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How I’m Choosing to Cope With the Negative Voice of My Depression

This week, I cried in my car. This week, I canceled plans with someone I care about because I was anxious. This week, I stayed in bed instead of enjoying a beautiful summer day. This week, I spent hours ruminating on an event that happened years ago. This week, I felt hopeless.

Also…

This week, I made something I was proud of. This week, I went to the gym despite not feeling up to it. This week, I pushed myself outside my comfort zone. This week, I deeply enjoyed a book I was reading. This week, I laughed with friends. This week, I felt love.

I have a nasty habit of obsessing about my “failures” and dismissing my successes. Why is it so easy to be someone else’s cheerleader, but as soon as it comes to celebrating my own wins, I’m not worthy?

I basically have two voices in my head. The rational, supportive voice who encourages and nurtures (and he’s not a big talker), and the irrational, asshole voice who tears me down every chance he gets (and he’s more of a Chatty Cathy). It’s so easy for me to latch onto these negative thoughts and follow them down a rabbit hole, “Alice in Wonderland” style. Except, instead of ending up in a magical dream world, I end up cocooned in my bed for 16 hours and ordering pizza.

Why are these negative thoughts so attractive? Is it because it’s easier to accept that I’m a depressive, anxious “screw-up” than to fight for the fulfilled life I know I want? Easier to lie in bed all day than to get up and battle, despite these thoughts raining down on me like a hail storm? Easier to succumb to an illness than to overcome it?

I don’t have the power to stop these thoughts from happening. I don’t think anyone does. However, I do have some say in which of these voices I choose to listen to. So, that is my mission for this week: to tune my dial into that positive voice. To turn up the volume knob, even just a little bit. Write down my wins and celebrate them no matter how small they may seem. To cheer for myself in the way I would cheer for a friend who is struggling. Less asshole, more nurture.

To anyone reading this, I’m in your corner, and you should be too.

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash