When I Feel Depression is Killing Me, I’m just Gonna Make a Pact With Myself to Love Myself
Depression is killing me. But no longer. Over the course of the last three years, I’ve been on a crash course with learning how to love myself despite a lot of heartache and hair-brain decisions made in the midst of emotional crisis. It takes courage to look at the past three years and say yeah I made some mistakes and some painful ones at that—but I’ve also made a lot of tiny day-to-day healthy decisions and big healthy decisions, and I can take credit for actually growing and being refined in the fire.
I’m proud of myself. And I’m humbled. I can look myself square in the eye and ask down deeply: “are you okay with yourself?” And I can look inward and upward and then outward and say “yes, I’m good.” I’m good because of God’s grace and His sustaining power and I’m good because there are a number of things and people and expectations that I’m not giving up on.
I’ve seen myself as the ultimate failure for many years. It’s like I had all this energy and didn’t know where to invest it, except for my home life. Then that blew to shreds and I’m left holding the bag. The remnants of my life are in the bag. The bag is heavy but surprisingly light. I had lost a ton. But I gained some new and moved forward. I was just too fragile to make healthy decisions.
Unhealthy decisions are painful. Some healthy ones are too, but for different reasons. What to do when you feel guilty or overly accountable for decisions that have hurt yourself and those around you that you love? You gotta look yourself square in the eye and forgive yourself and take yourself by the hand and start walking up the hill. You can skip and chuckle, or cry and run, or crawl and weep in anguish. You can also look the future in the eye, one day full of hopelessness and grief and another with the eyes of someone who is freshly awoken after decades of slumber and is ready to tear into life with purpose.
To try to find someone to fill the holes left by painful decisions is to seek the unattainable, or the unobtainable. To need someone else to validate yourself instead of looking first to your maker and second to yourself and third to those who love you is the impossible. There are miracles but they can’t be counted on, only prayed and hoped for. Meanwhile you can work and invest energies the ONLY place you are certain they will pay dividends. Into yourself, and (if applicable) your children.
No One Is Going To Love You Like You Can Love Yourself
Let’s be real. No one knows how you feel except you, truly. Why is this important? Because only YOU are the expert in your own needs. The question is, do you take care of yourself and love yourself as you would another person, whom you were in covenant relationship with? Covenant relationship—you ‘house’ your spirit. You are accountable to yourself and your Maker for how you care for yourself—physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually.
Not only does no one know you like you know you—but no one cares as much about what happens to you, as you do. Because you have to live with yourself and what happens to you 24/7. No one else is as gravely affected!
Therefore, it falls to you to be the steward of yourself and care for yourself as you would care for a dear, dear loved one. You are bound to your maker in stewardship in this way. When you fail, it’s not difficult to just turn around and keep going, loving yourself and dispensing grace upon grace upon grace TO YOURSELF.
Practical Ways to Love Yourself
Don’t laugh. But to cook for yourself and to clean for yourself is an incredible act of love. I know many women who slave away for their families doing all the household chores. But they are so tired and unmotivated they let these things slide for themselves.
For many weeks I had dirty dishes overflowing and laundry growing. And I just couldn’t face the piles. And then, I just did. And I did again. I decided I needed to just do the shit I needed to do, without seeing it as something I couldn’t take on [for whatever reason: tiredness, depression, stress, physical illness, etc]. Essentially, I will literally talk to myself and tell myself to get up and put the rubber gloves on and just tackle this small pile of dishes so it doesn’t become overwhelming. And then I have a clean kitchen counter in the morning, which makes me feel happy, and cared for. And truth is— I WAS cared for, by my previous self.
What Is One Thing You Can Do Today to Show Yourself Love?
What would make you feel loved? To force yourself to avoid sugar, or to eat a salad? Or if you took the time to do your laundry (and perhaps, generously, also someone else’s) and feel great about it? Or dust your coffee table with thankfulness that you have a coffee table?
Mixing gratitude into the mix is powerful. Gratitude with disciplined love is the key to happiness and success, when you apply them first to yourself, and then to others.
God bless you beautiful one.
Love and care for yourself with an attitude of gratitude and you won’t be ravaged by the cares and troubles of this world.