Self-Love and Depression: Loving Yourself Through Recovery
Self-love and depression don't naturally go together because when you have depression, it’s hard to love yourself. Being constantly bombarded with negative thoughts about how you’re not good enough or how you’ll never amount to anything doesn’t exactly help your self-esteem. You get inside your own head and tell yourself that you are not worthy of love.
Often, the solution is to seek affirmation or love from outside of the mind. When we're depressed, we rely on friends, family, or partners to tell us that we are loveable. But no matter how many times they tell us, it will never matter if we haven’t learned to love ourselves.
Why Self-Love Is Important to Depression Recovery
Self-Love During Depression Is Difficult Because Depression Causes Us to Lose Self-Respect
When my depression was at its worst, I wasn’t able to follow through on anything (What Are the Symptoms of Depression? Depression Symptoms). Despite my best intentions, I would constantly avoid responsibility in order to protect myself from failing. In my mind, it was better to not do it at all than to try and fail.
After developing this mindset, I lost all confidence in myself. Even when I started recovering from depression, my self-doubt was still going strong. In my mind, I wasn’t capable of accomplishing anything. This turned into resentment. I berated myself in my head, sometimes even starting to yell out loud at my reflection in the mirror.
My relationship with myself was in shambles. I hated everything about me. Even though I was feeling better, I couldn’t forgive myself for succumbing to the illness. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t my fault. In my head, I had brought this on myself.
Lack of Self-Love After Depression Lifted Stopped Me from Accepting Love from Others
I was constantly asking my husband for reassurance. I couldn’t take myself seriously. I needed an outside voice to tell me that I was doing the right thing. I didn’t trust myself.
Right before I went to sleep at night, all the negative thoughts would come rushing into my mind. I would start to cry and tell him how horrible I was. He would comfort me and tell me that everything was going to be alright.
I didn’t believe him.
It happened over and over again. Every night, he would build me up and immediately after, I would tear myself down.
Even though I was receiving love, I couldn’t accept it because I had a deep-seeded hatred of myself.
Anything positive would be swallowed into the dark hole of negativity surrounding me.
Overall, my depression treatment was working and I was feeling better. But anytime I was alone with my thoughts, it was like I was back to square one. I had developed an automatic response to any positive feedback from my friends and family. I couldn’t believe anything good about myself. Depression had ruined my ability to self-love.
Self-Love During Depression Recovery
As I began to realize that no amount of outside affirmation could change the way I felt about myself, I began to search for ways to fix how I was feeling.
I knew that if I couldn’t accept myself, anyone else’s positive feelings towards me wouldn’t make a difference. I needed to repair and nurture my relationship with me before truly realizing the love of others.
While I have made progress, I still struggle with self-love. And I believe it will always be something that I can work on. By learning to control the negative thoughts and being gentle with myself, I am slowly developing habits that will strengthen not only my relationship with myself but my relationships with others.
I have realized that you have to love yourself in order to love others fully. I am determined to change my mindset and begin to accept that I’m both capable and worthy of love.
Capper, J. (2018, June 26). Self-Love and Depression: Loving Yourself Through Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2018/6/self-love-and-depression-loving-yourself-through-recovery
Author: Jenny Capper