Monthly Archives: January 2016

A self-compassion practice

You are not a bad person for being depressed. You are not selfish, self-centered, self-indulgent. At least no more than any other person. You are not irrational or making things up or blowing things out of proportion. You are, in fact, ill in a way that is outside of your control. In fact, you know this, that you are ill, because you feel it in your physical body every day, these days.

You are not weak. You are also not invincible. You are human; no more; no less. You are, in fact, stronger than many people. You have no easy options, and yet you press on. Asking for help is tough and terrible. Muscling through is hard and horrible. Slowing down remains unthinkable. You hate every option besides non-existence, and yet you find the will to choose. You are not weak. You deserve more support. You will find more support.

You deserve credit for every minuscule thing that you accomplish. It does not matter if they are things other people do everyday without thought or hesitance. You push boulders off of your chest as you pull yourself out of bed. You swallow your fear of the sunshine burning your face as you step out the door. In your strongest and your most vulnerable states, you show up for the ones you love, when you can, how you can, day by day.

You love. And you feel alone. You are not ungrateful or impossible to please because you feel lonely, despite the presence of deep love and care all around you. You can feel love and sorrow in equal measure, at the same time. You can feel them both so acutely, that either feeling resembles pain. You feel pain in a way that you cannot articulate to those around you. You do not imagine it. You are afraid others will not believe you, and you are not wrong to fear. And, you can also choose to trust them to believe you.

You can practice feeling joy. You can find ways to exercise your happiness muscle. You can panic with worry that you will never again experience joy. Finish the panic, and then resume practicing. You can accept incremental progress. You can laugh without feeling like a traitor to yourself. You can celebrate each pain-free minute of the day as a victory, because each one is. 

You can give yourself credit for every failed and successful attempt at choosing love. You can and will give yourself credit for every day and every hour that you successfully choose life, willingly or unwillingly.

You can love and hate your depression. You can have mixed feelings about getting better. You can worry that the part of you that is unwell will feel betrayed by the part of you that wants to get well. You can feel angry when you think that other people are trying to take your depression away from you. You can hate this painful burden, and feel relief in its familiarity. You can and do feel ambivalent.

You can love yourself unconditionally. You can forgive yourself for wanting what you’ve been told is unthinkable; you can trust others to forgive you as well. You can invite the ones you love to understand. When they refuse, or are unable, you can insist they try. You can tell them it is important that they try. You can name the terms of your own survival, and you can demand their participation, because in this moment, your own survival feels like a sacrifice. You can trust yourself, and trust the ones you love,  even when your trust muscle is weak. 

You are perfect. You do not need fixing. Your mind and your heart and you are beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you.