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Understanding and Lifting Depression: 5 Helpful Attitudes

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

People almost always misunderstand depression. I know; I used to.

My first dance with depression happened fifteen years ago. I was in my early twenties and it totally freaked me out.

When you’re depressed, your perception of pretty much everything changes.

Except you don’t realize that it’s your perception that’s changed, and instead it feels like the world has turned bad. If you’ve been depressed you’ll know what I’m talking about.

It goes something like this …

One day you feel confident and happy, and then the next day, ugh!

All the ideas and plans you have now seem ridiculous, your thoughts become morbid, and boy do you feel sluggish and sleepy, and why (yawn) is your boyfriend/friend/parent/spouse being so critical and mean all of a sudden?

And if that’s not enough, the world seems more abrasive—as if someone’s turned up the volume and taken off your sunglasses.

This is what happened to me. I cried. I felt sorry for myself. And I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I felt so bad: I had loads of friends and an awesome boyfriend; I’d recently been accepted into the Post Graduate Masters Degree program for Human Nutrition.

Life was good. Or it would be if I only could stop crying!

Finally, I went to the doctor, which made me feel better because the doctor told me I had a chemical imbalance in my brain; but then she told me I was “depressed,” which made me cry again since I thought depression was for negative people with no plans for their life.  

So that was that. I was depressed. I had an illness. I took the medication and kind of, sort of started to feel better.

But after a year things started to change. I don’t remember why I started doing this—maybe I read it somewhere—but I stopped taking antidepressants, and whenever a “flat” period would come I’d watch it with as much distance as I could summon.

I started to notice that if I just let the “flatness” be and stopped worrying about it, my perception about something would shift, and as it did, the depression would lift.

The more times this happened, the more I began to trust that it was going to happen. And always, there standing on the other side of the flatness, was an understanding that made my life richer, less stressful, and more pleasant, well worth the ticket of entry.

Back then I had very little sense of self-care. I pretty much treated myself like a machine—a friendly, do anything for anyone, study-hard, play-hard machine.

Looking back, it’s not surprising I was depressed, or that it would lift once I started taking better care of myself.

Other shifts included the realizations that I was creative (back then I thought creativity was for other people) and that I was spiritual being, connected to all things.

I stopped seeing depression as a disease and started to see it as a symptom of imbalance—a self-imposed silence allowing the space for a new healthier belief/understanding to emerge.

Or as a friend of mine puts it, “Depression is your friend.”

I like how Kahlil Gibran explains it too:

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.” ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

For a number of years that was how I understood depression, but it wasn’t until more recently when I spent the best part of a year being silent that I understood more fully what was going on.

My “year of silence” is another story, but in short, it involved me metaphorically throwing my hands in the air saying, “I am so over repeating these old habits. How do I make this stop?!”

One of the things that emerged from my year of silence was an appreciation of the scale of madness of the mind and how to differentiate myself from my mind. 

We live in a world focused on strengthening the mind and listening to it above all else. But when we do this, we get out of balance. The truth is, our mind is only a small part of us—and it’s not the wise part. It can be the worrying, negative, computer like part. 

A friend of mine explains depression as what happens when you listen to your mind at the expense of your heart for too long, ignoring the natural flow of your life and your inner wisdom.

He says, “Depression is your heart stepping aside temporarily.”

This explains why you feel so down on yourself. The unpleasantness of depression is what it feels like to use your mind without full use of your heart, since your heart is the bit that loves and feels connected and joyful.

So often you hear people say how they “beat” depression by taking up skydiving or some other new behavior, but probably it’s the other way around. The depression lifted because the message to take up skydiving was received. The depression’s job was done. 

If you’re going through a depressed period, it may help to adopt these attitudes:

Non-Judging.

It is what it is, and it will pass, so there’s no point in judging it.

Live Kindly.

Eat well, exercise where you can, and continue to live. Be gentle with yourself. It can sometimes be helpful to talk to someone.

Mind your Mind.

Try and stand back from your mind and know that much of what your mind is telling you is incorrect. Know that your mind is operating alone while you heart takes a little rest, which is why you feel so bad and why you can’t feel as much love for yourself or others.

Silence.

Add a little downtime to your life. Instead of watching TV or trawling Facebook, take some time out and try just sitting. The thing you’re looking for is not outside of you, but within you. Meditation can be helpful too.

Be Safe.

Often depression comes with morbid thoughts. Monitor these. They’re just thoughts, and they will pass as the flatness lifts, but at any stage if you feel unsafe, ask someone for help.

I write about a lot of things, but this is the first time I’ve written my thoughts on depression because it’s so often judged.

The reality is that most people experience some degree of depression, or as I like to call it flatness, at some time in their lives. It is a normal reaction felt by just about everyone—and we can all get past it.


Photo by HidingHeart

Disclaimer: This post represents one person’s unique experiences in overcoming depression. This does not constitute professional advice. Please consult a qualified professional for a treatment plan if you feel you have a serious condition and need help. If you’re currently taking medication and would like to stop taking it, please consult with your treatment provider first.

Note: Lisa has generously offered to give away two free decks of her healing, inspirational “Life Cards.” You can enter until midnight, PST on Friday, August 24th by leaving a comment on the post! UPDATE: The winners for this giveaway have already been chosen. 

About Lisa Esile

Lisa grew up in New Zealand and now lives in Los Angeles. Lisa and her husband Franco are the authors of WHOSE MIND IS IT ANYWAY: GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD AND INTO YOUR LIFE (Penguin Random House, 2016). You can grab a FREE copy of her book, "The Lazy Person's Guide to Feeling Awesome and Ultimate ALL the time," here!

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  • C.S.

    What a great article! Very good points, well worth remembering. I have experienced depression for a long time and it is important to find the distance Lisa describes. I would love to win the cards. 🙂

  • lala12

    “Know that your mind is operating alone while you heart takes a little rest” is quite possibly the sweetest, most gentle way of looking at depression. I love it.

  • Deborah L. Parker

    I very much resonate with this story. Having experienced several bouts of depression throughout my life, these events proved to be the beginning of a new phase. One being publishing a memoir where I shared this part of myself with the world. I’m actually now in a “silence” period. Thanks so much! Cards welcome!

  • Val

    Thanks for sharing this! The Life Cards would be very appreciated!

  • lishylish

    Thank you so very much for this post! I’ve spent most of the last 4 months feeling guilty for even feeling depressed. Being much like you (great family, friends, boyfriend, job but also a huge people pleaser/perfectionist) it didn’t make sense to me for a very long time. This post has put what I’ve been thinking into words and I can’t thank you enough!! You’ve reinforced my positive view on depression! This website is amazing and I’ll forever be grateful!

  • Elisabeth

    Thank you for bravely sharing your experiences with depression. I think this has the potential to help a lot of people. I already shared your article with a dear friend who is struggling with depression, it will help her to see that she is not alone and to have new options to consider in terms of how to re frame her experience.

  • Mom

    Thank you for taking the time and energy to write. As you said, everyone goes thru periods of depression. By writing you have affirmed that we are not alone and given us a new perspective. “Flatness” is a very good description. We can learn from everything in our life – depression included. Enjoy your journey and keep us up.

  • Sherri

    Thank you for this post. This spoke to me more than you know as I have been feeling “pitiful” as of late. Last night was particularly flat, so I was happy to see this in my Inbox today – it was very fitting and helpful. I’m a firm believer in therapy/talking to someone and have recently started meditating. I definitely think I need to add more meditation since it has helped, but the tips in this post really will help get me through the next few days or until the flatness subsides. Right now I’m just numb and uncaring. I know it’s just temporary and I will keep this article to reread whenever i doubt that.

  • breatheasydenise

    Thank you for this post. This has hit home for me and I have seen so many suffer from this in their lives, and I have even had a bout of it in the past. It is so real and personal, your words are so kind and clear and really hitting the nail on the head. I would love to share this message with anyone I know who has had a remote touch of depression (which could be just about anyone!). Your an excellent writer and of course I would love to see your “cards” as a gift to me, as I am sure they are just as wonderful.

    I am glad you shared your thoughts on depression–it is a gift to many others that your courage allowed you to share.

  • annonymous

    Inspired by your article! Have spent the last 15 years being “labeled” with major depressive disorder and am beginning to feel that “meds” aren’t the answer, and am considering a year of silence in a remote location.

  • ORW

    Your post on depression is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing how you got through it!

  • Sharon

    The five attitudes you list are perfect for everyone all the time. Thank you.

  • Hansenr

    This was such an honest, real description of depression. Thank you for that.

  • Grace

    I loved this post, and I would love to enter the contest for the “life cards.” They would be really helpful to use at the group therapy program where I work. A lot of my clients struggle with depression and could use the inspiration!

  • Carrie

    This is the best description I have seen of what it is like to go through a depression, or a flatness as you call it. A good description, because that is how it feels! I love your suggestions, very helpful.

  • Raachhel

    I couldnt have chosen a better article to read this morning. Im currently struggling with a period of flatness and found some hope within this article. It’s nice to be able to relate and not always feel like you’re all alone. Thank you again

  • Jessica

    Simply… thank you.

  • Aimee Levesque

    Wow, that was helpful. Your friend’s advice is really meaningful to me: “Depression is your heart stepping aside temporarily.” I just realized that every time I was depressed was after having been “in my head” for too long. Thank you.

  • Jen

    Attempting to end my own “flat year” at the moment.

  • Mel

    Really helpful for today. Thank you

  • Tina

    Thank you for this. I think this is just the thing to help a friend.

  • Harristwd

    Very wise advice. Thank you.

  • Stella

    I love this article. Thoughts are not facts and I am constantly reminding myself of this. Thank you.

  • solartatcutie

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have dealt with depression for years and the past 19 months have been the hardest in my life. I am currently taking antidepressant to get through the flatness. I have found that they tame my mind with those wicked thoughts of self doubt and cruelness it can project. It is important to remember that you aren’t the only one and the world isn’t against you. Everything has a reason and we don’t always know the whys until we have weathered the storm. The storm may actually not really have anything to do with us directly. We must proceed through each day and know that this too shall pass.

  • Alissa

    Lisa, I truly appreciate your post! I appreciate your strength and willingness to open up, as it reminds me that I’m not the only one. I’ve battled depression for the past 10 years or so. I find that I have to work the hardest at battling it between late fall and early spring. As I gear up for the season to change, I will add your “5 helpful attitudes to adopt” to my toolkit. These are great recommendations that I will turn to in times of “flatness”. Thank you!

  • Bella

    Such an interesting take on depression, especially identifying it as “flatnes” and your list of five things to do.

  • Inaya

    That’s so accurate. Thank you

  • ekanost

    I really enjoyed this post, however, I think that sometimes medication can be a helpful and healthy option. I spent several years trying to get my anxiety under control. I started working out more, having more “me” time, eating better, studying teachings by the Dalai Lama, but I finally had to recognize I needed a little help to take the edge off my feelings so I could manage them. I think many people feel that choosing to try medication for something like anxiety or depression is like declaring defeat. That is dangerous. No one should feel shamed out of trying medication if they truly need that assistance.

  • Anonymous

    That’s good advice for many people, but please be aware that some really do have legitimate, biological mental illness, and they really do require psychiatric help. I have a severe mood disorder, and while I do much of what you prescribe, I still need medication to stay sane and out of the hospital. If your “flatness” is particularly bleak, or if you’re thinking of suicide, PLEASE SEE A DOCTOR.

  • OMJ

    Thanks for this. Insightful and calming.

  • Debbie

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR PERSPECTIVE! I LOVE THIS POST!

  • Amelia

    Beautiful and just what I needed to read. Thank you for your time, energy and insight. 🙂

  • Courtney

    This article really hit home for me. I’d love to win those cards.

  • Amanda Terrell

    Wonderful post! I really enjoyed the article and found the tips to be helpful. Thanks so much!

  • Sherry

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Rikki

    Many Thanks Lisa for your article…Having lost my husband to cancer 3 years ago when I was 41, I can truly relate to depression and how it gets its talons in you…You so accurately described “flatness”….To be free is the most amazing feeling and that is true happiness.

  • Karen

    Thank you for sharing this. Depression can be so debilitating but really is the soul calling you home when you lose your way, treat yourself with kindness and honour your feelings x

  • Anon

    Thank you for sharing your experience with depression. There is a lot of stigma out there about it, despite its prevalence.
    Just the word “depression” stirs up so many fears in people. My own brother told me I wasn’t welcome to come around his kids when I erred in telling him I was experiencing hormonally charged depression related to perimenopause and assumed I was suicidal. If I had just said I was more hormonal, I wouldn’t have gotten that reaction out of him. It is what it is – a damn shame.

  • Anon

    HE assumed I was suicidal. (sorry about the confusion)

  • Matt

    Thank you very much for sharing your insights on depression. Your description of the whole process is elegant and simple, and it resonates with me. It resonates with me (i.e. it “feels” right), and I look forward to keeping this gem of wisdom & perspective close, and sharing it with others.

  • Lori

    Thank you for this. I’ve learned only recently that the voices in my head don’t always speak the truth. Especially when I’m depressed, I cannot rely on them to be real.

  • Nana Sharon

    Something in this post grabbed my attention in a way little else has in a long while. Something about depression is an imbalance, and something about the flatness. That is my experience of depression – flatness. I can recognize joy in my life – joy in being with my grand daughters and family and partner, in moments of creativity. But the flatness returns without warning or reason. I have no illusions that these healing cards are THE answer, but I do see how helpful they might be, as reminders to let go, let it be what it is, shift a bit, be mindful, learn from others, listen, shift a bit more.

    I am 56 years old. Sometimes I think I should have a handle on my depression by now. Instead, what I’ve learned is that every time the flatness comes, I have to reach for new handles. Perhaps these cards can be a new handle.

    Thank you for this!

    Peace
    Nana Sharon

  • Nisha

    This is something I really needed to read, hear, and soak in. Thank you for writing, being genuine, and helping so many people.

  • Ashleyishappy

    I really like your take on depression, we do all indeed struggle with it in some form or fashion throughout the trials of life. BUT I do believe that what you are saying is truth, if we listen, slow down, and pay attention to what our heart is telling us………this too shall pass! Bravo! I enjoy getting your email everyday, would love to win the life cards! Good luck to everyone….xo

  • Lisa

    Thank you, I could likely read this everyday. Going through multi-layered grief…which then asks, is this grief or depression? Does it matter? Do we “treat” it?
    I do believe there is learning to be had, as Parker Palmer speaks about the “descent”‘ and that it is our teacher. I love the quote about the pain is breaking open to the understanding…to just trust THAT pattern!

  • whitney

    This post is extremely helpful. I like the innovative approach it takes toward depression and look forward to using some. The techniques to treat it. Thank you so much, Lisa!

  • Lisa Esile

    Thank so much for your comments and sharing your experience. And I agree ‘we don’t always know the why’s until we have weathered the storm …’ – that’s a lovely way to put it!

  • yay4snow

    This is a wonderful post. I especially like the term “flatness”.

  • Carol

    I’m reading this just as I myself am going through a flat period. Thank you so much for this post, it made me realize that though the world may be a little less colorful, it will pass and I’ll be seeing rainbows soon enough.

  • Hcd

    Finding this helpful, thank you!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your comments and advice. And I agree. – I also truly believe there is no right or wrong way to deal with depression – or anything for that matter! Whatever we feel is right for us is absolutely completely perfect. L:)

  • JJ

    This was so good for me. I am sending this to so many people. Thanks for writing it.

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your comments – and congratulations on publishing the memoir!

  • Deborah

    Thank you Lisa for the post. I especially like your advice that it will pass and wish someone had told me that years ago when I first began to experience bouts of prolonged sadness. After seeking some professional help and becoming more aware that every episode did indeed end, I began to feel less sad just by knowing I will not be feeling that bad “forever”. That feeling was so frightening! Be well, Deborah

  • Lisaesile

    Thank so much for your comments, and I’m so pleased you’re enjoying the site too!

  • Rootie

    Thanks for such a great article! I have suffered with depression on and off for years. I have always thought it was caused by lifes events…I have been through some terrible ordeals in my life and have believed these to be the sole cause but your post has made me think that possibly it could an imbalance in my brain. I have been perscibed medication in my life but the last time I was (which was a couple of years ago) I just stopped taking it…I thought enough was enough! I also had an excellent councellor last year who made me look at things in a completely different way and that has helped a lot! I do still have bad days…I’m struggling through a bitter divorce and am a single mum to 3 kids the youngest being 4 years old….but as you suggested I just sit with it…I turn off the TV and computer and have some quiet time and watch and feel the emotions as they pass and also try to meditate too. I also feel that you need good and understanding friends/family around you…I don’t think I could have got through the dark times without them! :O)

  • Mike

    Thank you so much for this post, I’ve been suffering from depression for a number of years, without realising how badly it was affecting both my intimate and personal relationships. That was until I learnt to communicate with friends and family without feeling or perceived as weak. Your post and most of the comments have helped me to realise that this isn’t just a problem that affects only me. I’m now arranging to see a pyschologist, so your post will help me in my efforts to help myself. Keep up the good work, as I really look forward to reading your daily posts. 🙂

  • Sue S

    I never thought I’d say this about a post on depression, but I thought this post was lovely. It really brings to the forefront the ideas that this is not a permanent state, that it can get better, that you are not to blame, and that you can have control over the way you feel. Thank you for your insiteful, find and lovely words.

  • Terri

    Beautiful take. My father has suffered from depression. This helps me understand more about him.

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome, Deborah! Thanks for sharing your experience – I remember experiencing the same sense of relief when I stopped judging and analyzing what I was feeling. It seemed to take a lot of the sting out of it, and as you put it so well, made it less frightening!

  • Privid

    You know, there is a thought that springs up in my mind when reading all this, one that I initially read about on another Buddhist website. It’s all about ‘me, me, me’. I think depression is largely an illness strengthened by out egocentrism. This may sound harsh to someone suffering, but if you think about it when in a peace of mind, I think it’s quite close to the truth.

    Oh, I am SO miserable. Oh, I have no goals. Oh, why do I deserve this! Well, not only is this an escape from reality, in a sense, since you are just ruminating rather than facing reality, it is also a preoccupatuon with the I, the me and mine behind our suffering. It’s dellusional, inefficient. If you can, force yourself and go help other people selflessly; perhaps you will notice the ego’s dissolution happen at the same time as the mood slightly lifts, even as the mind tries to manipulate with it again.

  • Merre

    Wonderful reminder to look for the blessing and lesson in the pain. Munay

  • Carrie M

    I really enjoyed this article. I’ve certainly been depressed at times and just recently found myself again becoming depressed and frustrated as to why. I’ve been on such a great self awareness journey lately. Your article is timely. I absolutely love the quote you added from Kahlil Gibran,
    “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.”
    Wow.

  • Dj

    Never heard it put this way. Thanks for sharing your perspective, Lisa.

  • Kasey in Arlington

    It’s brave to share your experience with depression. I have had a hard time putting my own into words; to attempt to explain it to anyone else is difficult as I can’t always identify a word for the emotion I’m feeling or the lack thereof. Flatness is a pretty good description though. I would like to get off my meds just because of side effects but I am also fearful of how I would be without them. For me, I think flatness beats
    the peaks and valleys and definitely the deep dark valleys of despair. Thank you for your advice though. Knowing other ways of dealing with depression is helpful.

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for you comment – I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. And I agree with your comment, that there’s nothing defeatist about taking medication. Which ever way we choose to deal with depression (or anything for that matter) is perfect, I reckon.

  • Lisaesile

    You are very welcome!

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure!

  • Ingi

    Thank you so much for this post! It’s so true!! My husband and I have been wanting to split up for a few years now but have been encouraged against our better judgement by my parents who are very strong Christians. They’ve been saying awfully negative things about divorce that has made me believe God would hate me and I started ignoring my heart and as a result I have fallen into a deep depression. It’s only since distancing myself from what they believe and listening to my heart that my depression has eased 🙂

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your comments. Feeling flat is an unpleasant feeling alright …. good to hear you’re being kind with yourself. Kindness, kindness, kindness!

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my pleasure – pleased to hear you enjoyed the post!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Grace! Consider yourself entered! You might find my book ‘The 7 Secrets Your Mind Doesn’t Want You to Know,’ helpful too. (Is free to download from my website)

  • Lisaesile

    You say the sweetest things – thanks so much – pleased you enjoyed it!

  • Tana Franko

    Excellent post, thank you! I think for many of us who don’t suffer from serious depression, it’s still difficult to see our way beyond occasional bouts. Still learning and growing in this regard, and grateful for every opportunity and challenge to do so!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome – and thanks for sharing – best wishes and lots of kindness to you!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome. It’s a pleasure.

  • Lisaesile

    It’s lovely isn’t it. And isn’t it so easy to get stuck in our heads! Have you got a copy of my book 7 Secrets Your Mind Doesn’t Want You to Know?’- talks about this some more. (Free from my website). Thanks for your comment:)

  • peacelover222

    I’ve struggled with depression for years and have never heard it explained quite this way. It is very helpful to me. Thank you for posting. Changing thinking, talk therapy and medication are all helpful in dealing with this debilatating disease.

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Carrie. So pleased you enjoyed the article – have you read ‘The Prophet,’ – The Kahlil Gibran book where quote is from – the whole book is filled with beautiful, wonderances like this. A small, unassuming, gorgeous book!

  • Laura

    Lovely post. Will help my day be a bit brighter today!

  • I realized on my way into work this morning that all my negativity yesterday was due to yet another round of depression. I don’t see it right away when it comes, I just leave everyone around me wondering what they did to stress me out. I am going to take this post, print it, and read it every day for a week. The quote by Kalil Gibran especially resonated with me. I need to move into and through the pain in order to grown into a new creation.
    It is also perfect with the post it was paired with in the e-mail. Finding the courage to live out loud is what is scaring me right now. Consequently, I find excuses and reasons to be miserable. Thank you for challenging me to see that this is a process. Perhaps an evaluation would be helpful but for the most part, I think I need to acknowledge, experience, and move through the depression.

  • Micheline

    Excellent post, thank you.

  • Lois

    Lovely, thoughtful post. I, too, spent a year of silence and didn’t realize it until starting to come back to activity, as a different person. I meditated, prayed, and continually asked for the openness to change my perspective to more positive outlook. I feel like I’ve only just begun and it feels wonderful. I’d dearly love to receive your cards and would treasure them.

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you – and it’s my pleasure!

  • Lisaesile

    I agree! Thank you!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re welcome – is an honor to share my thoughts with the Tiny Buddha community!

  • Sandy

    Great post & very helpful information….Thanks!

  • Lisaesile

    Hard to believe sometimes though isn’t it – our mind’s are so very proficient at trying to convince us our thoughts are real!! Thanks for you comment:)

  • Sarah

    As someone who has struggled with depression on and off for the last ten years, I want to thank you for providing me with new ways to view those times in my life. My mom sometimes refers to depression as “growing pains” — the pain and discomfort that sometimes happens when you’re on the verge of a big personal change. I think anxiety, something I also struggle with, could be looked at in the same ways, so I plan to print your post out and read it the next time I’m feeling anxious or “flat”! Thank you for sharing your perspective.

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your comment. I’m so pleased something in it was helpful! Kind wishes to you:)

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you:)

  • Jennifer

    Wow! I absolutely love the writer’s perception! Total ‘A-HA’ moment. Thank you for sharing your view on the matter.

  • tomek

    i have been depressed for 4 years. i can suggest that self-compassion is very helpful. it breaks a blind circle of blaming and self-criticizing. another things i use are meditation. it slows and calms all down that we can see them more clearer. also positive people around help me to get better. and all the things wrote above as well.

  • withaloha

    I appreciate your objectivity on this subject……I have dealt with this depression most of my life, took medication at one point which was helpful and now through my spiritual practice I recognize “depression” to be a way that I am disconnected from my true nature…there is nothing more painful to me and I know that through all the things you mentioned in particular meditation and inquiry that I do come back to a more complete sense of self and I am in touch again…thank you

  • amyalpc

    Thank you for such a great reframe on depression. Your tips can help alleviate pressure and stress that often accompany depression. And often help you gain some distance between your emotions, feelings & your thoughts so you can gain insight.

  • Kimberly

    Thank you for making this normally taboo topic so accessible and gentle.

  • Sandy Dingwall

    lovely post… I have had people around me with depression, sometimes it’s not understandable to me… but I do believe in finding the silence and spending a little time finding and understanding ourselves, surely this is better than a quick pill from a doctor… nothing in this existence is an accident and we should listen to our heart… do we need to have everything in our life labelled with a ‘diagnosis’…. have a wonderful day, may it be filled with just a little of your own silence xx

  • Kiersten

    Thank you for this post. It spoke to me in so many ways. I understood, very personally, what you were talking about, and you have given me some good tips to try on my ‘dips’. Thank you

  • Cindy Love

    I appreciated this post, and was also disturbed by it. Sadness is extremely natural and normal. And there is depression…and then major depression.
    I am extremely biased. I had a dear friend with major depression decide to go off antidepressants. And a week later he killed himself. That was a good 15 years ago, and yet my sorrow remains. What an unnecessary loss.
    Depression is a serious condition. Although meditation, silence and insight are useful tools, it is dangerous to suggest they are cure for all or even almost all depression.
    It’s hard…because it’s knowing where to draw a line, between the normal ups and downs that we so easily (and unnecessarily) medicate for, and depression and mental illness that requires a range of more intensive attention.

  • Karie

    Thanks, Lisa. Really useful advice and something I need to re-read if ever I enter another “flat” period. I had awful post natal depression. It felt like all the colour had been drained out of my world, despite having a supportive husband and beautiful, happy baby. Every time I felt sad, it felt like I was betraying them. It is so hard to take that step back to see what’s really going on, as the hormones cloud your judgment, but it can be done and life does get better again!

  • Good post…. acceptance and letting the river flow is always good.

  • cqphoto

    thank you, thank you! I have gone through periods of ‘flatness’ and it seems as though they would end. Your words are an inspiration!

  • ElleMarie

    This is a really calming post for me. I’ve been experiencing depression lately because of my relationship/career/health situations, but reading this makes me wonder if I’m experiencing these situations because I haven’t been following my heart. It’ll be interesting to see how things change once I start listening to it more.

  • I like this and can relate to it so much. Depression is not always the enemy we make it out to be; we must listen to what it is trying to teach us. Thank you for such an insightful, meaningful piece! I shared it on my FB, too. 😀

  • Heathalinn

    Mind is not the wise part…. Happy for you that what you told yourself lifted your depression. I disagree that our minds are not wise. Everyone’s depression is different. I think it is important to note this is 1 opinion.

  • Allsmiles530

    This post is perfect for me and fits my current situation exactly. Very inspirational and calming. Thank you!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for sharing – that sounds really challenging. Those hormones can be a cow sometimes can’t they – not that I’ve experience post-natal ones. However, on one occasion a little hormonal re-balancing by a friendly naturopath was a HUGE help! (Which is a whole other topic of course!)

  • Lisaesile

    That’s great to hear, thanks for joining the discussion:)

  • Lisaesile

    You are so very welcome!

  • Lisaesile

    Isn’t it! I loved it when I first hear it too!

  • Aaaah! Amazing post. Truly. I’ve nearly been flattened by the flatness for, God, at least a decade (and I’m only in my late 20’s). I take an antidepressant. I know that it works for me. Chemically. But, thoughts and emotions and attitude are SO important to be aware of. Crucial. Especially when the flatness wrinkles up and one is able to feel alive again… Thank you so so much for sharing this!! Your voice is gentle but direct. You shared your journey succinctly, but with enough color and detail to explain openly what it’s like to face depression. It sucks. )c: but it IS doable. (c:

  • Identifying a need to get professional help is one thing….finding the right professional is a whole other ball game. That’s where things really get tricky and it can start to seem like OTC substances or even black market substances are not only cheaper but also much easier to access than doctors or counselors in the medical field. That is the unfortunately reality for some people who don’t see a way out of their “flatness.”

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Mike – Really touched by your comment. Depression can be tough on relationships, and even worse when we add self judgment into the mix. Best wishes, and by the sounds of things, I’ll see you on my My Altogether Easy Guide to Life Ezine:)

  • Lisaesile

    Hey Jake – thanks for joining the discussion – I love how you put it: “It sucks but it IS doable.’ Exactly!

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure:) Kindness to you!

  • Lisaesile

    Oh yay! As in yay, that this post had a calming effect for you. Kind wishes:)

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your kind words and reflections!

  • Well put, but I do know that there are times where it takes more than just a positive attitude to pull yourself out when you’re in pretty deep. Depression has so many triggers and many are, indeed, chemical. Many times the anti-depressant is what it takes to help you stay above water long enough to make other changes that may or may not be able to help with the chemical imbalance.

  • dannie

    Thank you for this beautifully written description. While it’s true that we are all individuals and experience things differently, I have been looking for a gentle way to describe to my boyfriend what it can “feel” like to be depressed. It’s sometimes hard for me to explain without sounding over the top melodramatic. I have struggled with depression to varying degree for most of my life and have learned that self awareness is key in integrating with the rest of the world, whether that means medication or meditation, Thank you again for your insight.

  • Tiny Buddha

    I love T. B this article is very relevant for me. I think the cards are a great & helpful idea. It gives something to focus on each day

  • i took effexor as prescribed my doctor and it just made it worse… now my lows are extremely deep valleys. i would just implore people to know every risk factor before taking anything.. and not just the ones in the sheet… search the net and read what others have experienced just to prepare. i wish i had done that… at least i wouldn’t have believed the doc when he said “it’s all in your head.”

  • Anne

    Wow. Such a magnificent post and so well written. The last time I “overcame” my depression I was positive it wouldn’t happen again. I recently faced a career disappointment and am feeling blue but not as darkly as I have in past situations. It’s so good to read everyone’s thoughts and see that depression is a normal human condition, and that we are not “bad” or “the only one” going through it. I definitely recommend Cheri Huber’s “The Depression Book” for saving me a few years ago. She mentions that when you don’t live your life to it’s fullest and BE who you are, you are causing depression in yourself. It’s an actual compression of you who are, until you are that little person balled up on the couch in your PJ’s. I started “living out loud” and was happier almost instantly. I had to let go of a LOT of anger towards the people who I felt were depressing me, when I realized I was the one actually doing it! Lisa, thanks so much for sharing your post and your 7 secrets book. I’m also going to print out this post and save it!

  • Johnny

    My sister-in-law is experiencing depression at the moment, and I have not been able to be very supportive of my wife (don’t know what to do in this situation.) Reading your blog has given me a few ideas on how to increase my support to both, so thanks.
    Kinda funny…life happens as its supposed to, and the tools we need appear when they need to. 🙂

  • Katie

    You describe depression so eloquently, and the solutions to cope are legitimate. I’ve been struggling with depression for a few years and, unknowingly, have been employing your techniques to deal with it. I can attest that what you wrote in this article are true. Thank you; I’m definitely going to re-read this article when I’m feeling down.

  • 44kmm

    I have been battling depression full time for over a decade. I have tried seemingly every med available. I am in the throes of severe “flatness” now. I’m new to twitter and find myself searching “depression” and “suicide” about this time every night. It’s a desperate attempt to feel less lonely. Sometimes posts like this one help.

  • Lori

    This was so timely. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, I appreciate your gentle suggestions and thoughtful insights.

  • CK

    The timing of this article was impecable for me!! Thank you, you’re words have made me feel less like I’m losing the plot, and that I will feel Ok again soon… Just gotta make time for me, and let the flatness pass. Thank you x

  • teresa

    I can relate to this…thank you. I suffer from depression..for many years.It took me to places that i did not want to go,out of despair i started to drink…more and more..today i do not drink and i do not need to take any sort of medication.I am learning to deal with my “down momemts” in a heathier way.I find that when depression comes, i must listen to it,there is a message in it.So thank you.
    Teresa.

  • Flowers

    Lisa, thank you for your perspective on depression ~ it’s an honest and quite accurate way to look at it I believe. It’s amazing the power it takes to monitor one’s own mind and keeping from buying into one’s own downward spiral. I often look at the onset of depression as a warning sign that something in my life needs to be adjusted and then I search for the source and try to correct the course of thinking and action. As the years have gone by I’ve become less dependent on medication and more reliant on building coping mechanisms similar to ones that you mention here. Thanks for sharing with us!!

  • Marsha

    This was a wonderful piece for me to read. I have struggled with depression for years and this piece of writing is the first I have read that truly makes me feel that I have some power over controlling it. (I might also add that I am new to the teachings of Buddha as well, which might explain why I have never realized the right strategies of coping).

  • exploradora

    Excellent perspective on depression/flatness. I love the part about the mind/heart operating out of sync. Makes sense!

  • Lisa

    Thanks Lisa, this post really spoke to me, having lived with periods of depression ( and prescribed antidepressants ) for almost 10 years now. I found physical exercise really helped, even though it was difficult to motivate myself. I’ve had a couple of sessions of hypnotherapy over the last month, which seem to have had a hugely positive impact, in combination with talking to a counsellor.

  • kitten

    Just wanted to say that your advice is good because, even if one is dealing with a chemical imbalance, fixing the chemical imbalance won’t necessarily fix your life. To quote Melissa Etheridge “just breathe.”

  • Tracy Caravella

    Thank you for sharing your story! We need to continue to work to educate people about mental illness, so that we can reduce the stigma associated with it. Your work on “tiny buddha” is helpful to many!! Your cards seem very grounded and helpful as well. Good luck to everyone who is hoping to win a set. Peace.

  • Christine

    Thank you for sharing your post! I’ve bookmarked it so I can reflect back on your advice next time I feel “flatness” coming on. Meditation is a wonderful way to help, but I also find setting a daily intention keeps my mind focused on positive thinking.

  • ashish Bhardwaj

    Beautiful story. Quiet a revealing story . I think we all go though such stages sometime In our lives . The degree of severity of the situation / circumstances is different .

  • Susie

    I know the feeings that you describe well because I ride the rollercoaster of depression thanks to PMS for a little more than a quarter of almost every month. I KNOW that it is mainly due to out-of-control hormones,but I’ve never wanted to take medication for it. It’s just crazy how my perceptions of life (in my own head) can turn so harrowingly negative during these time periods and thus create such sadness (in my heart) all atonce. Strongly reminding myself that I am being way overly-sensitive and unneccessarily analytical has helped over the years. As I’ve grown older I’ve also realized that calm, alone-time is necessary to regain a sense of balance, along with the knowledge that ‘this too shall pass’. I enjoyed your thoughts.and advice. Thank you.

  • Merri

    Depression (a light version) has been my existence the past few weeks, this post is perfect in it’s timing! Thank you very much.

  • I really enjoyed this post. I was curious about your “year of silence.” Have you written about this elsewhere? I would be interested to hear more about it.

  • CurtisB

    Wonderful advice and very timely for me. Thank you!

  • The last year or so has been a journey of awakening, which has been a slow but rewarding process. I believe in embracing mystery and seeing myself as one with ALL, but also separate at the same time. It is quite a mysterious paradox. One thing I feel is important for me is how getting help (i.e. counseling) can be part of the process of waking up. I feel like a lot of enlightenment teaching tends to take an either/or approach as opposed to embracing both. Counseling and medication has helped this body feel better as I also embrace the reality of my oneness with everything and everyone.

  • Diana

    Just an FYI, if one stops medications it is best to do so gradually and with your doctor’s knowledge. Some meds have withdrawal symptoms that are pretty tough and that can be mistaken for other illnesses, both physical and emotional. Stopping depression meds cold turkey is usually not a great idea.

  • Marybeth

    I have come to the understanding that my depression is a part of me, a facet of me, something that will always be there, yet not “the real me”, as my ego would have me believe, and so I ACCEPT it. When I feel it, the best thing I can do for myself is to recognize and acknowledge it in the moment, accept it by remembering the “big picture” of my past experiences with and without the symptoms, and proceed to practice what I have learned to get through it again until it recedes. My practices come under the heading “Self-compassion and Self-care”. I have come to embrace those 12-Step slogans I used to resist: One Day at a Time, Easy Does It, How Important Is It?, and This, Too, Shall Pass”. Thank you for your contribution, and for reminding me to keep things in perspective and be gentle with myself.

  • maahee

    i saw one of my friends go under depression after her son’s death,taking lots of medicine and bearing pangs of after effects.Then I also had those blues of depression.Seeing my friends plight I did not want to go into medicine.Talking to others helped but not that much.Finally what helped me was following Nichiren Diashonin’s phylosophy.

  • Kelly

    I have gone through several periods of depression and taken meds for it. But I have finally found a holistic, natural formula that works for me. This includes regular exercise, a combination of vitamins and supplements for mood support that helps my body produce seratonin and meditation. Sometimes it’s a matter of figuring out what doesn’t work to discover what does.

  • Thank you for this, Lisa. I’ve struggled with depression off and on for years, and your description of it really spoke to me. I realize that I use some of the same ways of dealing with that you recommend, but I’d never explicitly laid them out in this way. It’s helpful to have this list to come back to remind myself of what works when I need it. Thank you!

  • Thank you for this –

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my great pleasure.

  • Lisaesile

    You’re so welcome!

  • Lisaesile

    Great to hear you enjoyed the article! Thanks so much for joining in the discussion. Go well.)

  • jrock

    Interesting perspective. Although medicine can play an important part, I think sometimes we think it is a “silver bullet” to cure all. I don’t believe it is. I like your “wholistic” approach (medicine + therapy + positive thought = whole, healthy well-being. Thanks!
    Also, please enter me in the drawing for the cards. Thanks.

  • Lisaesile

    Oh yay! Exactly!!! This is a whole other area that’s not my expertise, but that I agree can be of great help – thanks so much for sharing!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks for your insight – you have piqued my interest!

  • Lisaesile

    I agree! And maybe this is a good opportunity to be clear that the med side of things is NOT my area of expertise. I mentioned my experience because it was part of my story – but I in no way meant to suggest people stop medication. The 5 attitudes I believe are as relevant whether people chose to go the medication way or not! Thanks so much for your message!

  • Janet

    LIsa, “Mind your mind” really hit home for me! It’s a simple idea, but profound at the same time. Reminds me of something else I read, “Don’t believe everything you think”. Thanks for sharing!

  • Lisaesile

    Welcome, welcome! And yay for timely things!

  • Lisaesile

    Oh I love that – ‘Don’t believe everything you think!’ Although sometimes I don’t know that I believe anything I think! Thanks for sharing too!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much, and yes – there really is no silver bullet, or one answer for all of us! If someone read my article and said, you know what, I disagreed with everything you said, but you spurred me on to come up with something that works for me – I would be delighted! One of my Life Cards talks about this: CREATIVITY: Your healing is a work of art, an original lifestyle sculpture.’ Here’s to us all finding our own perfect way!

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my pleasure – and thank you for your kind words:)

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Steven, thanks for your kind words. Am trying to think. There is an interview on Revolution 360, which goes into it a little bit. http://www.revolutionthreesixty.com/search?updated-max=2012-07-01T11:08:00-04:00&max-results=7 Yes – was a strange time – Just started out doing it for one day – and then a couple more. And then a few more. It had nothing to do with depression – except that I became pretty flat in the first few months of doing it. I had the support of a friend who knows a lot about this kind of thing. Not sure I would have tried without. I’ll be talking about silence and, as I call it ‘doing nothing’ over the next few weeks on my website and in my newsletter, in case you’re interested. Thanks again!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Marybeth – thank you so much for sharing – I love hearing what you have to say. Self compassion and self care – I couldn’t agree more:)

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my pleasure. Go well, with kindness, Lisa.

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Susie – thanks so much for sharing your experience – it is a wonderful thing to have so many people talking about how it is for them.

  • Lisaesile

    Yes!! 🙂

  • Lisaesile

    I’m so pleased it was helpful in some way – thanks so much for your kind words and for contributing to the discussion and sharing!

  • Lisaesile

    It’s a real pleasure. And thanks so much for your kind words!!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks for your kind words and for your contribution too!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Lisa – thanks so much for sharing what you found helpful. I really do appreciate it, as I know others will too!

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Marsha, thanks so much for your kind words. I’m deeply touched that you, and others have found something helpful in reading my story.

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome! And thank you too for sharing your own experience and wisdom on the topic!

  • Lisaesile

    HI Teresa – it’s my pleaure welcome. And thank you too:)

  • Lisaesile

    Yes – Lots of love and kindness! Thank you for your feedback:)

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you for your comments – and wishing you much love on your journey and trust that you have the support you need.

  • Lisaesile

    I’m so pleased to hear that my little article found it’s way (via the awesomeness of Tiny Buddha) into your life at a timely time. Thank you for your feedback.

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you for your kind words and for contributing to the discussion!

  • Lisaesile

    I know – don’t they!

  • Lisaesile

    Hey Anne! Thanks for you kind words and the book rec!! I love the image of you living out loud. I’m not totally sure what you mean – but whichever way I imagine it, it looks luscious!

  • Sarah Blankenship

    Thank you for sharing this! It seems that depression and anxiety affect so many of us in this day and age, and its awesome when people speak up about it!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re welcome – pleased to hear something resonated with you. And thank you too for contributing to the discussion. Much appreciated, and go well:)

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you and pleased to hear it was helpful!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks:)

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Cindy, thanks so much for contributing to the discussion. I really appreciate your comments and would like to take this opportunity to be very clear that the topic of whether to medicate for depression is not an area I am an expert on, and as such would never advise anyone either way. Like all things – I believe there is no one right or wrong approach – and that whichever option we choose for our self, in this and in other matters, is perfect.

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you for you comments and for contributing to the discussion – much appreciated!!

  • Lisaesile

    Yay for self compassion! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome, in fact I feel honored to be part of your ‘A-HA’ moment!! Thanks for your feedback!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re welcome!

  • Guest

    🙂

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your experience, including your Mom’s take on depression – I haven’t heard it described like that before – but it seems so obvious now. Really lovely, thank you.

  • Daniel

    Having recently slipped into depression myself after a terrible couple of years in which I tried to deal with things with a supressed heart this article has really helped me to change my view on where i am now. “Flatness”, I like that 🙂

  • Alana

    This is a cool article about feeling depressed, I have been there and I wish I had had this advice back when things were pretty bad for me a few years ago. The year of silence sounds like a cool story. Thanks for the post!

  • Joansilva52

    OMGosh this is brilliantly simple. Bravo. Thank you for understanding depression and oh so lovingly showed a lighter path. Yet honored it just the same.

  • Just Me

    I’m new to Tiny Buddha and it would help me greatly to have inspirational life cards to help keep me on my path.

  • Just Me

    And just so you know that I’m not coming on here just for free stuff, I genuinely find the articles on this site to be really helpful and I try to visit here often to see what more I can learn in life.

  • I love these five simple tips. I’ve found that when I was going through depression, it was so difficult to begin to take better care of myself and get out of my mind. Ultimately, the only thing that worked was to take up yoga — because for an hour I was in my body and out of my depression. In other words: I started to realize that my depression wasn’t me!

  • jendoe

    “depression…what happens when you listen to your mind at the expense of your heart for too long” I find this to be a very valid and meaningful perspective. I have had bouts myself, as early as late teenage years and into college and again as an adult. I, too, was put on a medicated path and interestingly…my heart vehemently cried out “NO”, yet being in my head, I rationalized this was how it was going to be/help. It took years-many, many years- to listen to my heart. I educated myself on alternatives and found what works best for myself, my “chemistry imbalance”. Diet and exercise became primary components and have worked. {“The Chemistry of Joy”, by Henry Emmons was a helpful resource, merging Western science with Eastern Wisdom}
    It’s always refreshing to hear someone else speak candidly about their experience with depression. I’ve also heard the perspective that depression is a gateway to your soul/creativity/greater purpose. It’s another view that says, “it’s not forever”. And I found great peace with that.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and bits of wisdom that emerged from it.

  • Lashpal

    Thank you for sharing this article and I too become clear about depression. It is nothing just when we ignore our needs and desires. I went through this depression many years but after that I learned that it was all mind made network of thoughts. I started caring me more. but sometimes when these thoughts come again and again we all forget what is true. So we need everyday quite time to listen us .

  • Lashpal

    The best solution which worked for me is to live in Now as it is and just seeing it completely and living in it. If we are not enjoying now means we are under some worry and soon it will become depression. May we have dreams or plains but i tried hard to reach my dreams and do not reach anywhere by being more hard on me. But when i learned to live as its is spending now . Then Universe start helping me. Stop managing all by yourself and live in complete harmony of Universe is best solution for depression…according to me.

  • Ninna

    I really enjoyed this article. Looking at moments of overload (which seem more common in our modern world full of distractions) by creating a sense of space and objectivity is a beautiful thought. That is something I really want to work on. It happens when I run or work out, but I definitely get into busy mind mode when I’m working on creative projects.

  • Thanks for the article. There are so many people who don’t understand depression and your message makes it clear and much more simple to understand.

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Lois, thanks so much for your comments and for sharing some of your own story … another ‘year of silence’er – how intriguing!! Best wishes to you on your journey!

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Cristen, thanks so much for your warm note, and sharing your experience. I can so relate to that feeling of ‘not seeing it right away! Kind wishes, Lisa.

  • Lisaesile

    🙂 Thank you.

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Peacelover22! So pleased to hear that something in my post was helpful! And thank you too for your thoughts! Go well.

  • Lisaesile

    You’re welcome – thanks for contributing to the discussion!

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Really is wonderful to hear your story. I wish you much love and courage on your journey!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Kasey, thanks for your note. You know, people say that to me often, that I’m brave to talk about the things I do … but really we’re all the same – perfectly imperfect creatures making our way through life. Having this understanding makes me less fearful. Best wishes on your journey. PS: I just watched a wonderful talk that Lori gave – have you seen it? About ‘Authentic Connections in a Networked World.’ I thought it was fantastic – it’s at the bottom of this page http://tinybuddha.com/tiny-wisdom-ebook-series/

  • Lisaesile

    Oh good – pleased to add another voice to the conversation!

  • Guest

    It’s great isn’t it. He is simply one of the most beautiful and wise writers! Thanks for your note!

  • Lisaesile

    Wonderfully put! And thanks for your kind words!

  • Lisaesile

    Pleased you enjoyed the article! And thanks so much for joining the discussion and for sharing your thoughts:)

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks so much for your note – it’s been a pleasure to share my story and to be part of this discussion!

  • Lisaesile

    Oh great!! Thanks for saying!

  • Lisaesile

    Thank you! Yes, it’s great isn’t it – I felt the same way when I first heard someone use it!

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my great pleasure – thanks so much for your note!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Lisa – thanks so much for your note. And I think you might be right – what does it matter what you call it, it is what it is:) This sounds like a time to really be kind to yourself – although when is it not a time to be kind to ourselves, but you know what i mean! Best wishes, L.

  • Lisaesile

    It truly is my pleasure – pleased to hear something struck a chord!

  • Lisaesile

    Nana, thank you for posting this beautiful note:)

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure!

  • Lisaesile

    Hi Matt, thanks so much for your note and your kind words! Pleased to hear it resonated with you.

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure. Thanks for joining the discussion!

  • Lisaesile

    It’s my pleasure! Thanks for your note and for sharing your thoughts also!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome!

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure!

  • Lisaesile

    That’s great to hear – thanks so much for the feedback!

  • Lisaesile

    So pleased to hear that it resonated with you! Go well, L.

  • Lisaesile

    Really is a pleasure to be part of this discussion. Thanks so much for your kind words:)

  • Lisaesile

    Oh great to hear!!

  • Lisaesile

    My pleasure!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re welcome – pleased you enjoyed!

  • Lisaesile

    Thanks for saying. Go well!

  • Lisaesile

    Great to hear – thanks for your feedback!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re very welcome, pleased something in it was helpful!

  • Lisaesile

    Lots of kindness to you!

  • Lisaesile

    You’re so welcome!! Pleased you enjoyed!

  • Andrea

    Thank you for publicly sharing your experiences with depression and what was helpful for you. I have also experienced bouts of depression, and found your writing to be refreshing and affirming. Would be grateful to have a copy of your “Life Cards.”

  • MLQ

    Wow that’s exactly how I feel when my depression kicks in . . Like life has shifted and will never be fun anymore. It’s hard to lift your head up and see that things will go back to normal.. . that your ‘depressed state’ is not your new reality.Thank you for sharing your story.

  • i always say “thank you depression”. it has brought me new perspective and increased self awareness.
    Noch Noch

  • disqus_ceLF2teBHj

    Oh, am I too late for the Life Cards? Boo…the past year has been a big struggle, family stuff, it won’t go away and I don’t know how to fix it…very depressing…but I always appreciate your writings, Lisa! Thanks.

  • Cynthia K. Marshall

    Personally, the idea of looking to the other side of the “flatness” resonated with me. Thank you!

  • slateblues

    I come from a family with a history of clinical depression. Mine began during adolescence and I was on Elavil when I attempted suicide at seventeen. Since then I have been in and out of therapy, working hard on myself and have also been on and off of antidepressant medication. I have come to the conclusion, now in my early 50’s, that in my case, much of my problem is due to negative thinking patterns that are learned and passed down through generations of my parents’ families (in addition to physical and emotional abuse). I would say that I agree, therefore with a great deal of what you are saying in your post, except that for me, the negative thinking led to great depressions in my life which altered my brain chemistry over time, which in turn required medication to restore my brain’s equilibrium. Once that was accomplished, cognitive therapy could address the thought disorder.

  • jodes

    I loved this post and I couldnt have read it at a better time! I always thought you were either depressed or not depressed and that depression required drugs for a positive recovery! I am currently studying mental health and am aware that there is clinical depression but that is by far different to “flatness”. It is hard when you have those days of “I hate the world” or “nothing ever goes right for me” and at the time you really believe them and believe things wont change! This post made me realise that I need to step back a bit when I am struck with these feelings and remember,
    “Know that your mind is operating alone while you heart takes a little rest”!

  • Michelle

    This is the second time I’ve read this article because I’m currently going through depression. I love the part where you said that the heart stops and the brain takes over and to essentially not pay attention to what it has to say. I’ve had a huge issue with listening to all the negative thoughts about every situation. I rip the most positive thing apart and turn it into a negative. And when I think something is positive, I will actualy tell myself that I am being delusional……yet another negative thought! It’s really hard to shake these thoughts and have a realistic point of view.

  • Laurena

    This is by far the best article on deppression I have read! So well put!

  • Leah

    Thank you for the good advice.

  • Sophia

    this is the most resonant and most moving thing i’ve read in such a long time.

  • liane

    i never thought of depression as one of the ways my mind telling me that something is off balance, that really resonated with me. thank you for that insight.

  • R.A.M.

    I read your post just while going through some uncharted level of post-quitting-of-medication-for-depression-using-ssri-like-lexapro-and-jovia. I ate 6 krispy kreme donuts and ate 2 pc KFC chicken and got a massage and spent out of the budget for the taxi to get home – all this in the coping grounds of feeling spiralling down because of mean things that people who are not me did. The dough kneading in my chest- have all of you been through that? There was a panic I am afraid to entertain. I like the see the pain from as much distance as possible. Hopefully, by doing this, I could still retain control of my body and not go berserk and kill or worse, hurt.

  • Anje

    I found this post truly inspirational. I am currently battling depression and have been for some time. Lately things have taken a turn for the worse and, in my opinion, there is only so much medication that one can take; only so much that medication can do. Thank you for sharing these feelings and emotions with us. It helped me to understand that there is hope and that I won’t be this way for the rest of my life. It feels great to know that there are others out there who understand and who can offer support. Thank you!

  • Nicks

    Thank you so much for sharing your depressed phase and how did you overcome it. I really felt light that some one else it also feeling exactly the same. I will try the methods you have suggested to lift my depression. Thanks again and keep writing 🙂

  • Mark

    This has some really nice parts in it, I especially like: your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding and know that your mind is operating alone while your heart takes a rest.
    It has been a year since my marriage break up and I have felt depression, anxiety and anger more then I ever would want to, I fear I will not feel good again,
    I do yearn for the day I can breathe fully again with love flowing through me.
    Deep down I have the faith but the fear still rises.

  • bluebell

    thank you for sharing your experiences lisa….i enjoyed reading your post.

  • Ingelinn

    If you think depression is the same as flatness, I’m not sure you’ve actually really had depression. There is nothing “flat” about it, nor is it about feeling sorry for yourself. Depression is complete and utter despair, and a sense of self-hatred that cannot be described with words. It’s being in physical pain without actually knowing why. It’s constant tiredness and an endless stream of guilt and shame. It’s spending every waking moment wishing you could cease to exist.

    It sounds to me as if what you experienced was somewhere between mild and moderate depression, which, fair enough, is pretty common (not EVERYONE gets it, but about 1 in 4 will at some point in their lives). However, the flatness you experienced is what happens when you take antidepressants. A lot of people seem to think that they are these amazing pills that will make them feel happy again, but the only thing they do is stabilise you, and because you don’t have any happy thoughts in you at this point, what you are left with when the depression lifts is, indeed, flatness. This makes most people complain, which I have never understood, because my goodness was it great to feel flat instead of suicidal! If the flatness doesn’t come as a relief to you, then you probably didn’t need the antidepressants to begin with.

    Once you feel flat, that means you have been stabilised by the meds. The next step is therapy, which is where you start rebuilding yourself as a person. Combine this with doing things you used to enjoy before you got sick, and spend time with the people you love, and you will start to feel better. And to me it sounds like that’s what you did, from the description of those five attitudes, and that is good.

    Now, for me there is no recovery. There is no happy ending. I am not 1 in 4. I have bipolar disorder, which is a permanent illness. I’m on two different types of medication, and I see a therapist once a week, and all of this helps, but there is no miracle cure and I will always suffer these ups and downs (in my case, mostly downs). For me it is about finding a way to live with it, and to manage it to the best of my ability. There is a chemical imbalance that I have absolutely no control over. So while I am glad you found something that works for you, it’s not actually true that we can all “get past it”. Some of us can’t. I hope that puts things in perspective for you.

  • SuicidalYogini

    This was so hurtful and offensive. Fuck you.

  • sophia

    I really enjoyed this post, its made me feel alot better about my depression,
    im a 20 year old girl and havent had depression for that long, but for the past 3 weeks ihave felt so low and sad that i dont know what todo with myself, i feel so disconnected from everything, including my body, but this has given me a better understanding of why i am feeling like this, so thankyou 🙂

  • Amy

    Lisa, this is a GREAT article and I will print this off and read it when I am “Flat” which is more often than I like at this time. But the more I get “out of my head” and into my Heart, the better I feel. Thank you for writing about it, it not only helps me in my situation but helps me relate to my family better as well! Love your stuff!!!

  • thivai

    This is great if it works for you, however, there are a lot of people who can try this all they want and won’t get better. Reading this makes them feel the more guilty and being “losers” as they did something wrong and are now “punished” with depression. Depression is NOT your friend. It is a terrible experience and it kills people. If you overcome it, deem yourself lucky!
    I have tried mindfulness, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and so on. I have suffered from various grades of depression for all my life, it never went away until recently – when I started taking hormones that my body seems to lack somehow. Had I not find that out, I would be sitting here, reading this, and feel horrible about myself because I can’t get it “right”. If you talk about compassion, please consider my story, which is the story of many others, too. Some will never find a way out of depression and the reasons for that are not always clear. Sometimes it is just “bad luck” to be born with a brain chemistry that is prone for depression. In such a case, you just have to try and live with it.

  • somenights

    One of the best articles I have read in a long time. I have been through an incredible past year full of challenges. I have experienced these solemn quiet tender moments and is spite of everyone telling me I should fix “the problem” I have had an underlying sense that I should just embrace it. Taking that approach has actually scared the crap out if me since it raises the question “have I seriously just slipped off the edge?” This article has restored faith in myself and I feel like I trust my instincts more. Thank you so much for writing such insightful thoughts and sharing them.

  • Gary

    I have never taken medications for depression. I try to defeat it on my own and with a little substance abuse. But every-time I try to fight it, my mind convinces myself that this is a part of me and that I will never truly eradicate it. I know the reason for my depression. I lack a creative mind, I feel like I can’t enrich peoples lives with my company, just a quiet boring guy who hasn’t got a thought to say, as a result anxiety explodes on me when I start thinking in this state of mind.

    But sometimes miracles happen, when I show I can be spontaneous, confident and relaxed i am happy. But these feelings are never truly real because the next day I am back in the sinking hole when I am reminded yet again that I am not spontaneous, confident and relaxed. I wish you could feel on top of the world and stay there with tools that help you feel that way. Most people have these tools, whether its your job/ career, appearance/fashion, gym/body, mind/personality. For me I am depressed because of I don’t know how to be a social person and fit in, awkward is all I know.

  • Passionflower

    This is so inspiring! Thank you! This is truly a gift to read during a tough depression spot. I learned to belive that struggles and hardships have the great potential to be tremendous gifts should they be allowed in the psyche to be such. Anything stating otherwise is a “depressed” thought that has turned into an accepted belief! I say this as someone who has come to extreme lows where I literally at times could not see the point of living. Our brains have such immense power to believe and create such vastly opposing realities. I hope everyone who suffers through depression and or anxiety gets to see the incredible other side of it and the power of deep understanding that it brings.

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  • This is a really soothing and beautiful look at depression. Depression is something I have had many many times over my life and it comes and goes. Mindfulness has helped me a lot, but sometimes words like yours can lift my spirit into a more creative place and make some changes. Thank you.

  • matukat

    Flat would be a relief. I have been on many meds for over thirty years and they mostly haven’t helped. I am trying amino acids under a drs care but don’t know yet if that will work. Therapy and friends are a big help. I feel terrible. Can’t work , over time more fatigue and less ability to function. Can’t stand noise or light. Sometimes terrified, angry at the loss of time to accomplish things. Have to be positive when I can. The horrible parts are like a seizure which won’t let go until it finally lets go. No control over thoughts for days and days. This is a devastating illness for many. My family is full of it. Can’t have a real relationship with the sickest people. The buck stops here. I did not have children. No one deserves this hell. Positive thoughts help when the mood is not too deep. Cats, nature, Earth are so much comfort.

  • Michael Pryor

    This speaks alot to me.

    I am 23, and up till now I have lived life with an all or nothing policy and up till now have always got what I wanted. There was always a goal to strive for and I invariably got there. But now I have graduated and started a full time job, and life had become fairly bland. I lost motivation and lost any real goals to strive for. I became very negative and my girlfriend of 7 years was having a hard time being around me. After 6 months of this she left me and never looked back.

    So for a week I was in a state of shock and confusion. It felt like I had lost everything and had nothing. I had never really thought what life would be like without this person. I was close to rock bottom. But in this state, I was forced to change things. So I have started looking at the world differently, focusing on my own inner peace and trying to love life. I realised that I had so far spent my life focusing on my mind and my thoughts, but not on my inner peace and my heart.

    Depression is a catalyst to change, not necessarily a bad thing. I truly hate the attitude that many people have towards depression. I myself was guilty of this attitude towards my brother who has been suffering from it his entire life. Many people see it as a weakness, a negative, and they see the solution is just to man up and move forwards. But it is much deeper than that, it is a tough thing to go through but if the right steps are taken one can come out stronger and grow in the process.

    I am mostly just rambling now – but for me, as painful as this place I am in right now is, it is forcing me to re-evaluate, discover spirituality and inner peace, and grow as a person. That is an opportunity I am grateful for, and I have to keep strong and thinl positively.

  • nick james

    this article saved me. i’m starting to be able to control it now. thank you

  • Annette

    Ive read this now 3 times this morning
    I have depression .
    And it’s my nightmare at the moment.
    I have no energy,
    I don’t want to be around anyone.
    I just want to be alone.
    It’s horrible

  • Vince

    A friend once told me that depression is like walking along and falling into a hole. You fight and fight and finally may get out. As time passes you may fall into the hole again but learn to get out faster. If you learn well enough you learn to walk around the hole and not fall in at all. I haven’t gotten to the last step yet but the periods between falling in are getting longer. Many things have helped, meds, meditation, presence, learning to face my thoughts. All have made me better at this game but the one that helped most was facing my thoughts. I would get just absolutely horrible thoughts of hurting myself and others. They scared me to the heart of my soul. I read about the fear that drives these and that the only way to get past the fear was to face it. An old adage comes to mind, The only way out is through. One night while in bed I felt fear and anxiety building and I decided to look it in the eye instead of trying to run from it. I said to myself, Self, these are just thoughts and not who I am. I told my mind that I didn’t just want to be afraid but really afraid. Told it to do what it may to me I am just waiting, do your worst. I started to shake a little and had all kinds of scary things take hold of me. I stood my ground. Again I said do your worst, I want to feel it all, I am tired of running. After a few moments I noticed the shaking waning. I noticed the thoughts clearing. Again I welcomed what ever thoughts and fears came and they lessened. Don’t know if this will work for all but it certainly helped me.

    Nice talk about flat spots in life. Thanks.

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    LOVE this – even when feeling well, these ideas really help, Lisa!

  • Zika Azemi

    “Depression is your friend” – before, I’m scared of it. Today, i’m brave enough to accept the friendship.

    Thanks, Lisa for the article. God bless.

  • Primal

    Clinical depression is 95% systemic i.e. the cause of clinical depression is systemic dependency; not predisposed genetics, the event that triggered their ‘fall’ per se, nor is it a mental illness. Systemic dependency is due to the mixed economy and state profit.

  • Zara

    Mindfulness surely is a powerful way of dealing with this. Negative thoughts are self-perpetuating and allowing them to pass instead of ruminating breaks this cycle. There is much wisdom in the teachings from the east.

    I like the positive, personal tone of this article. Those who suffer from depression need to know that there is hope, even if it is difficult to phantom if you’re in the midst of it. What I found is that it’s best to do what you can to help yourself instead of leaving everything to others. Doing something positive, even if it’s something small like taking a walk or trying to do some exercise, usually made me feel a little better and in that state it’s often enough to retain some glimmer of hope. That’s at least been my experience.