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If I Could Think My Way Out of Depression... I Would!

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Insight is one of the keys to unlocking the chains of depression. Or is it? When I feel like no one likes me, my insight into my illness tells me it’s my depression talking. When I tell people I care about (and who care about me) that I’m doing fine even when I’m dying inside and I feel like a fraud, my insight into my illness tells me it’s my depression talking. When I fear nothing will ever help me to feel better or “normal,” my insight into my illness tells me it’s my depression talking.

Does that insight translate into a change in my thoughts and feelings? No, often it does not. In fact, that insight can make me feel even worse. “If you know it’s the depression talking,” I tell myself, “then why can’t you just get over it?” I would never say something like that to someone else, so why do I feel like it is OK to say it to myself.

Because when the depression is talking, it’s all I can hear. The voice is so loud and overwhelming that the power of my insight is either too deeply buried or it adds to my sense of failure as a human being. I know that I know better, and that does not make me feel better.

I am blessed to have a therapist with whom I can honestly share my thoughts and feelings. She hears me and understands me. She gently reminds me that knowing something but feeling something else does not have to be a “but” — it can be an “and.” I’m a human being with a real illness, where knowing one thing “and” thinking and feeling something else can exist at the same time. She reminds me that if I could think my way out of depression, I would… I would have done it long ago.

I’m not saying insight cannot be a useful tool in understanding my illness; it’s just not the be all, end all of my experience with depression. It’s so helpful to have a professional to share my thoughts and feelings with — one who can help me learn to use my insight for good.

If you need help, please get it! Please use the resources you have to find a caring and understanding professional who can help you sort through the troubling thoughts and feelings that are a daily part of your struggle with depression or any other mental illness. It’s worth it. More importantly, you’re worth it!

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Thinkstock photo by LarsZahner Photography

Originally published: January 25, 2017
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