Friday, November 29, 2019

It's Possible To Not Feel Like Garbage

I commonly see a type of post on social media. In this post, the person says something to the effect of "You matter" or "You are loved". The intent is to bolster the spirits of people who feel hopeless. It's well-meaning but in my opinion is useless at best and counterproductive at worst.

When you have depression part of your brain is dedicated to crushing your spirit. It knows all about you; all your doubts, fears, and regrets which it will use to bring down your sense of self. It is always with you and always working against you.

Your own self tells you that you are worthless and unlovable. So when a stranger says you have value and that you are loved it doesn't come across as a message of hope. At best it's a message of ignorance and at worst it's patronizing. "You don't know the first thing about me" is obvious and true. A perfect stranger telling you a fact about yourself is pretty hard to swallow.

A better message is "You don't have to feel like garbage". Depression makes you believe that feeling worthless is simply natural to you. It sounds silly but the idea that you can feel simply okay is a genuine message of hope. True happiness might be unrealistic but "not garbage" is something people with depression do experience on occasion. It's plausible that this is a normal state and might be achievable.

When trying to reach out, keep in mind that your positive messages may be hard to believe. People that may need to hear you won't always listen or be ready to understand. Be patient, be open-minded, and accept that their problems are unique to them and will require solutions unique to them that you may not have access to.

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