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This is the eleventh in a series of posts about depression and more importantly, how we can take steps to hopefully keep it under control.
After I was diagnosed with depression, I was convinced I could limit both the frequency of my ‘bad’ days, and also the severity of those days. I researched everything I could about how other sufferers deal with their condition, and listed all the advice I thought could work for me. This resulted in fifteen steps, which I’m covering over fifteen weeks, and this is number eleven.
Step 11 – Toxic Friendships
AKA – Remove the Negatives
I read one of those ‘Earn a Million Dollars in a Year’ books once. I learnt very little from it, and neither did I make any money, but I did take away an important point.
To be successful, sometimes we have to remove harmful aspects from our life. Negatives drag us down, acting as obstacles. The positive stuff is on the other side; we just need to break the barrier to reach it.
I needed to be brutal. I was in a bad way and battling to overcome it. Drastic action was called for.
One of those measures was ending friendships, two of them to be exact. I realise now they were toxic; neither party gained anything, and my life is better without them. It took a lot to exclude those people, but I realised it was the right thing within a week once I’d done it.
An example. One friend was a heavy drinker, smoker (tobacco and marijuana), and ate enough fast food to keep every burger bar in the village in business. When we hung out, that’s all she wanted to do. When I changed my habits, she questioned it and became frustrated and angry towards me.
Do you remember me talking about my friends who criticised my decision to stop smoking and drinking and did their best to discourage me? Same principle; another friend needed people around him, including me, to indulge in those practices because it validated his failings. He didn’t give a damn about me as long as I ate pizza, drank vodka, and got high.
I told him how I felt. He refused to accept it, and clearly didn’t care about me, so we parted company.
Sometimes we have to remove the negatives.
Step 12 – Full Fat or Semi-Skimmed?
AKA – Meditation
You can read about my hike across Scotland, while coming to terms with the fact I had depression, in my latest book – High and Low. Just click on the image for details.