This article was originally published on May 21, 2018 and has been updated.
I originally wrote this back in May of last year, but it’s been so popular that it’s clearly something that people want to hear more about, so I am posting again in the hopes that it can help more people who are suffering with depression, or who are starting to see some signs of depression in themselves.
If you don’t have time to watch the video or read the full article, this is the key takeaway: If you can commit to changing one thing about your life that you’re not happy with, one step at a time, you are owning your situation, and making a personal decision to improve on it.
Yes, there are times when there is no obvious reason for depression to hit. However, there are also times when, if we dig deeper, we find that there are reasons why we are feeling that way, it just takes time to recognize them.
Check out the video or read the article below to learn more about taking responsibility in your life and creating a self-awareness to see where in your life can you make personal decision to improve.
I got this direct message through Instagram the other day, it said; "Kevin, I'm depressed. I can't figure it out. Do you have any advice?". I get these messages all the time, people trying to figure things out. "Kev, how do I get out of depression?”
Have you ever felt that way before? When you just don't know what to do?
What will often surface is that we feel like we don't know why we're depressed and we don't know what to do. It’s very common. Feeling sad for no reason is not always something that you can easily solve. However, sometimes it is.
It just becomes a matter of developing some greater self-awareness. Maybe you should ask some better questions or have someone helping ask some better questions with you.
I want to share this story with you because how this scenario unfolded might help you in your life as well. When I got the message mentioned above, the problem the person had was "I'm depressed. I don't know what to do." This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes that I like to share by Jim Rohn;
"You can't change your destination overnight but you can change your direction."
You can't arrive at this healthy, healed spot automatically, but in this exact moment you can start making new decisions to move towards that new destination.
The person who sent me the message was an athlete. He called and said, "Kev, I can't figure out why." I said, "Okay, well, let's break it down. There's got to be a little bit more to the story than you’re depressed just because you are. Give me some examples."
What he said to me was "Well, I had a concussion early in the season last September, so I had to take some time off to recover from that, and I still don't feel like myself. I've been eating really poorly. Eating a lot of fast food, not making any meals. I just lay on the couch all day and I feel like a blob."
So my reply was; "Well, that kind of makes sense why you'd be depressed."
I suggested breaking down the situation and said, "Well, first of all, you had a concussion and you have to recover from that. One, it’s going to take time to recover. Two, you need to get yourself back into the groove. If you don't feel like yourself on the ice, it totally makes sense. You might not feel like yourself until the end of the season or maybe into next season. Not only are you dealing with your head, but you've had to take time off the ice so your fitness level has dropped. You can't beat yourself up so much when you've had a setback that requires you time to recover from."
We're often like that. We often want to just force ourselves back into it, into work, back into our daily lives, into looking after the kids—something I know all too well. As a motocrosser, I broke a bone, but I wanted to get back on the bike as quickly as possible.
So after telling him not to beat himself up so much, I moved onto the fitness. I said to him, "Okay, well you admit to me that you're laying on the couch and you feel like a blob. It's because you are being a blob! What can you do to change that? You can today, in this exact moment, make a decision to get yourself back to the gym.”
When I talk about being a hero of your own movie in some of my keynote presentations, the hero moment comes down to these small examples and small details. The hero makes the decision that I'm going to take a new direction today.
Just get into the gym. That's a hero moment right there. When you're at the gym, you don't have to crush it your first day back. Even if you don’t workout, just the matter of getting there and doing exercise period, just stretching alone, is a hero moment. Because you actually got yourself out of the house and went there and was physical and created movement in some way. That's a hero moment. Next, you build on that. You start saying, "Okay, now I'm going to get my heart rate up. Now I'm going to start lifting some heavier weights."
Don't think that you have to get to that peak fitness level back your first day because you're not going to do it. Start looking at how you can make some better decisions and break things down.
Finally, we looked at nutrition. It was the same idea where he said, "I've been eating like crap."
So I said, "Okay, well it'd be nice to be back on a awesome diet regimen, but you don't have to nail three meals a day for five or seven days a week to feel like you've got it back right away. It might just be replacing one meal a day with some better quality food. It might just be getting some more water intake so you develop a better routine of staying hydrated...that's all going to support your cognitive level.”
All of these things—the activity, creating the blood flow, creating a release of endorphins in your brain and nutrition helping your diet filter everything through your body better—will result in you feeling better. Right?
I have a lot of experience when it comes down to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and taking responsibility in your life, creating a self-awareness to see where in your life can you make personal decision to improve.
It all comes down to you being honest with yourself and asking yourself some questions;
Where am I actually struggling?
What is my problem?
What can I do today to fix it?
I would encourage you to literally take a piece of paper and talk to yourself and write those things down. Write down the questions that you're struggling with, and your honest answers.
Why do I feel this way? Because I feel like a blob on the couch.
Why do I feel like a blob? Because I'm not going to the gym.
Why am I not going to the gym? Because I'm not disciplined enough.
Go through that process and start to discover yourself, and the reasons why you're in the situation you’re in.
If you need to, shoot me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I'll do everything I can to get back to you and help you, but the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and me so we can help you find out those moments where you can be a hero in your own movie too.
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About Kevin Rempel:
Paralympian, keynote speaker, and founder of the corporate team building program, The Sledge Hockey Experience, I help people change their perspective about life and people with disabilities. Visit www.kevinrempel.com for more information.