Now skimming the recent posts I hope I don't regret offering my experience here but....
I lost a friend to suicide on Friday so I feel the need to pipe up on what worked for me.
I don't intend to give this as instructions really because everyone is different. I did not seek help or get medication but worked things out in my own brain but for all I know maybe my circumstances were not that serious. But I don't know since I have only ever been inside my own head. But if these things help someone then I should share. I think I got lucky that I found a way without help but I know if I had the internet back then and was reading suggestions I would have skipped over and ignored the suggestions to seek a pro, as unwise as that may be.
Going back waaaay back even as a kid growing up I recognize now that I was chronically depressed and had thoughts/fantasies of suicide or never waking up again.
But eventually I learned to visualize, learned to recognize 'wallowing' and learned to feel passion from the feelings that gave me sadness and pain or how to light a fire under my ass when I was feeling flat, empty and pointless etc.
It's been a long time since I've managed to fall deep enough for concern but when I feel it approaching I use my logic and imagination to 'warm' my brain and purposely stimulate the parts of my mind that give me warmth and pleasure.
Sometimes it's a very literal visual--I put on some loud music, go for a walk and think about the colour rendition of my brain which is showing me dark and murkiness, then I slowly with the music think it into a better state and visualize the rest of my body pumping my blood into my mind to help it along. Of course that is only temporary and quick fix that just pulls me out of the worst. This is obviously more than a single thing to fix everything, this is just the start or the reminder if things are going in the wrong direction (on a tangent I've found I can use similar techniques before a lift or when sprinting to fire things up)
If I'm needing that then I'm needing more and so I have to work at:
1) correcting my thoughts if they are self-defeating or self-pitying
2) correct my perspective--use my logic and reasoning and see that it isn't as gloomy as I am thinking. This is tricky because sometimes it's just a blah and not easily identifiable thought pattern causing problems because it's subtle. But subtle is dangerous because it's easy to slip further. I really had to learn to become very self-aware and vigilant that my feelings were based on reason because when you do that the evidence is there that things are alright.
3) recognizing loops and thought patterns that feed the depression (similar to 2)
4) Change--I often need some change--something to look forward to. Something to build, paint, write or accomplish. A plan! And I have to visualize succeeding at this thing I've set my sights on. It doesn't need to be a major thing, just something that feels good to think about accomplishing. This is to pullout of a crisis so I take whatever works. I always do this while walking. I don't know why but I can't seem to fully disengage to get to a good place without it. My visualization must be convincing enough to motivate me or light a fire under my ass. I have to make myself want it and beleive I'm not just playing a trick on myself to fix my state of mind but I fully intend on committing to this thing.
It's really important that I remember I have been here before and it's come and gone and good things have been at the other side and this is a fact and this darkness is an illusion. Not sure how I did that the first time! All emotions are illusions--so you have control and you make them what you need to get the shit you need to get done. That's not to dismiss hard factors and I'm not stating that as a fact but more of what is true for me--those are the things I believe that make it possible for me to move past depression. It's just chemicals and neurons and shit and they respond to stimulation and feedback. Simple as that.
It has taken a bit of self-discipline to stay here in a place where I am happy and motivated and feel a lust for life but thinking back at how it was seems so crazy to want to give it all up when there was so much to experience and enjoy. I don't even remember the last time I was seriously depressed so I think it is working for me. Who knows, maybe that means I was never that depressed. In retrospect it's hard to imagine it ever being that bad. But I know I had a lot of thoughts about getting in my car and driving away, never to be seen again. Or as a teenager hitchhiking until I met my own destruction. You get the idea.
I don't know if this is a common trait among people who are prone to depression but I extremely sensitive. I don't mean emotional, because to me that means reacting from the heart not the brain and I don't beleive that is me. But I do feel a lot. When I am not depressed, I feel so much all of the time that I am sometimes overwhelmed (touched) by the smallest things. I have recently begun to wonder if this is part of my problem--that when I am too receptive to things it takes a toll and I blocked it all out. Because when depression hits I seem like I feel nothing for anyone or anything. Maybe I'm just crazy I can accept that too--because I like it now.
In hindisght, I'm not sure I accomplished anything doing it all on my own and not talking to a pro. I really don't know. I think I avoided that because I didn't want to be an inevitablity and have a hard unchangeable diagnosis. But I really wish my friend reached out and we knew he was going through this before it was too late. He was so important to so many people he probably didn't even realize.
Also, forgive me if I come to my senses and come back and delete this post in half and hour I usually keep my self-mind control tricks to myself and don't like anyone knowing what madness is going on in there!