6 Things To Remember If You Are Struggling With COVID-19 Depression & Thoughts Of Self-Harm

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6 Things To Remember If You Are Struggling With COVID-19 Depression & Thoughts Of Self-Harm
Self

Dear one,

Despair can be present, but please don’t let it consume you.

I understand if you are feeling overwhelmed and helpless or picturing the worst right now. Sensitive, empathic beings like you are more easily flooded by the distress that surrounds us, impacting your mental health.

It is your precious, valuable, and emotionally tender nature that makes it harder to take all this in. And right now, during this stage of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, there is an unprecedented, huge amount of distress. Too much.

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Despair may be part of your emotional truth right now. We can’t entirely deny it or push it away. But it need not — and cannot — be your whole story right now.

Maybe you’ve been pulled down into fearful, dark stories often enough before to believe that this time there is no escape — maybe often enough to start thinking that catastrophe is inevitable.

It is not.

If you're currently filled with despair, thoughts of depression, and self-harm taking over your life, always remember these 6 things.

1. Nobody knows how to do it well.

This is hard. We are all out of our comfort zones and in new territory.

It is OK to feel confused. It is OK to feel utterly and completely at a loss about what to do next.

It is OK to feel the whole range of emotions, from elation to despair, every day. And it is OK to feel angry, even enraged.

Welcome it all. It is all part of our current story. But giving up is not the right direction for you.

2. You are worth saving.

Cherished one, it is possible that you have been surrounded by people who don’t recognize your value or who fail to communicate appreciation of the gifts you give.

Believe me, you have vital and wonderful gifts to offer this world and to the people around you.

Even if it is not clear to you yet exactly what you have to offer, the loving, radiant potential in you is waiting to bloom. It cannot bloom in the dark.

3. You can get through this.

Some seeds land in easy, fertile ground. Other seeds find themselves in hostile environments where it is difficult to take root.

We are all in an unwelcoming, difficult environment right now. It is hard work to learn how to grow here.

Your struggle to figure out how to show up to this moment is no less than heroic. It involves faith, uncertainty, and taking steps in the dark.

But it is possible for you to show up, at this moment. You can do it. Not easily, but bravely.

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4. You can be changed in positive ways by this.

In fact, it is very possible that the process of showing up to this difficult moment will help you see yourself, your recent activities, and your goals from a new, more insightful point of view.

Post-traumatic growth is possible, instead of post-traumatic stress.

You will no doubt be changed by this experience. You may very well be changed in ways that enhance and empower you.

A fire can be destructive, horrible, and full of loss. But ashes from the torched farmlands provide necessary nutrients for new and different crops to grow.

You might grow in useful ways you did not expect.

5. What we have now is not forever.

Everything changes. You will change. New things will happen. Your thoughts and feelings will change.

Your environment will change, too. There will be a direction to go if you keep looking for it. Persistence, patience, and self-compassion are key right now.

Do not be guilty of throwing yourself away too soon.

6. Hang in there.

Hold on. Breathe deeply. Give yourself a hug. Be a good friend to yourself. This dark place is not permanent.

Despite the present awfulness, you may be pleasantly surprised at where you find yourself next.

With love,

Heidi.

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Heidi Hartston, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Oakland, California. You can see more of Heidi’s work on her YouTube channel or on her website.