Going through depression is definitely not an easy fight.
It has been two years since depression started taking over my life.
And navigating through those dark and empty years was by far the most challenging season that I ever had to face.
Not only was I struggling with depression and anxiety every day, but I was also grieving a loss of a loved one and facing financial struggles and stress.
Looking back, I would have never thought that I would make it. I would have never thought that I could still continue to fight every day.
Depression tested every ounce of strength in me — strength that I never even knew I had.
It turned my whole world upside down. It made me feel so defeated and worthless.
Waking up with so much pain and emptiness in my heart was the hardest.
Every day, I would wake up feeling so guilty, believing that I no longer served any purpose.
And that my life was just not worth living anymore because now, I was nothing but a burden.
This is what depression does. It just consumes you, eats you alive and it rips you apart.
It’ll tell you all these lies making you believe that you are worthless and a complete failure.
While my battle with depression was my constant struggle every day, I also realized that I had a lot of habits that were not only sabotaging my happiness, it was also making my depression worse.
It was also feeding my depression. So, I started to recognize what those habits are and slowly change them to help me better cope with depression.
Slowly changing these habits has helped me so much. It made my dark days a lot more bearable and I’m hoping that it will do the same for you.
Here are 5 habits I gave up to overcome depression…
1. The habit of expecting to always feel good
When I was diagnosed with depression, I thought that overcoming it was a one-time thing.
So, when I found those good days again and when I found myself slowly feeling happy again, I was so terrified of going back to living those dark days that I expected myself to always feel good.
I expected myself to always have good days that every time I found myself slipping, I felt so disappointed and I felt like a total failure.
But it was wrong for me to think that way. It was wrong for me to expect myself to feel good all the time.
Battling depression consists of good days, bad days and worst days.
Like life, it’ll always be full up ups and downs, twist and turns and we are always bound to go through bad days and dark days but that doesn’t mean that we have failed.
We are not a failure for slipping. Going through another bad day doesn’t mean that we failed.
We can’t expect ourselves to feel good all the time. Instead of beating ourselves up for feeling bad again, be patient and understanding with yourself.
Remind yourself that the important thing is that you’re here trying and fighting!
2. The habit of refusing to forgive
One thing I’ve learned from living with depression is just how powerful forgiveness can be.
After having to quit my job because my depression and anxiety just made it too impossible for me to continue working, I just felt so useless and guilty.
I constantly attacked myself for going through with that decision. I hated myself for doing that and I refused to forgive myself for letting that happen.
I held on to that regret.
As a child, I was constantly compared by the people dearest to me, making me feel like I was never good enough.
And growing up, I took their words with me. I held on to the pain, anger, and resentment.
And doing that ate me alive. It consumed me and it broke me.
Refusing to forgive and choosing to hold on to my regrets, mistakes and the pain of the past only fed my depression.
What we don’t realize is that often, refusing to forgive is only hurting us more than it is hurting the people who offended us.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we are minimizing the pain that they have caused, it simply means that we are now willing to heal, let go and grow.
Remind yourself that holding on to your mistakes, regrets and the pain of the past will not do you any good.
Instead, free yourself and allow yourself to move forward and heal.
3. The habit of expecting the people that we love to fully understand
I expected the people that I love to fully understand what I was going through. I can’t tell you how many times I expected them to find and say the right words and do the right thing to make me feel better.
And every time they fail, I just felt so bad and I felt even more alone.
But it was unfair of me to think that way. It was unfair of me to expect them to understand what I was going through.
Because the reality is, no matter how hard we try and no matter what we do, making them understand and grasp what we are going through and what we exactly feel is just not possible.
We can’t expect everyone to understand and not everyone will know exactly how we feel and that’s okay.
I had a few people who tried their very best to get through me. Yes, they never really understood what I was going through, they weren’t able to find the right words to say but they tried.
Remind yourself that as long as they are there for you, willing to listen and to show compassion, that is more than enough.
4. The habit of thinking that life will only go from bad to worse
My battle with depression was the toughest battle that I had to face every single day.
I experienced so many bad and dark days that I started to believe that this is how my life is going to be.
I started to believe that regardless of what I do and how hard I try, my life will only go from bad to worse and that good things will never happen.
When you are dealing with depression, I know how easy it is to believe that we will never be happy again.
That we will always be trapped in darkness, pain, and emptiness.
But this is not true. This is what depression wants you to think.
Life is so full of unexpected surprises. It’s full of unexpected turns and twist.
What you’re going through now is not going to be your forever. Today is not forever.
5. The habit of wanting to control everything
I have always been a control freak. I just want to control everything and everyone around me.
I spend so much time trying to control everything, even the smallest detail, thinking that doing this will give me the assurance that nothing will go wrong.
But it doesn’t. Regardless of what we do, controlling everything is not possible and it certainly does not guarantee that everything will always go our way.
Remind yourself that we were never meant to control everything.
Instead of focusing your time and energy on the things that you have no control of, just accept it, let go and focus on the things that you can change.
Please know that we all heal and recover differently, so the things that worked for me may not necessarily work for you.
The important thing is to focus on your journey, determine the things that are bad for your mental health and are only making your depression worse and slowly do what you can to change them to help you fight depression.