I can relate Adam! In my case depression was a negative feedback loop .
It started with trying to be a “good” student, son, partner, husband, homeowner, and employee.
According to the great book NonViolent Communication, that is the underlying cause of depression.
I was living in the world of Hell because I believed I was powerless as it is put in the book Ten Worlds on the topic of happiness.
Feeling powerless led me to stop exercising, stop eating healthy, stop pursuing my own interests, and stop socializing. These of course are all the proximate causes of depression (as exercise is about twice as effective as an antidepressant).
Now, I am not depressed, and able to work toward achieving my own goals (about communication, work, health) instead of goals other people had for me (about my salary, title, and job satisfaction).
What’s the difference? I’ve accepted being unemployed and broke, and capitalized on it by pursuing my goals with intensity.
Now that I’m exercising twice a day, keeping whatever sleep schedule I want, and getting in great shape, I can easily and joyfully write on Medium .
In another win for my mental health, I now have meaningful work: creating great content when I feel inspired instead of writing documentation begging for insurance reimbursement 6 hours a day every PT shift.
But Adam, you’re exactly right — I never could have even considered starting when I was burnt out or depressed.
Only by forgiving myself for not being “successful” or having a full-time income could I grow as a person and pursue as a career change.
Thankfully in my case my wife and I had a third income in terms of Airbnb, so I have not lost my home during this period of transformation.
Best of luck to you!