Healing Depression: Recovering our Repressed Creative Energy.

Depression is a familiar state of being for many individuals in the world. I have visited this state many times. And no doubt you are close to someone or are someone for whom depression is a danger.

The “World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It’s also the world’s leading cause of disability.” This is what healthline.com reports.

With my tendency leading to becoming another one of those more than 300 million people, this is how I keep myself not depressed and continuing on with living a successful life.

A View on Depression.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud referred to depression as “anger turned inward.” But what does that mean?

In My Life Experiment’s last article we described anger as an expression of our creative energy attempting to break free from resistances.

The more of our energy that doesn’t find it’s way into the world through us, the more aggressive the energy becomes. And the more aggressive we may become.

Now there are many ways to dysfunctionally attempt to express aggression. It can be taken out on others in a way that produces more shame and anger toward ourselves. Or we can just skip the middle man and take it out directly on ourselves.

Whichever way our angry energies don’t find a way out they will still begin or continue the growth of a depressive cycle.

Too Hard on Ourselves?

On many occasions, while navigating my way through a chemical addicted life, people would tell me the same thing. “Travis, you are way too hard on yourself.” And honestly, I couldn’t even comprehend what that meant.

It is as if the hyper-self-critical voice inside of my head was so convinced that life could only be an anxious mess that I couldn’t even see that I couldn’t comprehend what lightening up was.

I understand the problem for myself now though. I was stuck. Stuck in a cycle that never ended up releasing the powerful energies that grew inside.

Almost all the ways I found to help ease the inner tension, were dysfunctional and bore very little helpful fruit. Yet all the dysfunctional ways found themselves to be much easier than the healthy.

Many individuals in this world have either never found out how or have forgotten how to be healthy and happy. It is a sad thing to realize how many people are stuck on being too hard on themselves. But thankfully I know there is a way out, mainly because I have found mine.

Depression Man

Turning the Volume Down on Depression.

With a state called Depression, it would seem that there shouldn’t be all that much mental activity happening. But I for one know that in a depressed state, the mind is painfully loud. I say painfully because the messages being repeated are about all of the unfinished emotional business that has built up over the years.

Every ended relationship, passed love one, thing that wasn’t said or was said, and unmet expectation desires all of our attention. Desiring it so badly that it feels almost impossible to think of something else.

The pain and built up anger fuels the harshness of the internal voice. It desires to be heard so badly as if it is a victim of bodily torture saying anything to find a way out of its present moment.

I paint a desperate internal situation here because it certainly can be. But even though, there are certainly ways out of this seemingly hopeless situation.

But there is hope and the volume can be turned down. It may seem impossible but I believe that is depression doing the talking.

More on Depression and How to Turn the Volume Down.

Before I show you a list on how to turn the volume down on depression I first need to tell you that these are only my personal insights. Though I find them to be true and helpful, they are not a prescription from a trained professional.

Also, it is important to know that depression and sadness are nowhere near the same thing. Sadness is a normal emotion, and to me is very important to healing and moving on with our lives. And even though constant feelings of sadness are a symptom of depression, depression is it’s own beast altogether. For more on the symptoms of depression and the difference between depression and sadness check out this Healthline.com article.

Lastly, it is important to know that there are different types of depression. Some forms of depression are more situational and may be easier to find our ways out of. Others are clinical and are more persistent than situational types. Both types are serious and need immediate attention. For more information on the difference between situational and clinical depression check this article out.

Now on to our list for getting on top of depression and turning the volume down.

1. Talk to a Trained Professional.

If you are feeling deeply depressed or don’t know if you are simply feeling sad more often than usual, please get your yourself checked out.

A trained professional can help ease the pain of all that pent up energy. They may prescribe a medication, give advice about taking care of ourselves and just as important as both of those, give us a judgment-free zone to express feelings. Though even if we visit a professional we are the ones that have to put in all the hard work.

2. Follow the Doctors Orders.

So you went to see a trained professional and they gave you some ideas for taking care of yourself. I advise to do them. By visiting a professional you have already admitted there is a problem that you didn’t have an answer to. Many of us don’t want to feel controlled by the orders of a trained professional. We may think they are just trying to make money off of us or numb out our creative potential by giving us drugs. And maybe on some occasions, this may be the truth but for the most part, they create a safer atmosphere for healing than we can conjure alone.

There may also be shame and self-anger involved in not being able to fend for ourselves and needing the support of another. But just remember. Who made the visit to the professional? And who is deciding to go along with the prescribed plan? Nobody is being forced into anything here. Though I definitely gained a great deal by not fighting the suggestions that were offered to me throughout my mental health recovery.

For my recovery, I took meds when they were needed. Later on when in a very good place I decided that I wanted to see what life was like without them. I went to the Dr. and expressed my desire to wean off. They said that it was worth a shot, so we came up with a plan to come off of them safely.

Depression community3. Join a Community of Healthy Like Minded Individuals.

As a recovering addict, a huge part of the health of my being has been showing up to 12 step recovery fellowship. In this fellowship, I have found my wife, a mentor, many friends, and helpful acquaintances. These people have helped me expose my anger and have supported me as I find new ways to express my energy.

My family has also been crucially important and can also play the role of a helpful community. Though I feel I have learned how to be a healthy part of that dynamic by having a large fellowship in recovery to spread my energy through. Many individuals that suffer from depression have a painful dynamic with family. Having a larger community to be a part of can relieve the stress and pain that the family might go through as we recover.

Please find your way into a 12 step program, a church, a large group of close-knit friends and family, or all the above. Being connected to these healthy supports can help us navigate our way through depression. And our continued connection with them will help whenever the symptoms of depression rear their ugly head once again.

4. Get on the Path of Self-Discovery.

It is easy to become completely disconnected from who we are as human beings. From birth, we are told who we are and what we should believe. As life goes on the battle with self continues as we judge ourselves against the paths of others and think less of ourselves as a result. Coming back home to who we are is of the utmost importance. Although it is a path with many heavy emotions, it is also the path opening up our repressed energy to find it’s way into the world.

In my recovery, I have done this by sharing about myself in hundreds of recovery meetings and many hours of one on one work with a trusted mentor.

There are ways I have gotten more in touch with myself that don’t actually require other peoples input as well. Meditation has been a very important part of getting in touch with my body. Another immensely important part of my recovery today is what I call Therapeutic Writing. Here is a link to check out the Therapeutic Writing process I use to get in touch with what I am feeling and find out more about myself.

By discovering more about ourselves we can find out what behaviors only fuel anger, shame, and depression. Then we can finally leave these behaviors that don’t work for our spirits, behind. As well as come to understand what new behaviors would work better for us. Whatever way you end up learning about yourself, get on it immediately.

5. Stay Active with Multiple Hobbies.

As we leave our old Depression causing ways behind, we need new outlets for our energy. As human beings, we have far too much creative energy to just be wasting it. Whether that means finding new hobbies or getting in touch with hobbies we enjoyed in the past we need to be using them as an outlet. Not finding outlets for our energy will only enhance Depression.

To me, a hobby is simply an outlet for our energy. So whether you hit the gym, hang out with friends, read, underwater basket weave, or whatever get busy with them. That is unless your hobbies are harmful to yourself or others. In that case, please find some new hobbies!

6. Find Ways to Give Back.

In recovery, I have been able to get in touch with and release a great deal of that built up creative energy that was fueling depression, anxiety, and obsession. There is soo much-repressed energy that lies latent inside a depressed individual. Finding ways to use this energy for the individuals that have helped us when we couldn’t help ourselves can be extremely gratifying. It can also be very rewarding to help those who are currently unable to do much for themselves.

We can give back to a community that helps us, our family, our career or society as a whole. Helping others is an important piece of staying aware of our importance in the world. All of that energy that has been locked inside of our bodies for years may be pleased that is getting used for something meaningful.

Keep up the Fight. Whether you Battle Depression or Simply Desire to Feel Better.

Depression Strong CoffeeIt is important to understand that we need to stay grounded and in the moment to maintain our mental and emotional health. This is something that the above things on this list will help you do. But it is also very important to remember that us individuals that have become acquainted with depression, risk relapse when getting too comfortable. We must remember that recovery and maintaining a healthy, happy and content life requires a commitment to finding healthy avenues for our creative energies.

When we don’t feel so hot, we must keep moving forward. Also when we are feeling on top of the world we need to continue moving forward as well. We must never give up, vigilance is key in maintaining our own sanity.

Just navigating the world is tough enough as it is for the average human being. I believe anybody can benefit from the message and tips we have given here today.

So whether you are prone to depression or not, stay strong your life is worth fighting for.

 

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Anger: An Unsung Emotion for Moving Forward.

Anger has a bit of a bad reputation. And many of us do not have a healthy relationship with anger but it is never too late to turn that around. We can develop a healthy relationship with the emotion and learn how to use the energy it carries in healthy ways. In ways that will free our healthy ambitions, enhance mental health, and lead us to our best lives possible.

So What is Anger?

I believe that at the very heart of anger is a being’s ambitious and creative bodily impulses seeking to find it’s way. When the energy doesn’t find it’s way into the world, it gets built up. This only generates more persistence to find liberation from the resistance against it. It means more anger to push us to get moving.

Anger is not necessarily pleasant energy to deal with. It is also not an energy that will be easily ignored. It is not just going to go away. At first, these angry thoughts and impulses may gently ask for our attention. With the asking turning to forceful demands as we neglect to respond and take action.

When we don’t take the actions we need to for too long the energy may take action into its own hands. It may create all sorts of problems internally and with our relationships.

The Battle with my Anger.

Anger Face

I would love to say that my history with anger has been rooted in nothing but a healthy expression of the emotion. But no, it has been loaded with dysfunction and pain.

I had no clue that I simply had an abundance of creative energy that had nowhere to go.

Because of my lack of awareness of the crazy amount of energy in me and the anger I developed I damaged or destroyed many relationships and opportunities for success. It wasn’t until I began my journey of recovery that I began healing relationships and learning about the source of my anger. As well as doing work to heal the past that exists inside of myself.

Today, the ways I deal with my anger has mostly entered the world of the sane. My anger only sneaks in and causes problems once in a while, and to a much lesser degree than in the past. Because over the years I have found a new way to live.

Anger

Lessening the Danger in Anger.

The danger in anger is clear. I am sure we all know someone or have been someone who has spilled this energy out in ways that cause embarrassment, humiliation, relationship loss or even jail time.

Dealing with anger irresponsibly doesn’t process the emotion. And unprocessed energy in anger leads to excess stress, anxiety, and diminished mental health

The Buddha likened holding onto anger to “holding onto hot coals.” So in order to process it, we must find healthy ways to let this sometimes painful energy find its way out of us and into the world. To me, this doesn’t mean that any form of acting on or communicating anger is harmful. But we do need to find the right ways.

In this study, individuals were asked to respond in an either aggressive or non-aggressive way to a situation. The researchers wanted to see if either way of responding would lessen the amount of anger felt in those individuals. The study found that not acting did a better job of lessening anger than trying to vent the anger aggressively.

The findings may run contrary to what our anger might tell us will work to release our tension. Anger may say I better yell at this person because they pissed me off. It might also say I need to quit this job because I don’t like the way the boss looked at me. There are an endless supply of probably dangerously silly decisions the thoughts that go along with anger can lead us to make.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Anger.

The study above may have said that not acting did a better job than acting aggressively. Though doing nothing too often, can lead us to be pushovers or to be in denial of issues we need to deal with. And acting out on anger in rash ways usually causes more problems than we started with. So what is the answer here?

We have compiled a list of healthy ways of dealing with the possibly misguided thoughts and impulses of being angry that don’t involve aggression or doing nothing. We hope they can help you process your anger and develop a better relationship with it.

1. Don’t make hasty decisions.

Far too often when I am feeling angry I think that something needs to be done right here and right now. Though more often than not, taking actions in haste when angry has created unnecessary problems.

If you are angry and the job, spouse or whatever else is the target of those possibly violent thoughts, please take some deep breathes and don’t quit. Don’t abandon the relationship just yet. Our judgment may be clouded and we need to step back to find out what is REAL! Then if you find out you actually are being taken advantage of then find a healthy way to leave or stay.

2. Chat with trusted friends.

After holding off on making quick decisions while too pissed off, allow a close friend to chat with. A trusted friend can help us calm down and may help us see the next course of action. But remember too much venting with the friend may actually not make things better so try and keep a cool head.

Keeping a cool head with your trusted people will allow them to give more sound advice. Otherwise, they may just be pressured into agreeing with angry demands.

3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.

A lot of the time when I am angry I will turn to therapeutic writing. This is a process that has helped me keep from making many silly angry decisions. I sit down with a pen, paper and calming music. I write to find my responsibility, not to simply vent my frustrations. I seek real feeling, and healing.

Sometimes simply jotting down a bunch of things I am grateful does great things for slowing my anger down.

4. Let go of Some Expectations.

The World not meeting my expectations for it can be a great source of my anger. This definitely isn’t to say that all expectations are unnecessary. Though some can be realistic and others just setting ourselves up to be pissed off. It is good to take a break from what we are doing and examine our expectations for ourselves and others when angry. Then we can let go of those expectations that are reasonable to let go of.

5. Get some Exercise.

It always amazes me what a half hour pushing it hard on the elliptical can do for my anger and stress levels. By exercising, anger gets a nice outlet, though I recommend not thinking too angry of thoughts while working out. Then it just becomes an aggressive outlet which as I said above may be less effective than doing nothing.

Here is an article of “10 Exercises to Help Reduce Anger.”

6. Meditate.

When attempting meditation in an angry state, it may take a little time for the mind to slow down. There will likely be a phase where meditating is the last we want to do. Our thoughts and energy may scream at us to get up and quit this stupid silence crap. Soon that voice and those impulses will subside and we will be returned to a more sensible state.

There have been many meditations that have completely melted away that anger I was once feeling. It is one of the most freeing feelings I have experienced.

7. Take a Nap.

Sometimes a nap may help immensely. Although naps may not be the easiest thing to have for someone that lives a busy life. Just a little nap can help me settle down the emotion I am feeling. This can give me a better perspective on what I currently see as a problem. And if the issue does need attention, I now may have a little more energy to take care of it!

8. Get a Bite to Eat.

I find it crazy to think about how many times I have gotten angry from things that seem like no real big deal then go have a bite to eat and have the aggression just melt away. Getting hangry is a real thing. So who knows maybe your not mad that an individual called you the wrong name at work, you may just be hungry!

9. Take Some Time to Stretch.

I am not talking about doing a bunch of yoga poses or anything like that! Sitting too much throughout the day builds up excess tension in the body. Tension and anger go hand in hand with one another.

Just taking a little bit of time to bend down to touch my toes and stretch my back goes a long way to help me get some relief from feeling angry. It takes no time at all but I don’t remember a time my body didn’t appreciate it.

10. Pray.

Taking some time out to thank a higher power can help lift the stress of anger. Whether you believe in god, a helpful universe, your subconscious or whatever. Stopping to ask for some assistance or to express gratitude can be a productive solution.

The Creative in Anger.

creative anger

The list above is meant to get us back into a state of mind that isn’t having us controlled by our anger. It is to get us back in control of ourselves. When we are back in control of ourselves, we are much less likely to make destructive decisions. We will be in a position to allow that energy that is coursing through our bodies to do something productive.

Anger often leads the way in my creative process. I work on something, which could be anything complex, then I get confused. Then I get frustrated and then pissed. After I use some of the healthy ways of dealing with my anger from the list above, I generally find myself feeling something and then moving on. Dealing with my anger in healthy ways has healed and enhanced relationships and brought me the success I once never thought possible.

Anger is full of creative energy. Once we can get our thoughts and impulses under the guidance of our more sane self we can use them and the energy to create responsibly.

My relationship with my anger is not always a comfortable one. But I feel life isn’t meant for staying comfortable. Life is meant for creativity and growth, and anger will help us blaze new trails that will lead to amazing opportunities.

So I ask you today. If you are scared of your anger or are misusing it in ways that are hurting yourself and others, please join me in developing a healthy relationship with anger. Your stress levels and mental health will appreciate your decision. And you just may find that the deepest parts of yourself are using it to help you find the best your life can be.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Tips for Getting Life Off Default Mode.

Hey everybody. In this post, I’m talking to you about Living Life on Default Mode.

So, what is Default Mode?

Default Mode turns Creativity into a Devils Plaything.

Living this way requires no real creativity. This Psychology Today article claims that “Creativity of all types is a premier form of psychological adaptation.

Now I’m not just talking about just writing, drawing, and all that kind of creativity.

Creativity is simply about using our energy to affect change in the world in any form. Well. Change that goes along with the morals we adhere to of course.

If we create outside our morals, then there is the old saying “idle hands are the devil’s playthings.”

This is said to mean that when we don’t busy ourselves with productive things, we are likely going to start causing problems.

Addict Self-Destruction Begins with Default Living.

The problems can start innocent enough, maybe telling a few more fibs than usual. But, if the devil is allowed to play for too long the more the problems become increasingly troublesome.

I am an addict in recovery. Before I got clean, my problems were of high intensity. I was dying and harming those around me.

The years I was rapidly destroying my life, I don’t contribute to living life on Default. That was a different beast altogether. That’s what I call Addiction.

In recovery, I have heard the Disease of Addiction described as having to live an amped-up form of what it is to be human. This means the higher intensity of emotion, intensity of thinking, and intensity of desire. And let’s not forget the intensity of anxiety. By this logic, there also must be a high intensity of creative energy.

Actually, so much energy at times that I have no clue what to do with it. And all this energy, when not used responsibly becomes intense anxiety.

I mention my battle with addiction partly because that is what I have to deal with. Many others have there own energy burden to bare. I am fully aware that every human being has huge pools of creative energy. Whether an addict or not, that energy needs to find its way into the world.

Above I said that Life on Default is life in the comfort zone. Or maybe more like the habit of reducing anxiety to as much of a degree as possible.

Excessive Comfort Seeking can Turn into the habit of living on Default.

The dilemma I find is that whether I choose to create, or refuse to, there is going to be anxiety.

When I choose to create, I get the anxiety up front. Because to create is to challenge ourselves, and doing things that are challenging can be stressful.

The funny thing is that more often than not when I am sliding into Default Mode, it isn’t realized. I may fool myself into thinking that I don’t need to challenge myself like I once needed.

Even still, whether I know I am holding onto too much creative energy or not, there will be psychological consequences.

Over time that “old anxiety devil” begins talking more loudly, and guiding me to act in ways that may not be acceptable.

Now I hope you aren’t thinking that I am talking about some sort of evil possession. Just, that the unused creative energy is going to find a way to do so.

We seem to be back full circle to the area where I am in danger of addiction rearing its ugly head. Also in the spot where most human beings are going to find themselves working with unproductive stress.

This is likely the time when poor decisions find themselves being much more easily made.

If you are following up this point I hope you are getting the picture that being sufficiently creative is necessary for good health. And not creating sufficiently is hard on humans of all mental and emotional capacities.

A balance needs to be struck between being comfy and using our creative energies.

Committing to Live Life, not on Default.

In the last post I put out titled “Making the Commitment to Live Life”, I laid out my history with making positive commitments.

To tie that article into this article I think we need a list. A list of tips for staying in the right headspace for making positive commitments, and keeping ourselves in the driver’s seat of OUR CREATIVE ENERGY.

TIPS FOR STAYING IN COMMITMENT AND OUT OF DEFAULT LIVING:
    1. Surround ourselves with healthy people that will push us to take healthy risks.
    2. Keep ourselves out of Fearful Thinking.
    3. Develop Self-Awareness to get in touch with our own Consciences.
    4. Use a Therapeutic Writing practice to stay in touch with our emotional states.
    5. Set aside relaxation time to recharge our own batteries.
    6. Develop as much Gratitude as possible.
    7. Share the gift of our creative energies with other people, be of service.
    8. Teach all that we learn, to others.
    9. Allow ourselves to stretch our abilities to learn new things.
    10. Take plenty of opportunities to just breathe and be cool with the present moment.

Using these tips basically every day of my life, I don’t know where I would be without them…

I have been able to guide a brain that so easily slides into insanity, and use it to create consistent success that I am very proud of living!

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here