How to Defeat Depression Naturally? My Personal Battle Against My Depression

Defeat Depression

Last Updated on 17 May 2021

Defeating depression is the secret dream of any depressed people. It has also been my dream for a very long time, until I decided to say “Basta!”. The latter is both an English and an Italian word which marked my strong decision to end a very long suffering that impaired my entire life since I was a little girl. I have had the early symptoms of my depression at eight years old.

Yes, I was only a little girl and already my life appeared like a source of sadness and grief. Today, thanks to a spiritual and philosophic path of mindfulness, I can say to have defeated my awful and invasive depression and to be a former depressed person. That is why I decided to write this blog post. My personal experience, my previous suffering and what I am today are at your disposal to help you get rid of your depression in a natural way and without medications, when it is possible.

I am a person who is susceptible to depression because I also have Hashimoto’s disease, but in this article, I won’t discuss about the ties between this disease and depression, because I already did that in a previous post. Today, I want to bring my experience in front to your own depression, which may also be triggered by psychological causes, besides the one I have already mentioned. Indeed, when you are depressed, you feel as I felt, the emotions that surround this awful state of mind are always the same and they are just the things we must defeat! Let’s start, as usual, from the beginning.

The Story of My Depression

As said above, I perceived the initial symptoms of my depression when I was just eight years. In summer, when I was a little girl, I always spent my vacation days at the home of my paternal grandmother. But I was not happy and felt as a strange sense of emptiness in my soul. Fortunately, when I came back to school, this strange sadness faded naturally.

At that time, yet, I didn’t know that I had a genetical thyroid disorder, but it was not a problem, then, because with the school life, I returned being a normal little girl. Today, I think this initial depression was simply a nostalgy of my schoolmates and friends. However, the most awful attack of depression began when I was 19 years old. And the school was, somehow, involved. I had just graduated at the high school and I was about to face all the struggles of the Sicilian students: get a job or go to the university.

Unfortunately, I have always lived in Sicily, where none of the two options has never worked. There were no jobs for young people in Sicily and the Sicilian universities were arranged under a powerful, political and twisted hierarchy where only those who were pushed ahead from influential people, obtained a fairly paid job. All the others (including me), who came from poor or middle-class families, didn’t have any opportunity.

Everywhere I went, for a job, I found only employers who want to exploit me and when I looked for academic advice, the only replies I received were: You must have a protector, a politician who helps you get a job, because in Sicily (and Italy), talent and merit don’t matter…”. Yes, in my Country, what mattered the most were those who paid a lot of money (bribe) to get a job or those who voted a mafia man or a politician who promised them a public job. And so, during my youngness, I came across my personal hell, where rage, frustration and rejection filled my daily life with unbearable bitterness.

Instead to react against this injustice, I felt dejected and with a bad mood. I was always down and never up. I had become a depressed young girl. This state of things lasted until I was 22 years. The depression was so intense and uncontrollable, with crying fits, exhaustion, anxiety, sleepless and lose weight, that I ended up hospitalized and treated with antidepressants. At that time, I must admit it, they were my temporary salvation from depression and, above all, from suicide. But antidepressants had the backside of being addictive. To be effective, hence, doctors had to prescribe higher doses. It was the first proof of my strong personality: I refused to keep taking antidepressants.

Ever since, I was 23 years old, my fight against depression became private and personal and conducted without medications. Due to my young age, however, I was forced to look for psychological support and advice, wandering from a psychologist to another one, passing through some psychiatrists, but always in the grip of my depression. I ended the psychotherapy when I was 31 years old. Unfortunately, however, I had still depression.

I was alone, I and my inner illness, where every disappointing, frustration, stress, sad events turned into bad mood and into the usual dissatisfaction which accompanied my life. Until I decided to work on myself to understand the psychological mechanisms of my depression.

My discoveries allowed me to defeat my depression naturally and keep it under control when it is about to re-appear. You’ll learn about them in the following paragraphs. Keep in count that the mechanisms are identical in every depression, whatever the causes are. Let’s go forward.

The Hidden Mechanism of Depression

Whether you feel down, dejected, desperate, or nervous, or irritable, the mechanism that triggers the psychological symptoms of depression is always the same: that is a pattern which has been built over time. Even when the occurrence of depression depends on a physical cause, such as Hashimoto’s disease, the perverse mechanism suggesting your mind to get depressed is always a negative thought or a chain of negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts are the worst pattern of our modern age, they are constantly installed in your mind like a worm or a malware inside a software. They dictate a series of orders in your mind which push you to feel outcasted, helpless and unworthy. Low or absent self-esteem is a common trait in depressed people. When you are depressed, you don’t love you, you think the worst things about yourself and your life. You believe to deserve the worst, not the best. These wrong beliefs may be originated by your family or your social environment.

A long-lasting time of injustice, economic crisis and failures may be the fertile soil for the future development of depression. There is also another side to consider about any possible occurrence of depression. That is the so-called acceptance of the loss. This aspect plays a pivotal role to learn how to beat depression naturally. It is overall recognized that our modern society and all depressed people have problems to accept the loss they experience in their lifetime.

Each of us will lose something or someone in our life. No more, no less! It is not a case that the main depressive events start after the loss of a job, of a certain balance of life, or with the death of one of our beloved ones.

In these cases, our brain has to make a reset to the changes that the loss entails. And it is in this stage that depressed people fail: they don’t accept their loss and are unable to develop a normal adaptation to the change. In psychology, the reaction to the loss and the subsequent adaptation to the change are called “grief elaboration”.

The inability to accept loss may lead to the most extreme consequences, such as suicide. Indeed, in depression, suicide is considered the third main cause of death in the developed countries after cancer and heart diseases,

a sort of silent epidemic, which, however, seems to have decreased during the pandemic. In Italy, for instance, during the financial crisis of 2008, the number of unemployed Italians who committed suicide has increased of 40%. A similar phenomenon happened during the financial crisis in 1929.

Why? The answer is simple: people were unable to accept the loss of their job or of their economic status. They considered their loss like the end of their life and not as a temporary difficulty. That is the devilish game of depression: it drives you to think that there is no hope, no opportunity anymore, but it is only a negative thought created by this psychological disorder. This awareness is the first step to defeat your depression naturally.

Every grief, every loss is never the end of everything, but a gateway to test our inner strength and to give us a new opportunity. Yes, there are types of grief which seems impossible to overcome, such as the early death of an innocent child. I still remember the tragedy happened in Italy to Nicholas Green, the American child killed by a shooting, in Messina, while he was on a vacation with his family. The child was 7 years, only. This is the most awful grief that may affect a person.

Soon after the tragedy, the parents of Nicholas, Margaret and Reginald Green, decided to donate the organs of their beloved son to save Italian patients affected by severe diseases. Today, after 27 years from the loss of her child, Nicholas’ mommy has said: “My son lives in all Italians we helped…”. This is a poignant example about how an endless grief has been turned into a new opportunity of salvation for others.

Obviously, a time of depression is fairly normal after a grief or a loss, but if the depressed mood lasts over 12 months, it is better to look for help. Depression, hence, may be defined “the measure of our resilience or vulnerability”. The more we are vulnerable (both for physical or psychological causes); the more depressed we become.

Clinical studies also revealed that the inability to elaborate a grief underlies a narcissistic trait of personality. It seems incredible, but according to this study, depression would be a result of our innate egoism. Narcissism is a disorder where people are focused only on their external appearance. Hence, may we be narcissist when unable to accept loss, grief or frustration? It seems so.

Our modern society is founded on an exaggerate individualism, where we must aim to personal happiness and wellness, where nothing must hurt us. As you can see, at the center of this individualism, there are only us, individuals separated each other with no knowledge about themselves and others. The fault of this twisted mindset is also in mass-media, powerful tools developed not only to inform us, but also to manipulate masses.

Steps to Defeat Depression Naturally

The brain is an organ made to elaborate and learn every day, but if we feed it with toxic and fake thoughts, this organ will be taught to follow a certain unrealistic pattern that will conduct us to depression. The first step to defeat depression naturally is to dismantle the devilish pattern built over time through wrong mental messages.

Try wondering: Who are I to demand no pain, no disappointing, no disease, no grief? To beat depression, you must practice, every day, a type of thought that halts the negative and unrealistic thoughts you learnt in your lifetime. I learnt, for example, to say to myself: be strong and courageous. I have repeated these words every day since some years by now.

Try also to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Always replace despair with hope, frustration with reaction. When bad events happen, think that they served to avoid something wrong or to give you a message or a lesson of life. I know that initially it is hard, but over time your brain will learn to replace bad mood with mindfulness. The latter is the key to defeat depression naturally.

Mindfulness: the Best Natural Medicine to Beat Depression

The correct definition of mindfulness is contained on Mindful.org, where it reads that “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” In short,this beautiful quote means that we must keep cold blood in front of life’s events, whether they are negative or positive.

Mindfulness is the key to not be overwhelmed by stress, which is one of the causes of depression. Stress was also the cause of my constant depressed mood in the past years. Thanks to the awareness about myself, my limits and potentiality, I learnt reducing stressful conditions. I also learnt to say No to unrealistic requests without feeling guilty for that.

Mindfulness is a wonderful journey toward the encounter with your true personality and your true self. Indeed, you must think about depression like your inner demon which fights to emerge. The most terrible cases of depression have always regarded an inner conflict between who we really are and how we appear externally. And at this stage, again, I am forced to quote a beautiful book I already mentioned in a previous post. It is titled What is the psychology, written in 1970s by Belgian psychiatrist Pierre Daco.

Today, there are still the French and the Italian editions, around, but his words are still helpful and valuable. In this book, this doctor invites us to discover our true self, our true vocation, in order to be authentic and live a fulfilled life. This does not mean we won’t encounter loss, grief and sadness in life, but only that understanding ourselves, we will be stronger and capable to face the various challenges of life.

A particular sentence I am keen to remember is: “Great things are simple. Otherwise, they are not great.” Hence, everybody deserves a happy life. The problem is that in the most of the cases, we don’t know what is our purpose in this life and wander blindly until we don’t bang against the wall of failure. We chase complicate goals that make life still more complicate.

A big mistake many depressed people make is to wait for the action by others. These patients harbor unrealistic expectations that are impossible to be satisfied. These people blame the fate, others or problems for their unhappiness and forget they are the only responsible of their happiness. Joy and balance are gifts given to everybody.

I understood that during my path to defeat my depression. I also learnt that when a problem is impossible to resolve, maybe it is not a problem, but a reality. To defeat depression naturally, hence, you must learn to mediate between reality and yourself. You must get aware about what you can change and what you can’t. When I realized that my local reality was impossible to change, I changed myself and focused my attention to another reality which could be more suitable for my personality. I studied abroad, met new friends, expanded my skills and forgot all evil I endured in my hard local reality. Remember, if you can’t change your condition, change yourself.

Get rid of negative thoughts, such as “I can’t, happiness is not for me, life is unbearable” and react to move forward. Change small habits, such as your daily lifestyle, read a book you love, plan new projects, learn a new language, buy a new accessory… or practice yoga, an ancient and effective meditation method. Act and react in order to forget your depression step by step.

But, most importantly, discover who are you and don’t fear the opinion of others. You are unique and special, it is your uniqueness that really matters, not your homologation. Start building your true personality and erase the depressive pattern that others built for you. The path to defeat depression is a journey of mindfulness and deliverance. It is also a path of faith. A habit I undertook to defeat my depression without medications is prayer.

When I felt depressed, I prayed and looked for a spiritual connection with God. I read the Gospel and found many answers to my fear and doubts. When for example, Jesus said: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37), He didn’t mean that we must hate our beloved ones, but only to trust Him and think that they are with God when we lose them.

Keep ourselves away from many forms of addiction for persons or things is a spiritual way to keep away the depression caused by loss. The only mission we have on this life is to love. Love is universal, we have the duty to love ourselves and others. Depression is the most evident consequence of our isolation and loneliness, we are not open to others, but closed inside ourselves.

Money, greed, and a rigid interest for only our things, our job, our followers are the way to depression, because when we lose them, the fake life we built falls apart. To defeat depression naturally, we must be more spiritual and less material. We must count on God and ourselves and not on others, even if they are our beloved ones.

Defeat Severe Depression in a Natural Way

The tips I provided above may be helpful to deal with severe depression, as well. This disorder, indeed, never occurs alone, but it is always in co-morbidity with other clinical conditions, such as anxiety, bipolar- disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. The latter, usually, triggers terrible attacks of depression. To soothe them, you might also be in need of psychotherapy, but as American psychologist Michael Yapko said in a video of his: “Mood must be managed, you must learn managing your mood to prevent from being overwhelmed by depression”.

Conclusion

I know that a simple blog post is not enough to defeat depression. I avoided to delve into the most intimate aspects of this disorder, because it would be impossible to explore them all at once. With this piece, I only want to help you deal with the discomfort that your depression brings into your life. If happiness is nearly impossible, serenity is more practical to accomplish. Our ancestors went through war, famine and different, deadly, pandemics, but have lived with courage and with no depression. If they could resist, we can, too. Because, these ancestors were not heroes, they were simply human!   

References and bibliography:

  1. Tony Hicks – Why Suicides Have Decreased During the COVID-19 Pandemic – Healthline – April12, 2021 –  https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-suicides-have-decreased-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
  2. La Repubblica – Suicidi, il boom legato alla crisi ogni giorno un caso fra i disoccupati – January 3, 2012 – https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2012/01/03/news/suicidi_fra_i_disoccupati-27543146/
  3. Monica Coviello – La mamma di Nicholas Green: «Mio figlio vive negli italiani» – Vanityfair – October 7, 2019 – https://www.vanityfair.it/news/approfondimenti/2019/10/07/donazione-organi-genitori-nicholas-green-anniversario-morte-25-anni-fa
  4. Calandra C, Finocchiaro G, Raciti L, Alberti A. Grief elaboration in families with handicapped member. Ann Ist Super Sanita. 1992;28(2):269-71. PMID: 1476349. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1476349/
Author: Rosalba Mancuso
Rosalba Mancuso is a medical journalist, an international content writer credited at the University of Washington and a blogger born in Sicily. She is popular for founding four websites in English. On Modernhealthinfo.com, Rosalba writes well researched and detailed health articles backed by her experience as a medical writer for pharma companies and as a PR assistant for a clinical analysis laboratory. She is also a member of the AHCJ, American Association of Health Care Journalists and Center for Excellence in Health Journalism.

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