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Depression for me is like walking on a tightrope, it really is that easy to fall. But worse than falling is spiralling. If you feel yourself falling, command yourself to get up. If you can't get up, command yourself to drag your body. If you can't even do that, command yourself to move anything, even if it's lifting a finger. The important thing here is that you must make sure that your mind can at least obey direct survivalist commands like this.

I realise that this sounds a little surreal but when I was depressed, what was in my head was much more real than the real world. In fact the real world seemed more like a ghost. I did that exercise mentally, then gradually moved to physical, such as commanding myself to sit up on bed after lying down for so long. Now I don't know how deep you are in, but if you are, start with this.

The guys here have been helpful with their suggestions but for me checklists didn't work. Checklists were actually bad for me, because I would realise that I couldn't do some/most of them - and then I would feel worse. There was a time too when I was so detached from the real world that checklists looked vague, silly even. Focus on forcing your body to obey simple, direct commands first.

I personally don't believe in medication. In one of my bluest episodes, I considered taking a drug like Aderall, just anything so I can pass my final year. I'm glad I didn't. I personally believe that depression doesn't come out of nowhere, but from a fundamental dissatisfaction buried deep inside. Do not start digging now though. Your mind is already chaotic/empty and you do not want to tangle things any further. Be gentle with yourself, be sensitive, and uncover them one by one, and keep assuring yourself that it's OK and mistakes are very OK. Again I'm sorry if this might sound surreal.

Contact with the real world is very important, but you must keep your circle very tight and very few. When I was depressed, the world seemed fast and cruel. But you must always tell yourself to give people a chance. I realised that I had an almost-subconscious prejudice against a certain type of people, namely those who seemed mild and mundane - in other words, boring and characterless. But it was those people who helped me the most, because when the world seems fast and cruel, 'boring' characters are refreshing and smiles give hope. I also had a difficult relationship with my mother, but I took a big decision to ignore my (mis)conceptions and confide a few things with her anyway. That was life-changing, because it repaired our relationship and I could finally see her as she is, and not someone who wants to trip me up (I had a childhood trauma based on embarrassment, and it was one of the root causes of my unhappiness). I'm not suggesting that you do exactly as I did here, but keep your circle small and tight so that it can eventually become a sort of haven.

The real world can sometimes be so overwhelming that you are not only scared of it, you freeze on the spot. Do not be so conscious of the real world, let it trickle in gradually. Though strip yourself bare first. Actually, we all live in bubbles and we forget quite a lot of things that are already around us. Beautiful and impossible things, that when you really think about it, it's a miracle that they exist. When you look out of the window, behold the sky! And the ships of cloud. And that child daisy-chaining since afternoon. The tastelessness yet purity of water. The way the light scatters through the blinds. Your hands that seem pinky-transparent when you hold them up. The world is a miracle and you're extremely privileged to witness it.

That's my story anyway. I believe that I've recovered but I know that I'm still on the tightrope, and it's so easy to lose balance. I absolutely loathed those years, I considered self-destruction so many times, but sitting here right now and typing this, I'm glad that I had the experience. It made me feel more human. And suddenly, lots of things don't actually matter, even failures - and I have plenty of those in my portfolio. Because being alive is a privilege. I'm not a survivor, I've been made new all over again. But with a faculty for compassion.

(Another consequence of depression is my new ability to rattle off abstract things, and I've never been good at that ... oh well.)

So stay strong, listen to yourself and trust yourself. You can do this. Just keep getting up again because above all, you do not want things to spiral down. You're procrastinating, which is a good sign, because you've still got your feet anchored to this world. But do the things as I told you. You can do this. You can do this.

Keep safe :)

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