, 75% of elderly persons had visited a physician.
- Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.
- For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
- Suicide rates among the elderly are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
- 80% of people that seek treatment how to deal with depression are treated successfully.
- 15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.
- There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
- The highest suicide rate is among men over 85 years old: 65 per 100,000 persons.
- 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.
- Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide.
- The strongest risk factor for suicide is not dealing with depression.
- By 2010, depression will be the #1 disability in the world. (World Health Organization)
- In 2004, 32,439 people died by suicide. (CDC)
- Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 15th). (CDC)
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Americans. (CDC)
- It is estimated that there are at least 4.5 million survivors in this country. (AAS)
- An average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. (CDC, AAS)
- There are four male suicides for every female suicide. (CDC, AAS)
- Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention.
- Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness.
- Last year SAVE educated 10,618 youth & parents how to deal with depression and suicide prevention.
- Last year SAVE received 810 requests for information from 72 countries.
- In 2004 it is estimated there were 811,000 suicide attempts in the US. (AAS)
- There are three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. (CDC, AAS)
- According to the Violent Death Reporting System, in 2004 73% of suicides also tested positive for at least one substance (alcohol, cocaine, heroin or marijuana).
So, we see that the strongest risk factor is depression.
That is because the pain of depression is a real pain.
It might not be a physical pain, but it has tremendous impact on the person who is living with it.
I speak about it, because I know what it feels like.
I also know what I have done to address that specific pain and hope that it might be useful to anyone else who is dealing with depression and struggling with trying to get out of the hole.
Here are the main tips that I would give today how to deal with depression.
For me, it has been an ongoing process, but I am thankful that I have stumbled upon a number of strategies which are most effective in fighting depression.
1. Leave the ROD, the ‘Room of Depression'
2. Lock the Door on the Room of Depression
3. Build new rooms in your metaphorical home which I will explain
4. Focus on those rooms
5. Strengthen those rooms as much as possible and do your best to not reenter the ROD
6. Eat real food
7. Get stronger with core strength exercises
8. Accept gradual improvement, progress, not perfection
9. Pick 10 – 15 healthy foods or meals that you enjoy and eat them consistently
10. Pick 3 – 5 core free weight exercises like pushups, deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses, pullups, and do them consistently
11. Eat healthy meals every 2 to 3 hours and stop eating by 7 or 8pm
I know, the room of depression might sound a bit unusual, but I think it is a metaphor that does have real life application and can work.
The metaphor is that the house, the home, the castle, this is your life, this is you.
The ROD, the room of depression is that space where you have been spending an inordinate amount of time, so much, that you might even cause distance between yourself, friends and family.
The distance that the ROD causes between you and yourself is the most severe.
By living in that room, whatever the scenes are that you are replaying, whatever the conversations are, whatever your thoughts are, that room , that space is causing you an enormous amount of pain.
And you are still sitting there?
For how long?
For how many years can you do that?
Of course, over time, if you do not leave that room, you will be saturated, marinated in depressive thoughts which could have egregious consequences.
Eleven years ago, I went through some very challenging times and out of respect for those involved, I am going to keep it private.
The experience felt like I had been hit by a virtual train, totally knocking me off of my equillibrium, as the events were very painful.
For too many years, I lived in that room. That room of depression.
I replayed many scenes and conversations in my mind.
Many should have, could have, would have scenarios.
The end result was that I lived in that room, focused on events that I had little to no control of, and grew more distant from myself.
I could not even recognize myself, I was just in that room, I felt no identity at all, other than being an occupant of the room of depression.
How did I deal with that depression, at least to leave the room long enough to make some progress to where the future became brighter and continues to do so now?
1. How to Deal with Depression Step 1 –
Leave the ROD. How do you do that?
In two ways, the first is to visually leave it, leave that room, close the door, let all the memories, videos, conversations, remain there.
For years, you have had no other room but that place. You have to move out.
The other way is physically. Stop sitting, stop moping, stop sulking. Physically, start walking, start moving, start taking action.
2. How to Deal with Depression Step 2 –
Lock the Door. It is tempting, especially after years of living there, to want to go back, to be accustomed to going back, that is natural. But you must lock the door. When you do lock it in your mind, you will have some space to create anew, which will enable you to do step 3.
3. How to Deal with Depression Step 3 –
Build new Rooms. What type of room?
Any room that will make you more productive.
Any room that will let you focus on yourself and what you can do to improve yourself.
For me, it was to focus on learning additional technical skills.
For you, it might be a language, music, losing weight, building strength, all are productive and valuable ‘home improvement projects'.
4. How to Deal with Depression Step 4 –
Focus on those rooms.
Now that you have left and locked the door of the ROD, now you can focus on building your new home.
Make it a palace, make it a mansion, make it spectacular, make it a paradise.
I know that at some point in this process, you will feel excited by whatever you are creating.
People want to be productive, by nature.
Just as the earth produces, we also want to produce, we also want to contribute to ourselves, our families, the world.
Once you get out of that ROD, you are going to be able to focus on your new home and love living in it.
5. How to Deal with Depression Step 5 –
Strengthen those rooms, do not go back to the ROD.
The more you strengthen your new rooms, the less likely it will be that you reenter the ROD.
6. How to Deal with Depression Step 6 –
Eat real food – you know, the good stuff, real food that grows, as unprocessed as possible, vegetables, berries, nuts, nutrient dense protein.
7. How to Deal with Depression Step 7 –
For an excellent infographic on how to deal with depression without pills, see http://www.
8. How to Deal with Depression Step 8 –
Accept gradual improvement, progress, not perfection – little by little, day by day, make gradual improvements, and over the long course of time, you will become a master of whatever you set your mind to accomplish
9. How to Deal with Depression Step 9 –
Pick 10 – 15 healthy foods or meals that you enjoy and eat them consistently
10. How to Deal with Depression Step 10 –
Pick 3 – 5 core free weight exercises like pushups, deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses, pullups, and do them consistently
11. How to Deal with Depression Step 11 –
Eat healthy meals every 2 to 3 hours and stop eating by 7 or 8pm
12. How to Deal with Depression Step 12 –
Go to Sleep on Time – staying up late, churning over your problems, will not solve them, get a good night sleep so you can be refreshed for a new day
What do you think?
Does this make sense to you?
Have you wondered how to deal with depression?
Do you know of anyone who is affected by depression?
I hope that these words and ideas can be helpful.
How to Fight Depression Without Pills
How to deal with depression was a goal of mine from my youth without knowing it and from my very dark days in 2002 and 2003 when I knew that I needed to find a way out of the abyss, otherwise I felt that my obsessive self flagellation would go beyond suicidal ideation.
From early childhood, pretty much as far back as I could remember, I always felt an undercurrent of depression, which I do not believe rose to the level of dysthymia, which as noted in wikipedia “has a number of typical characteristics: low energy and drive, low self-esteem, and a low capacity for pleasure in everyday life. Mild degrees of dysthymia may result in people withdrawing from stress and avoiding opportunities for failure. In more severe cases of dysthymia, people may even withdraw from daily activities. They will usually find little pleasure in usual activities and pastimes.”
When I was a kid, the concept or word of dysthymia had not yet been coined by Dr. Robert Spitzer. That would happen after I was already an adult in the late 1970s.
Is Depression Genetic or Environmental?
Depression is said to afflict close to 30 million people in the United States. Of that number, approximately 40% is believed to be genetic and 60% environmental. As reported in Healthline.com “in 2011, a British team isolated a gene that appears to be prevalent in multiple family members suffering from depression. The chromosome, 3p25-26, was found in more than 800 families with recurrent depression in the study. Scientists have said as many as 40 percent of those suffering from depression can be traced back to a genetic link, with environmental and other factors comprising the remaining 60 percent.”
In my case, I believe that my depression is rooted in enviromment.
About.com reports that “according to studies, the long-term effects of the Holocaust on the children of survivors suggest a ‘psychological profile.'
Their parents’ suffering may have affected their upbringing, personal relationships and perspective on life.
Eva Fogelman, a psychologist who treats Holocaust survivors and their children, suggests a second generation ‘complex' characterized by processes that affect identity, self-esteem, interpersonal interactions and worldview.
Literature suggests that after the war many survivors quickly entered into loveless marriages in their desire to rebuild their family life as quickly as possible. And these survivors remained married even though the marriages may have lacked emotional intimacy. Children of these types of marriages may not have been given the nurturance needed to develop positive self-images.”
My parents were in the largest geographic concentration camp known as Transnistria. Over 800,000 Jews were murdered there with approximately 3,000 survivors. That would explain the palpable sense of fear, anxiety and insecurity that I sensed in my home environment. I am sure that one of the most precious memories of adults is how safe their home felt when they were children. I never felt that safety. I felt the guilt of the survivor and the dread of ominous events taking place, especially in the face of separation. In the concentration camps, separation from your family almost always meant certain death.
When I was about 12, I discovered that if I worked out really hard, then I would feel a sense of relief. I did not know much about depression, never heard the word mentioned and never wondered how to fight depression without pills. I did not know about endorphins, I just thought it was because I was so physically exhausted that I could not focus on the dread in my head. As a result, I began to exercise even harder, trying out for tennis, swimming, gymnastics and football, anything that would give me that surge of feeling even tempered, anything that pulled me out of the shallow pit of despair that I laid in for so long, without knowing why. I had intuitively realized how to fight depression without pills through being a kid and playing games and sports.
I continued to the tune of 8 – 10 hours a day, until I got injured at 18 and had to stop. Almost immediately after, my fears were realized when I was a cashier in a bakery for a summer job and ended up pistol whipped and face down on the smelly linoleum floor, being told that I was going to be shot because the robbers were pissed off that they did not find enough money in the register. I thought how it sucked that at only 18 years of age, I would be shot just like my entire family of over 100 human beings were slaughtered only 30 years earlier. After the robbery ended and I found myself still alive, I cried and sweated and swore not to tell my parents, which was not a great idea in retrospect. I did not want to worry them, but at the same time, they did not understand why I became somewhat of a recluse. I preferred to stay indoors and study, rather than risk walking or being outside in New York City, especially in a store. I was traumatized from the actual experience of being threatened to be killed, which only fed into the narrative I had sensed in my home my whole youth, which is the fear of being killed, the fear of starvation and the fear of separation.
The fear of venturing out into the City became so intense that I actually left the country. I felt that I would be safer in a war torn country than in the US. How sad was that. Even worse, my father suffered for many years the fear of separation from me. Any day that I did not call, he was terrified that something bad had happened. Only 10 years later from when I left the US, I myself experienced the same fear of separation from him on a pleasant weekend afternoon, sunny and mild. I kept missing a phone call and started to think it was from him, I did not have caller id. I imagined that if I called my mother, that she would be crying that he was hurt, which is exactly what happened. I called my mother and she told me that daddy had been in a car accident and was in critical condition in the Hospital.
Despite all our prayers and tears, he died.
I thought that was the biggest shock of my life, and it was up till that point. At that time though, I never thought about how to fight depression without pills or with pills, I thought it was natural to feel morose and down.
It was not until 15 years later that I needed to know how to fight depression without pills.
Those were the dark days of 2002 – 2003. Suffice it to say that a good diet and exercise program as well as support from family might have salvaged some remnant of my life. It was not to be and the only answer that medical professionals had for me was in a bottle of prozac, zoloff, effexor, neurontin and many others which just left me dazed and with very unwelcome side affects.
If you are suffering from trauma, if you have dysthymia, if you are battling events which are leaving you down, of course, follow the advice of your chosen medical professional. But, also consider that there are methods how to fight depression without pills which might enable you to climb out of your rut.
Too bad that as an adult of 45 , I did not have the intuition that I had when I was 12. Exercise and a good diet can do as much and possibly even more to give you the strength to fight depression and without the terrible side affects. For this reason, I am publishing this infographic mentioned below on how to fight depression without pills. I hope that it can help those in need.