By Kristin L. Roush, Ph.D, Guest Columnist
On a serious note: please know that this series is intended to be a spoof, a lighthearted invitation to look at how we create our misery. It is by no means meant to be disrespectful or minimizing of many people’s true pain, particularly around depression and anxiety.
A proven technique to generate an internal state of depression is to start on the outside and work your way to the inside.
In the second of this two part article, we will concentrate on your outward behavior and internal thought patterns.
This systematic approach will slowly but surely destroy your life spirit.
How to Behave Like a Depressed Person
Listen to sad, depressing music. Adele is a good choice.
Sit in the dark at home, alone. Pull the shades, turn off the lights and withdraw into your own little world of misery.
Avoid exercise or any physical exertion. A mere 15-20 minutes of exercise could trigger the release of endorphins and this will increase your experience of pleasure. Avoid at all cost.
Do not express your anger. Be sure to stuff it deep and hide it behind a contrived happy face. That buried anger will gel into some fine quality depression.
Avoid sunshine. Again, a mere 15 – 20 minutes of sun exposure per day could cause your Vitamin D levels to rise resulting in improved mood. You’ve worked too hard to backslide now.
If you must go outside, cover yourself up and wear a floppy hat and sunglasses.
Besides, that pasty, sickly quality to your skin is quite attractive and really complements your overall depressed look.
How to Think Like a Depressed Person
It’s not as easy as you might think. Negativity must become second nature to you. Don’t get caught off guard by a sudden compliment.
“That’s a really nice shirt you’re wearing” could shift you into a moment of pleasure if you’re not on your toes.
Be quick with a sharp retort, “I guess you think my pants are ugly, since they’re not worth mentioning.”
This makes people feel crazy and they will stop complimenting you.
Generally speaking, your thoughts are an extension of your beliefs and attitudes, so let’s begin at this fundamental level.
You must develop a solid foundation of cynicism about life, people, the world, love, relationships, and especially yourself.
Here are a few suggested beliefs to get you started. Feel free to adapt them according to your parents’ and your culture’s particular dysfunctional nuances.
• “Life is not meant to be ‘enjoyed,’” (try to spit out that last word with a snide, mocking tone for added effect.) “life is about working hard, being a good citizen, raising a family and then dying. Our reward will be in heaven.”
• “Don’t trust anyone. People are just out to protect their own self-interest and will rip off and step on anyone to get it.”
• “Gee, I’d like to apply for that job, but I probably won’t get it. I shouldn’t even bother applying for it. Somebody else is probably more qualified than me. Besides, it’s not what you know, but who you know.”
• “I’m so screwed up. I have so many problems, who would ever want to get involved with me?”
Here are a few suggested thoughts to keep your mind occupied while you›re in the shower or walking to your car in the parking lot, or any other time that life slows down enough to get in some concentrated depressed mental exercise.
In a very short time, these will develop into what we in the ‘biz call “automatic thoughts.”
This will become your default way of thinking because now all this negativity has slipped beneath your awareness into your sub-conscious.
And that’s the most powerful place to be if you want fundamental personality change.
I hope you found these tips helpful in your efforts to become a truly depressed person. Stay tuned for other installments from The Fine Art of Misery series in issue 27 of the CNM Chronicle.