How I FINALLY Overcame My Depression (And You Can, Too)

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depressed man

For the first 15 years of my life, I was a relatively happy person. But about the time my parents got divorced, I became angry and cynical. Now I realize that I was externalizing my inner feelings of unworthiness and self-hatred. I was 15, which is a time when many people start to exhibit these traits.

My cynicism pervaded all areas of my life.  

I really started playing the blame game. If I wasn't complaining, I was blaming, and if I wasn't blaming, I was shaming myself. This attitude served me just fine for years. I was reaching my goals, had plenty of friends and had successful romantic relationships.

Then I hit my first speed bump in college, and it destroyed me. My grades started slipping and I began isolating myself. I finally realized I was battling depression. The amount of time I spent talking about my depression, whether out loud or to myself, was virtually non-stop.

I would say in my mind, "I'm so depressed. Why am I this depressed?" There was no end, and it was exhausting. I finally got out of that depression, more by luck than changing myself, but the negative self-talk persisted. Whenever I got a melancholic feeling, I went straight back to that incessant self-talk.

My personal journey has led me to studying Buddhist principles and the writings of self-help scholars. I learned that a feeling is not something to reinforce or hide from but instead face and look for the root. The feeling will often transmute if you don't give it too much power.

I was unknowingly perpetuating the feeling with negative self-talk.  

Eckhart Tolle explains, “Unhappiness is an ego-created mental emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet.” He continues, “So the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is this: learn to disidentify from your mind. Every time you create a gap in the stream of mind, the light of your consciousness grows stronger. One day you may catch yourself smiling at the voice in your head, as you would smile at the antics of a child. This means that you no longer take what's in your mind all that seriously, as your sense of self does not depend on it.”  

Knowing this gave me the power and strength to choose happiness and positivity.

It reminded me that when I am feeling "depressed," it's an egocentric need. My ego is actually enjoying this pity party.

I didn't learn to disindentify from my mind overnight. In fact, it's still a work in progress. However, most of the time I can either figure out why I feel a certain way or the feeling passes. I've taken the power away from the voice in my head (my ego) and given it back to my authentic self.  

There are still times when I fall into that learned pattern and I hear incessantly, "I'm depressed. Why am I so depressed. What's wrong with me?" However, now I'm able to see it for what it is. I'm able to use it for awareness and presence. This mindful process has allowed me to finally have peace. From the voice of my generation Biggie Smalls, "I went from negative to positive and its all good, baby."

Brent Berman has a holistic psychotherapy practice in Jupiter, Fl. He believes in changing the world one smile at a time.