Growing up I struggled with depression. In high school and college it was the worst. Now that I am older, I refuse to allow depression to rob me of precious moments.
One day as I was watching House of Cards, I noticed that there are two kinds of people in this world. You have your Frank Underwoods and your Peter Russos.
The Franks of the world respond to the stimuli of their environment, while the Peter Russos of the world react to it. If you haven’t seen the show, I suggest you check it out to observe different personalities. Frank is a problem solver, he takes responsibility in all situations; recognizing that when you aren’t playing the victim you have more options. Frank is also able to step into the shoes of others and think about what people are lacking so that he can offer that in exchange for what he wants.
Peter Russo, on the other hand, always played victim; never took responsibility, numbed his pain through substance abuse and relied on others for mental strength and power.
Both personalities were on the extreme end. Frank ended up being too manipulative, since he saw how much control human beings can really have over their lives. While Russo was extremely depressed and dependent on external factors for survival.
In the end Frank was able to take advantage of the fact that Russo was too emotional, reactive and transparent.
I realized as I watched this, two things:
- I can’t give my power away to others or things because then I loose my control and my options
- I need to decide do I want to be a Frank or Peter when things go wrong.
I decided I wanted to be a Frank and since that decision, I have mindfully stopped myself from playing victim. I fail constantly but it definitely is a lot easier to recognize when I am accepting the victim role.
For me personally watching Peter Russo break down the way he did annoyed me. I saw why behavior like that is far from beneficial. I noticed that there was more potential in his situation than he recognized. I realized that his string of events all boiled down to actions he agreed to and the consequences of those decisions. The universe didn’t pick on Peter with no rhyme or reason. The universe gave back what Peter put in.
Peter had plenty of opportunity to take control of his life and change things around, but the entire show he is dramatic, unfocused, undisciplined and sporadic. In Peter Russo I saw the effects of allowing emotions and external factors control you versus controlling those things.
From watching these two personalities, I realized it probably was harder for Peter because unlike Frank, Peter had no plan.
In House of Cards when Frank gets deceived. He is livid, but he doesn’t go home and drink or smoke or snort or sex his problems away, which I noticed were Peter’s go to. Frank thought first, then created a plan. After that plan was created, he was executing and readjusting the plan along the way. However, never did Frank allow people or thingS to heal him or control him..and he literally just received a bad hand, he didn’t necessarily deserve what came to him in that first season.
I realized from watching Frank that people, myself included don’t have a plan , for the times they get depressed. For me, I recognized 8 stages that I go through in a healthy way that has, in the past, brought me through some of my hardest emotional battles.
I wanted to share that plan so others can have another tool in their back pocket that can help them fight that depression devil off if it ever comes creeping around.
Each situation will call for a specific application and adjustment of these 8 stages, but the foundation remains. The length of time may vary also. Nevertheless, these practices are sure to rebalance you.
Because let’s be serious, when you give into depression you get farther from where you want to be. When you fight it by being depressed but participating in health activities you are able to teach your mind and soul that you are in control of how you feel not your feelings being in control of you. It will take time. It won’t feel like it is working at first and it may always be hard, but it’s better than letting yourself go down that depression rabbit hole.
So check out my 8 stage, get out quick plan.
- Sit in the emotion-
- DON’T MAKE ANY QUICK DECISIONS
- Meditate- allow for monkey mind (not controlling the thoughts that come in and out, but just allowing the thoughts and feelings to just be.) Here is a really good video explaining how to do that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4yipKfO8nA
- I say don’t act and allow the feelings and thoughts to just be because I notice sometimes when emotionally trying situations occur, we make dramatic choices that get us in a deeper pit. We make choices without having all of the information, so allowing time for things to be revealed, for emotions to come, and go is a must.
- Gain knowledge (about the situation and about life)
- I always feel better when I learn something deeper about life through the situation I am going through. I usually ask myself : “Ok what is bothering me about the situation?” Once that is identified, I look it up. For example, if someone said something about me that left me feeling uneasy I might look up : “How not to be affected by what others say about you.” Then I will watch TED talks, youtube videos, read articles, and blogs until I can gain some understanding of 2 things: 1). Any faults in my way of processing the situation 2). How to process the situation in a healthy way. I learn as much as I can and from all angles so it is not just healing my ego, but also challenging it and my accepted perspectives.
- Think of your role and the lesson learned- how can use you this situation to help others?’
- This is where it gets good and this is where the spiritual battle usually begins. If you are able to accomplish stage 1 and 2 you will feel lighter. You still may feel frustrated, hurt, sad, etc. but you definitely will feel like there is possibility to get out of the situation. Stage 1 is the hardest and if you can move through that stage without making a decision you have won the first hardest part of the battle. Stage 1 is where people usually get stuck. They experience uncomfortable emotions and then go out and act based on those emotions and agree to actions that create a bigger mess. When you are able to feel and not act you have conquered the first internal beast.
- The second internal beast is to learn what role you played. What did you accept? What did you do to initiate it? What did you ignore? What did you idolize? Somewhere, you can find your fault and when you do… it’s good because then you can forgive if you need to, because you too did wrong. Or if you identify what you ignored you can explore what makes you rebellious. However, once you accept responsibility you see how much control you really do have/did have and which options are available to you moving forward.
- The third internal beast that is hard to conquer is using your story to heal others. This is where the devil wants to stop you. This is usually where your calling starts. This is where you can be transparent with the world and can tell your story or use your pain to change lives and save souls. When you do this you are completing a higher mission and instantaneously you will realize how much potential is in your situation and how vital it is for you to overcome your pain. Even more beautiful is the fact that then that pain becomes something to appreciate. Out of painful situations I have made the most beautiful paintings, songs, and poems. Many times, I don’t even remember fully what lead to those creations. This helps me understand that God for the most part uses our pain to create love and we always heal if we allow the pain to motivate us versus discourage us.
- Think of something scary to accomplish
- What is something that you wanted to do but never had the guts to do? This is the perfect time to aim for it because your focus will shift on conquering your fear. Note, you can’t share this fear with others or your attempt to overcome the fear. This should be something intimate that is done internally with yourself so that if it doesn’t work out as planned there is no concern about what others think or any pressure to meet a metric. Quietly work on a craft, a challenge, or fear . Slowly, be gentle with yourself and rebuild your confidence.
- Make an escape plan
- Usually when emotional situations occur in life that means your situation can be reevaluated. You need to escape the prison that your old life is keeping you in. Are you not pushing yourself enough? Being lazy? Too comfortable? What character flaws need to be ironed out? What are you idolizing or putting on a pedestal? Once you realize what it is that you need to learn, reevaluate and change…you make a plan on how that is going to be done. Always wanted to move to another city? Always wanted to write a book ? In a relationship where you are unhappy? These are all signs that you need a shift in your life and emotionally trying times are the perfect seasons to begin making those escape plans.
- Establish new habits
- If you don’t like your life, take a look at which rituals you have in your life and begin cutting out the ones that add no benefit and add new ones that have the potential to add benefits. Patiently and slowly incorporate those habits into your life and just like watering a seed, the fruit of your new habit will be sure to grow.
- Force yourself to go out/Get moving
- In yoga when your body shakes it is indication of your body being transformed. However, when on the mat, you may feel like you aren’t doing something right or that you aren’t strong enough, but the mere attempt produces transformation. So when you finally can gain energy to get moving , MOVE. Even if it is just a walk around the block, light yoga, riding your bike, whatever! Be easy on yourself but move. Your body will tell you, what it likes, doesn’t like and/or when it is ready to be pushed harder. When your body is ready, you will push yourself harder and transform more so don’t rush it. But start somewhere and move!
- Rejoice in the hallway
- Finally, the most important rule is to rejoice in the hallway! Understand that life is in peaks and valleys and there is no way that you can remain in your situation for forever. Looking back, are you where you were 5,10, 15 years ago? Of course not! So why would that change. The only thing that could mess you up is if you allow yourself to give up, if you lower your standards, morals, values and character. IF you do what is right though, you are bound to be free soon. It truly is your decision. So there is no need to harp on the pain or betrayal. Focus on the fact that soon you will be propelled into success because of your refinement. Understand that it is only in due time that you will reap what you have sown. You should rejoice because you know your story will be used to help others. Rejoicing in the hallway is good because your living in the present moment and focusing on higher frequencies. So rejoice even when your situation doesn’t seem promising and remember nothing but God has been forever or will be forever. Therefore, this is not a permanent situation, which then means, it does not deserve your time or attention. When you can rejoice despite circumstances, you have accomplished what many cannot in life.
So there you have it. I hope that helps. Once you do it once your mind, soul, and body have this muscle memory and you will know which activities and what you need to do to get out of that emotional place quicker.
Decide today that you won’t be a Peter Russo, you won’t be perfectly Frank, but deciding not to be the victim is a first step must.