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How I Lift Myself Up When Depression Gets Me Down

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Growing up I never found myself attractive. I never found myself appealing in any way. Throughout high school I even avoided looking in mirrors because I couldn’t stand to see what the real me really looked like. When I developed depression, I started hating everything about how I looked and sounded. I was hyper-critical of my every thought and opinion. Depression has been like a little cloud lingering around my head waiting to say, “You’re stupid, you’re ugly, you’re worthless” on repeat until I’m exhausted and have to lay down and then I can’t get anything done.

It was hard to fight off, near impossible.

Until the day I started lying to myself.

It started out jokingly with friends and family. Someone would say, “It’s so hot in here” and I’d say the cliche, “It’s ’cause I just walked in.” They’d laugh and say, “Oh my God, you’re so vain!” But I decided to roll with it. If someone said, “You look cute today!” I’d tell myself inside “I do look good, don’t I?” even if I thought I looked completely gross, and a little switch flicked on inside and my depression would back off.

If I asked someone out and they turned me down I’d say, “They were just baffled by how beautiful I am and couldn’t handle it” or if I didn’t get a job after an interview I’d say, “They’re threatened by how talented I am.” Even if I initially felt sad or down about it, the comments I was making convinced myself not to be. And with each one I feel my depression backing off. I feel it stepping down from the pedestal I let it have for years.

If I feel it creeping up I’ll say, “Ugh, it’s so hard being hot and talented at the same time” and it flies off, like holding a cross up to a vampire.

I’m amazing. I’m awesome. I’m so cool. Wow, I’m so good at this. I look nice today. This outfit is really cute on me. I’m really smart. I’m so funny. I’ve learned to say them out and on the regular. Though it’s never “I’m prettier than you,” or “I’m smarter than you,” or anything that suggests I’m better than those around me. The goal isn’t to bring others down, but just to bring myself up. And it works.

My depression is still there, but every time I lift myself up I can sense it backing off for a while and giving me a break. You might think cockiness and vanity are negatives, but when they’re keeping that horrible creature away from me — I’m all for them.

The Mighty is asking the following: What was one moment you received help in an unexpected or unorthodox way related to disability, disease or mental illness? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 23, 2016
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