Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Rules for Life

A lot of times people ask me, "Kujo, how come you so happy all the time?" (Disclaimer: no one ever really asks me this) I actually only have a few simple rules for life that keep me rooted.

1. Don't be so serious. I am always amused when I see people running around texting, talking, twittering, and various other t's that apparently require their immediate and urgent attention. People take so many things seriously that really shouldn't be. I've never seen any proof that life is meant to be taken seriously, and until I do, I'm just going to lie back and chill.

2. Do the things you like. If you don't like what you're doing, ask yourself why you're doing it. If you don't know why you're doing it, then stop. If you don't like why you're doing it,  then you need to reevaluate your life decisions. If you're doing it in pursuit of a greater goal that you do like, then keep that goal in mind and focus on that.

3. Smile! It only takes a single candle to fight back the darkness.

4. Pick your relationships wisely. You don't want to be around people that are causing you unhappiness or holding you back. Special corollary for those special someones who have dumped or rejected you (since I have much experience with that): When you've been dumped, the best revenge is to live life to your fullest. Become the best person you could possibly be. Do the things you've only dreamed of doing. Make her regret it, not you.

5. Spoiler alert: You're going to die someday. Morbid? Yes, but until you realize that fact you risk wasting your life on things that you don't care about. Life is not a race! You don't want to get to the end, look back and say "Well, that was a waste of time." No one's keeping score, so lighten up and enjoy the ride. :)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Perfection Trap

When you are depressed, it can be very easy to fall into a trap of obsessing over every little mistake you make. This can make it very difficult to be happy. This is not helped by marketing campaigns that teach us that we can only be happy if we have the perfect job, the perfect girlfriend, the perfect car. Of course, depressed or otherwise, no one is perfect and it can be a tremendous waste of time trying to be.

So how can you avoid feeling like you need to be perfect? There are some books out there that you can look at. One that helped me a lot is When Perfect Isn't Good Enough. It helped me realize that I was spending too much time wanting things to be better than they were, instead of accepting that sometimes things just aren't going to work out.

One thing that also helps is to keep things in perspective. Are people really going to notice a small stain on my pants? Is that extra point on homework really going to affect my grade that much? Sometimes you do need to fix things, but you may be surprised at how much better you feel when you stop sweating the small stuff. This doesn't mean you should drastically lower your standards. It just means that perfection is extremely difficult and you are probably better off letting it be. It's one thing to always want to go the extra mile, but it's quite another to beat yourself up over not being perfect.

Realize that perfection will not bring you happiness and then you will know that it's only by embracing our imperfections that we can be truly happy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Do you ever feel like life is a hurricane, whipping you around to and fro like a rag doll? It's easy to feel like that when you suffer from depression since you are basically living on a roller coaster of emotion. When that occurs, I like to think about one of my favorite quotes:

The cyclone derives its powers from a calm center.  So does a person.  ~Norman Vincent Peale

I interpret this quote's meaning as no matter what happens to you, as long as you can remain calm on the inside you will be able to draw power from that to overcome your problems. Imagine your center as the eye of the storm. All of the events, thoughts, actions, and feelings that make up your life swirl around you. The storm of life affects everybody, but when you are the eye of the storm you are able to stand untouched. This touches on the idea of proactivity. A reactive person's strength fizzles quickly, but a proactive person can stay strong longer thanks to their ability to reduce the impact of life's events on them.

You do not need to have the strength of a hurricane to overcome your problems. You just need to realize that staying calm, no matter what problems you face, will allow you to successfully live through them.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Religion and Depression

Ah, religion. What a touchy subject in real life, and a difficult subject to tackle on the internet due to the abundance of trolls on both sides. I will try to approach this as objectively as possible, but be aware that my experiences with religion will be different than yours and will result in a different viewpoint.

I was born into a Catholic family in India. If you think that India is only home to Hindus and Muslims, think again. There are dozens of religions in India, and Christianity is starting to gain a foothold in certain areas such as the South. My parents were raised in a very strict environment which entailed 2 hours of prayer a night, weekly church attendance, and in general being good little Christians. They were not as strict with me or my brothers, probably because they felt a little encumbered by it when they were young and didn't want to force the same thing on us. This had the consequence of me being able to explore other faiths, with the eventual realization that I didn't really feel comfortable believing in any of them. I became an atheist.

So what does this have to do with depression? I believe that religion, and more specifically believing in a higher power, has a negative effect on treating depression. When you believe in a god that affects your life, it's more difficult to believe that you have control over your depression. Like they supposedly say in Alcoholics Anonymous, the first step is admitting you have a problem, and that you need to fix that problem yourself. Praying might make you feel better in the short term, but it will ultimately have no effect on the core reason you are depressed. Depression has physical causes that need to be addressed in a physical standpoint from doctors/psychiatrists. And what happens if you pray and nothing happens? You may be led to the horribly wrong conclusion that you deserve to be depressed.

I am not saying that religion causes depression, or that leaving religion will cure it. I was depressed when I was religious, and I was depressed for years after I became atheist. I am saying that not being religious forced me to take account for my own illness and eventually seek help on my own. That is something prayer never accomplished for me.

Is there anything good that religion can do? Yes. If religion motivates you to get out of bed; if religion motivates you to help others; if you are able to find friends and supporters through religion, then that's great. I won't deny that those will all help you handle depression. I will maintain that depression is caused by natural sources and does not need a supernatural solution.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The benefits of exercise are wide and varied, but one of the most well-known is the fact that exercise improves mood. It's no surprise that doctors recommend exercise for people who are suffering from depression. As I've alluded to in my earlier articles though, it can be hard to get out of bed when feeling depressed, let alone exercise.

So what's a person to do? Here are a few activities that help me feel better:

Go for a walk. It can be surprising how much of a difference walking can make on your thoughts. The simple of act of moving can make you feel better and more confident about facing your problems.

Do yoga. Another activity that's highly recommended for mood, yoga can stimulate positive feelings and make you feel relaxed. If you're interested, I recommend checking out, which can give you an introduction to the world of yoga.

Play with a dog. Even if you're not an animal person (I'm not) there's something invigorating about pets that can help you feel better. Maybe it's their boundless energy, or their ability to always somehow be happy. There are programs such as Therapaws that train dogs to specifically help people suffering from mental illness.

There are a bunch of ways you can move around during your day that don't have to be dedicated to exercise. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from work, or do a jumping jack every time you have a depressive thought. Whatever you do, the point is to get moving!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Feel like a Failure?

I decided to something a little different today and make a rage comic about what I wanted to discuss. Comics are a very concise way of getting your point across, and hopefully more people will be able to appreciate the message.

It's easy to feel like you're a failure when you've been diagnosed with depression, but as long as you keep getting up you still have a chance to beat it. Don't ever give up. I know you can do it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Waking Up

Have you ever had days where you woke up and just sat in bed, not because you were tired, but because you were afraid to face the world? That used to happen to me a lot. When I thought about going out and facing people, I just got filled up with a sense of dread. I thought I wouldn't be able to make an impact or even worse make a negative one. I also thought there was no point in talking to people because I felt that everyone hated me.

Of course, all of those thoughts were tainted by depression. Even though it can be difficult to believe, you do have an impact in the lives of several people, and I'm sure that most of them really appreciate it. What helped me change my attitude was deciding that I didn't need to care about what people thought about me. I was worrying so much about looking and acting the "correct" way that it was taking a huge toll on my willpower. That's not to say I started acting like an asshole, I just acted like myself and didn't worry about whether people accepted me or not.

So what should you do when you find yourself unwilling to wake up? Think through it. Why don't you want to get up? If it's because you stayed up studying or had an intense workout the night before, then it's natural to want to sleep in. If you're staying in because you're afraid, think about what's making you feel that way. It can be painful to look inside yourself, but it would be more painful to live the rest of your life afraid of things you don't need to be afraid of.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


One of the hardest things to do while depressed (and even afterwards) is talk about it with other people. This is unfortunate because in order to get treated properly you will need to let others know sooner or later. There are many reasons talking can be difficult:

You are embarrassed
A lot of people think of depression as something that happens to someone else, someone not as strong as them. Actually, around 10% of adults in the US suffer from a mood disorder in a year and around 7% of the population suffers from depression in a year (Source: NIMH). It's very likely that someone you know is suffering from depression, whether you know it or not. It can be a real blow to think that you might be suffering from it as well.

You don't know what to say
I remember when trying to describe my feelings when I was depressed, the best thing I could muster up was "I feel really sad." That was supremely inadequate to describe the sense of despair that filled me whenever I tried to fall asleep, or the feeling like you would never be happy and don't deserve to. But how do you say that to someone out loud? It's tough, but not impossible

Don't know who to tell
Sometimes it can be hard to tell people close to you because you don't know how they'll react. I know that was the biggest reason I didn't want my parents to know. Luckily, when they did find out they were extremely helpful and really just wanted me to be happy. It can be easier talking to a counselor or therapist, because you know they just want to help you.

Working up the courage to talk is one of the biggest barriers to getting treatment. Please don't let that stop you. Your happiness is important. If you feel depressed now, try to see a therapist or psychiatrist. If that sounds scary, feel free to send me an email at I am not a licensed counselor, but if you just need someone to talk to I am always willing to help. One other community that I have used in the past can be found on That is a place where you can anonymously post messages and other people who are suffering from depression can try to give you advice. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if you talk to a psychiatrist, your mom, or your cat. As long as you take the first step of talking about it you will be able to find help.

Monday, January 2, 2012


The first strategy I want to talk about is called being proactive. I first learned about this idea from the self-help book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. My favorite analogy of this is:

A reactive person is like a bottle of soda. You shake them up, and after a while they will explode. A proactive person is like a bottle of water. You shake them up, but nothing really happens. You can shake all you want, but a proactive person will always end up as calm as they started.

Everyone, depressed or otherwise, gets shaken up throughout the day. You will encounter all sorts of problems big and small. It can be easy to react to these negatively, by getting violent or withdrawing from the world. In these situations, I like to remind myself to be calm like water. Life will always have difficulties, but as long as you remember to be proactive about them, you can succeed.

How exactly does one be proactive while being depressed? The thing I always do is remind myself that I am in charge of my actions, not my depression. No matter how badly I feel about myself or how little energy I have, I  always have the final say over what I do. Once you realize that, it's easier to brush away depressed thoughts because in the end they can't control what you do. They're only thoughts.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Hello world,

My name is Kujo, and I am defying depression. My depression has caused me pain for several years. In the past few months alone, I have attempted suicide and been hospitalized for mental health treatment. But no longer. I am stronger now than I ever was, and I swear to you that I will not let my depression beat me.

Why did I start this blog? Partly because writing about my illness helps me think clearly, and partly because I want to help people that are also suffering from depression. I have always enjoyed helping people, and hopefully what I write about here can help people who are having trouble defying depression on their own. I know that I wouldn't be here now without certain people who helped me out.

Best of luck and happy new year!