Dealing with depression is like trying to untie a Gordian knot.
The contributing factors bundle together to create a (seemingly) impossible to solve problem. Thankfully, there are dozens of different therapeutic methods that can help improve your mental health like therapy, nutrition, exercise, meditation, and various mindset shifts.
Constantly questioning why you’re feeling depressed is a good way to go down the rabbit hole of rumination and despair. But, I’ve found that gaining some insight why I might be dealing with depression helped me understand my suffering better. It also helped me figure out some possible ways to feel better.
Here are 4 things I’ve found that contributed to my depression. Maybe you’ll be able to relate to some of them..
Chronic inflammation is a huge contributor to most diseases that plague America and the rest of the developed world.
The most obvious cause is diet. Processed food like chips and crackers are loaded with vegetable oil, which goes rancid when it’s heated.
Vegetable oil (like canola, corn, and soybean oil) is mostly poly-unsaturated fat. This means the molecule isn’t good at standing up to heat, so when things are roasted or fried in vegetable oil, the oil gets oxidized and goes bad.
Shitty diet is one of the main reasons for chronic inflammation, but it’s by no means the only reason.
Many other characterisists of modern life like long lasting stress, not enough sleep, environmental pollutants and hormonal problems all contribute to the feeling of being constantly bloated.
Some ways to avoid unnecessary inflammation is to cook with coconut oil or butter (saturated fat is good to cook with), getting enough sleep (download the free f.lux program to use at night to block the sleep destroying blue light) and finding ways to manage stress- which is an inevitable part of modern life.
2. Self- Loathing and Rumination
The last point dealt with some possible physical causes of depression.
Even though there are physical causes, depression and anxiety manifest as mental problems- Low mood, obsessive thoughts, a sense of worthlessness, chronic guilt, self-loathing.. any of these sound familiar to you?
I’ve found that both a psychological and physical approach to improving mental health is necessary to feel better.
I think self-compassion is the basis of good mental health. It was painful to realize how mean and vindictive my internal narrative was, but the softer and kinder I treat myself, the better and more authentic I feel.
And this shift in internal dialogue happens quicker than you’d think if you work hard at it.
3. Lack of Self-Care
I’ve found that reading, meditation and exercising everyday is one of the quickest and cheapest ways to improve your mood.
The top 10 killers of Americans are mainly due to neglect and decades of poor habits like smoking, eating shitty food, not exercising, and having not outlet for stress (just to name a few).
This reality might sound morbid, but I think it’s more hopeful.
This means we have control over our physical and mental health. I may have a predilection to obsessions and low mood, but at least I improved these things drastically by eating better, and using supplements, therapy, meditation, socializing, and sunlight.
It’s hard to instill good habits and break bad habits. Today is my first day without marijuana in a long time, and I’m really craving it.
But, the prize of a stable and quiet mind is worth the effort.
It’s really really hard to make yourself workout, cook a healthy meal, meditate, or read a positive book when you’re feeling apathetic and negative.
But you need to do try and do something.. anything.
Lying on your bed berating yourself isn’t going to improve your mental health. Trust me.. I tried this for a long time.
Also, see the book the Depression Cure for more specific lifestyle changes that can help you psychologically.
4. Doing something you hate
I’m going back to school this fall to finish my civil engineering degree. I only have 3 semesters left, so I’m just going to grind it out.
But, one of the main reasons that I left college 2.5 years ago was because I hated this major. I felt stuck.
But, now I feel mentally stable enough to go back. Probably because I’ve realized grades in college are not nearly as serious and important as I initially thought. Also, my main focus is my internet businesses, so I’m going to think of school as a side project. C’s get degrees.
Being stuck in a job you hate, or moving back home after collegea are also things that can spark a depressive spiral.
Another thing that caused me a lot of self-loathing was the fact that I always performed socially. Being around people used to cause me a ton of anxiety, so I would try to entertain the person so they’d like me.
I even did this around family like my brothers and parents.
But, this is fucking exhausting.
The most important relationship is with myself. I can only ask myself to be respectful and empathetic towards others.
It’s not your responsibility to make sure other people are happy. That’s their job.
I’ve found one of the best ways to feel more effective and capable as a person is to make money with your own ideas and efforts. Start a side hustle and work on it a little bit each day.
That’s what I did with eBay and Amazon, and in about a year I was making a full-time income, living on my own, and providing for myself.
There have never been so many free opportunities to make money in your spare time.
Depression and anxiety can make life seem not worth it. But, as I’ve figured out possible causes of my chronic self-loathing and low mood, I’ve been able to take steps to improve these things.
These 4 points all contribute to my mental dis-ease. Maybe they’re also contributing to your mental distress?