Learning to Love Yourself When You’re Depressed

depressed girl

The National Institute of Mental Health says that people with depression are four times more likely to suffer from a stroke than those who have a clear history of depression. All these statistics reveal how much this disease has penetrated into our society and the dire need to help those suffering from it.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 6.7% of the US population aged 18 and over gets affected by a major anxiety disorder. This accounts for an approximately 14.8 million Americans with 1 in every 33 children and 1 in 8 adults having any form of clinical depression.

depressed woman portrait with depression statistics

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

A review of a research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry revealed that the images of a depressed brain show altered structures and brain circuits working differently than those of a normal individual. Chronic depression can even push a person to the verge of committing suicide and also makes him prone to a number of other diseases.

It is through proper medical help and assistance that you can come out of depression. One can either resort to medication or to psychotherapy by visiting a psychiatrist or a psychologist. But most of all, it is your own willpower and commitment to pull yourself out of depression that can make life normal once again.

Despite all the adverse effects of depression, there is always a ray of hope for those who are looking for a way out of their condition. Instead of relying on an external source, loving yourself and realizing your own value will play an integral role in bouncing back from the situation.

Psychologists suggest the following ways to help yourself:

1. Embrace what your inner self is telling you

You must be willing to feel the pain and take responsibility for your feelings. You need to accept all the positive and the negative thoughts which you experience over a certain period of time as that is an attempt to be comfortable with your own self. Don’t think that someone else has caused you to reach such a point because only you are responsible for your actions. Intent to learn from your behavior so that you can bring improvement in the future. Find out the exact causes of your pain and be counterproductive in overcoming them.

2. Make eating healthy and exercise your priority

Exercise plays a major role in stimulating the natural compounds in the body that can make any person feel good about themselves. The professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona in Tuscan, Ole Thienhause says, “Exercise improves mood state.” Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity as this can bring wondrous changes to your mundane life. Resorting to frozen pizza and beer may also seem like an attractive offer while your thoughts overpower your happiness but this will only make you feel worse about yourself. Healthy eating will bring positive changes in your body, in turn, causing your brain to be affected positively too.

3. Get a support system for yourself

The foremost thing which one does while suffering from depression is that the push away the people around them and resort to loneliness. This only worsens their condition because spending more time alone will only cause them to be overwhelmed with all the negativity. It is important to have at least one person on whom you can rely on and who can love and motivate you for who you are. That person should be your rock when you are having a panic attack, are unable to overcome your anxiety or may throw a random tantrum.

4. Stay active and indulge in the things you enjoy

There are always a few activities which make a person refreshed and snap out of their bad mood. Some like reading while others may resort to writing. A few people are artists and doodling or sketching is their way of making themselves relieve the stress. An empty mind will always be full of negative thoughts so the best option is to keep yourself busy in something which you love doing. The experience will not only keep your brain busy but will help in motivating yourself. Craft, cook, bake, draw, paint or do anything else to allow yourself some joy.

5. Don’t expect perfection in anything

Depression and anxiety make us compare ourselves with the images we see on the internet or television. The worst scenario is when we see how we have changed over a certain course of time and find our older version to be fantastic as compared to the present one. Comparing yourself to your pre-depression period is definitely going to make you feel worst about yourself so never do this. For a number of people, depression leads to gaining weight because of their irregular eating habits but expecting yourself to shine like you used to will only do more bad than good. Love who you are and what you have become because that is the first step to getting rid of the additional feelings of self-loathing. Make a conscious choice to adore yourself despite your situation but this doesn’t mean that no efforts should be employed for improvement.

6. Stop judging yourself and your actions

People who are suffering from depression are quick to judge themselves in everything they do and that particular judgment is never a good one. This is their self-defense as they are finding fault in themselves before anyone else does, thus, trying to save themselves from the pressure of external criticism. “I’ve already told myself that I am ten times worse than this person actually implies so his words won’t make any difference” are the thoughts of such a person. The solution to this issue is that if you cannot stop yourself from being judgmental, at least don’t give heed to such thoughts. This will involve some practice but eventually, one learns to ignore the dysfunctional thinking.

As depression is a genuine illness, there is no coming out of it without medication irrespective of how much you resist or hate the idea. Strong-willed people who are ready to take up anything to have a beautiful life again can think of getting rid of the anti-depressant after they have returned to a normal life.

What motivates you?