Unlock Your Inner Brave: Seven Things to Remember when you Have Depression

It's hard to find strength when you have depression.   

There are some simple steps you can take that can make a tremendous difference in how you feel. 


Seven things to remember when you have depression:


You are the Power

You are the power in your recovery. Decide to play an active role in accessing targeted treatment and support. Partner with a mental health professional and create your own self-care plan. This will enable you to understand and better manage your symptoms.

Depression Does Not Define You

And that takes me to the next point: depression does not define you.

Depression can trip the mind into a state of utter despair.   My diagnosis heralded the complete disappearance of my bubbly, upbeat personality. Compounding matters was my inability to return to work. When depression taunts me with thoughts of inadequacy,  I completely identified with the dark internal dialogue.

It can feel incredibly exhausting trying to to cope with these internal dialogues. That's why it's important to see these thoughts for what they are, symptoms.

The negative dialogue associated with depression is clinically referred to as cognitive distortions. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot think or will yourself to be positive, when you mind is continually looping around negative thinking patterns.


Feeling Better Takes Time: Getting Support & Staying
Connected is Important

Feeling better takes time. the key is to start small and celebrate the small steps you are taking each day to build your resilience.  

Getting support will always play an essential role in managing my depression. When you have depression, the tendency is to want to isolate.  But this coping mechanism makes it difficult to maintain a healthy, balanced perspective. 

Always remember asking for help is not a burden, it is an act of courage which may help others seek support. Turn to those people who make you feel safe and cared for. Ask a friend to text and check in with you on a regular basis. Garner the resolve to talk to one person about how you are feeling.

And if you feel like you don't have anyone to turn to, look for ways you can find and offer friendship and support.  Play with a pet.  Take yourself out for a coffee. Summon the courage to join a class or support group.  


Every Smile is a Direct Achievement

When it comes to depression, low mood is not something you can simply think your way out of. When you have depression, trying to live up to the positive thinking self-improvement model could actually end up making things worse.

Every time I try to push through depression, it has had a detrimental on my emotional well-being. While it's helpful to have a care plan, it's not so good when I go all out and wreck myself in an all-or-nothing attempt to heal my depression.

The best thing you can do to release the suffocating grip depression has on your thinking, is to stop thinking about possible future outcomes. This is sometimes called mindfulness.

Instead of thinking into the future, bring your awareness totally into the moment and reflect on something that makes you smile. One thing I've found especially helpful is to write down three things that make me smile. 

Try it, take a moment to jot down three things that make you smile, just three things.

Remember: every smile is a direct achievement.


You Are Significant, Even When it feels like You're Not

Depression lies and messes with your mind. The voice of depression can make it difficult to realize your true worth.  Always remember: you are capable, resourceful and significant even [especially] when it feels like you're not.


Kindness is the Best Medicine

There is something deeply mysterious about the invisible power of kindness.  

Daily acts of kindness have a mood lifting effect. At first you may not feel the mood lifting effects, but soon you'll begin to notice a positive change.

I believe one of the greatest acts of kindness is giving yourself permission to be brave.  Support your mind and body by coming up with a list of things that bring you joy. Remember to include things you enjoy (or used to) and things that relax and energize you. 

Be guided by your Kindness List, being sure to set realistic limits on what you are able to do. In other words, don't fall into the self-improvement trap. Instead focus on gently moving out of your comfort zone, by scheduling fun things into our day.  Start with one thing, and do it - even if you don't feel like it. 


Give Yourself Permission to be Brave

There are many stories and ideas about what depression is (or isn't). But the truth is, we don't know the true extent of this illness.  

Dealing with depression requires great courage, clinical support and the ongoing support of friends and loved ones. Connect with your inner brave and give yourself permission to try new things, think in new ways and make mistakes along the way. Practice creating boundaries and setting limits on what you are able (or not able) to do.

Many people think being brave is about "fighting" this illness.  But one of the greatest leaps in my recovery came when I was finally willing to accept: I have depression, but depression doesn't have me.

Fighting depression creates resistance and depletes precious energy reserves. Usually when try to fight what is happening, I end up in a crumpled mess of despondency and despair. 

Accepting you have depression requires a willingness to stop the fight. Acceptance is not about giving up, it's about trusting what is happening, even when what is happening, is horrible.  Essentially it's about learning to trust in Life, in you.

Trust takes time to nurture.  Given the struggles that come with depression, ongoing support is vital. Don't listen to the little voice that says help is a sign of weakness. Actively seek out help and support.  

The truth is you are stronger than you think you are, depression can be treated and you can feel better.

Stay Strong