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FIGHTING DEPRESSION
By I Care

Depression is a vicious enemy, and you have to fight back. You may feel like you're not strong enough to fight, but you really do have that strength. You really are stronger than you think.

When you're depressed, you constantly have self-defeating thoughts. The only thing you can focus on is your sadness. When you're depressed, it can be difficult to get out of that depression. Say to yourself, 'Do I really want to be depressed? Do I like feeling this way?' Of course you don't want to be depressed. Don't allow yourself to stay in that depression. Fight back!

A good way to fight depression is to keep busy. When you're depressed, you usually don't feel like doing anything. You just want to lie in bed or sit in a chair. If you do that, your mind will become idle, and self-defeating thoughts may come into your head. The longer you're idle, the deeper you'll be drawn into your depression. Don't allow your mind to become idle. As soon as depression starts, stand up and keep moving. When you're busy doing something, you won't be thinking about your problems; instead, your mind and body will be occupied with the task you're doing. You may not feel like doing that task, but force yourself to do it. Even if you feel incredibly bad, get up and move. In the first few minutes of that task, you might feel like giving up. You'll have the urge to sit back down. Force yourself to keep moving. You'll start to feel better.

Depression can sometimes grow while you're eating. When you're eating, your mind can easily become idle, and the depression can increase. To fight depression while you're eating, read something to keep your mind occupied. Another way to keep your mind busy while you're eating is to write a word on a piece of paper. Try to form other words from that word. For example, write the word 'holiday.' From those letters you can form the words 'lid,' 'dial,' and 'hay.' Just when you think you can't form any more words, you can often find another one, and you'll have a strong feeling of accomplishment. When you're finished with the first word, write down another, and try to form words from it. This may seem like a silly thing to do, but it's fun, and it will keep your mind occupied.

When you're depressed, you'll tend to let chores pile up until they become overwhelming. You won't feel like cleaning your house, washing your clothes, or paying your bills. When things pile up, you can get even more depressed. A good way to fight depression is to do something every day. You can make a list of things you need to do each day. You can pay your bills the day you get them, wash your dishes every day, and clean your home at specific times each month. When you get completely caught up each day, you'll have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Your life will be simplified. You won't be overwhelmed with things you need to do. The important thing is to keep things moving so that they won't pile up.

When you're depressed, interact with people as soon as possible. You can call someone on the phone or go shopping. Be around people. Talking can really help. You don't have to talk about your depression; talk about anything.

Another way to fight depression is to find a way to be needed. You can buy a plant. Think of the plant as your friend. Think how it depends on you to take care of it. Your plant is sitting there, waiting for you to be nice to it. When you water it, think how kind you are because you're taking care of its needs.

An excellent way to fight depression is to do nice things for people. You'll be focusing on their needs, and this will get your mind off your problems. When you help someone, you'll feel good about yourself. Whenever you feel depressed, think of nice things you can do for people. Use your imagination. Think of ways you can make their lives better. Ask them whether there's anything you can do for them. Even if it's inconvenient for you, try to help other people with their needs. Surprise them with something unexpected. You can say to yourself, 'My life may be unhappy, but I'm going to make someone else's life happy.' When you help people, you'll be doing a wonderful thing for them, and you'll feel good about yourself.

Here are some nice things you can do for people:

  • Compliment people about the way they're dressed.
  • Send a gift to someone. Gifts are expected at birthdays and Christmas, so you can surprise that person by sending a gift at a different time of the year. Send the person a box of candy or a CD you've enjoyed. Enclose a card to say that you were thinking of that person. If you take your lunch to work, bring an extra side dish, such as an individual serving of apple sauce. Offer it to someone during lunch. If that person genuinely likes the apple sauce, buy a six-pack of it, and give it to that person as a present.
  • Send a thank-you card to one of your former teachers. Tell the teacher how much you enjoyed the class, and tell the teacher what you liked about him or her. Visualise how happy the teacher will be when he or she reads your card.
  • If there's someone who makes you unhappy, think about that person's good qualities. Send a card to tell that person what you admire about him or her. That card will be a complete surprise, and it will make that person feel good.
  • Send a card to your barber to say how much you like your haircuts.
  • Write a letter to a high-school friend you haven't seen in a long time. Tell that person how much you enjoyed his or her friendship. Tell that person that he or she made your life happier and that you're glad you met.
  • If you had an argument with someone, apologise to that person. Humble yourself and take the blame for the argument. This can be a difficult thing to do, but when you elevate the other person, you'll feel incredibly good about yourself. This will show you that you have a strong character, and it will prove to you that you're worthwhile. If you don't feel comfortable talking to that person, send a letter. Don't avoid people who make you unhappy. Think of ways to be nice to them. It's easy to be nice to your friends, but you'll get a wonderful feeling when you're nice to someone who isn't your friend.
  • When you take a walk, smile and say 'hi' to the people you pass. It's often unexpected, and it will make them feel good. Especially say 'hi' to children. Adults sometimes ignore children when they pass them, but saying 'hi' will make the children feel special.
  • Visit someone in the hospital. You're expected to visit family and friends, but it's nice when you visit someone you don't know very well. It will be unexpected, and it will make that person feel good. Ask that person whether there's anything you can bring to him or her.

    Tell yourself that you don't have time for depression. It's unproductive and wastes time.

    Take a good look at yourself to find the qualities you don't like. Find ways to improve, and practice every day. Develop a good reputation. Be kind to everyone, including those who aren't kind to you.

    Keep doing nice things for people, day after day. Don't stop. Take the focus off of your life. Focus on ways to make their lives better.

    It's important to have a purpose in life. You need something that gives you the desire to get through each day. You could start a project that you'd work on every day. Do something that takes all of your energy.

    I became a Christian in February 2001. When I focus on being a good Christian, I have the desire to get through every single day. Christianity has made incredible changes in my life, including a strong desire to put other people's needs before mine. When you put other people's needs first, you'll be helping them with their problems, and you won't be focusing as much on your problems.

    Remember:

    Don't give in to depression.
    Fight back!

    - October 2002 -

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