“How to love someone who has depression” – There are a lot of posts going around about how to love someone who has depression and the allowances you have to make; the understanding you have to show, the hardships you have to go through etc. I have read some wonderful posts about how to be kind, how to be patient and how to cope when you love someone who possibly can’t show you love back.
Whilst I fully support that those who love us need some pep-talking sometimes about how to deal with the highs and the lows, I have’t read many posts about the real way to love someone who has depression. You. Yourself. You need to love yourself through your depression and all it throws at you. It’s about how you get to letting someone love you through your depression. You can’t let anyone in if you don’t love yourself, and if you’re consumed with your depression. And you can’t love anyone else properly if you don’t love number one. So this post isn’t about loving anyone else with depression. It’s about how to make it easier for yourself to love, and for others to love you: by taking care of number one.
It is so easy to punish yourself throughout depression and mental illness. Your brain is in a space that you don’t want it to be, you feel negative, you feel trapped and this opens itself up to self loathing. When you have no respect or love for yourself, you cannot let anyone else in, whether family, friends or all other loving relationships. When I was at my lowest point, I pushed away all those people who loved me. I wanted to be alone, I wanted to wallow, I didn’t feel worthy of being around them.
Now, I love being in the company of others. I love to laugh and I love to create memories. I can tell however, when I am in a darker place, or have dipped in terms of my mood and mental state, as I just want to be alone again. I want to spend time with myself, thinking or just being quiet. Don’t get me wrong, me time is great, however constant alone time and pushing away those that love you the most is not great. It is damaging to all involved. And this is why I felt it important to share my thoughts on how to love yourself through depression, as this is what builds the foundations for a positive relationship with not only yourself, but with others as well, in whatever calibre.
The common reasons why you don’t love yourself when you have depression…
* You feel worthless
* You have low self esteem
* You don’t feel deserving
* You don’t see your own success
* You feel low
* You feel sad
* Your world has turned upside down
Reasons you should love yourself through your depression…
* If you broke your leg you wouldn’t hate yourself, you would nurse yourself, rest and make sure you were well rested. Depression is no less real than a broken bone….
* Self love improves your self esteem which can improve your mood
* Knowing you have your own back can increase your feeling of positivity and reduce anxiety
* You will feel more confident
* You are worth it
* You are enough, never believe anything different
* Being happy feels so much better
* Depression is horrendous and draining and evil and poisonous, give yourself a break and respect how much you’re dealing with. This can give you self respect and self love. You’re amazing.
* Look how much you cope with everyday
* Look at all your successes
* There are people who love you and need you
* You have skills that are unique to the world
Ways you can show self love through your depression…
* Going to therapy
*Write a list of all the things you love about yourself
*Believe in yourself
*Write a list of goals you want to achieve
* Reading a book
* You time
* Writing a diary
* Allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel, and then let go
* Spending time with friends
I have comprised a list of 10 things to remember to do when loving YOURSELF through your depression.
- Remember to let go – When you feel sad, lonely, emotional, tearful, angry, or any other plethora of emotions, let yourself feel them. And I mean really feel them. If you want to scream, go to the top of a rooftop or a cliff and scream, or scream into your pillow. If you want to cry, let it all go until there are no tears left. The important thing is to let go of things that are holding you back. Don’t bear grudges, don’t hold on to resentment and don’t wallow in your emotions. If you let them go you can move on, and the weight of your shoulders will feel make you feel 10 times lighter.
- Remember to give yourself a break -You’re fighting a battle every minute of every day which uses up reserves in your body that you didn’t even know were there. you’re arguing with yourself in your head with every decision you make.You’re going to therapy and laying yourself bare. You’re crying onto the shoulder of a loved on. Whatever state you’re in, you’re fighting. And that deserves a pat on the back. Give yourself a break…you’re trying your best and every positive step is a step further from the person you used to be.
- Remember it’s ok not to be ok – Jessie J said it herself. We are all human, we are all trying to find our way. We won’t always get it right. We won’t always know which way to turn. And this is ok. It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you just like the rest of us.
- Remember to be thankful for the good things – When I’m feeling particularly down, and trying to think of reasons why I am still fighting and trying not to lose my cool, I write a list, or comprise a mental note, of all the good things in my life. This is a constant reminder that not everything is negative, and not everything is bad. There are things worth fighting for.
- Remember to be patient with yourself – you’re learning new ways to grow and change and heal everyday. Be patient with yourself as you find out which ones work for you. There will be some days where its 2 steps forward and 3 steps back – but breathe in and out, and be patient for the days where it’s only forward. They will come. Nobody expects you to be “fixed” in a record time.
- Remember to talk about how you’re feeling – whether with a therapist, a friend, your mother, a boyfriend, it is so important to talk through what is going through your head. I cannot express how much talking through things and getting an insight into how others reason with themselves, as well as analysing how I behave together, has taught me to be a better person. Sometimes I have heard things I really haven’t wanted to hear – although that probably only means that it is true! It’s really helped me to grow and heal and get better, by simply getting my feelings out there. You know what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Remember that there is a community of people waiting to support, advise and listen to you – Throughout my younger days of dealing with depression, I wish I had known that there were communities of people who would understand me, listen to me moan and cry, share their stories with me, and generally make me feel more human and less like a monster in my own brain. For me, today, this community is my wordpress community, or family. I love reading blogs that inspire me, often I feel that some of you have taken the words right out of my mouth. When I feel down, this is the place I come to feel less alone. It is wonderful to be able to share, to not be judged and to have advice and understanding from those people who are dealing with their demons right alongside you.
- Remember to get outside into the fresh air – fresh air and exercise of some sort releases endorphins, makes you feel good, gives you space to breathe, gives you silence, gives you clarity. Fresh air can help you to breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity.
- Remember to focus on self-care – Focus on yourself, focus on taking care of your mind, body and spirit. Remember to meditate, to exercise, to pamper yourself. Often, I have found when I have been at my lowest of low, my personal hygiene has gone down the pan (disgusting I know), and I have been less likely to shower everyday, less likely to wash my makeup off or wash my hair, less likely to bother with looking presentable or dressing up to make myself feel good. If you pamper yourself, and feel good on the outside, it will help to make those low days feel that bit better. And then when you are feeling good on the inside, it will resonate even louder all the way out for all to see. Self care is of great importance, it includes me time, relaxing, reading a book, taking a candle lit bath, meditating, and doing whatever it is that you love.
- Remember to set yourself realistic goals and celebrate when you meet them – at my lowest, my goals included just making it out of the house for 5 minutes, or calling the doctor, or getting out of bed. Now, my goals include exercising, going on holiday, writing, coming up with new ideas etc. Creating goals and having something to look forward to and celebrate is something that really keeps me going. Keeping a diary of all the little goals you set yourself, whether thats a to-do list that you tick off, or an extensive list of little things you achieve in a day or a week, from grocery shopping to climbing a mountain, can help you to see all the things that you are achieving, and to help you feel great about yourself.
I would love to hear your ideas on how to promote self-love and how to love yourself even through the hardest of days.