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"Ridding yourself of depression is not about adding missing pieces to yourself, it is about letting go of all the thoughts that are telling you you’re not already complete."

About Gogan:gogan-profile

I’m 28 years old and own a grocery store. I love writing and making people laugh. I would love to start working with people to help them realize they are capable of anything no matter their situation. Check out The August Market’s Instagram, @theaugustmarket, to get an idea of my personality.

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

At the end of 2010, I set a date I would take my life if I felt nothing had improved. But when the date finally came I instead felt an enormous freedom, as I realized I could either take my own life or do literally anything else with it. I didn’t realize then, but it was the first time (in a long time) that I accepted the moment for what it was, rather than resist it because it wasn’t what I wished it would be. That started a journey of self discovery for me.

I made a decision to do whatever necessary to change my life, even though I had no idea what I would actually do. In early 2016, I once again contemplated suicide, it was a very different experience and now I feel I have seen the root of the issue and healed it, rather than dealing only with symptoms like I had been for many years.

What are some things that really helped?

Having people to open up to

  • Different people are good for discussing different things. Don’t think you have to find one person to open up to about everything, or that if you open up to a lot of people it is a sign of weakness. My mom was the first person I opened up to but I could only talk to her about certain things, my best friend I could only talk to about other things and I never connected with any of the counselors/therapists I tried – so find what works for you. (Eventually you probably will open up to anyone who gives you half a chance.)

Stop judging yourself

  • This is something that I was able to do only much later in my journey. It’s important to stop the negative self talk even though at first all it will really be is being conscious of the fact you’re doing it, because it’s such an ingrained habit.
  • E.g. If you catch yourself saying “I’m so stupid”, immediately say “no I’m not” or “I am great”. Even if it’s only in your head, your thoughts matter. Also when you judge yourself so harshly you may not realize it but you judge others just as much and push people away without realizing it, creating a gulf where depression can lurk.

Getting a job where you feel as comfortable as possible

  • Easier said than done, you can do it though, even not knowing you, I know you’re capable of it. Be open to working somewhere you wouldn’t have considered before or that your mind is telling you is beneath you for any reason. It doesn’t need to be a job, anything that will give you a bit of structure. My first job (after my turning point in 2010) was at Teaopia, a tea shop in a shopping mall – I worked part-time, short shifts, a few times a week.

Getting a dog

  • My dog more than anything saved my life, she was a reason to get up and out of the house. I spent all of my money on her expenses, which was only possible because I was living with my parents.
  • There came a time I thought about giving her up because I thought I wasn’t cut out to have a dog. She wasn’t behaving exactly like I thought she would and I blamed it on myself. This was another turning point for me. One day it clicked. My dog was perfect just the way she was. Accepting her as she was eventually led me to being able to accept myself for who I was. It was a difficult journey, but it was worth it.

Keeping a journal

  • I found I forgot a lot about what I was thinking, even as little as a year ago, when I went back to my journals. But it helped me see how far I had come, gave me clarity about my actions, and helped me from backsliding into bad habits.
  • Don’t stress about journaling every day or anything like that. I’ve gone years between journal entries. I probably have six journals, three have only a few pages worth of entries and one is half full.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

Accept the situation you’re in and from there take action towards the progress you would like to make. No one knows better than you, what you need – trust yourself.

Explore the things you wonder about and jump into the dreams you fear because that’s all you’ll ever really want. You are complete as you are, you always have been and always will be. Water rains from the skies, food grows on trees and oxygen surrounds us in the air we breathe and yet society has spent years conditioning us to desire needless things and that dissonance is where I feel our depression arises. Every step you take is part of your journey, don’t begrudge it, the greater your struggle the greater your reward, as the person you turn into in order to deal with the struggle is always worth it. Ridding yourself of depression is not about adding missing pieces to yourself, it is about letting go of all the thoughts that are telling you you’re not already complete.

– Gogan Shottha, owner of The August Market, based out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. instafacebook