At my worst, my depression was all encompassing. It was every breath I took, every decision I made, every illness, every thought, every step, every tear. I was my depression. My depression was me.
This is a dangerous belief
When you live a life with mental illness, it is very hard to see past the darkness that is so present in every minute of every day. But you must remember who you really are.
If you had a broken leg, it does not make you the broken leg. If you have a mental illness, you are not the mental illness.
Remembering who you are during your journey to recovery is essential.
When at my lowest, when I can’t see anything but my negative thoughts and low self-worth, I try to remember who I really am, and that I am not defined by my illness.
I found the best way to do this is to write down things I like about myself, traits I am happy with, changes I have made and how I have grown. Re-reading this positivity reminds me that there is so much more to me than just an illness, and so much more to my life than the misery that it has been for too long.
You are not defined by your depression. You have a personality, feelings and emotions, just like anyone else. You have likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests. You have great qualities. And remembering all this is essential.
Write a list of things you like about yourself, happy memories, how far you’ve grown and what you’re proud of. Compile a positivity book. No positive is too little, be proud of your growth, little step by little step. Look at it when you are feeling most vulnerable and when you need a pick me up.
This is how I have learned to be my own saviour. The comments of others and compliments of friends and loved ones fall on deaf ears if I don’t believe that I am all the great things they tell me.
* I am intelligent
* I have a warm home
* I am loved
* I have a beautiful dog who loves me unconditionally
* I am growing everyday
* I have a good, steady job
* I love to walk and enjoy my surroundings
* I have good friends
* I love to laugh
* I have a good sense of humour
* I am kind
* I am thoughtful
* I have surprised myself in the things that I have achieved without letting my anxiety and depression getting on top of me
* I take pride in my appearance
* I love to shop
* I love nature and I think the world is beautiful
* I have goals and aspirations
* I am working towards a better future
* I have good family
* I will not give up
* I am better everyday
* I have plans to look forward to
I also look to a positive future by creating vision boards on Pinterest, an app where pictures from all over the world are shared; pictures of food, homes, experiences, fashion etc can build up an image of the life I am working towards. This helps me to see clearly what I am in this for, my purpose in life and what I am working towards. It keeps me focused, and keeps me fighting when i feel like I’m swimming against the tide.
Putting time into positivity only creates more positivity, and is a great escape from dark moods and those voices in your head saying that things just won’t improve.
It is not easy to be positive all the time, and I definitely still have negative thoughts and feelings about myself 40% of the time, sometimes a little less and sometimes a little more. But I will not lose sight of all I am, and all I am yet to be. I am not my depression. I am not broken, just a little wounded.