Make sure to check out the full-length #AskASoccerPro episode here, and the PS Clip, 'How to Cope With Depression', below!
One of our community members, Mario, asked me this week if I’ve ever felt depressed. I have. And to anyone dealing with depression, I hear you. It’s a real thing when you are feeling those negative forces and feeling like things just aren’t going to work out. Feeling depressed is sometimes a part of life, but that doesn't mean you are alone in coping with it.
I think that it’s important to feel those feelings, recognize them, acknowledge them, and accept them. A lot of people spend time denying those feelings and running away from them. For me, I lean into it. I want to feel and accept those difficult emotions so I can better understand myself and become stronger. Understanding myself and why I’m feeling depressed helps me to become clearer on the reasons I want to pursue happiness.
To really truly appreciate something, you have to experience difficulty on the way there. But, being depressed can turn into a downward spiral if we aren’t careful. When we are feeling depressed, we do less of what we love, and when we do less of what we love we tend to feel worse and worse. It’s a dangerous downward cycle.
If we become more self-aware and learn when we are beginning to go down the path toward depression, we can use mental models we have put in place to create stop losses. Now we have a plan in place where we can turn to the people we care about, the things we are confident in, good at, and proud of to help stop us from heading down the dark road of depression.
When I start to get in a dark place, I try to do the little things I am confident in, that I really love doing, to turn myself around. Really, these can be the smallest things. If you feel like you’re in a space where, maybe you just want to curl up in a ball and be alone, isolated for hours or days, as you’re getting those feelings is when your stop losses are going to come into play.
You make yourself a promise, that when you start to feel that way if those emotions are starting to get the best of you, that you’re going to do something small that you know brings you some happiness. It could be watching ten minutes of a show you love or playing your favorite video game.
After 10 minutes, you tell yourself, “okay, I’m going to go do something that is good for me and will benefit me in the long run for just 30 minutes.”
We’re going to use these little things, like our favorite show, as a reward for recognizing and accepting our feelings, but we aren’t going to let them push us into hours of mindless binge-watching or other vices. This is why we put a time limit in place, and then make it a habit to turn to something that will benefit us in the long run.
I’m really happy that people are starting to talk about mental health and that we as a society are acknowledging mental health as a legitimate concern. I’m worried that we aren’t spending enough time as a society helping people learn the self-awareness and mental models to recognize and cope with depression and mental illness. This is even more severe, because I understand that not everyone has the resources to immediately seek out a psychologist.
I’m really grateful to Mario, again, for asking me this question. If anyone reading this is in distress, I would ask you, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Asking for help is not showing weakness, it is showing strength. You are important to our community and we are here to support you.