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    Talking Yourself Up: A First Step Out of Depression

    Sad Teenage GirlIf you’ve battled depression for a while, and feel you’ve really made progress toward consistently feeling better, there still can be days when it just hits you by surprise. These are not days to give up or give in. Experiencing waves of depression does not mean you have failed somehow in the conquer depression game. Many times talking it out can help you get a better perspective, even if the only person you have to talk to is yourself.

    Depression has a way of making us want to shut out the world and hide somewhere in the dark. Somewhere away from responsibilities and stress, but also away from the things and people that could bring us laughter and joy. We may resist help from our loved ones, especially if we’ve told ourselves they are part of the problem. Even if we don’t blame them, deep down it is hard to believe they understand.

    Finding your “snap out of it” inner self.

    The person who does understand is your own deepest self. Whether your depression is relatively mild or severe enough to need urgent professional care, the only person who will get you off the couch, into the shower, or dialing a number for a counselor or friend is you.

    We all have a part of ourselves inside that seems smarter, more connected to reality, and incredibly more brave. This part of us seems to know what is good for us, and believes in us, no matter what. You can call it you intuition, your survival instinct, or your higher nature. It doesn’t matter what you call it. All that matters is that you listen, and that you trust.

    When we listen to it, our inner brave self will keep us hanging on to a guide wire when we think all our strength is gone. It will talk us down from a cliff, or talk us up from whatever hole we’ve fallen into.

    Let your inner self ask questions.

    When we’re depressed, we seldom think straight. We ignore or miss clues all around us that might have a connection to how we feel. Our inner selves, however, are more clear sighted. More analytical, and less swayed by emotions. They may first ask if anything has happened to directly cause how we’re feeling. If there is not an immediate cause, they may start to search out if something happened before.

    This kind of questioning is not the same as when friends or family ask, “what are you depressed about?” Then our response is apt to be “depression is not about anything. It just is.” Our inner selves have access to all our secret worries and fears. They can ask if we’re especially stressed about money, and have been stuffing down just how deep that worry goes. If we can’t stop crying, they may be able to remind us of a sugar binge a few days back that will right itself with time. They can ask us to remember things we really don’t want to see.

    While none of these small situations may be the root of our depression, they do add to its impact, and make pulling out of it far more difficult. Seeing where we can make adjustments or let go of small irritations, can do a lot to get us back on track.

    Our inner selves won’t accept fuzzy thinking.

    A common thread when we’re depressed is feeling that our lives are a total mess, and we repeat an inner mantra about how miserable we are. If we could only escape. If we could only walk away from it all and start fresh somewhere else. But our inner guidance system knows better, and reminds us that our thinking is leading us nowhere.

    “If you walk away, what would you do then?” it might ask. If we listen to it, our inner voice can counter every irrational escape plan, and even offer new ideas of how to face up to our situation, and move forward instead of staying stuck where we are.

    Our inner selves won’t accept resentments.

    It is easy to want to put our depression down to being someone else’s fault. Our families, our jobs, even society at large. At other times, we may blame ourselves. But our inner self knows that how we are feeling is nobody’s fault. It is not because we’ve messed up our lives, or that outside forces have conspired against us. It knows that all kinds of resentments simply keep depression alive. Only letting go will lighten the load.

    Try on the idea that you inner self is the real you.

    Do you ever wonder how you inner self can seem so calm when you are so rattled, so wise when you are so irrational? It is almost as if some different person resides inside us, to keep us from wandering too far off track. But what if we could really accept that inner part of us as our truest nature? What if this rattled, depressed, knee-jerking part of ourselves is like a garment we’ve added to over time, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t really fit very well?

    However we define it, our inner self is part of us. Not some alien being, inhabiting us from a distant star. Understanding that should make us a proud of these wise thoughts that we hear beneath the din. These kind words of love and encouragement that never give up on life…those words come from us.

    It’s a wonderful thing to accept that brave and loving soul, and welcome it into every moment of our ego driven lives. When you really need a friend, let it talk you up, and be grateful for who you truly are.

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