Many of us who are diagnosed with depression struggle with loving ourselves. We might feel the sting of stigma, whether it's from others, from within us, or from a combination of both. As individuals with depression, some of us deal with negative thoughts, which can make it difficult to foster feelings of love towards ourselves. How can we overcome these challenges and learn to love ourselves?
Depression Coping Skills
Why might someone coping with depression develop a tough exterior? Is fostering a tough exterior a good way to cope with depression? Let's explore these ideas.
I have a plan to avoid another suicide attempt that came from living with major depression. But it's taken three years since almost losing the war against depression to get it together. I'm so thankful to say that I'm still here and that my suicide attempt failed. That "failure" turned out to be one of my greatest victories. I couldn't see it then, but I certainly see it now. The following thoughts are some reflections on the past three years of my life. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
If you were to ask most people what someone with depression looks like or how someone who has depression might behave, they would likely respond by saying things like, "sad," "crying," "miserable," or "gloomy." While those of us with depression feel these emotions and exhibit these behaviors at times, they certainly don't encompass all that we are. People with depression feel many things over the course of their lives, and it's time to end the stigma and remove the stereotypes associated with depression.
I've been rereading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, and it has occurred to me that depression brings its own ghosts of the past, present, and future. Just as Ebenezer Scrooge had to confront his ghosts, so must we.
Being unproductive during depression is common; depression has a way of depleting us of energy, motivation, and momentum. Productivity requires of us all three of these things. Productivity is also an effective method of combating depression, meaning the very thing we need to feel better is the very thing that we can't have until we feel better.
Some of you may immediately be turned off by the mere thought of having depression and being thankful during the holidays, but hear me out. I'm not talking about gratitude here. Rather, I'm talking about using the word "thankful" as an acronym to remind us to practice healthy coping skills, which will allow us to better manage our depression throughout the holiday season.
Depression takes its toll on us, and our brains certainly deserve a break. While we know this to be true, how can we put this knowledge into practice?
Can you be saved from depression? Many mainstream films and TV shows about mental health push the concept of the "savior" figure. A character suffering from mental illness meets another character and, through their relationship -- often romantic in nature -- comes to find recovery and health, or at least a happy medium. While certain relationships can help enhance our personal wellbeing, we should be careful when evaluating them for signs that we are falling for the myth of the savior figure. Being saved from depression is a myth.
Comforting ourselves as we cope with depression is an important skill. While others may offer us comfort and want to help, they are often unable to truly do so. Only we understand our own needs for comfort completely, and we need to work towards being able to meet these needs. It's a process, though, so don't feel rushed.