Depression

Addiction

It’s three in the morning. Pascal’s alarm clock gets off even though the bus he needs to take in order to get to school will only take of in 4 hours. Pascal is just 13 years of age, but he needs to get up. He gets to the computer, turns it on and waits for it to boot up. He gets excited. The troops he’s commanding in a browser game he’s playing should have reached and conquered the enemies provinces. He logs in and checks the battle reports as he is seeing that an army to big to be real is marching towards the provinces he’s controlling. He posts this encounter to the alliance forum and sends out soldiers to befriended territories in order to settle down there and start over in case he gets overrun. 

Why does he do that?

 

Why am I addicted to basically every thing? I recently listened to another episode of one of my favorite podcasts: The Art of Charme. The episode I’m referring to was an interview with Russel Brand called „Freedom from our Addictions“

As Russel was pointing out so brillantly, people get addicted because they are looking to get some kind of fulfillment from an outside source. We starve to get some kind of happiness we should seek to find in themselves. I don’t want to offend people who are physically addicted to any kind of drug as I do not seem to belong to this group, but I cannot help but to notice that I am always kind of addicted to something. Usually I can get rid of my pseudo addiction relatively easily. When I did stop drinking after becoming a muslim last year, I was craving alcohol for some time and I still do when I am at any parties, but I don’t know if one could call that an addiction. What I do though is to do everything in excess. I am very bad in finding a middle ground. I simply wasn’t able to dring one or two beer. I would always just stop when we ran out of drinks, I ran out of money or I was so tired I had to go to bed.

 

I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure (at the age of 25), which I didn’t have two years ago, but I’ve been suffering a lot of stress since then and I cannot help but to notice that I’ve kind of addicted to work and stress. I feel bored if I don’t challenge myself all the time but I tend to expect to much of myself and as a result push myself to hard. I had two panic attacks since I started my current job (my first one), because I felt I was to slow and made to many mistakes while my bosses said I was doing a way better job than what they did expect. Again the question is: Why do I do this to myself?

 

I for myself know that I’m seeking attention more than I’d like to admit. It’s my ego constantly getting in the way. I need to work constantly to get closer to that picture representing me as I would like to see myself. Consuming a lot of sugar and coffin helps me to work harder, drinking alcohol was the only way I had to slow down a bit. So what do I do next? I found that talking about it helps, but I need to start accepting myself for who I am now without losing the will to improve. I’m afraid of losing my grid as soon as I am happy with who I am.

Moving forward

I haven't written anything in this blog for about two months. Two months are a quite long time. I've made new friends, met old ones, I felt miserable for three weeks without really talking about it, I've dated a girl, started new activities and discontinued old ones.

I read this article yesterday about the morning routine of seven pretty successful women. Not only are all of them stunningly beautiful (I don't mention it because I am a sexist and I think women have to be beautiful. I rather like to appreciate the beauty in all people), but all of them have a morning routine, which they believe is part of their success.

I'm mainly writing this blog for two reasons beside the fact that I'm an attention whore:

  1. I like to give advice to young people who need it. I want to show that there is a silver line on the horizon and I want to help people figure out how to deal with their depression.
  2. I need to write stuff down in order to hold myself accountable. I want to showcase my journey in order to a) show that I know what I'm talking about and b) stick to my plans.

So apparently I've failed in both points, but at least I'm restarting. I also stopped meditating every day, but I've incorporated some techniques in my every day life. 

Long story short: I will change my behaviour to the following. I will start every day by writing down 5 things, which I want to do. At the end of the week, on Saturday I will give a report here on what I've accomplished. Hopefully this will a) make me feel awesome because I actually reflect, that I've achieved something. b) pressure me into actually doing something c) there is no step 3.

 

 

Quickfix

I believe that often times the answer to a problem is quite easy. What most people fail at is the discipline to carry out what they know to be right. For the last days I have been struggling with this. I haven't been out as long as I wanted to. I didn't really stick to my daily morning routine of either showering or doing sports and I failed at going to bed early. 

I think that the most important skill that I picked up during my studies is discipline. But what is it worth that I can be disciplined when I am not being it? I know that happiness is a skill that I can manage to learn but like with every other skill I need to grind myself.

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry 

Today I woke up after about 5 hours of sleep and I just wanted to lay in bed forever and probably watch some episodes of Arrow (a pretty decent series on Netflix). Where would this lead me? Well I wouldn't need to feel myself, but that would only work for a couple of hours until I wake up and find myself in a even worse position because I'd realize that I haven't achieved anything today and hate myself even more. 

I am writing this article to remind myself that I don't have to identify with my feelings. I don't feel like doing sports now, but I will do it anyways because it gives me satisfaction, mental and physical strength, it gets my blood flow going and because it is part of my routine to a healthier, happier and more productive me. 

Seeing opportunity

I strongly believe that hustling is 90% of becoming great. The other 10% is chance. I think chances will come along for pretty much everyone but only those who currently try will finally see the opportunity when it is strolling down the line with you. 

I've had some pretty bad days this week. I got sick, I stopped working out and my lovely meditation app (get it at headspace.com) just introduced a new meditation technique, visualization, which is pretty frustrating because I feel unable to do it. Many words, little meaning: I feel miserable.

As an result of that I've been bingewatching Gotham and House of Cards on Netflix and those are definitely shows, I'd recommend, but it's very unfulfilling. I am on a vacation with my parents. I planned to get some video cutting done here, but I lost the USB stick with all the material. I guess everyone sees my train of fought: I'm finding lame excuses. 

Tomorrow is the date of my brothers confirmation. I have big problems engaging in conversations with my family and it's friends because I feel sluggish and bad about myself, but I will take the opportunity.

Which opportunity? I will train to network and have mindful conversations under the best situation possible: I feel bad, so it's hard for me to engage into meaningful conversations or conversations that don't interest me at all. So that's quite a hard level to work on, but it's okay if I fail. It's family. Nobody cares if I leave at a certain point in the talk. I don't lose money or a relationship about it. I can just be there and work on my skills trying to hide how much I hate myself and the situation I'm being in. Sounds great, right? I'm almost pumped. Almost.

Mother nature

I stumbled upon another short post on the positive effects of some bacteria living in soil which could be beneficial for the suppression of depression and other mental problems by positively controlling serotonin levels. I decided to make a small adjustment on my workout routine. Whenever I go out to work out, I will do it on some green space, in a park for example. I will go out for my workout everyday and not stay at home. Last but not least I make it mandatory to walk barefoot through the city every day for at least 2k steps.

Real love

After one relationship I might not have to much entitlement to write about love, but I will just do it anyways. Who would have guessed. Anyways, I have the strong feeling that now that the relationship is over and I am in fact caring more for myself, I am also more confident in caring for others. I feel that I can finally stop waiting to be loved. I have been meditating for 40 days in a row and I feel more mindful every day. 

During the last few days I got the strong feeling that I'd rather interpret love in the altruistic way. I want to use that new quality of my state of mind to improve the lives of the people around me. Finally I feel like I can give more than what I receive. Meditation is quite awesome.

I am quite sure that I am still to unstable to be part of a two human relationship but I can still learn to be the best version of myself at any given point in time.

I can (not)

For quite some time and especially during my last relationship I've had the feeling that I can not do certain stuff. I've been feeling like I was not strong enough. During my studies I've learned that it's often times enough to just stick to some kind of behaviour or exercise or just try to do my best. 

I have been used to suppress my feelings in order to not get overwhelmed by them and it seems like I am just now learning to deal with those emotions. On somedays, like today they just feel overwhelmingly big and I feel like I could not do anything but mindfulness as it is trained with meditation and as I practice it by writing this article gives me the power of observing the feeling rather than experiencing it. I feel like I don't want to do anything today but I will do it anyways. Because I can. 

If only

As I mentioned in the previous posts I tend to overthink the future and the past. While there is probably nothing wrong with analysing the past, seeing your mistakes and readjusting for the future, a process called learning, I think I am doing it to much. 

I used to blame others or the circumstances for my bad feelings. I used to tell myself "If only I could go on a vacation...", "If only I wouldn't need to get up that early every morning...", "If only I had a girlfriend...". Well, in fact I had everything I ever wanted at the end of last year/the beginning of this year but I still wasn't happy. 

What do I learn from that finding? Well the obvious: it's me or my depression for that matter. I find it hard to make myself be aware of the good things around myself because I feel empty on the inside and nothing that is already around me has fulfilled me this far. At least it feels like nothing has fulfilled me even though I know that the opposite is true. But it's not that I can't see beauty. It's just that I need to force myself to see and appreciate it. 

For the next few days I will make an experiment. I am not allowed to go through my negative thoughts unless I work on a blogpost, write a poem or song, sing or speak to my therapist. I am pretty self aware so I think that I can manage to tap out at this point. I know that those things help myself and so I am confident that it might lead to a significant improvement.

Greetings from Hippocampus: Stress down!

I had a blast today. Starting with an interesting Article about depression on nymag. The article mainly covers the great influence of aerobic exercise in form of running and meditation on depression and it's symptoms. The theory explaining this is that neurogenesis, the new formation of brain cells that happens throughout the whole life span, is reduced in the Hippocampus of depressed people.

According to German wikipedia it is backed up knowledge that the volume of people with (unipolar) depression is reduced when compared to healthy individuals. I was thinking of myself, because I am a narcissist (No seriously who's the person you care for the most, when you are single?). I am pretty bad when it comes to accessing pictures, smells, tastes and sounds in my memory. I have no problem spotting them whenever I encounter anything I have saved in my brain but accessing it at will is quite a problem. I also now that I get better at it on good days. So it might not be a very consistent problem. 

I had a theory coming up that depressed people probably tend to be stressed out all the time leading to a wasted Hippocampus which then leads to poor memory. So I started looking at a few sources on that subject because I did not really believe that there should be no sources available and what shall I tell you? Of course there are.  

Those sources are listed down below in the sources section of this article. Summoning them up: little amounts of stress increase the performance of memory in mice while high amounts of stress lower it's performance. Alcoholics also show a very similar change in their brain structure and eventually stress will also increase the emotional response: fear. 

Another source suggests that especially highly intuitive, sensitive people tend to have an always firing fear response (which I clearly see in myself during bad phases). This is why people who belong to that type of person are always in some state of trauma; they are stressed out all the time. The natural response to that is often times that people live in the past or in the future rather than standing their own emotion at this very moment, which is definitely something I do a lot. I would suggest that playing computer and video games or watching TV shows would also fall into this category even though I am not quite sure about that. I mean who does not exit reality using one way or the other?

Obviously the best way to cope with this is to learn to relax and recover which is not a natural behavior for people who own that trait. Mediation comes in handy at this position as well as doing sports does. Another interesting video that my brother has shown me the other day suggests that also changing our attitude towards stress would help us improve our response to that. Another article published by the German "Spiegel" in 1978 also suggests the obvious: antidepressants and a more interesting helpful thing: releasing the bad feelings by feeding them into anger and articulating them. I know from myself that this definitely helps to get some relief. 

 

Sources

Momentum - Win the fight day by day

During the last 4 days I've been having a lot of problems. Basically I wasn't feeling much worse than the days before but I was paralyzed. The two weeks before I have always been fighting because I had told myself, what I would have to get done until this last Friday. I had stuck to my routine and done everything on the list. But then I fell into a hole. I had expected to see a huge improvement in my mood by then and I did not see it. I was feeling like I had to struggle like this every day for the rest of my life and it just sucked all the energy out of me.

Today I realized that I simply shouldn't care for anything mood related that will probably happen in half a year. Or tomorrow. When it comes to emotions I only need to care for today. I only need to care for the very moment. I just need to feel good now. Or feel good in an hour. I will stick to my routine and work on myself to find joy in everything I do. Even it's studying for an exam.

Just thinking of the sun shining through my windows (which it hasn't done for 5 days) makes me be a little bit happier. Cleaning up makes me happier. I hope to cultivate this behaviour.