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5 Strategies To Reach Success While Battling Depression





Depression is a challenge, it can affect everyone from your everyday person to celebrities. It’s not a choice to suffer from depression, but there is a choice in how you react to it.

Ernest Hemingway eventually chose suicide. He decided he didn’t want to confront the demons of his depression any longer. Sometimes even the strongest can fall.

Depression isn’t a joke and it’s certainly not a weakness. It can wrap its large hands around your neck and strangle you into submission. It’s not fun to suffer and you can’t “just get over it.

It’s a battle, a war. You may not be able to switch your moods with the snap of your fingers, but you can choose to drop your gloves against this crushing illness.

Depression can help create mystical stories like Edgar Allan Poe’s. It can help create awe inspiring paintings like Vincent Van Gogh’s. It can help create beautiful music like Beethoven’s.

Many have suffered, in many professions. Actor Marlon Brando (of The Godfather) suffered from chronic depression his entire life. Billy Joel checked himself into a hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Becoming the “President of The United States of America” while suffering from major depression is even a possibility, like Abraham Lincoln did.

Unfortunately, most people who suffer deeply enough turn to drugs and alcohol. I turned to alcohol. The reason drugs and alcohol are the dark alleys people linger down is because it’s a form of self-medication. It’s no different then the guy who comes home after a long day of work and drinks a six-pack of beer while watching mindless television. He’s self-medicating himself to avoid the issues — loneliness, job dissatisfaction, stress, etc. — that are being presented directly to him.

The list of famous people who suffer or have suffered can go on and on. What needs to be understood is that you can be very successful while getting punched and kicked by this bully that invades your mind.

As you can tell by Poe, Van Gogh, and Beethoven, depression can carry certain benefits if you are a creative artist such as a writer, a painter, or a musician. You just have to be careful you don’t get too deep like Hemingway and Billy Joel.

But what if you’re a CEO or everyday worker? Can you still live a successful life while dealing with the daily grind depression can bring?

In a society where power and hiding from your vulnerabilities rule all, hiding from depression is a common problem. Success can come with glorious benefits, but certain fears also tag along. It all depends what your goals are, what YOU are about. If you are about respect, compassion, kindness, and love, you are on the right track, and yes, you can become a wealthy person living by those traits. If you are solely about power and money, a laundry list of insecurities will clench onto you, potentially leading you down a disastrous path.

You can be anything while suffering, it’s been done. A powerful CEO or a single mom working two jobs to get by. The key is to fight back and never give up.

Here are some ways to fight depression while living a successful life:


1. Keep Up With Your Health

You don’t need crazy workouts to be healthy, that’s just a myth created by the fitness industry. All you really need is a sensible diet and some regular activity that gets you moving. Go for a long walk, do some simple bodyweight exercises, or enjoy an activity that gets you sweating. You don’t have to squat 400 pounds to be ‘fit’, that’s just macho, ego talk that persuades people to be scared of fitness.

Self-medication is a dangerous outlet when it comes to mental illness. Alcohol was my form of self-medication. For many celebrities, hard drugs is an addiction they fall into to escape the reality of their mental demons. When money and access are not a problem, it becomes far too easy to believe drugs are the best way to forget about your struggles.

Drugs and alcohol can kill. They can be used as a form of delayed suicide. Be conscious if you’re falling into that trap and seek help immediately if you are.


2. Read…A lot

I recommend a minimum of an hour a day. Read stories about people who have suffered, read strategies you could use in your life, read some good fiction. Keep your mind working.

Letting depression force you into a dark corner is far too easy. Sometimes you’ll feel as if you have no control, but you do. It may be a moment to fight, but reading good books can help teach you and inspire you to keep going.


3. Live Aggressively

Facing our fears feels harder than climbing Everest. It’s scary. Fight the urge to stay in your room and go out to dinner with a friend. Start building momentum, understand depression doesn’t have to hold you back.

Living passively is the worst way to handle depression, it keeps you tied down. When I first started talking openly about my depression I was scared. Just the thought of sharing my feelings caused my body to pour sweat. I aggressively worked through my sweat drenched clothes and talked. It helped. It actually speed up my recovery because, whether people understood or not, they knew how I felt.

I could be who I was. It was freeing. If I had a bad day it was easier to acknowledge it, and work through the day with it.

Living aggressively doesn’t mean taking an axe to everything in your path. It’s not a violent or vicious path. Living aggressively is living intently. Simply intend on moving past your depression and get to work.

We have one life. Don’t allow depression to keep you down.


4. Be Better Today Than You Were Yesterday

It’s okay to struggle, but it’s not okay to quit.

How you improve at anything is through constant tiny steps that eventually turn into one, gigantic success.

It’s the same with battling depression. You have to work at it. It doesn’t just disappear. You have to work through your issues and make small improvements as you go.

“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat.” – Christopher Hitchens

Depression will knock you back down along your journey, that’s guaranteed. The key: to get your ass back up. I used to let depression knock me out for weeks, sometimes months. It was horrible. Once I started working on myself, I was able to start making a little progress and feeling a little better.

Then, I was better. It didn’t happen on a scheduled date, it just happened. I just believed I was better, and I was. I don’t really have an explanation for it, that’s just the way it happened for me. After years of tiny improvements, I finally felt like I had just defeated my enemy.

But it starts small. Sometimes just getting out of bed is that small step. Do it. Throwing off the covers and sliding out can be a successful day while you’re fighting. Create a positive mindset around that success and begin building momentum.


5. The Search For Personal Greatness

Being in a deep depression allows you to laser focus on the present. Every thought about your life is on display and available for analysis. A major factor in overcoming depression is coming to grips with who you are.

This can be life’s greatest struggle. Most highly successful people lose their way in the search for more money or more power; however, we must remember, deep seeded happiness comes from within, not from materials. Yes, materials and ego boosting delusions that associate with money and power help, but that happiness is only as strong as the current feeling towards your material items or ego. If they crash or lose intensity, so does your happiness.

Being successful doesn’t mean being a millionaire, it means being happy. Battling with mental illness will be the hardest fight of your life, but it’s a fight worth putting your full effort into. As you claw out of your personal dark dark valley you’ll find new aspects of yourself and accept that person.

The law of impermanence reminds us we will one day pass, be gone from this life. Focusing on material and ego based power is dangerous and could lead to disaster. Experiencing life and learning about your true self  will lead to a successful life filled with happiness.


Mental illness can ravage a life, but you don’t have to let it. The stigma surrounding mental illness is an incredibly dangerous one, keeping many quiet about their struggles. That’s why I write openly about mine. We must let people know that it’s okay to struggle, but it’s never okay to quit.

Daniel is a writer who struggled with both depression and anxiety for many years. His mission is to crush the stigma related to depression and build awareness that it's okay to struggle, but it's not okay to quit.



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    Aug 12, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Success doesn’t care if you’re happy.

  2. Avatar


    Feb 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    it’s not easy to go out of depression. I am going through this phase now. want to get out of it. don’t let it control you keep struggling keep your thought positive. one day will come u will realize its not the end it’s only the bend that god gives you to make you more strong to face life.

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    Mar 2, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    I have struggled terribly with anxiety, panic disorder at times, and major depression. I have tried everything that the doctors had to offer. I was tired of being on medication. I talked with my doctor and she reluctantly went along with me to taper off my medications, telling me that I WILL be back and that she wants me to try Lithium when I come back. I have not seen her since the beginning of December 2014 and it is now 3-2-15. I am off everything except I take 1 or 1/2 pill of Klonipin at bedtime. Soon, I will have to stop that as I will have no more pills left. It has not been easy. I ordered a 21 day brain detox program from Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s an online program to help me change my thought patterns. I have a year’s subscription. I am on my 6th cycle of 21 days. She is a neuroscientist and says there is scientific proof we can change our brain and the chemicals in our brains by eliminating toxic thoughts and building healthy thoughts. It has seemed to help me at times, but I still feel very weak, facing this depression giant. I have sunk into a deep depression the last few days to where I see no reason to be alive. My life is over – I have no purpose, joy, or direction. I stay alone in my little apartment and do not want to go anywhere. It is overwhelming. I am thinking of going to school, a small local university two-year physical therapy assistant program. I am afraid I will not make it. Last Sept. I tried attending a local community college, only enrolled in two courses: math and psychology. I had to drop out. First I fractured my wrist and my other arm was already injured with tennis elbow. I had to use that other, injured arm, which injured it even more. I was always in excruciating pain. I think that was part of it — but I kept struggling along. Then the anxiety and depression took over and even though I was doing well, I dropped out. I couldn’t face it — thinking I was just going to fail. So, I am afraid to go back to school. The jobs I’ve recently had just added to my depression as I was treated horribly. I have never worked with such mean people in all my life! I am wondering where to go from here. I keep plugging along with my 21 day brain detox, but the depression at times is unbearable. I do not want to live and that just completely overwhelms me. I see no reason to be alive. I am just taking up space. I do not want to go back to medications. I would still get depressed on them and the doctors always changed them. I am really struggling right now badly. I pray for a way out – an idea – some inspiration somewhere – some hope – because right now I am living in complete darkness and I know I am not thinking or seeing my life correctly. This is awful. I need help and I do not know where to go, except God. I pray and seek Him daily. I am so tired of depression stopping me from living, that I do not want to live anymore. It is very sad. I am a capable and competent person, but I am not using what I have — I am not living — so why should I even be alive????

    • Avatar


      Apr 30, 2015 at 6:45 am

      Ive been in that situation about 3 years ago, i felt like there was nothing left for me so what was the point right? I still suffer from depression now but thats due to trying to become successfull, the way i got out of the situation of feeling like life was pointless is to get out of the house and just walk, you will be suprised the kinds of people you will meet along the way, i was only 21 at the time and living at home with parents, i used to drink every day but that just made me worse and ill. Once i started getting out and meeting new people my mind was on other things, then by some miracle i met someone, i could tell her all my problems at any time and when someone else understands what your going through it can take so much pressure from you. Since that time i found love, moved out with my girlfriend, got engaged, got a new job and im now in the process of starting my own business and moving to america next year hopefully. So just remember that small step can lead to a new life, just try it and you will be amazed

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    Oct 22, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Excellent article! I recently went through a long phase ( about 2 years) of depression. Before going through it I always considered it a fictional condition or an excuse. Boy was I wrong!! It is an extremely painful situation anyone can go through. After two years now I am recovering and doing much better. I overcame it without any medications strictly through nutrition, meditation, support ( which is critical) and belief in my mission. The moment that changed everything for me was when I realized that depressive thoughts were actually a means to suppress the vicious cycle of the daily grind. The moment you believe you can live the life you want !! Stop thinking it and start living it. Things will get a lot more clear for you and strength will come. Keep fighting everyone life is beautiful and depression is just a teacher :).

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    Oct 14, 2014 at 6:00 am

    Hi Daniel,

    I like your phrases “it is ok to struggle, but it is not ok to quit”….

    I truly agreed getting out of bed is a small step, but this small step mean a big achievement to our fighting days. Recently, I have a relapse, I am struggling to leave my bed too every morning now, because I don’t have much energy especially when I wake up, I lost my confidence, I am afraid of the challenges that awaiting me after I leave my bed, and I don’t wish to meet with people too…

    Really struggling….

    When I see you wrote “it is ok to struggle”, I really felt quite comforting…

    Thanks for sharing.

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    May 5, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Daniel – A very well written article. One that inspired me to continue to battle depression again. I congratulate you on writing about your experiences with the illness. I hope to be brave enough someday to also share my history and to feel that sense of freedom.

    Thank you for the article.

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    May 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    i dont understand will this phase pas away or would i be suffering from depression all my life..i feel like my future is too dark,i wont do anything good in my proffesional life nor would i find a spouce..will i end up lonely or miserable!! anybody can please suggest what may i do?? i had decided to end up my life today itself coz i feel lik an insane but just thought to check out if there is any hope left for me…my doc says i should stop my studies coz i am too unstable some times happy other times miserable that i cannot do any thing good with my life,he saus people have to be stable and firm to be successful in carrer and relationships!!so whats the hope for my future?? should i die or try a year more?? please help

    • Avatar


      Oct 14, 2014 at 5:40 am


      Have you discussed this with your lecturer or family? If your doctor advised you to stop studying at this moment, may be defer a semester might be an option for you? Then you can take the opportunity to rest and focus on medication or finding a solution for yourself.

      I deferred my study too when I first encountered depression during my tertiary education. Then, I resumed my study after rest for a semester, there were a lot of challenges when I resumed my study because it was indeed quite difficult to catch up especially when we lost the common with our same batch friends. However, I managed to graduate at the end….

      You are not a lone…don’t give up…

    • Avatar


      Nov 20, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I wish to talk to u personally cause my situation iz same tooo

  8. Avatar


    May 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    i do

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    May 2, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you for this. It reminds me that I can get back to that place of true internal happiness. When times are good they are really good and that should be the focus. If I focus on allowing the bad times and accepting what comes along with it will help significantly. I deserve happiness and so do all of you 🙂

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    Emily Filloramo

    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:28 am

    I too suffered from depression 10 years ago, precipitated by a toxic situation.

    My psychiatrist said “What trauma are you reliving from your past through this situation that caused you to be depressed?” The lightbulb went off and I realized that the depression was a reflection of the part of me that held the toxic traumas of my childhood which I had conveniently swept under the rug and forgotten about.

    Sweeping our past “under the rug” will eventually bite us in the butt in midlife in the form of some mental or physical health crisis. This is what happened to me in my early 40’s.

    I buried my negative childhood memories, living in “quiet desperation”, pretending that everything was “great!”

    So I healed through “reparenting” the younger parts of me that held faulty beliefs of “I’m not lovable and I’m not enough” and turned those beliefs into “I am lovable, I am awesome, I am enough.” The depression and sleepless nights finally lifted.

    I realize now that the Universe purposely gave me the negative experiences for the evolution of my soul. When I turned 50, I found my life’s calling based on all of my traumatic experiences. Now I am happy beyond belief.

    When you find the gift in the negative experiences and make “lemonade” out of your “lemons”, you will thrive.

    I have a free video trainings on the page below that talks about healing through “Internal Family System” modality of healing and self-leadership.

    This modality does NOT see depression as a disease – it sees your depressed parts as burdens you are carrying from the young parts of you that were traumatized. When you reparent your traumatized young parts and release the burdens, the sadness and depression will more than likely lift. m/increase-happiness/

    BTW – I spent 10 years selling anti-depressants and bipolar medicines to psychiatrists. These meds take the edge off. They are essentially band-aids. You need to get to the root of the issues that are causing you to feel depressed and heal those wounded parts.

  11. Avatar


    Apr 18, 2014 at 9:38 am

    hermingway was really informational to me.and i felt famouscity is an big deal

  12. Avatar

    Amine AL KADERI (@amindeed)

    Mar 23, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I was fortunate enough to read your post after a frustrating weekend start.
    Thank you for inspiring and warming me up, Dan! 🙂

    • Avatar

      Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Amine 🙂

  13. Avatar


    Mar 23, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Thank you, like it was written for me.

  14. Avatar


    Mar 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Daniel thank you for this great post. I really needed to read this today. I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember and I had it under control for a very long time. Recently it’s slowly crept back in and had me feeling as if everything I wanted in my life just isn’t worth working for. I have been writing in my journal and meditating to get through. It’s good to know that I’m not alone and that I’m not lazy or disinterested in life. Sometimes it’s a struggle to leave the house, it’s a struggle to go hang out, but once I get going….I’m glad that I do! It’s just a mental process sometimes.

    • Avatar

      Dan Grant

      Mar 25, 2014 at 6:08 am

      it’s a tough battle, that’s for sure. One worth working through, though. I’ve been incorporating mediation in my life lately and it’s been awesome. Thanks for your comment!

  15. Avatar

    Dan Grant

    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:46 am

    well said Wally, education is the key for sure!

  16. Avatar


    Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank you Daniel, I have been struggling for years, and must stress that over medication even from a Doctor can be dangerous. Some of the medicines easily make depression worse to the point of suicide even, I found out the hard way. So when treated and you feel like you start to lose interest in normal things while on a medicine stop or taper down no matter what the Doctor says. It just might save you from disaster. My new mission in life now that I am getting better, is to educate and help people become advocates for their mental health because of the stigma and the embarrassment causes one to be even more powerless in their recovery. Do research on anything that is given to you and know the risks even more than your doctor. Educate them whenever possible, especially if they are respectful and listen; the kind you want in the first place. I can not stress them enough. Most of these people have no idea what its like to have these problems and live on sometimes crippling medications. Learn everything about them, visit forums where others share experience with respect and always remember the rule of the benefits has to ALWAYS outweigh the risk of any treatment EVER. So learn the short and long term effects of anything that is ever prescribed. There is a disorder related to every human emotion that is natural in most cases that has a medication that will be pushed whenever possible because of negative business practice. Like going into a shady mechanic to have your oil changed only to find out you need a new this and that and this worked on; I’ m telling you from vast experience that you can experience the same thing with your brain every time you go into one of these treatment centers. Do your homework and always know more and good luck, you will move forward.

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