How to Overcome Depression


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Was discussing this on a forum with a guy; I used to talk about it a fair amount, some time back, but it's sort of faded from my life in significance. It just isn't on my mind much these days anymore, but I do remember how big a deal it was for me once, and hopefully my story and process can help a few people.

I used to be depressed. Really depressed. For about ten years, I was so utterly despondent and resigned about life, I thought the rest of my life would be that way. I was often filled with anger and resentment toward the world, and felt like I was fighting against everybody else. Forced outside the system and viewed as an unwelcome interloper, I was friendless and without companionship, isolated and alone. I didn't belong anywhere.

How I turned things around, and transformed myself into a guy who's constantly positive and optimistic – and no, it ain't an act, I really am optimistic, in a realistic, practical, still-somewhat-cautious way, all the time – and filled with a can-do spirit and good at getting what he wants and succeeding at most things he tries, at least over the long term – how I turned myself into that kind of guy from the complete opposite, well, that's the subject of today's post.

And I feel it's worth saying before the jump, that yes, you can do it too. There's nothing all that exceptional about what I did – but you're going to have to be a little stubborn to do it. If you ever struggle with not feeling so great though, and you think you're ready to start pulling yourself up by your bootstraps now, read on.



Deciding to Change

In late-2004 I reached, once again, the end of my rope. I'd suffered another string of defeats, and was feeling desperate; it was as though nothing I did made a difference in my life. It was then, in late November that year, that I decided it was time to plot a new course to try one last time to change my life; a course, this time, unlike any I'd plotted before.

I'd long refused to take medication, despite my parents' urgings – sure, it might make me feel better, I said, but at what cost? Then I'd be stuck taking pills to feel good for the rest of my life. And I didn't want to talk to psychologists – I spoke with a few, never by choice, but I didn't give them anything. I knew how they talked to patients and the kind of advice they gave; there wasn't anything they could help me with.

Many days I woke up feeling absolutely sick to my stomach, not wanting to get up from bed, not wanting to have to face another day of misery and failure and helplessness and living a life devoid of hope and meaning, but even that wasn't enough to compel me to give in and surrender to medication or doctors. If I was going to beat depression, I thought, I wanted it to be on my own terms, and I wanted it to be forever. I just... didn't really know how I was going to do that, exactly.

One thing about me is, I'm a skeptic. And, I was so fatalistic, you couldn't have told me anything back then. If I today met myself from ten years ago, and I told him, "Dude, guess what, I figured out how to overcome depression, and I can help you change your life!" the me from ten years ago would have looked at me today and said, "No, you can't help me and you don't know what you're talking about. The only thing that's going to help me is my life changing. Then I'll feel better."

Because really, that's how I used to think. That I wasn't going to change my attitude until my life changed. I had a right to be depressed, I thought. I should be depressed. What, I should have a crappy life and be happy about it?

But by late-2004, I had begun to realize that everything I tried to change my life – every single thing – had utterly failed. My attempts at building close friendships fell short. Girls still liked me and flirted with me but never did anything with me. I still remained standing apart, in clear exception to John Donne's immortal line, "No man is an island."

"No man but me," I used to say. "This man is an island."

Then one day, in the midst of feeling as unhappy as I usually did, I had an interesting thought. It had floated up into my mind from time to time, only to be pushed back down again as preposterous and unreasonable. But suddenly, it began to float up more and more often, until at last I could deny it no longer.

"I'll wait for my life to change, and only then will my attitude change." That was how I always thought before. But I'd tried that for years, and it hadn't worked. " What if," I asked myself, "I try changing my attitude first, and see if my life changes?"

It seemed like a bit of a silly proposition, and it sounded like the feel-good tripe I'd heard countless times before and dismissed as groundless, but I figured, you know what? It ain't like I have all that many more options. Heck, it's worth a shot.

And just like that, I at last, after many years and many failed attempts, started myself on the path that would lead me to overcome depression.



Defining Depression

I've always been fascinated with the mind. It is truly such an impressive organ. Since I was a boy, I've followed the latest research in neuroscience – the study of the brain – and I've been intrigued with Eastern philosophies on consciousness and controlling one's thoughts. I collect studies and theories on the brain and consciousness like some folks collect coins.

A mixture of research, and anecdotes, and general common sense began to congeal into an understanding of what exactly depression was. This was years before talk about rumination – the theory that depression is caused by obsessive thinking – became mainstream enough that you could find it on the Internet easily.

What I came to think was this: "They say ignorance is bliss. And it seems true – people who don't think much seem considerably happier. Why is that?" I could only think that thinking too much leads to unhappiness.

Next, I wondered: "Why should overthinking lead to misery? Hmm, well... when I overthink things, often I end up doing nothing about them, and just sitting there stewing over them. So, the problem makes me feel worse and worse, because I do nothing about it, and just sit there obsessing over it instead. What do people who don't overthink do? Well, they take decisive action, and just go do something and forget about it."

Some research I read on how neurons form pathways in the brain sealed it for me; as it turns out, neurons – your brain cells – form information pathways in your brain. And just like how the more elephants that take a certain route through a forest, the clearer that route becomes and the more likely future elephants are to take that same route, the more your mind follows a certain pathway, the more connections the neurons along that pathway form, and the easier it is for your mind to follow that route in the future.

So, negative, depressive, fatalistic thought patterns are nothing more than a route in your brain that's been deeply carved by overuse.

It becomes a default pattern that your brain falls into, because the path of less resistance is to take the most deeply carved route, and the most deeply carved route, the case of a depressed, fatalistic person, is the depressed, fatalistic route.

Once I realized that, I knew what I had to do: I had to change the way I thought. And I had to start doing it right away; I felt like time was running out in those days, and I finally started realizing no one else was going to save me.

It was all on me.



How to Overcome Depression

Once I realized what depression was – excessive, obsessive thinking, or "rumination" – and once I knew what caused it – carving a path in your brain that became the default path your thoughts traveled along – I knew I had to shut down my obsessive, negative thinking, and carve a positive, can-do, new path in my brain – and let the old path grow over.

"Okay, great," I said to myself. "Now I know what needs to be done. But how on Earth do I do it? "

Over the next few days after deciding to change my outlook on life, I began cobbling together a list of steps. The very first one I targeted was shutting out negative thoughts.

1. Shut Out Negative Thoughts

I was standing in line the next day in the school cafeteria after deciding I wanted to change how I thought, and there was this very obese girl standing in front of me, waiting for her chance to grab some pizza – several slices, no doubt. "Yech," I thought, "that's disgusting." I looked at her bare arms and the bumpy folds of flesh there. A shiver went down my spine.

And then I realized I felt horrible. Like, not guilty for thinking that, just really... negative and bad on the inside. "I'm poisoning myself with my own thoughts," I realized. From that moment forward, I decided I would no longer cater to negative thoughts.

It was only once I realized that these negative thoughts made me feel bad – sick to my stomach, in fact – that I started paying attention to them, and realized I had a lot of them. I'd sit there and obsess all day about all these horrible things I didn't like. "Is this what I'm doing with my time?" I realized, "just sitting here obsessing over negative stuff?" What a way to live your life.

So, I did the only thing I could think to do: I started monitoring my thoughts, and every single time something negative popped into my head, I would internally yell, "STOP!" (yelling this inside my head mind you, not aloud!), and all my thoughts would quiet. Then, they'd come pouring back in, and I'd do it again. I'd do it as many times as was necessary to silence them for good.

As you can imagine, with a man as negative as I was back then, I mentally yelled "STOP" quite a few times that first month.

2. Think Constructive Thoughts About the Future

The next step I realized was thinking constructive, future-oriented thoughts. When you kick those negative thoughts out of your head, it's a lot harder for them to take hold again if their spots have already been filled up with something else – and the something else I decided to use was a focus on things I was doing to better prepare myself for success in the future.

I wasn't doing a whole lot in those days, but I was exercising, and I was making music. So most of my constructive thoughts came to focus on those two things: on how I was going to look once I had my body in peak physical condition, and how I was making progress at the gym every day, and how I was going to feel once I got my first album out and once I got some airplay on the radio.

I never did get my body into the shape I wanted to get it into, and I never did get on the radio, but those projects were enough for me to focus on at the time, until newer projects developed to take their place. And there are all kinds of things you can focus on:

  • How you're exercising to build a better body for yourself
  • What you're studying to achieve, if it's something you look forward to
  • The kind of job you're going to have when you graduate from school or change careers
  • A company you're starting and working on
  • A website you're developing
  • A book you're writing
  • A skill set you're improving
  • An art you're mastering

... and a lot more I haven't thought of. Anything you're doing to improve yourself and make yourself stronger and better and more successful in the future is game. Think about the progress you are making by putting in work on something every day, or every other day, and use that focus on making progress to crowd out negativity.

As a bonus, the more you focus on making progress, the more progress you'll want to make, and very soon you'll start noticing you're advancing a lot more quickly in the things you wanted to advance in than you were before.

3. Force the Change

Once I started silencing negative and obsessive thoughts and replacing them with constructive, future-oriented, progress-oriented thoughts, I noticed a very bizarre phenomenon: there was a part of my brain that did not want to change.

I discovered something I called an "emotional feedback loop." Basically, when you're in an emotion, you emotionally associate with that emotion and want to keep feeling it. Perhaps because evolution designed emotions to respond to external stimuli, it wasn't a good thing for our ancestors to be able to override those emotions too easily, as that kind of defeats emotions' purpose as decision-influencing stimuli processors.

Everyone tells you you're great, and emotions say, "Yes! Keep doing this, you'll be successful." Everyone tells you you suck, and emotions say, "Okay, time to quit doing this, it isn't working." People overriding those feelings can end up doing some distracting or destructive things for themselves, like quitting what they're good at or wasting all their time on what they're bad at.

But in the case of overcoming depression, your emotions have gone haywire; evolution hasn't had time to adjust to a modern lifestyle with great amounts of leisure time for you to spend overthinking with your huge neocortex instead of scraping and scrambling all day just to survive.

A problem within the mind requires a solution within the mind. So, you figure out how to overcome depression, and you start doing it.

That's when you run into the emotional feedback loop. And if you start using this process, you will quickly realize that much of the time, you don't want to change. At least not emotionally. You'll want to change logically; you'll know it's good for you to change and that staying mired in depression and obsessive thought loops is damning yourself to hell. But emotionally, you'll want to stay the same.

This was a real problem for me that first month of trying to change my thoughts, and half the time the first couple of weeks I'd just give up. I'd go to shut down my negative thoughts and go positive, and I'd think, "No, it's too hard... it won't work... it's too much work. I don't want to be happy anyway; my life is so bad. I shouldn't be happy."

But then I'd force the change anyway, and my thoughts would instantly reverse. "Oh!" I'd think, "That was strange! Why on Earth would I ever want to be depressed? How silly of me to think that! I love being positive!"

Like I said, bizarre. At first I even thought maybe I had some kind of latent personality disorder I didn't know about, before I realized that this was simply how powerful emotions are.

When you're feeling different emotions, you literally are like different people.

4. Stay Vigilant

Depending on how depressed you're starting off at, early on, you're going to be forcing a lot of changes, because you won't be able to stay positive for long. It'll be work to get yourself being positive, and the negative thoughts and emotions will come stampeding back the instant you let your guard down.

Don't let this get you down. It's just like learning anything new that's challenging. At first, you can only do it for a short while, and then you've got to stop and take a break. Next time, you do it a little longer. And then a little longer. And then longer.

After a month of staying vigilant, monitoring your thought process and forcing changes any time you aren't completely exhausted and your willpower isn't totally tapped, you're going to have a much easier time switching out to feeling positive, and you'll stay there much longer.



Automatic Depression Resistance

It's probably a little different for everyone, but for me, somewhere between three and six months in – I forget exactly where because I didn't really notice it until after the fact – I realized this process had become fully automated. I didn't even have to think about shutting down negative thoughts or populating my mind with positive ones or forcing changes or staying vigilant. My mind began policing itself.

What a wonderful feeling that was when I realized it! I looked around, and the world seemed like a place full of promise and potential. I'd started cold approaching in the meantime; I'd been forcing myself to meet random girls, strike up conversations, and go on dates. My music was hitting heights I'd long hoped it could hit; my body was, after a long plateau of not improving, bigger and stronger than ever.

And depression was being automatically dispatched from my mind.

It was still there. I still had a few depressive episodes over the next year or so following that realization. But they didn't last long, and they self-corrected; my mind had learned how to overcome depression so well that it didn't even require me to be consciously aware of it anymore.

After a year and a half, my depression was gone entirely, and it hasn't come back. I feel like a free man. I'm living the life I always dreamed about living, and there is almost nothing I want that I don't already have or am not in the process of moving towards.

If I could go back in time and talk to myself in November of '04 and tell him the path he was launching himself on was going to take him where I am today, he'd probably look at me and say, "Yeah right. This most likely isn't even going to work; it's just an experiment, and only because I'm out of other ideas."



Long-Term Anti-Depression Maintenance

The process is good, and having it internalized is wonderful, but even when you've got this down you must always be aware that there are certain things a man needs in his life to stave off depression's return.

For instance, the whole process comes crashing down if you aren't working on anything to advance your life. If I ever reached a point where I had nothing I was doing to advance my life further, I'd be unable to keep depression vanquished, because I wouldn't have anything to look towards if my life as it is currently suffered some setbacks. One must always have the future in mind and be working toward it.

There's another element of depression that I realized much later on, and has subsequently borne out in scientific research: namely, the importance of feeling in control. People who feel very in control of their lives have markedly lower rates and risks of depression that people who don't feel much in control of their lives. Which makes sense; when I felt depressed, the best way to describe that feeling, really, was feeling helpless. Feeling like I had no idea what to do to change my life, and no resources at my disposal to start changing even if I did know what to do.

So, for that reason, I recommend always keeping many options in your back pocket. Options for your job, options for dating, options for where you'll live in the world. Have options. Doesn't mean you need to exercise them; just knowing you have them is enough to make depression irrelevant.

Options mean freedom and control, and freedom and control are the absolute antithesis of depression's helplessness.



Where Do You Go from Here?

Now that you know how to overcome depression, what's your next step? What will you do?

When I was fourteen years old, I looked ahead at the rest of my life and realized it didn't seem all that promising. So, I tried to call it quits. But, at the last possible moment, I had doubts; not doubts about death, that didn't bother me. Not because of the pain; that I can handle. But I had doubts about life; what if I would've achieved what I wanted to achieve had I stuck it out long enough? Wouldn't that be a waste if I bought it for nothing. So, I stepped back from the brink, and suffered through nearly a decade of misery before turning my life around.

All the while as I suffered through it, though, I thought to myself this thought: "Some day, I will turn my life around, and be such a smashing success, doing everything I could ever possibly want to do, that I will be able to reach out to the people who are where I once was and say, 'You can do this too. You always have a choice.'"

And I have made a difference, I think. My best friend, a very successful guy in both business and with women, tells me it was my counsel that pulled him back from a similar brink some time ago. My ex-girlfriend – a beautiful, dynamic woman who taught me how to deal with people in ways that proved invaluable to me in life and love – credits me for freeing her from the poison of negative, judgmental thoughts and allowing her to truly be free.

But it doesn't work with everyone. One friend of mine, whose life I did everything to try and improve – I helped her find a great new job; helped her meet great new friends; counseled her on how to overcome the depression she was dealing with; and worked with her through just about every problem she had – she still couldn't get better, and ended up on medication, where she will probably be for the rest of her life. And I think the main reason why was because the whole time, she was still waiting for someone to save her. She kept sitting there waiting for her life to change.

No one will save you. No one can. Just like I thought sitting in those psychologists' offices long ago, "What's the point? It's my life; there's nothing you can do to fix it." And it's true. I can't save you; some beautiful girl who loves you can't save you; family and friends can't save you.

The only person who can change the way you see the world is you.

I read something a few years back about a guy who was a millionaire, and had a drop-dead beautiful wife, and a gorgeous house, and a new baby, and he killed himself. It stuck in my mind because I remember how shocked everyone was. He had all the things about which most people say to themselves, "If only I had that, then I'd be happy."

But he wasn't happy. He was miserable.

Because happiness doesn't come from the things you get. If you rely on "getting things" to solve your problems and conquer your depression, you will be forever chasing your next fix, because all the things in the world are never enough.

If you want to vanquish depression, that's a victory that must be won in your own head and in your own heart. That no one can help you to do it should not be a let down; in fact, it should be quite empowering.

Because, the truth is, everything you need to overcome depression is in your own hands, and it always was. Your own destiny is yours to decide; here's hoping, if you haven't already, that you take the wheel and start steering.

Chase Amante

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Comments

Ali's picture

Wow!


I can't say anything...im sitting here and going back and forth what too write...this blew me away. the only thing i can say is this! Chase you are absolutely incredible! and i want too congratulate you for coming far in life!. and you are inspiring people too get up their asses and do something about their lifes. i hope one day i can get out of this evil-circle as you. ill be reading this post everytime when i am in doubt!. thank U

Lau'Ren'Tay's picture

Ad Meliora


Smashing article Chase, if gave some very beneficial knowledge.
To backhand negative thoughts by saying STOP! Plus it was
inspiring to me, reading how you went through phases of
becoming who, you are now.But I've never went through a
depressing negative stage. I'm very positive, I just realized at
end of last year. I needed to get better with girls in general.
In five to ten years, I want look back and tell myself (
aren't you glad you forced yourself in becoming
something smashing =j). I also look forward to your training
whenever I can afford the opportunity.

Lau'Ren'Tay Walker

Additive's picture

Very cool post. Looks like


Very cool post. Looks like you naturally figured out what Dr. David Burns wrote about in Feeling Good : New Mood Therapy.

Chase Amante's picture

Thanks Fellas

Author

Ali, thanks for the kind words, bro. Thanks for the congrats, though there're still a lot more adventures to come. Most definitely, man – if you are stuck in that black hole, well, it's hard climb out of it, but if you do it, you're in such a stronger place than most other people are for having been to the depths and made it back that it's a bit ridiculous. Hard slog getting out, but lots of reason to hope if you're there.

Actually, you know what, screw hope – you don't need it. Better if you don't hope, even. Instead, do it for the sake of doing it and see what happens. Hope is fleeting, and too hard to hold onto; rely on hope, it'll be gone before you know it (especially when you're sitting in a dark hole) and impossible to perform when fades. You've got to do it in spite of hope, or lack of hope. Just take them as things you have to do – and do them anyway.

Lau'Ren'Tay, had to look up "ad meliora" – guess my Latin needs some brushing up – but wow, yeah, very fitting, man. For sure, this kind of emotional training can end up being very useful, even if you aren't stuck with depression (and hopefully never are).

Looking forward to training you at some point too!

Additive, thanks. Haven't heard of David Burns, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if this has been discovered and rediscovered at times through human history. Hindus, Buddhists, Jewish ascetics, Christian monks – all seem to focus on doing a lot of stuff with the mind, and a lot of it is about pushing out wants and needs and gaining control of one's self and one's mind. Turn enough rumination inward, and you can use your obsessive thinking to figure out that obsessive thinking probably isn't such a good thing, and start cutting it out.

Thanks for the replies, guys, and cheers!

Chase

sam's picture

Hey bro, I have been reading


Hey bro, I have been reading your blogs quite a while now & they really inspire me & I can relate myself to them. I am an 18 year old guy who was very extrovert & happy go lucky kind of guy. Since few years I have been feeling hell lot of lonely cause I don't have any friends to rely upon nor I am an instant hit with chicks though, I was good with chicks earlier. But now everything seems to be lost & I feel like a loser when I see others being a hit in life & chicks. Call it jealousy or want for happiness. But hell I don't wanna be like that anymore...enough of this crap..I wanna change my life & make it worthwhile. I have never spoken these things to anyone before in my life. And I consider you as my elder bro who could possibly take me out of this crap...help me bro...

ryan's picture

Nice article; this is exactly


Nice article; this is exactly what I did and experienced also. I haven't seen the word "meditation" on this page yet, but it helped me notice those negative thoughts.

I'm also a musician and I've noticed my music taste changed. I don't listen to Pink Floyd any more, for example; their lyrics are too negative. It's hard for me to find music that doesn't have negative messages... Especially because I come from a rock/metal background. I listen to more techno nowadays... Music suggestions? =)

Chase Amante's picture

Music

Author

Hey Ryan, very cool to hear you did the same thing. I've heard of other people doing this; I'm certainly not the first. Meditation played a part for me as well; I think early on, especially, it helped me become more conscious of my thoughts and learn to control them more easily.

No more Pink Floyd, and into techno now, eh? I was listening to Kaskade's album, Strobelight Seduction a lot before, which is great music. The theme of the album is that she can't get over her ex, which might sound a little negative, but I don't think it's bad at all as a guy to listen to songs by a gal singing about how she can't get over you.

I also quite like Sade and Thievery Corporation, though they aren't exactly techno. A friend recently pointed me to The Knocks vs. The Hype Machine's Top 10 Songs of 2010, which is a great mix and well worth checking out if you haven't already (and, incidentally, is mostly all American/British tracks I heard in the clubs a lot in Asia, but my friend hadn't heard in Europe).

There's also always Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas, of course... sort of guilty pleasures, I guess, but they keep things upbeat and you can't argue with their music. I've been a little too hooked on Daft Punk's TRON: Legacy soundtrack after seeing the movie; it's such solid stuff. If you haven't seen the movie yet though, go see that first before you start listening to the music. It makes a difference in the emotional impact of the soundtrack. Might also want to grab a copy of the soundtrack to Inception if you enjoy soundtracks; great music there too.

So long as you're keeping your music selection focused on the positive / exciting / uplifting, you can't go wrong. Cut out any stuff by whiny guys talking about how hard life is and how girls don't like them or their girlfriends are cheating on them or leaving them, and you'll be in great shape!

Chase

Chris's picture

Inspired


Wow im inspired ive decided to make a change, and start hitting the gym like I use to! Time to kick this depressions ass!! LOL my music selection is going to need extra work though (my favorite artist is Tupac!!) Anyway starting phase 1 tomorrow wish me luck guys!!

Chase Amante's picture

Re: Inspired

Author

Haha, great to hear, Chris! Yeah, it's a tough road, but very well worth it.

Pac does have a bit of a victim mentality to his music, for sure. But some of it can give you its fair share of inspiration, too; he was a charismatic dude, and a hell of an entertainer.

Anyway, good luck in Phase 1, and check back in to let us know how things progress.

Warmly,
Chase

Kevin's picture

Great Advice!


Hey Chase,

I just discovered this site from your interview in http://www.theemotionmachine.com - I never bought your guide (yet!) but from the interview I got the sense that there was something deeper in the message you were trying to get across that transcends just sleeping with numerous women. It felt genuine and friendly. It even gave me warm fuzzies! More importantly there was an underlying meaning of self growth and on becoming a better person that I think your typical "Pick-Up Artist" guides miss. Kudos!

This is the first topic I clicked on because I've been struggling with a low-grade depression for years. There used to be times when I felt so empty inside, I would sleep for days (skipping classes/work and coming up with believable excuses was something I was very good at!), just rolling out of bed and brushing my teeth took every ounce of willpower I had. Somewhere in my life I went from feeling sad sometimes to being controlled by a whirlwind of negative emotions and it slowly eroded my ability to feel joy or pleasure. It wasn't until recently I've taken an active step to learning more about myself and consciously monitoring my negative ego that happiness and optimism began to seep it.

This post was not only inspiring but I love that it offers practical applications on how to battle your own depression and not just up-lifting words that don't really solve anything.

And although the advice you give is no doubt useful and meaningful, there was something about your post that I wanted to address - that seeking professional help and/or medication was detrimental to overcoming depression. It may be my misinterpretation but I sincerely hope that was not your intent. Depression is a mental illness, and like any illness if it is serious enough it requires treatment. Period. The social stigma surrounding mental illnesses and on seeing a psychologist/psychiatrist is bad enough without it being perpetuated.

An injury of the mind, because it is not visible and easily comprehended for others to see is somehow viewed as shameful and shunned. It somehow warrants the ruthless prescription of "here are some straws, go and suck it up". Barring that there are obviously different levels of depression (some which require treatment), a therapist's goal is to help her patients find the source of the depression and overcome it's mental barriers so the dosage of any anti-depressant can be lowered and eventually stopped. A depressed patient who wants to get better will not be "stuck taking pills to feel good for the rest of (his) life".

You're absolutely correct that nobody can help you if you don't help yourself. Not even Dr.Phil! But that does not mean you have to shoulder the burden alone and suffer unnecessarily in silence. Crawling my way out of that oppressive black hole was heart breaking, refreshing, and wonderful at the same time. I still catch myself losing my footing sometimes and falling back in before I reach up and climb back out and that is profoundly draining. Especially without a helping hand to pull you back up or somebody to help watch your step.

Chase Amante's picture

Re: Great Advice!

Author

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the kind words, and very glad you've found some good stuff on the site.

On the depression stuff: man, that's tough. I'm skeptical of the institution because it's good at treating but poor at permanently curing; but I also certainly don't mean to warn people off of professional treatment; by all means, if someone is in a bad place, I think professional treatment is very often the right choice.

I simply took this opportunity to discuss my own journey here. I'm incredibly dependence-averse, and I absolutely did not want to end up in the eternal cycle of pills and psychologists and recoveries and relapses that I've seen over and over again in those who sought professional help. But having the willpower to mind control yourself into beating your own depression is in and of itself incredibly challenging, and something that I'd bet 99% of people won't be able to pull off. Not because they can't, per se, but because they just won't. They won't force themselves to remap their brains. They won't stick with it over the long term until it becomes an automated process that runs in their heads and automatically corrects their thoughts.

Anyway, my purpose here wasn't to be a substitute for a clinical psychologist. It was merely to give a tool to that 1% of the population out there that's like me, that treatment isn't enough for and that only a cure and total independence is good enough for, and that's willing to put the backbreaking (mentally) time into remapping their brains and vanquishing depression on their own terms.

Best,
Chase

David's picture

You saved my life.


Thank you. You saved my life. The pain of failure is just unbearable, no matter how much LOGIC I use to convince myself to escape, the emotional response is still there. Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, I read this article and it pulled me out of the black hole.

I could totally relate to everything you wrote, about being an obsessive thinker, about being fascinated with the human mind and wanting to UNDERSTAND this once and for all, and then overcome it.

I still have occasional "episodes" but then I re-read this article and I recover much quicker. Thanks. I bought your book and can't wait to finish it.

Ronnie's picture

thanks


thanks chase. I really needed to read that.

learning's picture

Dude. In the middle of the


Dude. In the middle of the article, i was like: "that's ME!" i totally relate to this and currently am in the process of changing the way i see everything.

I stumbled onto your articles after trying to find out how to text a girl (I just got text for the first time and noticed i made a few mistakes here and there).

I come from a Christian background and i was taught to rely on God and pray and everything will be better. But you know, it didn't, i got caught in a very strange cycle of being completely helpless and relying on something that did not produce results.

Moving onto college and away from miserable varsity soccer, grades, and irrational expectation, i found myself thinking along the same lines as your article.

It's amazing how much i relate to all this, and to think i found this your words by simply trying to learn how to get better at texting girls.

Its weird how i am only starting to learn stuff in college. 18 years of not using my brain and i finally realized that living and progressing is pretty dam cool.

My thought processes are very much like the words of your article, and is truly inspiring. I don't know why i'm writing so much but i'm happy to be on the same track.

-learning

Mili's picture

Agreed.


Agreed.

tendency's picture

amen bro. well put.


amen bro. well put.

Francesco's picture

Consider this page


Consider this page bookmarked.

Highly informative! Cold hard truth given warmth, context & inspiration. Well that's how I saw it anywho.

Highly relevant to myself, but I feel this is pretty true for everyone in terms of how to do deal with life. Any change has to start within yourself first. At first that feel scary, but practically, it could be a 1000 times easier than trying to change aspects of the external outside world - which can be bloody difficult at the best of time.

Bah, I'm rambling. This article puts it all much more concisely. :-)

Many thanks Chase!

Anonymous's picture

This post was inspiring.


This post was inspiring. vanquish depression is on my to-do-list

J.B's picture

i am like u were now, cant


i am like u were now, cant seem to get out of the rut. There seems to be no end in sight and like u said im just tired of fighting the world, want to call it quits. Its cool to see someone like u went through this and came out alive and well. Nice writing Chase.

Jec's picture

Thanks


Thank you Chase this is right on. Everything said in this article can also be helpful to those struggling with addiction. I never had a problem with depression, but major issues with addiction. Some of the feelings associated with addiction is guilt, shame, frusteration and helplessness at not being able to stop, even when you know it is negatively impacting your life.

Chase is right that only YOU can make the decision to change your way of thinking.

You have to conquer yourself before you get conquered by yourself.

Good luck to everyone stuggling with depression or addiction. We are going to get out of it. It's up to you how long it will take though and it is entirely in your head.

Also I want to say:

Chase, this entire website is a significant contribution to society. You ARE leaving a legacy. Thank you so much I'm so glad I found this website.

TheBoss's picture

Depression


Seriously man thank you for this! I've been so depressed my whole life because my girlfriend just died last year. It's like my world is tearing apart man. Dude, from the button of my heart thank you!! You have saved me. Thank you thank you thank you thank you! Thank you so much really. Now i have a new light on my mind. Thank you so much!

TommyB's picture

Wow


This post completely reversed all the mental shit that was happening to me for the past 2 weeks.

Was seeing a girl for 1.5 years (lets call her C) and committed to the idea that we would be together. I held a lot of emotional baggage from previous relationships where i was cheated on and heartbroken but I took the chance that she wouldn't be so cold as to repeat it.

She never committed to the idea of us going out, so i got angry and wanted out. Eventually I exploded, then she dumped me and instantly connected with another guy.

For about 2 days I was distraught, clung to her for assistance, didn't know what on earth to do. I cried and cried and cried, and thought that my world had collapsed, everything and everybody had betrayed me.

Then I feel into a low mood, whereby I was constantly sad of the past. Then I come across this site.

I have to let go of all that shit. It's metaphorically as if I was trying to tug along a car, or a truck or something. I'm no longer going to think depressive thoughts. My mind is now STOP! YOU ARE SUCCEEDING! BE HAPPY!

Because I am succeeding! With a 72% average at university at the moment, and a future in Virology, how am i supposed to admit to myself that I am a sad depressing person? It's ridiculous to assume oneself as a sad failure!

It's all in the head. Thanks Chase for making me realise this.

Yi Liu's picture

Absolutely remarkable


Chase, I can say with certainty this is one of the most important articles I have read in my life. Sure, I started off reading your tips on women and certainly all of them are quite excellent. But this is something else, and deals with the basic roots of why I have struggled to reach my potential in anything thus far (I'm 24) in life. Whenever people say things like “think positive thoughts!", my internal reaction always told me these people are daft and lack philosophical thinking. I hate cliches because they make it too easy for anyone to repeat without thinking much true meanings.

However, your writing quite clearly demonstrates a deep thought process that shows a real belief in what you say and thus what you stand for. As always, your explanations just feel 'right' to me and are in tune with what my intuition tells me deep down. For this I feel grateful to have stumbled upon your site and read insights from someone who I genuinely feel I can relate to. It feels like you are a more advanced/developed version of myself, and so crucial because here is living proof that I can turn my life around.

I had long succumbed to the idea that I actually don't want to be happy. That has all changed after reading this, so all I can say is ”thank you great sir“.

It is going to be a tough and long project to develop myself to the next stage, and it begins right now.

Terry Bly's picture

Lucky to see thus


I have just read this. I'm thirty five. My birthday is today. My girlfriend of two and a half years left me today. My first suicide attempt was when I was seventeen. I've dealt with deppression, low self-esteem, lack of confidence ect. For years. I've actually been thinking of a way to end my life this time around. Doesn't matter that those that love me tell me that I'm better off without her or her loss so on and so forth. It doesn't matter. That hopelessness always wins out. Then I read your story. I feel there may be hope. I'm going to put all this to use. Because quite frankly I'm tired of feeling this way. People pick up on this negativity and steer clear. Wish me luck because I start right now.
Thanks for the article, it may very well save me from my worst enemy....myself.

Nawkes's picture

Very interesting post man.


Very interesting post man. I've been in this rut for the past few years and have thought through a few different solutions that didn't really work. I read an article in Scientific American Mind about that brain pathway bit you were talking about and tried that for a while, but with limited success. It didn't occur to me to keep plans for the future in mind though, I had nothing to fill the gap. I'm usually pretty apathetic and fatalistic about the future, not seeing the point in doing anything. Hopefully this will give me more incentive, combining the two concepts to plan for the future and focus on college and getting stuck into guitar and other positive activities.

Much appreciated,
Nawkes

Drew's picture

Really Good


Really good post. I'm mostly a positive and optimistic person but there are days and stretches of time when I don't feel that way, dwelling on the harsh realities of life, etc. Today is one of them which is why I am reading this article...lol. I got a laugh when you described the girl in the cafeteria line. That is the kind of stuff my brain has defaulted to in the past. Focusing on all the shit I deem detestable.

Bottom line - I agree, no one can save you and its all in your head. We each have to deal with our own shit, our own internal content and take responsibility for changing it.

On another note, I have purchased Girls Chase and it is probably the best book on this topic I have ever read. I cursed myself for buying it initially because I was certain the information would be cheesy or ridiculously complex. But it is right on point and on first take this appears to be incredibly good information. (I am like on page 95 and I will being going through this monster book for a while yet)

Best,
Drew
Raleigh, NC

Mili's picture

Thank you...


Your article made me burst into tears for various reasons, one of them being that no matter how hard I try, I never seem to be able to get out of this dark tunnel. I WANT to change, I WANT to feel better, but I can never find any strength or will power. You're right, it's difficult and you're gonna have to be stubborn if you want to change, but seeing as you were able to do it, that gave me a spark of hope. I think reading this has pushed me one step closer to that light at the end of the eternal tunnel I feel I need to come out of, so thank you very much Chase.

Van's picture

Really awesome what you just


Really awesome what you just did here. I've heard lots of people talk about depression but I've never heard anything more real than this, and I know that because I was in depression and I feel like I'm still fighting against it, you know, because getting back that way still seems really easy for me. Maybe it's 'cause I'm not over depression as much as you, and that is why you inspired me so much. What you said here reached me, and that mean something, because nothing seems to be able to do that lately. I think all the time that if I get in the right college, or meet the right people, or if I go to the right city, thing will magically change and I'll be happy again. What you said made me realize I was thinking this way and I was just fooling myself. The hardest part for me to get over all these crappy feelings is to deal with people, because gosh, I'm sick of most of them. Still, reading this gave me the feeling that running away from everything I'm sick of won't make things better, and realizing that it's a big deal.
So thanks, very very much.

Mack's picture

This methods won't work for a clinical major depression


Hi everyone, I just stumbled upon this website.
And I must say I am impressed by all of this.

I also am one of those cases who survived a depression.
Still I must add something to all of this. The depression that
you are describing is related to thought patterns and life
circumstances. But there is another side. I will admit I had
a quite different experience unfortunately. Full blown medical
condition called major clinical depression is a disease that very
few people can overcome just with regulating their thoughts,
and getting in physical shape. It's a state as I'm sure you know
where there is depletion of certain neurotransmitters and increased
production of stress hormones in adrenal glands. All of this causes
the very physical symptomes of tiredness, sleeplesness, undescribable
pain. It is a dark hole and for a person afflicted a seemingly hopeless one.

Moderate and severe clinical depression needs professional care, the
medications are neccessary and sometimes, as in my case, there is
an urgency and people must go to the hospital.

A great book that I can recommend is one by the author William Styron : Darkness visible. It is incredible, he is the author of well known Sophie's Choice.

Part of the treatment is also psychotherapy. In this article you describe what I would dare to designate a cognitive-behavioural approach and you
applied to yourself. But for a severe depression that just might not work as well.

Ok, I had severe depression in two episodes and it lasted for more than 2 years. Now I am well, with positive thoughts, in great shape, have a dream
job and I look forward to the future. All of these things, but the path
from a clinical depression is a different one than form a mild (this is a relative term) that you describe.

I will keep reading, thank you for all of this great advice, I just wanted to make this cruical distinction.

Mack

Ariel's picture

Wow man.. as someone who has


Wow man.. as someone who has been practicing meditation for years, and thought there was nothing new such a blog would offer about overcoming negativity. I have to say, you really inspired me. I am going to take a more militant approach with the negative thought proccesses in my head for the next month

jay's picture

This is just what i have been


This is just what i have been needing i can get through this on my own. This article has help me very much thanks - jay

Anonymous's picture

Very Great Article!


This helped, not only with women but internally as a person. I realized I was making getting women as a way to escape my depression completely ( still haven't approached women but been obsessing them in my head for a LONG TIME! That if I ever got lots of women everything will be complete in my life andeverything else would work out. Big thanks Chase!

jack's picture

Excellent Post


I think gratitude is important. When you start becoming grateful for what you have - you'll end up having more things to be grateful for..

When you start becoming grateful for what you have - you are connected to source (God) and at source there is only good..

Brad's picture

All of Your Help


I have just found your page and so many of your articles apply to me. I have been reading threw and everything you you write down is so true. I am truly lucky to have found this site as it just seems my life has ALWAYS been in a downwards spiral, but now I feel I have the tools to deal with them. I never had problems with women but that is initially brought me to this page, chasing a girl that was into me and suddenly wasn't any more. I destroyed something that after day one of seeing this person I wanted and a couple months later after telling her how I felt I finally got my shot. I had a great time and for some reason I just blew it with jealousy I guess ? I still don't know what made me just suddenly be mean to her but I was and it ended and now I must see her almost everyday of my life and I am just going to take it for what it is. I will continue to say hi and bye, and if she wants to one day let me back into her life maybe I will but I am not going to obsessive over her and try so hard that I come across as way to "easy to get".

Thanks so much for everything,

Brad

Ad's picture

Please tell me what to do!


Hi Chase!

I am a regular reader of your posts and I feel that these posts are really helpful!! Keep up the good work Chase!!

Chase I have got a small problem. Can you please advice me on this?
So here it is :

I liked a girl a few years back and she wanted me as a friend.
I seriously and sincerely liked her and still love her. I cry thinking about her.
When she told she wanted me as a friend..I was heartbroken.
So I tried a few times to get her back. But then I realized that she seriously wanted me as a friend.

I just wanted to see her happy so I just gave up and she thinks we are good friends now.
But even now I cant stop thinking about her. I meet her in class everyday. She calls or texts me every week. She talks to me everyday.
We are like good friends.
She is on my mind every second. I try to get on with other girls...but I just cant.
And when she doesn't call or text me for a week..then I am like depressed.
I am trying everything that is on your blog...and yes it helps..but still..

Is there some way I can get her back(I seriously want her!)?
Or should I just let go(which I think I just cant!)?

Thanks
Ad :)

frodomir14's picture

very deep emotional block


Chase, i've always had problems separating my emotions from my needs and wants. i often find myself standing close to a beautiful girl only to be frozen by some fear, or stuck in the middle of a great conversation only to find myself dry on subjects. I used to think it was because i didn't know enough, but as the years have passed (not many - but enough) it started to make me think that maybe everybody i meet just doesn't want to talk to me, or that they lived in some different world from the one i could see. Now i realise it was depression, it was the way i saw the world that made it difficult for people to open up to me confidently, and i have tackled it every which way possible - much help being from this article and many others from your website.

i haven't ever succumbed to it to the suicidal level, but it has caused me problems. I've come to the conclusion that i'm just weak-willed, and i have been trying to force myself to press on through this "freezing" effect, hoping that with time i'll build up endurance. But sometimes as i said my willpower just doesn't seem to be enough, and the effects aren't as clear and quick as i hoped they would be.

is there any way to break out of this emotional loop? is there any way to reassure your body that this emotional change your forcing is good for it?

Jason | Get Rid Of Social Anxiety's picture

You're Spot On - Especially with this part...


Chase, first off, very positive article and great actionable tips here. I wanted to chime in and just say that I could agree more with you when you say that the mindset is one where you feel like you "deserve to feel depressed".

That's maybe the biggest catch 22 of the whole thing. I mean, how can you begin to heal your depression when you seriously believe you don't have the RIGHT to heal. It's a big hurdle for many anxiety sufferers to face and I think you do a good job here of bringing it to light. And, like you said, it feeds right into that feeling that you don't even have the desire to change as a result. Very nice job here of illustrating the whole thought process.

Renuo's picture

Blown away.


I'm simply blown away. I was linked to your site by a kind Anon and I happened on this article after reading through the one on 'not being bitter'.

I've been a long-term sufferer myself, I felt like I've spent the majority of my life just attempting to retake control, rather than achieving anything productive with it.
Reading through this article has been a strange mix of shared thoughts, feelings and suspicions I've accumulated over the years. But I wasn't able to draw them together as coherently as you have done. My disbelief is outweighed only by my vindication.

You've reminded me what it feels like to have a clear purpose in tackling depression, to which I'm very grateful. I feel that for all our similarities, I stand as great a chance as ever in succeeding as similarly as you.

Thank you.

Bill's picture

This will work!!!!


This is doable nothing has worked for me in the past 8 years. Some how in my mind I knew this was the solution . My problem is I want it now. Im going to work at this I know nothing else has.

Thanks
Bill

Morteza's picture

and it works fast!


I came upon this article yesterday, while I was using your dating articles as a guide to help me find where I messed up my latest relationship ( the girl I really liked and was suffering so much when I thought I'll have no further chances with her!)
This article went deeper than my current concerns and helped me realize what the main source of all my sadness and shortcoming was! myself!
I started to push bad feeling out of my mind and committed myself to stick to the plan as long as I can til it stars working! but now after just one day, I'm amazed at how dramatically my emotional status has changed! I completely stopped obsessing about that girl! started feeling more optimistic about future. am feeling happy in general. and even set up a date with I'd met a couple of month ago. and it went quite easy as I stick to your guidelines. I'm just amazed that all of these happened in just ONE day!
So I decided to add this comment here, Not only that chase's method works, it also works r really fast.
thanks man

Jack Foley's picture

Vigilance


Great article,

I think that vigilance of ones thoughts is key. There must be a gatekeeper at the door..

It is one thing we do control - our thoughts...

http://www.howtoovercomedepressionnow.net

Draco's picture

There is a lot of good stuff


There is a lot of good stuff on this site, but this article is probably the best.

Anonymous's picture

Incredible


I really wish I get to meet you oneday!!you have transformed my life..what you have given me is truly priceless..!that's all I'll say!

Jimmy's picture

Great post, Chase. You know what's up.


Hey Chase,

Just wanted to say that this is a great post. I've been struggling with depression and bitterness over the past year, after having something unexpected come up in my life. Reading your blog, along with the one I mentioned in my last comment (Less Wrong), has changed my life for the better. I'm taking a break now, because I don't think picking up girls is what I should be focusing on at the moment (and I know I have the tools, now, should I be more free to at a later time in my life...I'm only 19 right now).

I did want to share a couple videos I find helpul, as you put it, to "force the change", for anyone who is struggling with that step.

"How Bad Do You Want It?" : http://youtu.be/lsSC2vx7zFQ

"Jason Mraz - Living in the Moment" : http://youtu.be/YUFs_1vKYlY

Thanks for everything,
Jimmy

ted's picture

thanks chase. the probably


thanks chase. the probably the biggest thing i needed to hear. " nobody will save you"

Anonymous's picture

this is perfect


thank u

Bo's picture

It's like you read my mind


I have to be honest, I stumbled across this post in my searches through "forget your ex" posts. This however was far more meaningful as I have battled exactly what you described all my life and has led to the eventual, and most recent, meltdowns of my relationships. It was like your article tapped directly into my daily thoughts, especially "the no man is an island, except for me" and how much I wished I was ignorant of my emotions like those who were happier than I. That insurmountable distance I felt from everyone else let my depressed persona grow into a massive, self destructive ego; and I saw no other way but to embrace that side and make the best of it.

Similarly my experience with "professional help" left me more discouraged then optimistic as a feel it coddled the day to day pain and made it "ok" instead of kicking it in the ass so to speak. I plan on trying your method because I feel like your article understood my inner struggle better than any shrink, friend, family member, or girlfriend. I feel optimistic toward this kind of approach and the future for the first time in a while because who else can give effective advice but someone who truly understands. It helps me feel less alone and lets me know that despite that difference between everyone else and I, and how bad things can get, things can change.

Thanks Chase, I think you've really helped me turn a corner.

ben's picture

thank you


Chase there's not many words to explain depression and in my opinion you hit the hammer on the head.
ive always had the tools to defeat depression and only once in a blue moon, in the past 8 years ive noticed it slightly.
July this year i had enough of feeling all of that chaos that you cant make sense of no matter how hard to try. and ive been fighting every sec of the way and its tough and i want to give up sometimes, not anymore. and just every now and then to read other story's from other people across the world in a simpler situation.
makes me feel human again.

now im nearing the end of my depression and it is tough, but anything worth having isn't easy to get, that's what makes it wouth it. and being in control of ones own mind is one of them.
your words have helped me piece all the tools in my head to fit where they should be in the tool box.
going off something you said you can only help your self out of depression for good, i agreed. but there is elements from outside help that can help as well, im sure you know this to have so many incredible blogs.

i live in supported housing and a lot of my friends also suffer with mental health issues, and the sigmur in the world against mental health discuses me, that's why me and a friend are working on a film about mental health in teenagers, if it only opens a few peoples eyes to understanding it better, then im happy. (for example, i was having a panic attack on a bus. two days later i see a pic of me on Facebook having this panic attack it was, headlined smackhead, and it got me down again, i don't take drugs btw so you can image how i felt) so i got over it had jokes, done, but for them to judge like that is sick, and like your friend you talked about, who cant seam to get out of her depression may not be able to handle a situation like that.
but letting you know when i meet with my friend to work on our storyboard more, i will be showing him this blog and others you have done, for its research we looking for. and working together, bit by bit we can leave this world a little better off than the last generation did.
so i thank you for taking time to make this for like-minded people.

Kursive's picture

Nailed it


Truly informed and intuitive. I have always felt these articles have been of the more intelligently composed, but now I see (partially, at least) why. I've been dealing with depression for more than a decade now, and it really does give you time to think about EVERYTHING; much of what I've read here echoes my conclusions, and it just makes so much more sense now reading this and learning of your experience.

Anonymous's picture

Success


Chase, i discovered your website about a year and a half, maybe two years ago, and this was one of the first things i read here. A lot of what you wrote really hit home with me.

I had suffered from depression for a long time. Your article was the catalyst for me to stop thinking about how miserable i was and to start doing something about it. Although i have gone further and found additional resources, your tips and insights have proved invaluable. They are my fundamentals today; I've internalized them.

I've changed so much since reading this article. For example, I am now very goal oriented. I can't imagine living aimlessly again. Learning to set goals is perhaps the single greatest thing I've ever done for myself.

To be honest, after finding this article at the outset and working so hard to apply your method and achieve greater goals, i haven't even begun in earnest to delve into the main subject of this site, getting girls. But i will. I am setting my sights on that now. And after the positive results I've had from this article, I'm very excited to see what i can do with the rest of this site.

Thanks for sharing your story and your knowledge and insights.

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