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There’s a pressure there against the sternum. It’s like being pinned to the ground with no way to escape. There’s a lack of oxygen. Funny, since there isn’t any lack in actuality. It’s just your mind believing that you can’t breathe.

Breathe. “Many people have a sense of impending disaster, and think they’re going to faint, lose control or even die.” You can breathe. Just take a deep breath.

There’s a wave of heat that spreads from the fingertips up through your arms. A wave of heat that spreads through your toes and up the back of you calf muscles, up your legs and into the stomach. Travelling, spreading, as it all connects to that gaping hole in your chest, the one from which you’re losing all the air. It’s actually not a heat wave. It’s just numbness spreading all over. Your arms start to weigh down, so heavy. You can’t lift them anymore; can’t feel anything anymore.

Small steps. “Therapists suggest taking it slow when trying to treat depression.” Lift it: There’s no hurry. It’ll pass. Just breathe.

“…choose to do things that you used to enjoy.

Write. Release. Breathe.

Repeat as needed.

Even with these things, we feel unhappy, unfulfilled, lost and hopeless. Inevitably, the job goes wrong, partners leave and we can’t rid ourselves of the habits and thoughts that make us feel bad. We can get a new job, a new partner, a new look and it works for a while but the cycle goes on and our hope of change fades each time it does. We are jinxed, hopeless and doomed to live our lives this way. We even convince ourselves that is the case and in the end, give up trying.”

“Even though we cannot hope to change the fundamental core of what we are, we can change the old survival thinking that has a hold on us and limits our choices and ambitions and fuels depression.”

“Part of these survival techniques involve the formation of inner critics who do their best to protect us from the pain and rejection of the past. These critics are the very things that keep us trapped in defense mechanisms of the past.”

– Dr. Nicholas Jenner, Depression: Changing for the Better

Some of the traps identified – Depression: Changing for the Better: Recognising our thinking traps: Part 1

A helpful and insightful video – Helping a Depressed Loved One