9 Quick Ways to Get "Depressed"

There are those who are truly depressed, and then those who are "depressed." To achieve the latter, simply follow these 9 steps and you'll be a self-pitying sad sack in no time.

“I don’t know … I just wonder if I might be depressed.” As a counselor and ministry leader, I’m often the one who hears about how people are “really” doing. And for every 10 times I’ve been consulted about a bleak mood, only two or three of my 20-something friends actually has diagnosable and clinical depression.

The rest of them are experiencing a tough spell, a general malaise, a “meh” mood, and most were even contributing to that mood with their own life choices. How about you? Here’s 10 quick ways to find yourself down and deflated:

1) Nurse Resentments

Assume the worst in people. When you feel ignored, misunderstood or mistreated, assume it’s because the person really hates you and is disgusted by your presence. Enter a cycle of hating yourself and hating other people. Repeat this script to yourself all day and night, and subject yourself to the mental equivalent of grabbing a shovel and digging your own grave.

2) Live in the Past

While you are busy nursing resentments, go ahead and let yourself think of all the other times the same thing has happened. Make sure you color a rosy glow over everything from the past you wish you still had, and a black cloud of doom over everything from the past that was painful. Create a story of extremes, and look for ways to repeat the cycle in your current life.

3) Ignore Your Body

Don’t listen to your body. If you feel tired, don’t rest. If you have an erratic sleep schedule, keep at it. Also, eat a lot of processed junk food that will shoot your blood sugar to the stratosphere and then send you crashing down without a parachute. Eat when you are stressed, stock up on caffeine when you are tired, and keep at it for more than three days in a row. When you feel run down, don’t listen. When you need to relieve stress by exercise, have a Red Bull instead.

If you want to be depressed, just go about this world as if you can be healthy without working at it at all.

4) Ignore Your Soul

Pretend you are a machine. Don’t think too hard about the junk you are feeding your soul, just assume that it all filters out and you aren’t affected by wasted time, sad love songs, boredom, stupid YouTube videos or sarcastic, misogynistic movies. Don’t take your soul seriously. Make sure you don’t read or listen to anything edifying throughout your day. Just go about this world as if you can be healthy without working at it at all.

5) Believe the Lie That Everyone Has It All Together ... Except You

Believe TV. Believe romantic comedies. Look around at your acquaintances and believe that their life is so much better than yours.

6) Become a Cynic

Start to believe the following things: people don’t change, life generally sucks and avoiding pain is more important than risking love.

7) Never Cry

Don’t ever show weakness. Don’t be sad. Don’t cry. If you ever think the dam is about to break, hold back the tears with all the strength you can muster. Completely ignore any reason why you might be crying, and if you do think about it for a few minutes, make sure you tell yourself that whatever loss or pain is causing you to be upset is definitely stupid and unimportant.

8) Never Apologize

Don’t ever admit to being wrong. Even when you know you are wrong, justify your reasons. Let your self-defense keep you puffed up and protected. Choose to guard yourself over loving the people around you who need to know that you are, in fact, human and make mistakes. Tell yourself that they’ll get over it, and carry on.

9) Maintain an Impossible Standard for Yourself and Everyone Else

Set yourself up for failure. Make sure you believe that everything you ever attempt must be a stellar success, that failure is not an option. Listen to the part of you that’s terrified at failing and will prevent you from ever trying anything, or listen to the part of you that believes you’ll always do it right, and try, fail and hate yourself. Expect the same from everyone around you. Expect those you love to always know what to say and to do to make you feel better. When they don’t, use the same self-loathing voices that you beat yourself with to push back.

I believe we all have our 10th way to get depressed, but it’s unique to you. Perhaps its about being with an unhealthy friendship that brings you down. Maybe it’s stalking someone on Facebook that you need to unfriend. Maybe it’s a phone number you need to delete from your phone.

Maybe you read through these steps and none of them sound good to you. In that case, take all 10 steps, reverse, and be healthy.

Free depression inventories can be a helpful tool to evaluate the severity of your mood. You can take this one developed by the Mayo Clinic for more information.



Rhonda commented…


First, blessings to you in your bravery to seek help. I think thats exactly the difference this article points out between those who do something about it as best they can (like you), and those who dont.

Believe it or not, there are people who prefer sadness because they like the attention it brings them. Therefore, they do nothing about it, but expect everyone to be there simply to indulge them. While I dont know for sure, I expect that people who are legitimately depressed cant imagine in their wildest dreams why anyone would be deliberately sad. I think this may be what comes off, then, as judgment or validation.

A physical analogy might illustrate it better. If someone falls into quicksand and all around the pit are stairways, ladders, and ropes, but the person refuses to use them, thats what this article is addressing. If the person who falls in simply cant SEE the stairways, ladders, and ropes, or if they dont actually exist, thats entirely different.

You sound like the person whos using them! :-)




B commented…

I think your comment that "ultimately the author's intent here" was to remind us to avoid our self inflicted traps, directed at people who aren't clinically depressed, is spot on. And I think the fact that this is the intent allows for the sarcastic tone, not only as a "relevant" literary technique but as a necessity.
Those who will seek help in counseling will surely never be met with this tongue in cheek sarcasm. But in my everyday "depression" where I'm not with a counselor, I need that sarcasm to shake me from my self-pity. Because so much of my depression is self inflicted and self sustained, some biting commentary is what I need to wake me up (and the humor of it takes away the entitled self-righteousness that is almost always associated with self-pity). With that said, for the audience this article is aimed at, this sarcasm is what we need.


Aaavad commented…

I find the STYLE of writing rather depressive, suggestive, patronising and unhelpful. I get the feeling that the very people it is intended to help will only be drawn deeper by such a vivid reinforcing focus on the very thoughts they'are agonising over and needing help or power to counter. A Relevant issue? Yes...Depression IS indeed a big issue for Christians today. Surely we need to confront the mental, emotional and spiritual impact and challenges of depression with the powerful resources in the Word of God, the Spirit of God. We need to be reminded of the inner joy, dignity, strength and victory that can be experienced when believers focus on the Helper instead of the PROBLEM.

Nancy Sinclair


Nancy Sinclair commented…

What? Did you just use the term "normal" to describe people who don't have a mental illness?

I am so tired, just exhausted by being stigmatized by people who think I'm not normal just because my brain doesn't work the same way that it does for other people

As a "professional" you should know better. This whole article is a joke to those of us who have truly experienced a depression that is so deep and dark that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

I'm begging you, just stop. You're just digging a deeper hole each time you try to be witty and you're hurting some people who have medical problems.


Rhonda commented…

Dear one, your spirit needs protection, consolation, relief.

However, your reaction is a little like a cancer patient walking into a heart clinic, and, finding no relief there, telling them their service is a joke and that they should stop.

Dear one, your pain is clear. But this article is not designed for your spirit, your needs, or to help any of those of [you] who have truly experienced a depression. The author stated this at the very beginning.

Please, please, for your own sake, dont look to this particular piece for the relief and consolation you need. Its simply written for others with a different problem who can use this sort of help.

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