Two Positive Experiences in Dealing with Depression

16th October 2023

A man in his 50s experienced depression to the point that it was interfering with his daily life. He had a hard time getting up in the morning and difficulty getting out of the house. He examined his lifestyle and concluded that watching the television news was contributing to his depressive state.

He made a serious lifestyle change, he stopped watching television. Everything he was seeing on television was sex and violence, in his words, including much of the news. Instead of watching television to keep up with world events, he began to read the New York Times. He found that this helped his depression almost immediately. Within one week he no longer felt depressed.

He made some further lifestyle changes, and went from a diet of eating red meat almost daily, to an almost vegetarian diet. He began to engage in exercise, and this too contributed to a better mental outlook. He was no longer depressed and felt like getting up in the morning and getting out of the house and doing things.

A man who is now in his 80s who lived alone also felt that the news was making him depressed. He took the TV out of his house, and when you visit, you will find 100 or 200 paintings, which he does to fill in his spare time. He says that if he gets up in the middle of the night he paints. This helps him feel better mentally, and he no longer feels depressed.

These two experiences demonstrate that there are often contributing environmental factors that can cause, trigger or contribute to depression. In these cases, the negativity of television, including the news, contributed to depression. Reading, by contrast, allows you to be more selective, is less intense on the mind and it is easier to keep a positive outlook, sort through matters in your mind, and resolve the issues. Psychologist Aric Sigman notes that by watching the news daily, our inability to change the situation can lead to a "learned helplessness". This can result in depression.

In both of these cases, doing without television, with all its negativity, resolved issues of depression, in one case mild to moderate, in the former case, leading to Major Depression.