How To Deal With Depression
By Leo Gura - August 4, 2014 | 65 Comments
The key to breaking out of your depression right now.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org and in this video I’m going to tell you how to deal with depression.
Dealing With Depression
Let’s talk about dealing with depression. I actually already have a video on this topic and now I want to cover it from a slightly different angle so you should also check out that video. The link is down below. It’s called ‘Why Am I Depressed?’ In this video I have some additional thoughts to add.
Before we get into the meat of it, and I really want to give you something here that you can take away with you and you can start to take action on. This can be a powerful video for you if you take it seriously and you really listen and open your mind to what I’m telling you. Before we get into that though, what I want to talk about is the different types of depression that are out there. I think it’s very important to distinguish between two types. I’m saying that there are two types.
There’s basically hard core clinical depression which is actually a very rare thing. That means that you have actually something in your brain that’s limiting your ability to be happy. This could be a genetic thing that you acquired, this could be something that happened because of the way you were raised or the way you were birthed. You’ve literally got missing neurotransmitters and because of this something is going wrong so you’re not getting the levels of happiness that you should from your life. This is clinical medical serious depression.
The problem is that most people like to think that they have that when in fact that’s not what they have. What they actually have is they have a much milder version of depression which is actually self-inflicted form of depression which comes about from having bad psychology. The analogy I like to use here is, think of it like a computer. You have a computer and you’ve got the computer hardware and you’ve also got the computer software.
If you’re having a problem with your computer, it’s running slow, you’ve got bugs and glitches in the way that it’s working, then you could have basically two fundamental types of problems. One is that you could have faulty equipment inside the computer. The hardware could be bugged out because there’s some bad circuitry in there so it’s just defective hardware.
The other type of problem you could have is you just have bad software. There’s a bug in the software. You’ve got a virus in the system or something is corrupt there so the software is running incorrectly.
With depression, it’s actually probably similar to what it’s like with the computer. When you have a problem with your computer rarely is it the case that you’ve got bad hardware. Usually it’s the software that’s the problem. You’ve got a virus or something like that’s gone wrong. It’s similar with people who are depressed, especially nowadays.
Record Numbers Of People Are Depressed Nowadays
A lot of people are depressed nowadays. We have record numbers of depressed people and mostly it’s because of the bad psychology that’s happening here. If you feel like you have real, honest clinical depression, nothing against that. Go and see a doctor and get the medication you need for that. Get a diagnosis, but also be careful because a lot of times doctors will like to medicate you when in fact what you’ve got is you’ve got a software problem.
That medicine that you’re getting is not going to solve a software problem. It’s will only work on a hardware problem. If you have a hardware problem a software solution can also be useful to you so don’t ignore what I’m saying to you here simply because it’s psychology. It’s not just psychology. Psychology determines the whole quality for your life so this something that can be very powerful for you even if you’ve got this problem with your hardware.
Here’s basically what I want to tell you about depression. I was thinking about this because I’m noticing in my own life, I work really hard on my own personal development, and one of the reasons I do that is because is I’m wise to the problems that would happen if I didn’t do it. One of the reasons that I do personal development is because it’s exciting, it’s fun, I get a lot of positive stuff from it. Another reason why I do this is kind of the flip side, for negative reasons, because I know how awful my life would be if I didn’t do it.
As I’m working on myself, as I’m taking lots of action in certain areas of my life, as I’m setting up my business or in setting up my relationships, or I’m setting up my career and my life purpose, I’m setting up my life and fitness… as I’m doing this and I’m really working hard to realize good results there, I’m also noticing and going, “Hm, what would my life be like if I didn’t do all that work to create this thing that I wanted in my life? What would happen if I was still sixty-five pounds overweight the way that I was for most of my life as I was growing up? How would I feel now? What kind of problems would I have in my life? How would I feel about those problems?”
I wonder about that stuff. A lot of times you do personal development then you take stuff for granted. Nowadays I take my weight for granted. I take for granted the fact that I’m lean and I’m healthy. I also take for granted some of the stuff that I learned about relationships, how to manage relationships.
I take for granted for example, my money situation with my business because I was working really hard to put that area of my life into place. I wonder how would I feel right now in my life if I didn’t have my business? If I didn’t have my life purpose? If I didn’t have the stuff that I know about relationships? If I was still overweight?
If I didn’t work on my negative thinking a lot? If I didn’t work on my people pleasing a lot? If I didn’t meditate? If I didn’t go to the gym? If I didn’t look after my diet? If I didn’t work hard at my job?
If I didn’t pay my bills on time? If I wasn’t handling my family situation in the right way? If I was hanging around with negative people? If I was living in a bad neighborhood? If I was living in a bad country? What would my life be like?
The Story Of The Squirrel And The Bird
I’m pretty sure that I can make myself depressed. It’s hard for me to imagine now that I can become depressed. I’m not a naturally depressive person but I can easily see how I could become that way if I let myself go. Here’s a little story to help illustrate this. I don’t know where I got the idea for this. I think it’s Aesop’s Fables or something like that.
It’s like a children’s story where they have squirrels. It was a story about a squirrel and a bird and the winter is coming. It’s the summer now and the winter is coming. The squirrel, he is smart. He knows that winter’s coming, there’s not going to be enough food so he better run around stashing those acorns, build himself a nice nest or burrow that he can live in so that he can weather out the harsh winter that’s about to come.
The bird, or whoever else was the character on the other side of this story, he was the carefree one. He didn’t care, he didn’t want to build a nest, he didn’t want to go work and stash acorns or any other type of provisions for himself. He was just carefree and living in the moment.
Then what happens? Of course winter finally comes and the squirrel is nice and happy, sitting in his little burrow with his squirrel family. He’s got all those acorns stashed up and he’s got more acorns than he could possibly need for the whole winter. He’s got enough for two winters so even if this winter ends up running extra-long he’s still going to survive. Even if it’s extra cold he made sure to make his burrow extra comfy and extra warm so he’s going to survive just fine.
But that bird who was very carefree and didn’t put stuff into place in his life now he’s kind of screwed because winter has come and he doesn’t have a nest, he’s freezing, there’s no food anywhere, he doesn’t know what to do, he has no one to rely on, it’s just him out there in the cold. If he’s lucky, he might survive and he just might make it just traumatized, but he might not be so lucky. That situation might actually kill him. The winter might actually kill him.
That’s what I’m telling to you now. If you’re depressed because you went through some bad family situations, maybe you were abused. Or maybe you lost a lot of money, maybe somebody scammed you, somebody robbed you. Maybe you had some serious medical conditions, maybe you lost a limb, maybe you became paralyzed.
Maybe you’re depressed because you feel you’re not attractive to the opposite sex, maybe you’re depressed because you feel like you can’t get into a good relationship, or you’ll never find that person that you’ll fall in love and get married with. Maybe you’re depressed because you feel like you won’t be able to earn the money that you need and you’re struggling financially… whatever you feel like you’re stuck in, what I’m telling you is that you’re like that bird and the winter has come and now you’re fucked because you didn’t build up that stash of acorns that the squirrel built up.
You Need That Nest That You Don’t Have
Now you desperately need that stash of acorns. You desperately need it, or food or whatever. You need that nest, but you don’t have it for whatever reason. I’m not necessarily blaming you. I’m not saying that your situation was entirely avoidable. Maybe you had a death in the family. Maybe you had a string of bad luck, whatever happened that made you depressed.
Maybe not. Maybe you’re just depressed because you have no purpose to your life. Or you’re depressed because you don’t have the kind of friends that you want. Something a little bit more ordinary, less serious.
Whatever your situation is, in the end the problem is that winter now has come and you have not built the psychological resources that you need to survive. You’re now stuck in this rut. You’re stuck in this rut because whatever situation that you’re in, whether it’s lack of money or losing a loved one, or not being able to attract that mate that you want, whatever’s got you depressed, that is not something that necessarily has to keep you depressed.
There’ve been many people in history who’ve gone through the same circumstances that you’re going through, and even much worse and have come out perfectly fine. In fact they have used that to build themselves up even stronger, to become even happier, to learn valuable life lessons.
If you’re depressed right now, and it’s feeling very hopeless, then you feel like a victim. You feel like you don’t have a lot of options. You can’t change the situation. You feel like it’s permanent. You feel like nothing will help you. What that is, it’s not so much the reality that’s out there it’s more about the mental rut that you’re in because now winter has come.
You Can Still Dig Your Way Out Of The Rut
Technically speaking this bird who’s out in the cold and who didn’t provision himself, he actually can survive for the winter if he’s smart, if he mobilizes, if he starts to take action, if he put in the hard work that’s necessary. It’s not hopeless for this bird. It’s not hopeless. It’s simply that it’s going to be difficult.
It might be extremely difficult, the place that you’re in right now, to dig your way out and to move forward up to that happy place that you want to be, but that amazing life that you want, that’s something that’s on the table for you even though winter has come. It’s not hopeless, but the real problem is that right now you lack the psychological resources necessary to actually go out there and seize it. That’s what I want to give you here today.
I want to show you how to develop those psychological resources. Right now, honestly, the things you’re really missing are motivation, you’re missing willpower, you’re missing faith and you’re missing confidence in yourself. These are the core things that you’re missing that you’re going to need.
To you it might sound like, “Leo, I can’t feed my family on motivation. I can’t improve my job and financial situation simply on faith and confidence. You’re telling me about all these nice abstract things, motivation, will power, faith and confidence, but I need something more tangible and practical. I need money, I need sex, I need love, I need better health, something like that”.
Stay with me here because what I’m giving you is a little bit abstract, but you’ll see that this is what’s necessary to get all the tangible stuff that you think you need. Also, you might not need as much tangible stuff as you think you do. A lot of you what you just need is you need a new way of seeing the world because you’ve got filters on that’s making the world seem very depressing. When those filters are removed all of a sudden the exact same world will look very, very different and no longer will it be depressing.
To do that, to remove those filters, to work on yourself, to do the hard work that’s necessary you’re going to need that motivation, you’re going to need that faith, you’re going to need that confidence. Right now your brain is tricking you and it’s telling you that you can’t that you won’t, that you’re stuck, that you’re hopeless and that’s where that faith and that confidence comes in. The winter is here for you and it might be a very real winter, it might now be an illusory winter.
The fact that you’re already depressed and you lack these mental resources, these psychological resources, that in and of itself is a winter. To me one of the scariest things in life is not that I run out of money, although I worry about that sometimes, or that I don’t have the relationship that I want, or that my friends hate me or something like that. For me the scariest thing is that I lose my resourcefulness in order to acquire that. I lose my drive.
I lose my ability to get myself mobilized, to take action. I lose my purpose in life. I lose my passion. I lose my ability to think critically, independently. That’s the scarier thing.
Because of that you’re depression is actually real even though it might be illusory. You might feel like you need something that you don’t actually need or something happened to you in the past that crippled you today but that might not actually be crippling. The fact that you believe in it is enough and so you don’t have the mental resources. That is a big problem.
You Need To Put In The Required Emotional Labor
Why is it a big problem? Winter is here and you need to go and you need to gather acorns. You need to eat otherwise you’re going to starve, but you don’t have the ability to go out there and mobilize and the reason is because you see that there’s emotional labor involved for you here. Emotional labor – it means that there’s going to be pain and struggle to get yourself out of this deep, deep, deep hole that you’re in, and that in and of itself can be depressing.
You’re mentally weak now. You feel like you’re in this rut and you feel like it’s hopeless because from where you are now to where you need to go, even to reach normal level, not even an awesome level in life, just an average level, it might feel like you have to work a lot. It might seem like you don’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s so far away.
This is my solution for you, is that you need to mobilize to fight. That’s the solution. It’s how you handle depression. It might seem simple but this is what it takes. Simply the desire to mobilize, to fight right now.
Immobilization needs to happen for you. You can’t run away from it any more. You can’t keep avoiding the emotional labor. You can’t keep procrastinating it and hoping that somehow you can pull your way out of it because it’s too late for that.
You could have done that. You could have prepared before. When it was summer you could have prepared. When it was fall you still could have prepared. Now it’s the middle of winter. It’s cold, you can’t prepare any more.
Now it’s mobilization time. Now it’s time to fight. This is the fight for your life. That’s what it is. You need to realize that and you need to accept it.
That’s the problem is that you don’t want to accept it right now. You don’t want to accept the pain. I want to help you to accept it though.
It’s Either Fight Or Flight
Mobilization is an interesting thing because human beings and other organisms, not just organisms, but other cybernetic systems – a cybernetic system is any kind of complex system that has internal feedback loops which allow it to adjust for various situations that are happening. A thermostat is a cybernetic system, but a computer is a more complicated one, and of course your human brain and your body is a very complicated cybernetic system – especially cybernetic systems that have evolved and had to go through a fitness process, a survival of the fittest process, those organisms they’ve developed resources to mobilize, to take massive action when necessary, to fight when necessary.
That’s what your fight and flight responses are for. If you get threatened by a wild animal or a burglar in the night, all of a sudden you’re going to feel like you have much more energy to act, to fight, to run because it’s a life and death situation. Your body always has extra reserves that allow it to mobilize to handle dangerous life-threatening situations.
This is kind of the system that you need to tap into right now. It’s not going to be for one day. It might take you six months, it might take you twelve months of this mobilizing in order to conquer whatever demons you have, whatever circumstances you have to get out of this depression, but you can do it. It’s within you.
The problem is that you don’t really want to do it. Especially right now if there’s no dire emergency situation on your hands, you can feel very depressed but there’s nothing that’s really lighting a fire under your ass. There’s no grizzly bear in your face that’s about to maul you that would get that adrenaline pumping. Which is why I’m shooting this video and talking to you, but you can do kind of a self-mobilization.
It’s interesting in World War II, if you’re a student of history you study this, that whenever there’s some major war in some country it’s amazing at how that country is able to mobilize resources to defend itself. In World War II for example, if you’ve ever watched some of those Discovery Channel or History Channel documentaries, you know that the United States did a massive mobilization effort to produce incredible output of industry in order to help stop the Germans and to prevent World War II from advancing. This happened I believe in in World War I as well.
What’s going on here is for example the United States started building ships, building production lines where they were literally creating giant ships for naval warfare. They were doing it at such a ridiculous rate where they were building a ship a day. It was incredible how quickly and how much they were building ships.
When you look at a nation during peace time it seems like the nation has certain problems. You watch the news there’s political problems, Democrats, Republicans they’re always bickering and fighting with each other. They can’t get anything passed. It takes ten years to pass a certain healthcare reform or something like that.
That’s a country that’s not motivated. That’s a lazy country. That’s a country that’s able to do that kind of bickering and nonsense. That’s kind of the luxury that we have as the United States. We can just sit back and argue about silly stuff.
When push comes to shove and there’s a war going on, a really serious war, I’m not talking about a little war like the war in Iraq. That’s not a really threatening war to the United States. I’m talking about a serious war like World War II where the United States kind of felt like they were actually threatened. There was actually an attack on Hawaii at Pearl Harbor etc., there was a real threat there that if Germany took over Europe the US was next on their hit list.
There, fight or flight response starts to kick in. Adrenaline starts to kick in. When that kicks in it’s like we can produce ships by the ton, so many ships that we don’t even know what to do with them. It’s interesting how that works.
Take On The Pain
What I’m proposing is that you’re capable of this exact same thing. You’re also capable of this but you need to mobilize yourself. You need to get yourself ready to endure the pain because there’s pain ahead, but you’ve got to endure it. Right now you’re thinking to yourself, “I don’t want to endure this pain. I don’t want to endure all the change I have to do”.
You know the stuff you’ve got to do, but you don’t want to do it. The reason that is because of course you would rather postpone it, you’d rather procrastinate it another day, another week, another month, another year. The more and more that you do that, the deeper and deeper you sink into this depression, the less capable you become. That’s a dangerous game that you’re playing and if you play it for too long you might really get yourself into a very, very deep hole that maybe you won’t even be able to dig yourself out of.
To prevent that from happening what I want to do here is I want to help you right now to mobilize to deal with this pain, to accept it and to take it on as a challenge. That’s what it’s going to take. Whatever your challenge is right now, think of it in your head, money, relationships, how you feel about yourself… whatever it is.
I want you to draw a line in the sand. We’re drawing a line in the sand right now, right here. You and me. We’re doing this for you. We’re drawing a line in the sand and once we draw that line in the sand you’re going to step over that line and you’re not going to come back.
By stepping over this line what you’re saying to yourself is that you are mobilized, that you are willing to take on the pain, the emotional labor that’s going to go into that. You know what I mean by emotional labor right? Emotional labor is all that work that you’re going to have to do that’s not going to feel very good in order to really build yourself up. When that squirrel was running around worrying about the winter, gathering all those acorns, doing all that hard lifting and pushing and collecting and storing, that was emotional labor for him. Now you’re going to have to do that. Are you ready?
Draw A Line In The Sand
All right, I want you to draw a line in the sand and I want you to say this with me, “I am a force. I’m a force to be reckoned with. I have resources within me that I can’t even consciously tap right now, but I know that they’re in there. I’m going to tap into them now because this depression I’ve been under, this way that my life has been going, this rut that I’ve been in, no more of that. I don’t want to do that anymore.
“That’s too painful. In fact, that’s more painful than if I just accept the pain and take on the challenge of mobilizing myself to fix this. I’m going to fix it through brute force. I’m going to brute force it. There’s not going to be any wheeze little solutions. I’m not going to wait for some magic to happen, or the perfect time to come next year for me to do whatever I need to do to lose that weight, or to fix my health, or to get that relationship handled.
“Now through brute force it’s going to happen. Now through massive action it’s going to happen. I will do anything to make it happen. Absolutely anything I’m willing to do. What does it take? Tell me what it takes I’m going to do it.
“What does it mean? Does it mean that I have to go to the gym every single day for two hours? I will do it. Does it mean I need to move to a different city, a different state, a different country? I will do it.
“Does it mean I need to go find a new job? Maybe I need to find three new jobs? I will do it. Does it mean that I need to break off this relationship and get a divorce? I will do it.
“What does it take? Tell me what it takes. I’m willing to do anything, absolutely anything. I will literally work myself dead before I surrender. I’m stepping over the line.” That’s the mindset you need to have to mobilize. This is how you mobilize yourself.
Even though I’ve never been depressed, there’ve been times in my life where I’ve felt very down about my prospects, about my future. There’ve been times in my life where I’ve had to mobilize like this. I knew, for example, that my weight – I was overweight my whole life – I knew that that was something I needed to really mobilize myself for because there was no way I’m going to break all those decades of bad habits without this kind of intense mobilization. I did exactly that with my weight and that really worked for me.
Another area in my life where I really mobilized hard was when I started my business, really hard mobilization to do that because that was also kind of a do or die situation. I knew that if I was going to find my life purpose, if I was going to do what I really love to do I would need to become financially independent. To do that I would need to go embark on a brand new journey of entrepreneurship that I didn’t have any ideas about how to manage, I didn’t know if I was going to be successful, I had a lot of doubts and so I just had to brute force my way through that.
Also with my relationships I had to really brute force my way through that because I was so bad with relationships that I literally thought that if I didn’t mobilize myself right here and right now that I would die lonely without ever getting into a relationship with anybody. I was that bad and I had a crystal clear picture of what was going to happen if I just continued on my current track.
You Need To Surrender
You need to surrender yourself here. Not surrender your life, what I’m talking about is surrender to the emotional labor. There’s work involved. You probably know how much work is ahead. For example, I knew how much work was ahead when I needed to lose a lot of weight but I surrendered myself to that.
After mobilizing, what’s nice is that when you accept the challenge, when you accept the pain and say, “Fuck it! I’m just going to do whatever it takes, literally anything I’ll do”, not just words but then you actually go out there and follow it up with actions, you actually realize that you don’t need the end result right now to feel happy. You don’t need to wait a year to lose all that weight. You don’t need to wait two years to fix your money problems.
Just by starting to mobilize and take that massive action already you’re going to start to feel a lot of relief. You’re going to start to feel better than you felt in a long, long time because you’ve surrendered to the emotional labor. That’s really what you’re resisting right now. You’re trying to weasel your way out of it. I know it. I do it too. We all do it.
Nobody wants to go head on and collide with a lot of pain and a lot of work, a lot of emotional labor. Nobody likes to do that but here’s the truth. You’re stuck right now and if you don’t take this option then you might not have any other options left. You’re stuck now because you’ve been avoiding this labor. You’ve been avoiding it, you’ve been putting it off, you’ve been procrastinating, you didn’t want the pain.
All the fears that you have about all the things that could go wrong, how uncomfortable it’s going to feel, how much pain there’s going to be, how much suffering there’s going to be in there for you, if you keep giving in to those fears, if you keep taking them seriously, if you don’t surrender to them, then you’re going to stay stuck.
I’m honestly not optimistic for you because most people when they’re in that situation they stay stuck. If I had to put my money on it I would always bet that you’re not going to mobilize. Every time I would bet that you’re not because few people will. It takes inner strength, inner resolve. Something has to click in you.
It’s Not Hopeless
I hope something clicks in you now because if something doesn’t click in you now you’re staying stuck. The more you avoid it, the deeper it’s going to get. It’s only going to get worse. The solution is to bite the bullet. You simply have to bite the bullet right now, surrender to whatever you have to do, to whatever it takes and you’re going to see that this is the way.
It’s actually not going to be depressing for you to do this surrender. What’s depressing for you now is that you don’t have any options. Once you do this surrender and once you tell yourself that you’re doing anything, whatever it takes, you’re no longer depressed because you’re taking action, you’re moving forward. It’s not hopeless.
If you tell yourself that you’ll do anything it takes, you’re going to find a way. Maybe it’s going to be a long, tortuous inconvenient way, but you’ll find a way. If you’re telling yourself, “I’m going to wait for a good way to reveal itself to me”, you might be waiting for the rest of your life so we can’t say anything about that.
That’s why this mobilization is powerful. It’s because when you’re backed into a corner and your life is at stake, then your body summons hidden inner resources that you didn’t even know you had that allow you to overcome amazing obstacles. In the end you overcoming those obstacles that’s going to be one of the most rewarding and powerful experiences of your life.
You’re going to look back on it five, ten, twenty years from now and you’re going to say, “Wow, that was amazing that I had the strength to mobilize when I did and that after mobilizing I stayed with it, I kept with it, I stayed with my word, I stayed true to the fact that I would do anything and through that, and only through that, I broke out. If I didn’t mobilize then I would have been stuck and maybe even twenty years, thirty years would have passed and I would have still stayed stuck. How miserable would that be? How big of a waste of life would that be?”
You would definitely regret doing that if you were your future wiser self. Try to take on that wisdom right now, mobilize yourself right now, bite the bullet right now, surrender to the pain right now and you will start to move ahead. You’re going to feel much better because you’re going to open up a whole world of possibilities for you.
All right, this is Leo, that’s what I had to say about how I would deal with depression if it wasn’t the hard core clinical medical kind. Even if it was that kind, I would still take on a psychological approach in addition to the medication I would get because your psychology is a lot more powerful than you think it is especially when you’re depressed.
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