Why Talk About Depression?
Every chance I get, I speak about my struggle with depression throughout law school.
“Why?” you might ask.
When people see me they automatically think, “There is a girl who’s got it together,” and this thought was no different when I was downing wine to sleep until I could get back to counseling to try “fixing” myself.
I often think that there must be so many others out there maintaining a flawless finish on the outside while they crumble on the inside. I suppose this thought is what keeps me transparent about my own experiences.
The truth is that lots of us look like we have it together while we are internally going through hell because we have no one we trust to talk about it without judging us or explaining to us why we are “tripping”; “sleep” on ourselves; or crazy for feeling down when we have everything going.
I remember feeling like I was drowning in tough love and judgment until I began to withdraw myself from most.
Withdrawal was even worst. It caused me to drown myself in negative thoughts with no one to tell me otherwise.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much or questioned myself more than I did throughout 2013-2014.
Despite all of the accomplishments and compliments, I felt like something was wrong with me. I was in a sunken place that I couldn’t pull myself out of despite how many pep talks my mom or sister had with me. I felt helpless, and completely out of control.
Journaling Positive Affirmations
On the advice of my counselor, I started back journaling. It was the perfect way for me to get out thoughts and emotions without sounding crazy to others or feeling embarrassed about my struggles.
This mechanism of therapy shifted to journaling positive affirmations. I started and ended my day by reading scriptures, quotes, and sayings that encouraged me to see myself how God saw me — strong; capable; and able to overcome every situation that came my way.
I developed a pattern of writing down affirmations from the positive source I’d read for the day. Eventually, journaling turned into writing sticky notes around my apartment.
Every time I started to feel down, I read these affirmations. I kept reading affirmations and saying them out loud until I eventually started believing them.
The Power of Self-Talk
Through my experience with depression, I learned the power of self talk.
As long as I said or thought negative things I felt negative.
The more I spoke positivity into my life, the more I felt like I could make it another day. This was not an overnight process, but every day as I read my sticky notes, I felt myself get a little stronger.
What About Your Friends? The Importance of Positive Relationships
When we hear talk of positive affirmations, we think of things we are saying to ourselves. However, depression taught me that positive affirmations don’t always have to come from you. Others also have the power to positively affirm you.
It is completely possible for someone to speak positivity over your life until you believe it.
In my case, I was blessed to form a relationship with a sister-friend, Bethany. She was the one person I never felt judged by.
Bethany made it her duty to speak positively to me. She prayed positive things over me while I cried until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. She wrote me notes and sent texts that encouraged me to get up again. I used her words as a method of positive affirmation that played back in my head when I needed it most.
She also taught me a lot about myself.
She taught me the importance of being nonjudgmental and how to love others in spite of. She taught me the power of just being there – something I now carry with me every day.
Although positive affirmations were not the only component to pulling me out of depression, it sure did help!
I believe that we can find life in what we say about ourselves when no one is listening. If you say something long enough you will start to believe it. Sometimes you have to be strong enough to help yourself by being mindful of what you say to you.
Positive Affirmations for Those Struggling with Depression
There is no test that you cannot pass and no struggle that you cannot conquer.
Remind yourself that the power is in you.
Surround yourself with positivity.
Counter every negative thought with a positive one. Train your mind to see the upside.
Think to yourself that victory is right on the other side of the storm you are facing. Storms are never fun, but they always result in growth. Let everything you are going through grow you. Let it cultivate you. Let it make you better. Remind yourself that you are worth fighting for over and over again. Do not give up on you.
The Importance of a Kind Heart
For those of you who are blessed to be living in peace and happiness, remember the importance of being kind. It is the one thing that costs you nothing.
You never know what a person is struggling with internally, and you never know how one kind gesture can have a positive impact. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. They might just need your grace to get them through a tough time.