Depression is different for everyone, and when I write about it, I never claim to be speaking for anyone but myself. That said, while many of the nuances are different, there are some overarching things that many other people can relate to — and one of them is the feeling that, especially in times when our depression feels overwhelming, it has overtaken the parts of us that we love and that others love about us. But the thing is, that’s not true — that’s the depression talking, and often, depression can be louder than our own reason and logic.
I know that I am not my depression. It is a part of me, sure, and it is likely something I’ll always deal with. While I’m optimistic and believe it will get better over time (it has, and more or less continues to all the time), I don’t want to let down my defenses — and I also don’t want to stop taking my medication if I start to think I can beat it on my own. That’s a mistake I’ve made before, and something a lot of people go through because of the rampant stigma against medication. Going off medication is something that we need to think about very carefully and discuss with medical practitioners.
In times that I’ve been the most depressed, I’ve let myself think that the symptoms of depression are who I am, but logically, I know that that’s not true. In case that’s something you can relate to, here are some things I use as little mantras when things get too hard:
- My depression makes me tired, but I am not lazy.
- I am a good friend, even if my depression makes it hard for me to reach out.
- Depression makes it hard to focus, but I am a hard worker.
- My friends and family love me, and I only have to reach out if I want to talk.
- I am really, really funny — even if it’s hard to make jokes while I’m feeling this way.
- It can be hard to do even the simplest things while I’m depressed, but it doesn’t mean that the world isn’t waiting for me when I have energy again.
- I am more than my depression, and I don’t have to tell anyone I’m not ready to tell.
- I am more than my depression, and anyone who deserves a place in my life will understand and want to know more.
Feel free to use these for yourself, or to share more of your own personal mantras. We are not alone in this — there are other people out there fighting the mental health battle, and sharing our stories is an important step. <3