Daily Mom Hug | Depression Lies
The echoes of the past do not define you
Good morning, fam.
First, as the amazing Wil Wheaton says, “Depression lies.”
So does anxiety. And PTSD. And the echoes of our childhood trauma. And a whole host of other issues that can build a peanut gallery inside our heads.
And this hardwiring, whether induced through a chemical imbalance or trauma, is a bitch to undo and rewire. Add in the layers of cultural, religious and societal expectations of normalcy, and wow, it’s really amazing that any of us manage to get through a day, much less thrive.
But we do thrive, because we have hopes and dreams, goals and bucket lists, just like everyone else. It’s just that sometimes we have to work harder to find success. Not impossible, just sometimes tedious.
And today I wanted to remind you that those voices that you hear that tell you that no one wants you, everyone hates you, you’re a failure, you can’t do this thing, you will never succeed, so why are you bothering… they’re all lies.
All of them.
And each one can be traced back to a source, a person that stitched that line of thinking into your person with some strong ass metal wire.
For me, the gremlins tells me all the time that the important people in my life are going to leave me. That fear they feed on is directly tied to my birth mother leaving when I was 4 and the subsequent abuse at the hands of my stepmother and neglect from my adopted mother. After all, if the woman who birthed, and by all accounts, loved me could leave, why would anyone else stay?
Logically, I know better, but there’s nothing logical about the darkness in our heads, is there? And I know full well that the emotional ties to this part of my brain has encouraged bad choices, bad behavior, all attempts at self-sabotage that prove those thoughts right.
So, what do we do?
Caught between knowing how ridiculous our brain gremlins are, even how we got them, and the overwhelming whirlwind of darkness that threatens to pull us under and drown us, how do we stay afloat?
Our survival is a day-to-day operation that requires practice and reinforcement.
Here are four things that help me:
1. Remind Myself that They’re Lying.
This started as post-it notes on mirrors, because I couldn’t say those words out loud, because I didn’t believe them at first.
Then it morphed into angry staring contests in the same mirrors while I thought the words in my head and reread the post-its.
Now, I actively tell the voices in my head to shut the fuck up and go away.
2. Build a Support System
It’s easy to say, “Cut the toxic people out of your life”, but in practice, it can be episode-inducing, even when you logically know that these people, whether they’re parents, friends or other family, are just adding to your burden.
So what I did was build a positive support system first.
I have a small circle of people I trust to have my back when I fall, people who check on me when I’m not as present online, and some of them even call or text when they feel a disturbance in the Force.
With this group of people, I am able to leave the relationships that were killing me slowly. Was there still drama? Oh, hell yeah, but I didn’t have to listen. I could rely on these people to stand up for me, and stand me up when I faltered. To this day, these are the people I go to first.
3. Seek Professional Help
I’m a huge advocate for therapy and medication, but I know that can be a hard decision. Aside from accessibility depending on your location, insurance and affordability, the idea of therapy still has a stigma attached to it.
Getting therapy or medication is not a sign of weakness. It takes great strength to realize that you need help to manage your issues. So, if you can get help, then do so. It’s amazing how having an objective person listen to you and guide you through your trauma.
Note: Not every therapist is a good fit. If you don’t feel like you’re clicking, change therapists.
Do you have to go on meds? Absolutely not.
Can it help? Absolutely.
Is it instant? No, finding the right medication and dosage is a process.
Are these concerns something you should address with your therapist? Yes.
I used to be concerned that people would like me more when I’m medicated, but I realized that being on medication helped me like myself more. Everyone else was icing on the cake.
4. Learn Triggers
Learning your triggers can be hard.
And sometimes they’re stupid things, like hormonal changes during your period, or high stress. Or a disruption to your plans that you knew could happen.
But sometimes they’re bigger things, like a phrase someone says that your abuser used to say, or an action that your current partner does that lead to bad things in previous relationships, or some other thing that takes you back to a bad space in your head.
When you learn to recognize what can set off an episode, it’s easier to talk yourself away from the whirlpool.
Some days are going to be easier than others, and some days, you’re going to want to give in.
And that’s okay.
Just don’t live there. Brush yourself off in the morning and try again.
And I leave you with these final thoughts:
You’re not alone.
You are worthy of love and respect, just the way you are.
Your past may have been written with someone else’s hand, but your future is all yours.
Take care, fam.
See you tomorrow.
P.S. If there’s something you’d like to hear me talk about, please leave a comment!