Do you feel debilitated, exhausted, tormented, suicidal?
Do you feel pathetic and ugly in this cruel, terrible world?
Does it seem like the thoughts in your mind are worse than any bully?
Do moments of happiness quickly fade into overwhelming sadness?
Want to give up and die already?
You’re not alone…
I lost 17 years of my life to DEPRESSION. Life was hell! It was, but now it’s not. Now I am in control. This is the first in my DIY Therapy series that I only hope can help someone who is going through what I went through.
Step 1: Silence the haters.
Like an actress, artist, or musician who has learned not to read reviews of their work you are capable of realizing that opinions of others don’t matter. The cruel taunts of bullies are especially powerful; whether they are assaulting you now or continue to attack your memory. If you allow them to have power over you than you’ve lost the battle. Pay attention because this next sentence is very important. You are capable of loving and accepting yourself. Repeat that a few times and see how it feels. Self-respect is more important than many of us realize until we get mature enough to recognize it’s gone.
Change your thinking and life changes; once you can look at yourself positively in relation to this world than you can break free as the haters fall dead at your feet. Figuring out how to quell the power of negative words is difficult. You must become conscious of how words sway you. Did you always think you were worthless or did you start believing it as you grew?
Most likely as a child you dreamed of being president, walking on Mars, or climbing to the peak of Kilimanjaro. Maybe even all 3, and why not? As the years passed you were told such things were impossible or improbable for someone like you. “Girls can’t be president”, “poor kids don’t become astronauts”, “Africa is too far away”. Guess what, that’s all hype. There are female presidents(and prime ministers), poor kids grow up to become astronauts, and by learning, training and being open to opportunities you can climb any mountain in the world.
People often speak without thinking and some are simply cruel. When we hear something repeatedly it becomes subconsciously true. I was called a loser and beat up by my peers in several different schools, spanning several states. How could so many people so far apart be wrong. Despite not wanting to believe them, I did. Even after school ended and my bullies faded into memory, I began to repeat their taunts to myself. I became my own bully.
It took over a decade to change my thought patterns and it wasn’t easy. Since self help books were expensive I assembled my own guide from various sources and tried everything to see what worked. I love to draw and write. The most helpful action was to chant an affirmation. It sounded hokey, this idea that I could repeat a phrase until it rang true, but at that point I was committed to trying. So I write and illustrated positive affirmations. That was just one of many steps I took to silence the self-hate. I also became conscious of my thoughts and actions, found support, ditched the people who brought me down, and stopped consuming so much media. Keep reading for more details on how you can heal.
Get Creative and make up your own affirmations. Carry a list of affirmations wherever you go. Tape affirmations to your walls and mirrors. Write your own affirmations, use only positive action words based in the present and future. Leave out negative words and past tense. I will be peaceful one day becomes I Am Peaceful, I am not worthless becomes I Am Worthy.
Amazingly my affirmations became a huge part of my life. I had affirmations for everything from how I looked and felt to what I was capable of and to calm my anger. I created a free book (view it online) full of my affirmations.
Become Conscious of your words. When you say something negative about yourself immediately counter that thought with a positive. I am so stupid gets changed to I Am Intelligent or Why is everything so difficult? gets changed to I Can Solve This Problem This is a challenging step to take in recovery, but if you stay conscious long enough it becomes as easy as breathing. You might want to write yourself a note to change your thoughts.
It’s been a few years since I started changing my life, but I still amaze myself at how much my thoughts have changed. Words that previously sent my crying in the fetal position, drinking till I passed out, set off panic attacks, and caused me to shrink away from everyone in my life have been dismissed and at the most are reminders of the power words have on my daily life.
Find Support through a network of people who are going through a similar change or already have. If you can’t find a network in your community look online for blogs and forums that are moving forward. Stay clear of networks that put themselves or others down. Being hard on yourself is not the same as reviewing how you can improve. Likewise focusing your anger towards a common “enemy” such as a bully or celebrity you dislike will not make you feel better. Negative attitudes beget negative lifestyles. You don’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows, but you also don’t have to be a victim or turn into a bully.
There are several blogs I follow that post the most amazing resources and give me a fresh perspective when I doubt myself. I also have made friends online and off that share advice, help each other solve inner struggles, and are willing to support me and vice versa.
Ditch the Jerks who don’t have your best interest at heart. Whether it’s a sexual relationship, friendship, or partnership if they put you down it’s time to leave. If you can’t leave than you need to put as much distance between them and you as possible. Stop spending alone time with them and instead focus on the people who treat you well.
I used to be friends with anyone who would reciprocate and often would trail after people I thought were “cool” just so I wouldn’t be alone. They knew that I would put up with their words, attitude, or lack of consideration. Eventually I ended those friendships. It was not easy to be alone so much at first, but being with them made me feel worse. Now I can look back and say “Duh!”, but it took a lot of mental strength to get here.
Cut Out the Media that is negative, judgmental, and feeds on drama. You don’t need drama to have an interesting life. If you’re depressed and consume hours of depressing media each day than your mind is full of negativity. Those soap operas, violent movies, gossipy entertainment shows, websites, and magazines are feeding on your insecurities and fears to hook you. So you need to step away from that. You don’t have to give it all up, but the negative media you consume shouldn’t be on a regular basis. This goes for images that make you feel bad too. If you constantly see celebrities with unrealistically photo or surgically altered bodies and you start wishing you could change your body than you’re in an unhealthy state. Without an entourage of hair, makeup, and photographers that know how to frame you at just the right angle, you won’t ever look like that. More importantly you have more value than your outside appearance.
Media was a big part of my life from puberty, as I mentioned more in depth in this article about the Love Warrior Awards. Until our culture stops entertaining us with negative media images we must take control. Addicted to a reality show that focuses on how women look, cat-fighting, and drama? Stop watching it. Can’t go without your latest issue of Cosmo magazine? Consider cancelling your subscription. Do you feel fat in those skinny jeans and midriff baring tops? Donate those to Goodwill and keep the clothing that makes you feel sexy without sucking in your gut. The choice to stop wasting your energy on unattainable or debilitating beauty ideals is yours and yours alone.
There is no quick fix to end depression. YOU have to not only want to change, but be willing to actively revamp your mental state. You are in control and inner peace won’t happen in a few days or weeks. Most likely it will be a month or 2 before you see the changes in your thoughts and feelings. Change is up to you.
Know someone who is depressed? Share this blog with them.
Need help? Call the National Suicide/ Talk Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
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