The mind drives our whole lives, and into madness. Breaking this cycle works through our feelings – the good and the bad ones. Life isn’t made to turn a good feeling into a depressive feeling.

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I don't think burnout is a disease

Depression, on the other hand, is seen from a medical point of view as a serious illness. Therefore the advice: Go to the doctor if you are dealing with a mental problem!

There are many causes of depression. Genetic or neurobiological causes, infections, drugs, medicines, hormones and even the season can play a role. Only a doctor can determine the cause of depression.

In terms of severity, a distinction is made between mild, moderate and severe depressions. I was diagnosed with moderate, and severe depression months later.

What the doctors explained to me about depression, I felt as extremely strong, negative feelings. And as with the term burnout, I found no access to the term disease.

I didn't care what the doctors said. I did not feel ill and refused to take any medication. This was a purely personal decision and I strongly advise against it.

Stubborness was may strategy

It was impossible for me to accept feelings as illness. Of course, they were stressful and it hurt, but a pain caused by an illness or injury is quite different.

Some days I was barely alive. Preparing coffee was doable, eating was already a torture, to step outside the door was unthinkable. Even the path to the toilet felt like the first ascent of Mount Everest. Taking a shower had been impossible for days, making phone calls or working wasn’t an option.

I was at war, my opponents were bad feelings I could barely bear. The depression was superior to me in every way. It was an uneven fight.

It felt like the entire US army was advancing to Liechtenstein. Against thousands of nuclear missiles and just as many fighter planes, and a million soldiers I was armed with a blunt wooden knife, holding up an insane stubbornness. My situation seemed hopeless.

Laugh when you’re sad

In several therapy sessions I was recommended to do beautiful things. Take a walk, meet friends, go swimming, cook healthy food or read a good book. That sounded reasonable and I decided to implement some of it.

So I tried jogging, cooking and reading a book, meeting my family and friends. The result was that I had to overcome myself to everything and was deeply unhappy.

I ate with tears in my eyes, listened to my friends spiritually absent. A page in this book* I had to read several times because I couldn't concentrate.

It was impossible to rejoice, enjoy or laugh at anything funny. My life wasn't funny, it was a foggy, cold swamp that pulled me into its mud and sucked the last spark of life energy out of me.

The mind is the punter, the feeling is the whore

Slowly I began to understand. The more I tried to think about my depression, the worse the suffering became. My mind was spinning in circles, headaches were my constant companion.

Thinking didn't help me. Only through thinking did I lose myself in this swamp over the years and sink deeper into it. I understood the connection between my mind and the negative feelings it triggered, I understood the whole depression.

The mind takes what it needs or wants. It drives the thoughts, feelings and thus our whole life. It takes no account of feelings and their effects on the body. An inner struggle that the mind wins, as long as the feelings don’t get out of hands.

Of good and bad feelings

Admittedly, that sounds crazy: "The feeling should escape the hands of the mind". But I can't describe it in any other way. I shall try to make it more tangible by means of an example.

On a wonderful summer day you are lying at a cool pool with a refreshing drink. Your friends are present, everyone is fine and having fun. You're enjoying the moment to the fullest.

Two days later it rains. You overslept, you're late for work. Your partner texted you that he couldn’t take you anymore and your left front tire bursts, like your dream of a carefree life.

One is good, the other is bad

We want the good, we want to avoid the bad. We are eager for positive feelings and are really addicted to them and we know where these feelings come from. Lovely people, unique experiences, beautiful memories.

This does not mean not to perceive negative events as such or not to accept that something bad has happened. It would be absurd to talk yourself out of a negative experience. For me, it means not allowing my mind to make more out of the situation than the facts prove.

It is strange that our whole life revolves around feelings, but we leave it to the brain to control those feelings. As if it had stored all the information of the universe and considered all eventualities.

The mind forces us to try hard, if not everything to feel pleasant emotions. Basically, we live for a massive amount of wonderful experiences. Negative feelings, on the other hand, we shy away from,  like the devil from a bunch of garlic

What a wasted opportunity

Beautiful feelings tend to overwrite some of the wrong developments in our lives. Negative feelings, on the other hand, give valuable clues as to where we are in life at the moment. If you manage to combine both, good and bad emotions, the mind can fly.

The mind permanently provides the facts for the situation I'm in right now. It assures that I do not run against a tree and knows the PIN code of my ATM card. It's the job of my mind.

My feelings make the important decisions, we call it gut feeling. If I don't listen to my feelings, my mind takes control and plays its fucking game with me.

Everything needs it’s space

I began to trust my feelings, my gut feeling and I still do so today. It takes a lot of practice, time and patience. Ultimately, it is the only effective method for me to lead a content life and not to fall into a burnout-like state.

If I don't accept the bad feelings just like the good ones, I reject a part of myself. The more I try to push them away from me, the more I try to control them with my mind, the stronger and more mercilessly they come back.

Embracing my feelings is like a long overdue, clarifying conversation with a good friend. Only when I pay attention to it, do I find out what is behind these emotions, what the trigger was. This gives me the clarity I need for my future path.

Drugs for depression support such a process. Entering the room where all this fear, hopelessness and despair was hiding, I won’t get around that.

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