love yourself

Depression is an illness. It needs to be understood that way. It isn’t just a mood, attitude or behaviour. Depression changes brain patterns. It affects you physically and results in secondary health problems. Hiding depression or thinking you can get better on your own or by cheering up and doing ‘happy things’ won’t make depression disappear. Severe depression can make you commit suicide. So how do you love life when you are depressed?

  1. You need to admit you are depressed. This can be tough to do since depression has a huge negative stigma. Admitting you are depressed means you can start healing yourself. This means going to a health professional. It means telling someone you need help. Embarrassment is nothing to be afraid of once you’re lost in the darkness of depression. Otherwise the huge gaping wound bleeding out joy, love and hope may take you to the point where nothing exists beyond your own pain and despair. That’s the time you start thinking about committing suicide.
  2. Medication is necessary. No matter how much you hate or resist the idea, you need to take medication to get you back to a normal baseline level of brain function. Depression affects your brain chemistry. Serotonin levels are reduced, sometimes to extremely low levels. Brain patterns start to change because new neural networks are being formed. You literally start to think differently about the world. So you need more than desire and determination to get better. You can’t enjoy or love life if your brain isn’t producing the needed level of neurotransmitter to get you up to the task. Sure, some people do heal themselves without taking any medication or therapy. That is the exception, not the norm!
  3. Love yourself. This means good, healthy self-love. Sure, you can do all sorts of things to make you feel good about yourself. But if you don’t genuinely love yourself, the effects are short term. There is nothing more fundamental to loving life than loving yourself. We all need to be loved and to have hope. Depression is a darkness that makes you hopeless. You tell yourself lies which make you despise your life and your soul. If I hate myself, how can I look at anything in my world and not hate it too? You have to rediscover the love you once had for yourself. You love life by loving yourself.

I was strong enough to survive the dark nights of the soul. I turned my life around by looking for the light within my experiences and through loving myself. It was an eclipse of the soul. I am still depressed and live in a less joyful world than those around me, but the joy and love that I have now is a profound, true reflection of my soul.

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