We've all come to know the experience of the blues, being down, heartbreak, disappointment, sadness, or what some might even call depression. All too often the worst part of the experience isn't even the sadness or the bad feelings themselves, but rather the way sadness is able to change the way we see ourselves, our past, and our hope for the future. Depression may try to convince you that it holds the true assessment of your personality, weaknesses, and limitations but before you become completely convinced by depression there are a few things you should know.
When depression enters your life, its main goal is to impact your identity – what is most meaningful to you, your talents, your character, what makes you uniquely you. Depression knows that this is the key to taking away the most hope and happiness from your life and keeping you under its thumb. Simply ruining your mood isn't enough for depression; it aims to shake the core of how you see yourself.
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Depression is a master manipulator and it starts by discrediting your proud and good-feeling moments in your memory. It will insist that you didn’t really succeed when you thought you had, that you simply got lucky. You may think the compliment you just received wasn't really genuine, that they were just being nice. It may even go as far as to say that your friends don't really care about you and that you are totally alone. It will suggest that everyone else has this figured out and the fact that you don’t makes you a loser, a failure, unlovable, or any number of other things.
Depression doesn't play fair. Depression isn't concerned with facts or even your opinions. Its agenda is to twist every experience into evidence that you are fatally flawed and to get you to question what you know to be of value about yourself.
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It is as if you have been issued a pair of depression goggles that view yourself only according to depression’s skewed version of the events. It will bring up certain moments in your memory when life was at its worst for you, moments of loss, embarrassment, heartbreak, rejection and so on. It will suggest that these are in fact the most telling moments of who you are. You may find yourself thinking about a distant break up, that time you were passed up for a promotion, or a moment when you felt so very alone. These may even be memories or experiences you haven’t thought about for quite a long time, but depression is now keeping them fresh in your mind to try to dismantle your confidence in what you value most about yourself.
Try to spot your depression goggles
Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought "Hey, I look pretty good" and the very next day thought, "Oh, I really need to lose some weight. I look awful, maybe I shouldn't go out?" The situation really hasn't changed on that second day, but viewed through depression goggles everything just looks worse, even hopeless. Start trying to notice when depression is attempting to take over your mood, your view of yourself, or is attempting to re-edit your life story. It takes some practice to even spot it, but it can be done.