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Conquering the Darkness

Not everyone will relate to this post, and that’s good. To understand the dark, you have to experience it. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

But then there’s you. You know who you are. You’re finding it difficult to do even the simplest things. Sometimes, just getting up in the morning seems like too much.

It’s like a heavy, soft weight that saps your energy and weakens your spirit. And, oddly, as much as you want to feel better, there are times when the darkness seems comfortable. Each day is a battle between conquering and giving in.

You are quietly living with depression.

Finding a way out of the darkness

I am not a therapist or counselor. I am just a man who once wandered the same path you're on.

My time with depression happened before I had cancer. But cancer can be a catalyst for depression. I hope by sharing how I found my way back it might help you as well.

Realize you are not alone

Millions of adults have struggled with depression. You are not crazy. You are not making it up. You are not a failure. And, you are not the only one.

Seek help

You need to know, and this is very important, you cannot beat this thing by yourself. Talk to your doctor. He or she will point you to a therapist who can help. If you’re not comfortable with that yet, at least talk to a loved one, your faith leader, or someone else you trust.

Don’t isolate yourself

The last thing I wanted was to be around people. I tend to be an introvert and appreciate my time alone, but back then that worked against me. Being with people makes a big difference. But it has to be face-to-face. Texting and social media won’t cut it.

Keep it simple

Don’t take on a big To-Do list right away. Pick one thing. It doesn’t matter what it is. Just accomplishing one goal each day will move you forward.

Don’t hide it

I can’t stress this enough. Hiding your disease is dangerous. Find at least one safe person you can be honest with.

Do for others

Find ways to help someone. Volunteer somewhere. Help a friend who needs to talk. Care for a pet. Supporting others will lift your spirit.

Stay active

Go for a walk, preferably with a friend.

Be aware of negative self-talk

Listen to your thoughts. It gets easy to accuse yourself with hateful thoughts of worthlessness and failure. Whenever that happened to me I would literally tell myself to knock it off. If no one was around I’d actually say it out loud in a very demanding, authoritative voice. It sounds nuts, but it worked for me.

Believe in yourself

You’ll learn to love yourself and your life again. You really will. It may seem hard right now, or even impossible, but that’s just the depression talking. I made it out and you will too. The real you is in there. You’ll find her again.

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