How To Let Go Of Depression And Welcome Joy Back Into Your Life

Even long-term depression can be overcome.

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Depression is more than a blue day, sadness, or even a broken heart, although it happens because of such things and feels a lot like the blues. If you’ve ever had a real depression, you know what I mean.

It's usually seen as something that requires medication to relieve, and sometimes it’s simply taken for granted that you must learn to live how to deal with depression... forever, more or less. But if you know depression, you know it’s truly frustrating and feels pretty hopeless, especially when you think of taking toxic drugs all your life just to be able to get out of bed or act like you’re okay at work.


Your life kind of wanders past you without noticing that you exist. You gain weight from the medications and feel even worse about yourself and your future happiness. You rarely feel like going out or doing fun things, and nothing is interesting enough to motivate you to be creative or adventurous.

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It’s hard to be active, athletic, involved with others. Eventually, people get tired of asking you, listening to you and waiting for you to “get over it”.

Depression hurts. It hurts your head, your feelings, your heart, your work, your friends, your family, your legs and your love life. But the answer isn’t adding medication to your medication that is already not working. If medication worked, why isn’t it working?


I grew up depressed and lived most of my life trying to figure out how to deal with depression. Yes, I did some of the meds and thought a lot about suicide. Today, I can honestly say that depression is a thing of the past for me.

It has been for over a decade now, and during that time I have used what I’ve learned to help numerous clients overcome their depression, whether it was a situational depression, recurring major depression, or a chronic, life-long depression (dysthymia).

You weren’t born depressed and it’s not natural to you, so you don’t have to learn to live with it forever or take medications to control it. You have to learn to love yourself and know your value in this world you were born to live in. That’s all.

Sounds simple, and in truth, it is. But it’s not exactly easy, and no one else can do it for you or make it happen. It really is an inside job that only you can do, and in the process you will become a better, more flexible, wiser, stronger and confident person. You will let go of shame, guilt, victimhood, doubt and indecisiveness while becoming someone you can truly love, respect and admire — and others will too.


There is a caveat, however. Bipolar depression is a physical issue that usually requires and responds well to medications, and there are alternative and natural meds that, when properly used and combined with excellent counseling and self-work, can do the job if the aspects of the bipolar condition are not too severe.

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Another caveat? Depression can become a brain pattern where the chemistry that usually helps us regulate moods goes astray and becomes an additional component. Sometimes it even goes as far as creating delusional episodes that can look like a serious mental illness and be kind of scary.


That happens when depression goes on too long or major depressive disorder reoccurs. Medication is sometimes helpful for a short while to allow you to mellow out, get strength and control, and feel internal support while you start working on the steps towards your recovery. Those steps include a whole body, mind, spiritual makeover. They include physical, mental and spiritual exercise.

Often, people don’t recognize depression because it shows up as worry, anger, road rage, jealousy, shyness, and there is always the self-medicating denial of depression known as substance abuse and addiction. Most addicts suffer from depression, and drugs make it tolerable.

Men, for instance, often display depression with anger, impatience and intolerance, in addition to a lack of sponteneity and lack of interest in activity or anything new instead of tears and helpless hopelessness. It is such a relief for these men when they finally realize they are dealing with depression rather than a new set of character defects they have to try to control.

Many times, depression is misdiagnosed in men because depression is characterized by tears, lethargy, apathy and hopelessness, which is how women usually display it. Men get different socialization and training that gives them the push to keep going instead of dissolving into tears, and that dissonance makes them internally angry.


Depression is also often paired with anxiety and worry, or a feeling of constant stress. All these things can be overcome, balanced and let go of so life can be the joyful and interesting adventure. And your relationships and career can take you in the direction you want.

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Stanlee Panelle, M.A. is a former psychotherapist that practices internationally as a Personal Life Coach, successfully teaching people how to overcome depression.