Loving the People Who Love You (Loving with Depression Series)

by - February 12, 2018

Depression makes you selfish. It turns your focus inward on your pain, your destructive thoughts, your indecision, your, your, your, your, your... It masks your feelings for other people under layers of sadness, apathy, pain, disassociation, inadequacy, unworthiness. And, at times, you may need to focus on yourself to gain self awareness and self worth. But that was the topic of last week.This week we’re talking about how to love the people who already love you.

I mentioned last week that I do not believe in the “screw everyone else, I don’t need anyone but myself” philosophy because we do need people. Well, other people need us too. You are also part of someone else’s support network.

It may not feel like it, though. How can I help anyone when I feel so helpless myself? The truth is you are not helpless. You feel helpless, but you are not. I don’t discount feelings, but I do know that they can be overcome. 

Many say that you cannot love others if you do not love yourself, but don’t use that as an excuse to not show love for others. If you are struggling to love yourself, show love for someone else. In showing love for someone else, you prove to yourself that you can love. You learn that you are capable of pulling yourself out of your self-centered stupor and caring for someone or something outside of yourself. You start to look for the positive in the world around you instead of the negative. 

Over the past several years, I have developed many coping mechanisms to deal with my depression and anxiety. But, I can say without a doubt that I always feel best when I am focusing on making someone else feel loved. In the midst of my darkest days with depression, one of my best friends was going through a roller coaster relationship. Every day at school, we shared our struggles with each other. Sharing my burden with her helped me feel better, but allowing her to share her own burdens also helped me to see outside myself. Yes, my life felt like a living hell, but I was not the only one with trials, and seeing her difficulties put mine into perspective. 

So, what does showing love for your friends and family look like? Everyone gives and receives love differently, but I find this one to be a good place to start: 

Call or meet up with someone to see how she/he is. Don’t talk about yourself for a while, just listen. Ask follow up questions based on their answers. BE a friend. You’ll find that while you’ve been living in your own head space with all your problems, everyone else’s lives have been continuing on with their own ups and downs. 

From there, check up on them, do little things for them. You don’t have to become their sole source of emotional support (nor should you, even if you could), but be part of their support team. Take a deep breath and leave your own problems at the door for little while. You may find that when you come back for them, they look less intimidating. 

This is just a first step, but let it guide you towards a different attitude, one that spends more time looking outward to improve the lives of others than spiraling inward on its misery.

Stay amiable,

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