I learned a really important lesson recently in regards to mental health. Re-training your mind after depression takes time and practice, just like training your body at the gym. (So it’s okay to be patient with yourself as you are reframing the way your brain works <3)
Just as you must train your body to be fit, you must train your brain to think different thoughts!
Let me tell you a personal story:
I had depression for 4 years. I got help, but even today, after working with a professional and getting better, sometimes I have bad days. And it is so easy for me to slip back into that old, familiar thought pattern– where suicide was my best friend and an ever-present (false) solution to escape from the feelings I had about myself.
^^I got help and I’m ok. Really. But I just wanted to say that, when things go bad, it’s been easy for me to go back to my old thought patterns.
But today I realized something that gave me hope:
It’s called a “thought pattern” for a reason.
A pattern is created with repetition and can be re-created by repeating different things.
It can be re-created by repeating different thoughts.
I can use the advice my counselors/psychologists have taught me and:
Create a new pattern.
It’s like this:
Just like how you have to go to the gym on a consistent basis if you want rockin’ muscles, you need to train your brain daily if you want a rockin’ brain.
Just like anything worth having: a toned body, a nice car, blonde hair (those of you like me who bleach your hair like me can relate 😉
… anything worth having is worth fighting for.
Including mental health.
And I’ve learned that this is so very important.
The help I have gotten from a professional in regards to depression has been life-changing. I am incredibly thankful for the wonderful help I have gotten from both psychologists and doctors.
Yes, professional help is amazing, and it can make a world of difference in your life.
But their advice can only go as far as you want to take it.
You’ve got to practice the techniques they give you.
Think of boxing.
The professionals you see are like the boxing coaches that sit on the side of the ring.
They can coach you, they can instruct you, they can cheer you on and give you the exact techniques you need to defeat your opponent.
But you’re in the ring- and it’s up to you and you alone to face your opponent.
Only you and you alone can stand toe-to-toe with your problems and knock ‘em out.
So what are you waiting for?
It’s okay if it takes time. The best boxers in the world weren’t build overnight. The best brains weren’t either.
Just like working out to build muscle, you will need to work your brain and retrain it on a daily basis.
…think of it: you’ve spent a lifetime feeling that you were not good enough, that you didn’t belong here, that you weren’t loved.
Well you are good enough, you do belong here, and you are loved.
But you’ve heard the opposite for years. So it only makes sense that it would take a bit of time to retrain your brain to get better and think a new thought pattern.
It’s a daily thing that takes practice.
It’s okay. It’ll take time. Wax on, wax off. It takes practice.
How do you do this? Well for me, it was 5 easy steps:
1) Visit a professional (counselor, psychologist, etc.) and start to tell them what you’ve been going through.
2) Ask him or her for specific steps to help you change your thought pattern/deal with your current situation. (It’s really important to ask for a specific action plan that you can write down and practice throughout the week- so let your counselor know that this is something you would like advice on.)
3) Write it down (preferably during the session with the counselor so you can ask any questions).
4) Put it in your room or somewhere you can see and look at it often.
5) Make a goal to implement these steps that your counselor recommended into your daily routine/when the situation occurs.
I’ve started to do this and step into the boxing ring and go toe-to-toe with the very things that have been keeping me depressed. And I hope this can encourage you to do the same.