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Ivan Ana-Maria

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How do you actually cope with depression?

I have read some of the debates on 'depression' posted here and contextualized according to the author's experience and interest in a particular issue.
My question, though, comes from underneath possible references and eventual scientific explanations. It is a puerile question inspired by my recent intellectual and existential lethargy and it is an attempt to reach out and try to discuss it with those who have been through a similar situation.
Although I have experienced depression in the past, it strikes me now in a rather inappropriate moment. Depression is never welcome, I know, but I am also trying to see its self-revelatory side, the 'good one', the possible 'fruits' of an unpleasant emotional exploration.
May one actually learn from this? I acknowledge the inherent process of learning about yourself, about acting in a certain way when recognizing your weakness, your impotence. But is there really a 'good' side to depression?

I am now fighting my own monsters, so to speak, while I feel that my life has been put on hold, indefinitely. I am in my final year of master studies and what I am facing now is more than a banal writer's block, it is a paralyzing fear of the future that might prevent me from completing my studies on time (something I can hardly afford).
And therefore I must ask how does one cope with this? I agree with Tina Moore's idea that finding your way out of this emotional abyss is a highly individual process, then how did you overcome it? I am sure that one can learn from this simple act of sharing experiences.
I am afraid that this discussion is initially not based on some academic interest, but I welcome any ideas and suggestions that could shed some light on how to deal with this problem, maybe in a more creative way than in a traditional one.

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  • Jun 7 2012: One thing that honestly helps me is acts of kindness. Helping others makes you feel needed I guess.
    When I feel terribly bad as if I cannot leave the house I tidy a bit, or make dinner for my partner, If feeling a little better I will walk to the shops and pick up some litter along the way, or move a box, help someone on a bus, give to someone who needs it etc. It is important for me to take care in these things and to think about the impact no matter how small.

    If I feel capable I volunteer. This is something I do anyway however I feel working for others is humbling.

    One thing i do often, that always makes me feel better is to shop for someone in need, where I live there are allot of homeless and I was once part of the ''problem'' no fault of my own. I always remember the random acts of kindness I received and truly believe that that is the one thing that kept me sane! something someone used to do for me is every Wednesday they would buy me lunch. I now do the same, knowing what a difference it makes, that human connection no matter how fleeting makes me feel better even if just slightly.

    Another thing I do is to stop. Go somewhere where I can truly absorb how small and insignificant my life is within the bigger picture. I know it sounds weird, often the feeling of being insignificant is a catalyst for, not a preventative action however feeling the wind across my face or seeing the expanse above me helps me understand that nothing is forever. My depression will pass and life is so frail one must take the opportunity to live it to the fullest.

    But everyone is different.

    Depression however is hard to shake. My only advice is not to take medication for it. It is not known fully the impacts of anti depressants on an individual. Try natural ways to boost serotonin levels, conversation can help, and so do setting personal goals. If you are thinking of getting profetional help, look at the different therapys avalible and choose one that is right for you.
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      Jun 10 2012: Dear Ripley Bullock,

      I found your comment so lovely, I had to take its main message with me and literally process it yesterday. I admire this positive attitude that you have, and for some reason it made me think about my mother. I could never understand how she can be so kind to everybody and so understanding, and she is one of the people that simply exult positive energy and joy. ( I started to cry after finishing the sentence, but I am smiling at the same time.)
      My mother lives in another country, but she has always given me full support and I couldn't be more grateful for having such a good mother.

      Lately, I came to understand how this depressive episode is caused by a mixture of factors, some of them related to bigger things that are not in my power to change. I am sure that this is one of the lessons I must learn this time, namely that you have to cope with a situation, even if you cannot change it, and most importantly that you have to try to fix yourself before fixing something else.

      I enjoyed visualizing that image you wrote about and the importance of recognizing one's "insigificance within the bigger picture", I completely agree. And it must be so liberating at the same time. I embrace this feeling of being liberated and being just a small particle in a huge existential desert, and I thank you for sharing them with me.
      I think that realizing what you have and being grateful is a sign of being humble at the same time,and only by being humble you can truly and wholeheartedly help someone around you. This is what your message made me think of.

      Thank you so much for your words. It was my birthday yesterday and I was happy to have found inspiration in the comments I received here.
      I wish you all the best,
      Ana.

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