Depression is a little different for everyone. Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed or struggled with it for years, you deserve to feel like you have control over your life. Even though some people may never live without any mental health symptoms, that doesn’t mean they’re condemned to suffer endlessly and miss out on all the things they want. When you’re depressed, knowing what you want can be difficult in and of itself. A persistent lack of motivation and haunting feelings about the meaninglessness of, well, everything can make life feel too much sometimes. But there is a way to see through the dark. You can set goals and reach them, so long as you’re patient and kind to yourself.
Reevaluate All of Your Shoulds
You should have more money. You should have a better job. You should be in a relationship. You should have done more. All these should weigh you down, making you feel like who you are can never be enough. You have to start addressing these beliefs one at a time. See which ones are really desires masked as negative self-judgement. If you say you should have gone to college, then ask whether you even want to get a degree. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and find the answer is yes.
Self-doubt, missed opportunities and negative beliefs may have simply stopped you from pursuing higher education. Once you’ve identified what you want to do and what you really don’t, it’s time to come up with an action plan. If you really decide to go to school, then you can begin researching programs near you and financing options. Borrowing a private student loan will allow you to pay for school on your own terms. Whatever you choose, there are ways to achieve what you want and leave the shoulds behind.
Stop Repeating the Same Patterns
Depression drains your energy, making it easier to repeat bad habits simply because they’re easier. It takes a lot of effort to quit things, no matter how harmful they may be to us in the long-run. But if you want to move forward in life, you have to commit to ending unhealthy cycles. This could mean refraining from alcohol, ending unhealthy relationships or setting better boundaries about what treatment you allow and disallow from others. If you struggle to identify or stop bad habits, consider speaking to a licensed therapist. You can even access one from your phone using Talkspace or BetterHelp.
Make a List of Daily Self-Care To-Dos
Anyone who’s experienced depression knows firsthand how it clouds your mind. Everyday things like brushing your teeth or combing your hair can fall to the wayside. When you stop taking care of yourself on the most basic level, you reinforce depression’s lies that you aren’t worth caring about. Make a list and keep it somewhere you’ll always see it. Set reminders on your phone. If you have to schedule simple tasks like drinking water and even changing your underwear, do it. It might feel silly at first, but don’t let that stop you. We have to move step by step if we want to get anywhere.