You have to understand that changing the way you think and do things takes time...but I MADE IT!!

Mauricio TorresI am a 47-year-old man and live in Colombia, South America. The third of four siblings, I was raised in a family where Mom and Dad fought constantly.Back then, divorce was considered shameful, so they tried to make things work out, but it would have been better if they had just separated and remained friends. Otherwise, Mom and Dad were good parents. No alcohol, no drugs, no partying. Because of my dad's job, we had the privilege of living in Switzerland for a few years and then in New York for a few more. We had all the material things a kid could wish for, went to the best schools, had awesome vacations, etc.

But my parents' fighting made me a nervous kid and even though I have a great IQ (134), I was never able to do well in school. Of course, I always thought I was a normal kid and never realized how much I was being affected by my parents' fighting. Also, I learned real bad 'life skills' from them. I remember that my maternal grandmother used to take antidepressants and, later on, I saw my mom using them, too. They used to call it "the pill so I can sleep". :)

I lived my life feeling tired. It was always hard to concentrate and find energy that I saw others had. My dreams were always intense. I remember I used to joke about them. I struggled with relationships; being jealous, my reactions to things weren't the best. It was not nice, but I kept on living my day-to-day. I thought that was what life had to be like for me.

It all caught up with me back in 2001, when I was 33. My company went broke, a relationship I had ended, and I had to move back to my mother's house. I was very stressed, my dreams were even more intense, and I would wake up feeling really tired. I knew something was not right. Several years went by. I was unable to find a job and if I did find something, I didn't have the energy or motivation to hold on to it.

Then, one day, at 3:00 in the morning, I was feeling really bad, but I couldn't go to sleep, so I was looking for motivation articles on the web. Not for me, but for a lecture I was preparing on how to motivate employees. And then I saw a phrase in one of the search results. It read, "Are you feeling tired, don't have energy, can't sleep," and I thought, "Damn, that sounds like me."

It turns out that phrase was from your website, Uncommon Knowledge. I followed the link and the first thing I read was the Cycle of Depression. I felt like I was reading something written about my life. I couldn't stop reading and didn't go to sleep until 6am.

The next day, I woke up and kept on reading the Depression Learning Path. That night, I told my mom and one of my brothers, "Last night, I discovered that I have been suffering from depression symptoms my entire life." Due to my parents' fighting, our family was split by who sided with each of them. Now, all of a sudden, my entire family turned their back on me, using my revelation about the depression like a weapon. "Oh, Mauricio has lost his mind, he is sick. Anything he says is because his mind is not okay. He is not thinking right, he needs to take pills because depression is genetic." One of my sisters-in-law is a doctor and said, "We are taught that people with depression are mentally sick and need drugs to recover."

I later went to several psychiatrists, who all diagnosed me with 'clinical depression', also wanted me to take drugs, and wouldn't listen when I tried to tell them about the Depression Learning Path. So I had NO ONE to help or guide me; I only had my dog (I am attaching his picture also). This dog saved my life!!

I had to be my own therapist.IT WAS NOT EASY!!!!I continued reading the Learning Path, over and over and over again (when you have depression, it is hard to even concentrate on what you're reading), and translated it (roughly) to Spanish. Luckily, I had a friend living in the US at the time who helped me out by gifting me the Natural Depression Treatment Program. Little by little, I started to understand and apply the things I was learning, doing things that the Learning Path and program said would make me feel better. My dog was the best excuse to go out and exercise, two or three times a day, and I learned Hatha Yoga, which I'd do for an hour every day. I made sure I ate as best I could, but I had no money, couldn't work, and my family was not helping me out (on top of being unsupportive and negative, calling the Learning Path nonsense and me lazy, and pressuring me to take medication). When I finally beat depression, several years later, I weighed only 55kg (I should ideally weigh 80kg). You could see my bones... But, hey... I MADE IT!!:)

You have to understand that changing the way you think and do things takes time, that feeling better did not come fast. It was very frustrating!! There were days when I was walking at 5am in the park with my dog and I would say to myself (probably 'Depresso' talking), "What the hell am I doing here at this time?" But I persisted. I kept on learning and learning and applying it to my life.

It took me about five years to finally be able to say (back in 2007 or 2008), "I no longer have depression. Depression no longer controls my life, I control my life." My life was still a wreck - no job, no money, no family support, no girlfriend, just my dog. But I was feeling better; I felt more and more in control of my thoughts and emotions.

I had won!! Depression-free without taking a single pill. If I'd had a therapist help me, I believe the changes would have happened a lot sooner. But maybe I wouldn't have learned as much!!I realized that if you take the word 'depression' out of the entire document, the Depression Learning Path and program are an 'Emotional Intelligence Handbook', so I changed the file name in my computer from 'Depression Program' to 'Good Life Skills'.

I am now a successful person and I owe it to the things I learned from Uncommon Knowledge. I'd studied International Business, but now dedicate my life to helping others by teaching them the right and responsible way to have a dog, sort of like Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. I wrote a book, write articles in a newspaper, give lectures all around the country...and I am enjoying life!!

I still read the Learning Path and program regularly. I understand that nobody reaches perfection in life, so there are always little things I can improve on. If I ever feel confused or bad about something or feel that something is taking away my sleep, I always use the program as my guide.

I learned that the goal in life is not happiness; it's to be in harmony with what surrounds me. True happiness occurs when you've reached that harmony.

To all of you at Uncommon Knowledge, thank you!

PS: The dog in the picture is Timon, the dog who saved my life!! We had to say goodbye to him last year, after 13 years of him inspiring me.

This story came from Mauricio Torres, Bogota, Colombia

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