i can exercise and make goals and check off lists and pursue dreams and eat healthy and volunteer and help others and medicate and self-medicate all i want, but none of it really makes the bleakness go away. all that stuff just distracts me from it. and because i've expended so much energy trying to get away from it, when it seeps back up through the cracks it's even darker and scarier.
mindfulness is the only real, sustainable, practical solution i've found so far. i've tried antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, etc. (some of them do help in regards to being productive enough to survive) but none of them address the real root of the issue because the root of the issue is spiritual, not physical or biochemical. not even emotional. it's so much deeper and larger than that, which is why it feels so heavy and overwhelming when i'm not listening to it.
every moment is an opportunity to tune in to existing. it's painful at first, because with it comes the realization that it can't last—none of it can. but once you get past it, or settle into it rather, it lightens its hold. you lighten your hold. depression can feel bleak, but awareness of depression can't. no medication can make the decision to tune in for you (although i admit it's possible that it can help with motivating you to try). that's a leap you have to take for yourself.
Note: i understand that everyone and every experience is different. i am only speaking from my own <3