4 Strategies to Battle Depression
In almost any adventure story the hero faces what many have called “the dark night of the soul”. For Frodo in Lord of the Rings, it might be the dark and creepy caves into which he follows Gollum. In Star Wars, it might be the swamps in which he is schooled as a Jedi by Yoda. Whatever it is, every leader faces the dark villain of emotional despondency.
Leaders don’t give in or surrender to the darkness. Here’s some strategies to try when the darkness doesn’t seem to lift:
1) Get some trusted friends to be with you. The enemy depression looks for opportunities to attack easy, defenseless targets when no one else is around to help. Invite some friends to do something together or meet for a meal.
2) Open up— share with your friends the struggle inside. We may think that our struggle as leaders is obvious to everyone. But often, while friends may know “something “ is “wrong”, let them in on what hurts.
3) Ask for help. This may be the most challenging step. We may assume that our friends should know what to do when we’re sad. We may have an image of leaders who don’t need help. The truth is, leaders lead. No situation is more important to model than the humility of asking for help when you need it. Yes. Around the wrong kind of friends, you may lose respect or even your leadership position. But humbly asking for help may set the example needed to really connect with the reality of our need for each other.
4) Think and talk about a better future. Consider your current situation as temporary and “training “ for a future in which your current sadness makes you MORE qualified to serve as a leader.
What story are you telling yourself? Gather some friends, tell it to them, ask for help, and then tell the story with a happy and heroic ending.
Written by: Andrew MacCoy