What I Learned from Years of High Functioning Depression, Anxiety, and Low Self-Esteem

Ever wondered how depression feels like?

It feels like being afraid of heights and having to live at the top floor of a skyscraper.

It also feels like the building is on fire. Burning from the inside out, slowly consuming floor by floor until it reaches you.

It feels as if your only choices are to either jump or accept that you are going to burn. Either way, you’re pretty much out of control.

That’s how I felt for years and years; so long, actually, that it became my own emotional baseline, so I understand quite well the difference between the burning pain of suffering deeply and the general apathy and hopelessness of depression. The emptiness. The lack of interest, joy, passion. I understand the despair, the loneliness, the reluctance to discuss about it all, the very fatiguing job of hiding it all behind a smile, or an “I’m fine” delivered in the worst way possible.

I understand wondering why no one can see how you feel, how are they so blind, and why are they so reluctant to believe you when you do tell them.

I understand because I’ve been that person.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.” 

David Foster Wallace

I felt that someone, somehow should save me. That the world was big and scary and that people were mean and selfish and stupid. But someone… something had to happen. I hoped and I hoped and I waited and waited…

No one really saved me. No one offered me the help or the love that I wanted. No one came into my life to cure me of my loneliness, or my hopelessness or my apathy towards everything.

Here’s some troubling thought for you: we’re terrible at being a society. We’re terrible, because societies have one goal: to be as productive as possible. To create as many individuals as possible, to create a higher standard of living, to create the right tools and technological developments so we live longer and longer and in as much comfort as possible.

Societies are not about making us happy.

After all, The US Constitution protects the right to pursue happiness, but does not guarantee it.

Our happiness, as human beings, is such a simple thing that it even transcends what we understand as society. It transcends what the doctors are saying, what the therapists are saying, it’s…

Our psychology has remained the same for the past seventy two thousand years. Yeah, you read that right. Seventy two thousand. When we were walking twenty miles a day, hunting. When we were warriors. When all that we owned we could carry on us. When we lived in small groups of people… the best hunters this world had ever seen…

This is the funny thing. We think of our intelligence as being the only thing we’ve always had going for us. And we are weak animals, thus we must be something else.

You know what’s the most terrifying thing to any animal that’s ever lived?

A group of humans running after it shouting and yelling, carrying spears and spikes and bows and arrows…

You know why?

Because there is no animal on this planet that can outrun a group of humans. Not for long. No. It’s going to collapse on the ground sooner or later.

That’s what we were. That’s what we are. And we sit at our desks, we get stressed when the lady at the cash register takes too long to take our money, we get stressed when we see some news about something happening half a world away. We become attached to things we don’t even own…

We are the slaves of all these things… all these truly wonderful things, yes, that we’ve designed and built ourselves, but we are their slaves. We are afraid of losing them. We are afraid that someone is going to rob us, that our spouse is going to cheat on us, that…

That being said, if we are so bad at being a society, what makes you think anyone knows anything about the human brain? Or enough to really understand how to make it feel better? Because they don’t. I don’t.

I only know that this beautiful brain of ours can create about a billion different states of emotion. And we go through life cycling between five or six of them. No. We can do so much more than this. And we can use them in any way we want.

There’s so much to write about. I mean, there’s the difference between being proactive and being reactive. Our desire for comfort that turns us into weaklings…

Remember this: whenever you try to avoid suffering, you suffer.

That’s how you develop anxieties, phobias, and a general dislike for certain stuff. You once avoided to face your fear of something and it’s become easier to avoid it than to confront it.

The same goes for depression.

I cannot stress enough the importance of being active. Just active. Doing physical stuff. Truly amazing. I cannot explain it in simpler terms other than the fact that you feel like freaking Superman. That you become smarter, more emotionally intelligent, less emotionally reactive.

It’s the best medicine there is.


Then there’s the whole part of developing a mindset. Of catering to your thoughts.

First of all, there are some truly horrible things in this life. Accept them. Just accept that life’s pain and you’re going to die. Yeah, ok. If that’s how it is, why cry about it anyway? If there’s nothing you can do about it, why worry? Ok? Now, laugh about it. I mean it. Make it as funny as possible.

It’s like a lot of small steps. A lot of them. And I’ve tried a lot of things, and none of them seemed to work, but I kept doing it because, well, I just didn’t really wanted to feel like that anymore… and one day it all worked…

I am still fascinated by this.

Early on, about three or so years ago, I decided to do affirmations. Well, I also tried binaural beats and hypnosis and meditation, but I wrote some positive affirmations and, you know, I wrote them in the second person because I read it somewhere that that’s how to trick your subconscious… and they were truly nice things… positive stuff… what I wanted to be, how I wanted to be.

And I’d try reading them aloud and start crying. They’d make me sad, because those qualities… I’d never have those qualities. Reading them over and over again was so damn hard. My voice would shake…

No human being in their right mind does this over and over again, on a daily basis. It is masochism, if you think about it.

But I did.

And you know what’s the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning?

I look myself in the mirror and I go, “Cristian, I love you.” And this makes me smile. First thing. Before anything else. It’s just wonderful.

Considering that eight or so months ago I wanted to kill myself, I’d say this is quite the improvement.

Social interaction is important, I’d say.

Doing things that you know you should. We all have this mental list of all that we could improve when it comes to us. But we seldom take the appropriate measures.

There’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t take much energy to get done.

The idea is to create a multitude of state breaks. To be so busy you have no time to be depressed, to be anxious, to have low self-esteem. You are busy living life, smiling, laughing, talking to friends and family, having a good time. Trying out new stuff, doing what you’ve always wanted to do…

The more energy you use, the more energy you have to use. Crazy, right? But it’s true. You gain momentum slowly, but then… just like an avalanche, you become unstoppable.

You can create your happiness, you can create anything you want. But it’s got to be you, and you alone. And you have to accept responsibility and you have to know it in your heart to be true.

Remember when we were warriors?

Be a warrior.

191 thoughts on “What I Learned from Years of High Functioning Depression, Anxiety, and Low Self-Esteem

    • Christian, I just found and read your article. You show a remarkable degree of insight into the power of positive thinking, and I admire you for that. However, as an educated, experienced professional in this field who has first-hand experience, I can assure you there is a better, guaranteed not to fail, way. It is, in fact, the only proven way to permanently “cure” what ails you. It is a process known as psychoanalytic psychotherapy. All it requires is a “willing” subject and an experienced therapist. The Saint Louis Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Society is the world’s epicenter for this therapy. The society has extensions into most major medical centers in the mid-west and Eastern USA. This process consists in a preliminary extensive psychological testing in order to determine the general area of the major subconscious anxiety producing depression, followed by an average of 52 weeks of one hour therapy sessions. You are your own therapist; all the doctor does is gently keep you on the right track of discussion. Generally speaking, after the initial greeting period, the therapist may say no more than ten words the entire hour. You do all the talking. In doing so, unwittingly, you gradually walk yourself back to the very “face to face” moment when and where you made a terrible misjudgement with an immature 2-3 year old mind. Once there, you are forced (allowed) to rejudge that consideration with a now rational mind. The cure is instant and permanent. There are no short-cuts to this process. For a clearer understanding of how personality forms in the first instance just read Robert Frost’s little poem, THE ROAD NOT TAKEN. Walking back the road taken is the process of cure. I don’t know where you live, but if possible, check it out. I’m certain you’d benefit from reading my little book Wilderness Cry. Good luck.

      Liked by 6 people

      • I don’t believe there is a “cure” for depression, as you stated. We may be able to lessen it, but it will always be there in some way. I have strong anxiety issues, as well as depression and PTSD. I’m in therapy, and will continue it. I’m learning to control my thoughts better than before. I just happen to disagree with you and your “cure”.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Ive read a bit into anxiety recently, stumbled upon info about the Amygdala, tis an interesting organ it remembers experiences but not in the same way short and long term memory works. Its reaction based, meaning the particular organ makes your body react to certain situations based on what it believes is the correct way to function.

          Have a look at the following article http://www.itsjustafeeling.co.uk/train_your_brain hope it helps :)

          To fix your anxiety you need to focus on the root of it, which as it turns out is in your head literally haha.


          Liked by 1 person

        • mslinn13, I’m sorry your depression and anxiety are so difficult. I truly do understand! Not everyone who has clinical depression will have recurrent episodes. For many, one major depressive episode is all they will have in a lifetime. Anxiety, too, is 100% treatable. For those of us with PTSD, our recovery is longer and more difficult. The issues will never go away totally, but we can learn to manage them with great efficacy. Through therapy and different types of treatment, it is possible to live a happy life where anxiety and depression don’t hang over you in looming threat at all times. Exercise and staying in the present moment are phenomenal tools for managing all mental health! My roommate is writing his Ph.D discertation on the link between PTSD and addiction. The man reads everything he can get his hands on. The ONE thing he promotes the most is EXERCISE!!!! There is hope for recovery!!!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Cristian, thank you for this. I really needed to read this at this point in my journey. “Societies are not about making us happy” … that line alone reached out and kind of smacked me in the forehead. I’m working very hard on making MYSELF happy, because no one’s going to do it for me. I know that. But the line about society not being responsible for our happiness either really resonated with me. I’m going to keep this in my mind and ruminate on it for a while. I just wanted to thank you for having the courage to post it, because it helped at least one person!

    Liked by 5 people

    • I could write a book on the way society has evolved, and how it’s become this sort of mechanism of creating comfort, which sadly makes us depressed and anxious and so on. Ironically, comfort is quite counter-productive. All those cliches they say about leaving your comfort zone, yeah, they are true. The more you feel comfortable enough in one place, the less adaptable you become.

      Liked by 3 people

      • This is a great esssy Christian. I came to the same conclusion myself when I was suicidal, the only person that could save me was me. I wrote about it last year in my blog. I think it’s a great tip to tell yourself that you love you every morning when you wake up, fucking brilliant. Don’t ever forget it Christian, you are a fucking warrior!!

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Sorry, but youth is on your side. I respect your blog and your positive thoughts. I am a 63 year old woman who has illness issues and very little income. I try to enjoy something each day. I exercise and I try to eat well. But with no real family and very few friends, life is lonely and a constant struggle. It was easier to be positive when I was young. It’s much harder, now.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am also older, and think the same as you sometimes greercn, such as when I was young it felt I was exercising for life and looking forward, whereas now it’s just to maintain, like treading water; but I still enjoy it, and feel the mind and body benefits talked about in this article and video.
      Being old and more independent also has its benefits, such as experience and time; when I was younger I sometimes seemed to have less drive, not thinking I needed exercise; and also less time, too busy doing other things! Hope that helps, and good luck…

      Liked by 4 people

    • I agree age does have an effect on things. I’m 49, partially disabled, and am alone a lot. I write often, blogs here mostly, and it helps me. Even when I’m depressed, or anxious, I tell myself that I am worthy. Positive thinking is our own choice, and it can relieve us from so much. Smile often, train your brain to see things on a positive note. You got this! Hugs!!

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t claim to be an expert on depression. I have been suicidal and my wife went through it for years. We were both able to break the cycle without meds.
    I sometimes wonder how much is results of corporate lifestyles and if the the meds are only to make one function within that system. Perhaps part of the phenomenon is our spirit recognizing that we’re stuck in such an unnatural system. Perhaps one day (if we continue the fight ) that system will be overthrown and we will have less dissatisfaction. :)

    Liked by 3 people

    • I think that meds are kind of like fast food. They get the job done, but are detrimental to one’s wellbeing in the long run. Temporary fixes. They don’t even work all the time, so…

      I don’t know what to say about the system… I think that the idea should be that happiness is your own responsibility. That you have to work hard at it and keep working.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed. My comment on the system is in reference to the corporate lifestyles that SOME are locked into .
        I’m in the process of escaping from my cubicle so my perspective may be a little skewed.
        It’s actually a pretty complicated opinion that I have never really been articulate well.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Dude! Have you read One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey? If not, I recommend you do! If I understand what you are saying, the book is about the same thing :)


  4. You made me laugh with your swear words. You must be really passionate about this topic.”You are busy, motherfucker.” My favorite line.

    I could argue about the fact that no animal can outrun a human, but I get your point.

    Back to the topic at hand – I never claimed to be clinically anything, because I was never diagnosed with a million different mental health issues. It’s not because there is nothing wrong with me, but because I never saw a professional about it. Never thought anyone but I could help me. Throughout my life I’ve had various conversations with other people with mental issues and no matter what I told them, they insisted on being worse than me. No matter what I suggested for them to do they could not. Do you know why they thought so? Because they were really sick, and I was just moody, lazy, bored, or whathave you. I was not sick enough. I did not know what I was talking about. The fact that I got out of bed in the morning (because I had school or work, or was plain hungry) meant that I was not depressed. They were, because they COULD NOT get out of bed. Really? REALLY? It left me bitter a bit. I was not applauded for being strong. I was not thanked for trying to be helpful. Then I just gave up on trying to save those who do not want to be saved.

    Well, this comment turned into a mini rant, but I could not help myself. Thanks, Christian.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Long distance running… we’re kind of the best at that.
      And yes, I know. People who are depressed are usually incredibly resistive. They feel misunderstood, as if being understood is that important anyhow. And it’s paradoxical somehow, because their own stubborness is what got them into this situation in the first place.

      “You should do this or this or this..”
      “Yes, but…”
      But what? If you spend a maximum of five minutes, there’s someone who has it much worse and still does it. So, it only comes down to your own willingness to accept the reality of the world around you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I cent percent agree with your analysis Cristian. I remember the time when I used to feel depressed and out of order. This led me to the realisation that there no angel out there waiting to save me out of my misdemeanors but myself. So i changed my lifestyle and my way of thinking.
    Yes, exercise is a part of it but it also includes exuding positive thoughts and negating the negatives.
    One major aspect includes leaving out the cubicle we are stuck in and facing the world with open arms. We cannot be positive 24/7, but whenever we are down we can always opt for the nature to seek inspiration.

    Glad to have read your post early in the day.


    Liked by 3 people

  6. This is something i so needed to read.. not because m feeling low ar depressed or i feel so usually.. bt because i needed sort of motivation.. inspiration.. to let go wat i’v been keeping inside of me for so long.. to realise i can b much more stronger than i am now.. tysm for this post cristian.. 😊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Cristian! A very inspirational post!
    Having followed your posts for a while now, I know a little bit about the struggles you have faced and have always admired your resilience! The picture speaks for itself and I have asked you before how you do it.
    Just as a side note: I have noticed that those who have made it through, are filled with a lot of anger, maybe at society for not meeting their needs, may be the anger is a result of the effort put into the struggle to keep your head over the water. The effect is that you cease to be understanding of people who do not and cannot make it through on their own. You see since each person is different, not everyone has the self will, the resolve to get up on their own. And for each person who comes out of depression through their own effort or determination, there are 100s who pass on to the other side. Sharing your experience helps, your example helps, but maybe we should be sensitive to the fact that there are many who do need a lot of professional help.
    Btw: You are the best inspirational writer I have read and though it all comes at a price, I think it is completely worth it. :)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. “Remember this: whenever you try to avoid suffering, you suffer.”

    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take
    heart! I have overcome the world.”
    (John 16:33)

    I really took in what you said about suffering. You’re so right– especially when we run from our fears. Jesus guaranteed trouble. With Him and only Him, I can face it head on. I can conquer it and live in victory because He already overcame this life– ALL of it. Thank you for this post. ✌️

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, I love the verse quote. I love Jesus. However, here is one problem. Is Jesus our mighty warrior? Yes – right?
      Ok, then, that means….. We are still at battle, so He hasn’t overcome it, just yet…. right??
      If he had, he would no longer need to be “still at battle”.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I do agree we all have metamorphous in our lives of transitions, new beginnings and just digging ourselves out of old holes and conditions. I love your thoughts and we are the only ones that can pull ourselves out of our own ruts. Keeping our mind active is a plus. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You have it, Cristian. What I couldn’t figure out at 14, or 17, or 28…or all of those lost years until I did and then they were no longer lost but lessons. And it isn’t to say I never get depressed now after 62 years of learning and employing those lessons to my benefit but I now know I’m the only one who can control it…a thing I wish I could help my 28 year old daughter see but, like her mum, she must learn her way. I shall be asking her to read this because you are completely spot on. You are summarising what it took me forever to learn…and saying it a much better way than I could hope to. Warmest blessings, Isabella

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Acceptance of adversity, exercise, social interaction, and positive self-talk are great tools in battling depression. I’m happy to hear that you took the initiative to help yourself and are in recovery! You are fortunate in that you had enough insight to recognize your sickness and courage to do something about it. Some people suffering from mental illness don’t recognize their symptoms (that is a part of their illness), so need more support from others to pursue treatment. And some have conditions that will need ongoing medical care to manage their symptoms. May God grant you a full recovery!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. This is so real that even when many read it, they will still deny the reality of it’s existence. We have failed one another in the art of seeing existing pain because we are too used to noticing ours, our ideologies and the inconsistencies that exist in the outward nature of others. I wonder why we are afraid to dig deeper, my assumption: our skeletons may be hidden in others feeling and the real truth of who we are also. #Mythoughts

    Liked by 3 people

  13. thanks for your thoughts, I can relate on a few levels, and yes exercise works for me as well. My primary profession – Emergency Medicine – has dragged me into dark places .. (wrote about it on my site) and at present dealing with new demons which are knocking at my door, which is reflected in my current writings .. but at the end of the day and at the start of a new day .. I chase the demons away a fight the (good or bad) fight .. for me and for those that I love …

    Liked by 2 people

  14. So much of this sounded like me talking. The only difference is the cussing. ;) I’m definitely horrible at the self-esteem, aphorism behavior. I will try out your idea for that.
    Keep fighting. I, for one (among so many followers, yes?), appreciate your existence and your writings.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cus if you must. Anger is your ally. Maybe you’ll find that we love you, cussing or not. That said, nature does like reverence and cussing can be irreverent. You’re the judge of that for you.


  15. Thank you for that post, Cristian. I believe we are the most resilient species on this planet. We can adjust to some of the most harsh conditions life throws at us. Our best inventions have come from feeling discomfort. Discomfort is our motivation to change.

    The way you started this post made me think you were going to be a bit more brutal. That you would say, “Get the fuck over yourself and make a change.” Some people can be receptive to that as long as they know it comes from a place of love and will get the support they need from the person who said it.

    This post has created more thoughts within me but I will not post here. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. “Societies are not about making us happy.”

    If only I could, I would definitely shove this line to everyone’s throat (including mine)! Seems like everybody’s jumping in the you-have-to-be-super-rich-in-life bandwagon. It’s sad to think that a lot has succumbed to a system wherein it’s mostly about getting rich, like what does getting rich even mean? What’s even sadder is when people whose main goal is fulfillment and happiness feel like they must ride with the status quo to survive this life.

    Thank you for this piece of art. Definitely a good read!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Nice piece here. One thing I struggled with on anxiety, it causes real physical pain. That aspect lead me to more anxiety, and yes meds. But I also have weaned myself and thought, well meds are what “they” want me to do. Well fuck them. Also, I like the part where you talk in the mirror. I actually started calling myself when I was happy and left messages like “you are so amazing, I live you” when I listened later I would laugh and feel ok.
    Keep up the good reads!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Great post! There is so much to be said, to be pondered on, on this topic, I sometimes get into it, and realize that it’s never going to be comprehensive enough to describe all of the thoughts and emotions we experience. I do agree with your idea however, that all of this makes us stronger, and that we build the capacity to deal with it. As I get older, I notice that sometimes, I actually like being sad, I like being heartbroken. I don’t mean that in an abnormal or unhealthy way. It’s just my recognition that everything positive and good that I have in my life, and any understanding I have developed about life, has been a direct result of the anguish, the sadness, the depression. Our turmoil, our frustration, our longing leads us to search for meaning in life, it’s what initiates it, and triggers us to pursue it. So I have come to love those days of sadness and disappointment. I enjoy the emotions I experience. I enjoy how they make me create new things– appreciate music, write poetry, paint, philosophize about concepts that would have never occurred to me in the first place. What we always get wrong is that we think that happiness or sadness are permanent and constant state of being. You are absolutely right, they’re not. We’re not designed that way, no one is going to be constantly depressed or sad. And happiness– happiness comes in moments, and for me it’s always in the most simple and basic things. It’s when I notice the intricate color and design of leaves on a plant. It’s when a dog hugs me. It’s when I drink coffee slowly, breathing in its aroma or when I taste chocolate. That’s just it, nothing more and nothing less. We may not be able to fill every gap we have in ourselves, that doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate and experience life as much as anyone else. Let’s be real, it’s a struggle, a daily struggle and it’s always going to be. We know our shortcomings, and we do our best to handle them, to make the best of what we have. Sometimes our best is enough, sometimes we still can’t overcome everything. It’s okay. It’s all okay. The important thing to remember is that every single person out there, even the ones you think have it all perfect, are going through some kind of struggle as well, in different forms and different ways, but everyone suffers. And I believe that that’s essentially the most important, core element that binds individuals into a collective– the recognition of each other’s suffering.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like your reply about appreciating the pain as well as the joy. I don’t agree that everyone suffers and I don’t think it is inevitable that one has to. I think it is right to dream your hearts desire into being and that may be the end of suffering. We are not sentenced to suffer, and we can evolve past the need to do so. That’s what I believe.


      • I think two months ago, I would have disagreed with that but now I completely agree. Some of us have been conditioned to accept pain and suffeering due to a history of emotional abuse and manipulation. It takes immense awareness, self-love and self-compassion to see that and try to reverse it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I wholeheartedly agree….especially the last few lines:
      “The important thing to remember is that every single person out there, even the ones you think have it all perfect, are going through some kind of struggle as well, in different forms and different ways, but everyone suffers. And I believe that that’s essentially the most important, core element that binds individuals into a collective– the recognition of each other’s suffering.”

      We never know for sure what is going on in someone else’s house, or, heart, or mind — but there is often great suffering hidden in each. I understand hiding behind a smile and the illusion of a ‘perfect’ life — I mastered that technique over decades, and not one person knew.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. That what you said, in the comments, about meds being like fastfood, I can’t agree more. I’ve tried to take them time and again, but all they do for me is make everything dialed down to a low volume. The actual problem ,the one causing me to worry, remains, and the meds, for me–I can’t say it about other people–don’t make it okay. What does it make it okay, for me, is getting my head out of my own ass and facing what shit needs to be faced, pardon my French, please.

    Great post, thanks for posting it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s the idea. I think that we want the easy way out, we’ve become like this. It’s not just fast food or medicine, but also work… or anything. Instant gratification. Therapy culture. No one wants to work hard to overcome adversity, we just want something to make us feel better about it. You know, we’re okay, it’s okay, doesn’t matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I’m touched. Sinead’s video cannot be forgotten. She is a role model of mine. Her tenacity and shameless self-expression evoked my passion to be me. Your post, her post … illness, mental illness, i don’t see a division, though like she I am a very emotional person, more than most, though I’ve been told that what is true is that I am very open to living an emotional life. The stigma she talks of, and the fact that we as americans or humans ‘must be so strong’ … I have that, even now as I write and writing it out is deeply calming. What is it perhaps that I suffer from right now? Is it the task master or the ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ thoughts? I suppose that is true and that I do believe that. Damnit I want to go and see her! I see EXACTLY what she means. I don’t identify with labels nor the past, but, truth also is something that is breaking me open. Love. For me: yes you’re not working. yes you may work tonight and start on monday. yes you want to be artistic and creative and know you can soul rebel that I am. If I can get, right now, that I am yet loved. If I can get the softness even now, and I don’t know, stop protecting myself from shame, or trying so hard to not be shamed. It does have everything to do with shame. Why am I, and anyone who’s reading this, ashamed? This is the question! There is NOTHING that I have or haven’t done, do or don’t do, that is deserving of shame. We have it hard enough with a system that is trying to destroy our souls, while we are bridges to the new which is stillness -love. Shame and religion, perhaps that is the old. Truth and Love that is the New.

    I think that I must die to being me. I must let go of what is it, pride or vanity, and become cthonic, humbled. I’d rather allow the inhumiliated to be as they are, on white horses and so on. Crazy. I once feared humiliation, now I’m asking for humility and I’ll go so far as to call it humiliation, but the kind that cuts me down. This is what I fear. Humiliation. No longer being what, different, special, a someone who has it together. No one has it together. Having it together is illusion. Just because you have a job and a home and toys and career and this and that doesn’t mean that you are any less together than someone who does. When did comparison become a choice in human psychology? When did our differences, what we own, what we do, how we are, what we dress, what we think, become more important that what we share. This is the post I will now write. Check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. OH MY GOSH!!! I loved this post when I read it, started to comment, got called away and then completely spaced it out!!! Your courage and complete openness blows me away. Seriously. I know of which You speak and Wow. Thank You for sharing Yourself so beautifully. I agree with the things You say about being physical. I haven’t had this issue in a while, but I spent a good deal of time with it. I will say that in my experience, there is NOTHING that will change the channel faster for me than going outside. Jumping in the ocean. Walking. ANYTHING that gets me moving. Bike riding. That’s a REAL tool and I hope anyone who reads Your journey who is going through this pays attention to that. It’s huge. Thank You again. Sending HUGE hugs and so much admiration. And I’m happy You waded through and are here. You gift much. Cheers!!! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Isolation and inactivity are major contributors to mental illness, and I think they’re fueled by our on-the-go society. We rush from place to place in cars, staring down at our phones, forgetting to look people in the face and smile. All that driving around and we feel exhausted, but have barely moved our bones. All the chit-chat and texting and smiley faces, but no crinkly-eye laughter. Then throw in our competitive nature, from trophies for preschool sports to rat race corporate ladder climbing, and we feel like it’s me-against-you, instead of how-can-we-help-each-other. Thank you for writing this post and helping us help each other, even through the first step of recognition of how much we can improve.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Nice post Cristian.

    I don’t really know anything about anyone else’s experience of depression. I’m not even sure how much I know about my own. I learned that being depressed is isolating. But I also learned that not being depressed anymore is pretty isolating too.

    I tried all the advice and all the treatments and all the measures – for almost ten years. The only thing I didn’t try were the pills. And yeah, some of it helped. A bit. But it was like putting sticking plaster on an amputation. Some limited relief from time to time but definitely no cure. No sustained improvement or progress.

    Then a little over five years ago everything changed. All at once. In a single instant of traumatic clarity. And the depression was gone. Just like that. It hasn’t been back. Not even a hint.

    But I’m not sure I know how or why. And I am sure that when I try to articulate what I think I know it comes out as meaningless fluff. The sort of New Agey nonsense and ‘change your attitude’ self-assertion that only made things worse when people said stuff like that to me when I was depressed. The sort of stuff that made me feel I was being blamed for my own suffering or being ‘othered’ to deny the possibility the same thing might happen to them.

    When I was depressed I couldn’t explain it to anyone else. Not to those who cared about me. Not even to those who were also depressed. Now I’ve recovered I can’t explain that either. Not even to those who also recovered.

    I guess more than anything else I learned how limited my capacity for communication is. Except with the one person I don’t have to communicate with. The one I don’t need to look at in the mirror and say “I love you”. Or “I hate you”. The one I don’t need to accept or reject. The one I just have to be.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. As someone who’s been diagnosed with severe chronic depression, I’m happy to see another sufferer cope. With me it was when I was in my forties that I changed my attitude. I was walking to work on a Monday and hating life when it occurred to me that this WAS my life and I was wasting it with my attitude. I hated everyone I saw. Everything was a disaster. Now, my wife had left me, my house had been foreclosed on, my sister had died and I’d lost my job; but, at that time I was more in need of perspective than anything else.

    So, here I am ten years later. I’m still depressed (that’s never going away) but, I don’t hate people and I don’t get anxious. I talk to people if they want to talk. I try to see things from all perspectives (and fail often). I’m a different person than I was. I’ve got other hills to climb but it was a good start that day, walking to work…

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I would describe depression more like this:

    It is a caged “monster”. The size of the monster is a variable of 3 components.
    Past trauma, the healing “or lack of healing” from that trauma and the environment.
    Also, the cage (environment) can contain the monsters growth. The environment could include people around you, like: a support system, support people, friends, family, the guy at the gym, and sometimes medication and counselors.
    The cage is the the real problem. The cage is, whatever the subject makes the cage to be. That is the scary part. Especially, if the subject doesn’t know they created the cage, in the first damn place!

    In summary:

    Past Trauma

    Healing / Lack of healing from specific trauma from step 1.


    All three contribute to the size and scarieness of the monster. The cage is created by you. So, you are in control. You just need to keep telling yourself that.
    “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Thank you for sharing this and inspiring so many. The book “Crazy Good” by Steve Chandler really helped me to see the power of taking responsibility, making life a game and focusing on serving others. He also wrote “Time Warrior” (not Time Worrier haha) which introduced me to the concept of living vertically ie rising up in the present moment, rather than being tied to the suffering of linear time.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. This is truly powerful stuff Christian and rings true based on the compilation of my own wacky life experiences. For me, the biggest challenge is riding out the recurring cycles–the ups and downs–but as you suggest I’ve found that exercise and feeding my sense of curiosity and keeping busy is the best medicine to help level out my emotions when they start to get too extreme. AND–humor– since I think not taking oneself too seriously is really key. We just need to be reminded of these things often and this is what your post has done for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with you Henry, especially what both you and Cristian say about humor.
      Cristian, thank you for reminding me about the value of staying physically active. I personally allow myself to sink into slumps where I’m all about “getting things done”, but I’m not moving my body around commensurate to the mental stress. That’s obviously imbalanced. It’s time to put on those walking shoes.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Human mind is amazing but still far from being perfect and yes it’s important to “train your brain” to create consciousness of surrounding enviroment which may have negative or positive impact on us. With developed consciousness you might be resistant to negative impact of surrounding people which you not always can choose who is around you.
    Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. You are so brave to let yourself be vulnerable like this! I understand everything because I have been there…and I most likely will go back to those dark days. But I also know that if I take one day at a time and do what I love (reading, writing, hanging out with friends, my thousand craft projects that I never seem to finish…) and take care of my emotional well being, I will survive. However, I am aiming for thriving…not just surviving. That’s one reason I started my blog. I want to allow myself the space to express the depression and the recovery. It is a process. And it will never end. But that doesn’t mean that we have to sit back and let the “illness” take over. We are in control of our own life.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Totally beautiful heartfelt post. Honesty does scare some people. Like, if no one voices the unthinkable it will go away… Thank you for stating your thoughts without fear of honesty and “what we are [supposed] to think”. Bravo. Keep writing, and most of all, keep living.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Exercise definitely helps. I have a thyroid condition and before I was diagnosed, I feel deep into a depressive state. I didn’t even realize until many years later what happened to me. Since then I have had my thyroid removed and my mental state hasn’t been the same since. I exercise to keep my spirits up and it helps greatly. I haven’t been to the gym in a few months and I am completely unhinged.

    But that is not why I am commenting, I have just started doing some breathing exercises. It is helping too. I just need to put in the time which is difficult when you are depressed and don’t want to do anything. It is a vicious circle. The mobile app I am currently using is Prana Breath. After I have done it for a month or two, I was going to post a review on my blog.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Oh my gosh. Raw and so much for me to relate to. I have been on this journey for most of my past and am living for the first time NOW. Thank you so much for sharing your honesty and experiences. I am grateful to all who i have been honoured to meet as this has helped me progress in life dramatically. Affirmation, amazing. I would like to add that… School for self love should too be a compulsory institution, right across the world. Again Thank you :)

    Liked by 3 people

  33. What a great article Christian, and much needed. The numbers of people suffering from depression are staggering – I have seen it first hand and know how awful it can be for those inflicted – staying in bed all day for days on end. It’s horrible to watch when you love someone. I do believe that exercise can help, but I also know it’s difficult to convince someone who has depression to get up and exercise. I sincerely hope to carry the word too. Again, great article, I hope you reach the people that need it most. Thank you for this and all you do!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Active, determined, stubborn, realistic… and finally the realization that I didn’t have to be happy to be happy. Those are the sorts of things that have helped me in my own war. Thanks for the writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Good read and you are absolutely right: Exercise is THE ultimate weapon to fight stress, anxiety and everything else there is. But when we say “exercise”, I don’t mean going to the park for a run of 30 minutes, coming back home, taking a shower, having a lemon-soda and telling yourself what a great job you have done. Exercise for me is, working out until you can’t move anymore. Your mind can push your body to such strong limits and at some point, you just got to lay down on the floor, close your eyes, breathe. Just breathe. Your heart rate will be the only thing you will be able to hear and your mind will focus on one thing only: Keeping you breathing. Then look up to the sky. Watch the clouds pass by, keep breathing. And right at this moment, you will feel free.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. This post was amazing and hit home on so many levels. Especially what you said about societies not being about happiness. You are a brilliant writer, and I really admire your style of writer. Glad that you are doing better now, Mr. Mihai! I look forward to reading more from you.
    P.S. Have you ever taken the MBTI test? Are you perchance an INFJ or INTJ?

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I’ve done it all too i.e binaural beats and the law of attraction. Exercise is something I must do every other day and then, of course, writing. But for social interactions, I am still quite anxious amongst friends but I am working on it.

    Liked by 3 people

  38. I don’t pretend to know what it is like to live each day with chronic, cellular-level, depression or other forms of emotional and physical pain. I have gone through periods where my now-regulated medication, lapsed and it brought with that periods of mood-swings, depression,and lack of interest in things. It takes work, engaging and not withdrawing from people on a daily basis – I have a good friend with chronic depression that is only intermittently relieved by medication. Walks, hikes, physical labor, and empathizing friends help a lot. And though many may not agree, a spiritual foundation can be a great support system. in my faith, a number of passages indicate that physical and mental pain was just as common a couple thousand years ago as today. And the spiritual helped the sufferer get through those periods.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sometimes wisdom goes hand in hand with the spiritual. All plants and foods that exist in nature you might say is gods own medicine cabinet. There’s the healing of the soul, the healing of the mind and the healing of the body. If the body isn’t healed but the mind and soul are, the two are hampered. Some of the things that exist in nature are ten times more powerful than the medication designed to mimic it. The real key is understanding in how to apply them. Some of those spices in your cupboard that you use for cooking may well have other uses than eating in tasty food.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Its not at all rude or harsh, because this is how you can express this stuff in the best manner because thats what it is. I really liked the part were you talk about accepting things as they are and the reason of comforts being our weakness. It reminds me of one quote I read “Our lust for comfort kills the passion of the soul” by Kahlil Gibran.
    Touched my soul!
    God Bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Great stuff. Keep up the good work. I’ve accepted a long time ago that civilians will never understand mental illness. Truth is why should they until and unless they have no choice. So we must educated those who are willing to learn and understand from our collected experiences.
    So keep growing stronger and so will I. What choice do we have?

    Liked by 2 people

  41. Wow…
    Alright, I want to start by apologizing because you felt that way. Next, I just want to say that I relate, so it was almost upsetting to read, but truly insightful. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll ever learn to ‘just be’ as you sat you have. This was honestly…what’s the right word..My mind is at a blank, but I’ll stick with insightful.
    I don’t know, I love this post.

    Liked by 3 people

  42. The depressive mind set is often hard to explain to others. It is also often hard to figure out how to best get yourself out of it. I have used exercise in the past and it was wonderful. I use art now, painting and mixed media and what ever captures my fancy. I’m pretty blown away and agree with most of what you say. Having been depressed since my teens and gone through severe bouts and mild bouts, I know that the solutions varies for each of us in different times of our lives. My brothers both killed themselves in different ways one quick with a noose, one slow with many bottles. I learned at that first suiciddal death that I was both culpable and blameless. Yes, that’s a contradiction, but that doesn’t make any piece of it false. As you say society is pretty poor at making us happy. However, each of us has a some obligation to assist others in their quest for happiness. And on the other hand…. in the end…. we are all responsible for our own happiness ….whatever brings it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We all need to cut ourselves some slack. Survive long enough and you realize you are more powerful than you think. The power is not out there but in your heart. When all is said and done we are part of something much more than our collective animal selves. No one has very come what we have. Yet here we are still standing. If anyone you meet on the street had to deal with what we have they would fail miserably because they are only half as strong as we are. So pat yourself on the back and remind yourself that you are one BAD ASS MF.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Nice write up Cristian. Lately ive learnt ive got BPD which apparently is quite common for people on the spectrum. By reading about it it seems to of had a positive effect on my mind since for years ive not know who i am. BPD’s tend to be chameleons which in many ways i have been cause ive not really known my own identity. But since reading about it all im starting to breakout of my own mental prison in a manner of speaking. Anyway alot of what your saying i think many people have had to deal with throughout their lives. Here’s an outside of the box way of thinking about our roles on this planet as highest in the food chain. Since we have no natural predators particularly due to our ability to access higher thinking and utilize technology to protect ourselves wouldn’t it make sense that we also are in charge of caring for all that is around us? Some aspects of technology has advanced out of the nuclear age, much of the planets social mindedness hasn’t. I really hope things such as electric cars start to take precedence or might as well look at living underground in the next 20 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Be a warrior, not a worrier.
    This is a fantastic statement, I think it really speaks the truth to how we all should strive to combat these things. Saying that we are not depressed all the time, 24/7 is a powerful statement to those dealing with depression. Latch onto those up times, make changes in your life that encourage more of them. Depression is an enemy that can be defeated like any other. Be a warrior, nor a worrier.

    Liked by 3 people

  45. So wonderfully expressed!! Your words resonate with me so much. I have been implementing many of the same approaches to improve my mental health and believe you are so right. The more energy I expend– be it exercising, writing, learning a new skill, reaching out to an a friend, etc.– the more energy I have to be a warrior and the less empty space there is for spiraling into worry. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  46. Hi! I had a depression once in my life and I can relate much just by looking at the picture seeing myself on my weak days when I was young. Now I’m grown up and stronger than ever. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. Hi I have bipolar and ptsd and a lot of anxiety and depression. It is really debilitating. I am doing more exercise tho and it does help but won’t make this all go away. I do think however positive affirmations may help me, so I will try that, to get out of the loop of worry. thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  48. Bipolar type 2 with understanding in suffering of depression plus manic. The only way is to get up from the rut and think positive, do exercise such as walking, hiking, be in nature, surround oneself with positive friends who understand and help you. Be strong and tell oneself I can do it why succumb to depression combine with manic. There are many ways to conquer that awful shadow lurks in oneself. Be strong and no self pity. With medication, positive thinking this depression will be in the closet. No cure only willingness to be able to enjoy life to the fullest. Life is beautiful and yes there are many nooks, crannies in life. Just do it, no if or buts.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Christian, this line hit me in a really deep way: “I only know that this beautiful brain of ours can create about a billion different states of emotion. And we go through life cycling between five or six. No. We can do so much more than this. And we can use them in any way we want.”

    Thank you for sharing this post and being super real about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  50. I like how you put this into perspective. I get what you were trying to say about a break in the depression–the moment where I must do something. Do something smart, something that helps, for example exercise. And we need God–we need His wisdom and His peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Happy greetings Christian,
    Thank you for sharing and thank you for being here (on earth).
    Your presence is a blessing to us all.

    Together ourstories (not his-stories) will assist in worldwide healing.
    Never ever give up!

    Liked by 2 people

  52. This article Cristian is wonderful! As I read through it I was caught in the mixed emotions of wanting to cry and laugh at the same time. I needed to hear this, I needed to read this. I thank you for the thought you put into writing and sharing with us on this blog thank you for not dying Cristian. You did a good thing for me!

    Liked by 2 people

  53. A survival skill/gift, allowed me to focus on others. It kept me alive and without it, I would not be here. It seemed an eternity until I could escape those who did me harm. By continuing to focus on others and educating myself, A Master’s Degree in Psychology, allowed me to move far beyond but still reach out to those in need. Today I can look in that mirror and delight in the light in my eyes. My heart is full and I, grateful. Thanks Christian.

    Liked by 2 people

  54. Very true about exercise. even a walk around the block can clear your mind. I’m trying medication. anti-depressants to stop the ever-present words of the past “remember when you got fired? no one stood up for you. you’ll never land another job because you don’t know how to talk to people.” I am working on replacing that voice with one of creativity and inspiration. :)

    Liked by 3 people

  55. This brought tears to my eyes. A lot of my friends have depression and I’m always happy to hear people talk about it because it opens doors for more people to talk about it. Thanks for spreading the love. <3 Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

  56. I’ve also noticed that it really all comes down to me, saving myself. My therapist couldn’t save me… and being a therapist myself now, I realize I can’t save anybody. I can guide them, but I can’t do the saving. I think it’s the apathy that scares me. I agree that exercise helps and makes me feel better, but I can get to such low places that I actually don’t want to help myself and can’t get myself to exercise. I’ll start, hate it so much, then stop. I thankfully haven’t been in a state like that for a while, but it has happened. I think building exercise into your routine throughout the week safeguards against those lowest of lows.

    Liked by 1 person

  57. Thanks for this heartfelt, honest post. I’ve struggled off and on with depression throughout my life, but it was particularly bad 2 years ago due to a perfect storm of events. I was determined to walk through the darkness in order to attain more wisdom, but it just about did me in. I thought of all of the people who came out after someone in my community committed suicide talking about how those who are depressed should tell someone, that they truly care. Well, I told those who love me, and they just seemed to move farther and farther away. Was it me or them? I don’t know. I am not out of it yet, but I did learn some really important lessons. One of the most important was that the things and ideas we hold onto with a death grip sometimes are really not that important in the long run. Letting go was good.
    Also, there is a book out called “Spark” which goes into the neurobiology of exercise and mental state, if you or anyone is interested. It’s fairly technical, but I like that stuff.
    Wishing you ongoing state breaks. I’ve found playing the guitar lifts my mood, especially if I rest my chin on the body of the guitar and feel the reverberations in my jaw. Weird, but it works.

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Great post, Cristian! Talking about recovery offers hope and strategies for those still suffering. Reminds us, too, of how far we have come. Thanks for being honest about your struggles. I battled with the concept of exercise having an impact on my mental health…until I got up and got moving! ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Goose bumps. Awesome post. No one is going to save you, except you…. Just accept that life’s shit and you’re going to die….

    But we continue anyway because we are warriors and it can be awesome when we do.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. Reblogged this on and commented:
    This one has been truly galvanising. Beautifully expressed.
    And the best part of it – “whenever you try to avoid suffering, you suffer.”
    A must read for those who are in a state of helplessness!

    Liked by 1 person

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