Depression and the stories we tell ourselves

Written by Amie on June 6, 2011 – 10:52 pm -

You will not believe this…let me tell you

I was just thinking tonight that if we are not aware of our thoughts, ┬áit is so easy to convince ourselves of just about anything. For example, if you are hoping that a friend will call because you miss them and really want to see them, but then they don’t call, the stories begin in the mind. “I bet she just doesn’t want to see me”, or “gosh, I wonder what I did to make her mad”, or “I hope she wasn’t in a terrible car accident and nobody told me.” Have you ever found yourself doing this? I would venture to say that everyone has done this, and most likely on a daily basis. All of these thoughts have a few things in common. They are very likely not true, they bring us out of the present moment, and they try to make us at fault for something that isn’t even true. The mind likes to bring us out of the present moment. It is the habit of the mind. It is also very common in people with depression to go to the worst case scenario in most situations with the blame being on themselves.

Here comes that feeling of blackness again

I wanted to mention the above because I thought it would resonate with most people. I want to take it one step further and point out the stories we tell ourselves about our depression. When I was feeling horrible my first thought was usually,” here it comes again, I will never get rid of this.” And I believed it. I believed it completely. I believed the stories in my head. They had been there for so long, I didn’t know to question them. I see that this has to be the first step on the path to getting through depression. We have to become aware of what we tell ourselves, and then we must give depression a voice. We have to learn to watch the mind and the crazy untrue messages it tells us.

How to do this?

Even if you are convinced that your depression has nothing to do with your thoughts and beliefs or that you don’t say mean things to yourself, try paying close attention for just one hour today. Write down everything that goes through your mind. The key is not to judge yourself. Just look and watch and observe and record. You may be shocked at what you write down. Most of us have an endless loop of negative thoughts and comments going through the mind. So many messages we picked up along the way. The majority, if not all of them, are false! If you don’t believe me, take one of the thoughts you wrote down and prove it’s truth. Prove to yourself it is true. It doesn’t count to say something like, “I can prove that I am stupid because I failed that test.” So you failed a test, how would that prove you are stupid? It doesn’t. There has to be 100% solid evidence that your thoughts are actually true. Good luck proving any of it.

A place of familiarity

Once I became aware that my thoughts are beliefs were not true, I felt a new freedom and excitement! I felt as thought i could start my life again. I learned to question every single thing that went through my mind. I threw them away if they weren’t true. Was it easy? No! Do I still struggle at times? Absolutely! But the difference is awareness. I am aware of my thoughts, and this makes all the difference in the world. Awareness is the first step. Awareness leads to presence. The present moment is all you have for sure, so why not learn to stay in it? The things you are telling yourself about tomorrow or last week or the things you are saying about why your friend hasn’t called-these are ALL just stories your mind is making up to keep you in the place of fear and a place of familiarity. That’s all. A story, just like in a book. Once you can step back and watch your mind telling you stories, you begin to view them as just that. Healing from depression can be hard work, but it is so worth it! If you allow yourself to become aware without judgment, you will begin to open yourself up to the truth of what is inside you. Pure awareness and pure beauty and love. I hope this doesn’t sound to “frou-frou”, as I know what it feels like to be in the bottomless pit. However, I do want to give you tools and give you hope that it can and will get better if you are willing to dig inside yourself to become aware of what is really being said.

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