She's a character, she has opinions.

Step 6. Be Awesome Instead

with 4 comments

Stop Feeling Depressed from Think Simple Now offers us “3 Steps to Live Consciously & Stop Feeling Depressed.” Step 1 is stop creating problems. Step 2 is focus in what makes you happy. And, Step 3 is refill your consciousness tank.

I’m going to add two extremely valuable steps to this list. Are you ready?
Step 4. Learn what depression really is.
Step 5. Seek treatment for your depression.

“When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story.”
Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother

Depression (and other mental illnesses) can’t be solved by deciding to be awesome instead. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a chronic illness that usually requires long-term treatment. Depression can be caused by biological changes in your brain, neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), or hormones, in addition to being triggered by major life events. That’s right, this mental illness can and does have physical causes. Depression is a serious illness that can affect every area of your life and the lives of your family members. Left untreated it can lead to substance abuse, heart disease, even suicide.

Articles like this one from Think Simple Now offering self-help tips about refilling your consciousness tank are ableist at best and harmful at worst. They assume that depression is “all in your head” and that it’s easy to get rid of it just by changing the way you think. They irresponsibly encourage people to substitute self-help techniques for the range of treatments they may need instead of suggesting using those treatments in concert with each other.

Depression is a serious illness. It may be all in your head but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. If you think you’re depressed, check out the Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms here. And if you’re having suicidal thoughts, please, talk to someone right away. You can make a free and confidential call to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


Written by tldegray

October 1, 2010 at 9:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. I definitely found that article ill-informed and mis-using the term “depression” which is common in our culture. I read it as though the writer had been through many upsetting things in the previous months which had led to much sadness and dealing with those emotions – that is my reading of what was written. With an experience of depression not predicated on any event, a bout of mental illness, it means months of no feelings at all, no ability to get upset, just sitting on a couch staring and feeling less than anything which is not somewhere I could have fought myself out of with a trip to starbucks – I could barely shower. I do not want to compare experiences but feelings and mental illness are decidedly different places to be…


    October 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    • I agree. I think articles like that can be dangerous because they contribute to the confusion about depression and reinforce the idea that it’s easily fixed. But depression is a very hard thing, no matter what triggers it (your brain chemistry, a life event, etc.).

      (Brain fog night. I’m having a tough time forming words!)

      I’ve been depressed. Almost all my life, really. (I’m sorry you’ve been there, too. Depression is a tough and lonely place to be.) And then I found medication that adjusts my serotonin levels and BAM, totally different person. I can’t tell you how different I feel. It was like the dark shroud that had been between me and everything else lifted. It was an amazing feeling. If I’d continued to cling to the idea that I didn’t need medicine or treatment, all I needed was to “think positively” or something, then I wouldn’t have learned what it is to feel good. I might have ended up dead (suicidal ideation was no stranger to me). Fortunately I realized I needed more help than I could give myself and sought out a therapist who recommended and helped me find a medication that worked for me.

      I’d like people to realize that there’s no shame in needing help. Depression is an illness like any other and sometimes you need to let professionals treat it.


      October 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm

  2. […] Also read: Step 6. Be Awesome Instead […]

  3. It may be all in your head but that doesn’t mean it’s not real. If you think you’re depressed, check out the Mayo Clinic’s list of symptoms here. And if you’re having suicidal thoughts, please, talk to someone right away.

    depression symptoms

    May 9, 2011 at 9:57 am

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