5 (More) Lessons Therapy Taught Me

Nearly nine months ago, I published a piece about five hard lessons therapy has taught me. I figured it was a good time to mention a few more lessons I’ve learned recently.

I’ve been in therapy off and on since Feb. 2016. I’ve taken breaks during periods of wellness. I’ve also been unable to attend therapy due to long wait periods, financial issues, etc.

Since my last post, I’ve had to change therapists due to one moving away. I was happy with my previous one, so I was worried I wouldn’t do well with a new one. Turns out, I’ve done pretty well with my current one, though it took months for me to really feel improvement.

I can’t blame my therapist for that, though. That’s kind of how therapy has always worked for me. Improvement and effort move at a snail’s pace, but it’s still movement in the right direction. Therapy takes time, so don’t worry if you don’t see changes right away. And if you feel like you’re not clicking with a therapist, look for a new one! Not every therapist will be the right fit, and any therapist worth your time will understand that.

Here are five more lessons I’ve learned while in therapy:

1. I can’t control everything about my depression.

I have bipolar 2 disorder, and my main issue is depression. I’m not currently in a depressive episode (knock on wood), but a big fear of mine is getting stuck in one again. My last depressive episode lasted three weeks, which is quite short for me. They usually last months.

My therapist gave me a metaphor to explain “control” with depression. She told me depression is like a hurricane. You can prepare the best you can, but we can’t prevent it altogether or stop it from hitting hard.

I can find strength in what I can control. There will most likely be days when the depression is overwhelming. I can’t control that.

But I can control what I do on the better days to help prevent worse days. I can take my medications, go to therapy and my support group, etc. When my depression is severe, I can decide if I need more intensive care. No matter how bad it gets, there will be some aspect I can control, even if it’s just choosing to open my eyes in the morning or take deep breaths.

2. The fear of depression can be worse than the depression.

The operative phrase being “can be.” Depression is a horrific monster I still struggle to put into words. There’s no doubting how hard and painful depression is, but it isn’t always a severe episode.

I can have mild episodes or episodes that only last a few weeks. But I’ll spend months terrified of an impending episode. I explained this to my therapist as tiptoeing when I feel good because I don’t want to wake the giant.

I don’t trust stability or good moods because of my mood shifts. Fearing depression prevents me from taking risks or truly enjoying the good moments. I’m always waiting for the ironclad shoe of depression to drop and squish the life I have.

I’m working on not fearing the worst. I want to live my life without worrying my next depressive episode could take it all away. I might not be able to control everything about depression, but I can work on not giving it any more of my time than needed.

3. No one is made to be on top of our game 24/7.

I used to work for a media company, and I became accustomed to working 60+ hours a week. I felt guilty if I actually signed off at 6 p.m., and I rarely took a day off.

I did this for over a year, and it completely burned me out. The burnout was a major reason I experienced a seven-month depressive episode.

I still have feelings of guilt and shame that I couldn’t handle my work schedule. I feel guilty for not continuing to perform my best, though I know it is impossible for anyone to work the way I did for as long as I did.

I felt guilty my bipolar disorder was getting in the way of my work, which is ridiculous because it’s a mental illness, not a personal shortcoming. I can try to prevent mood shifts and prepare the best I can, but there’s only so much I can do.

4. Look for another perspective.

This is one of the main points of therapy. We’re told to put ourselves in another person’s shoes to gain insight into someone else’s perspective. We aren’t taught how to change the perspective of ourselves and our thoughts.

For instance, I recently increased one of my medications. I had rapid cycled for over a month, and it was clear I needed something more than therapy to get ahold of it.

I experience side effects anytime I change the dosage of this medication. I get a dry mouth, which I combat with lots of water and gum. The worst side effect, though, is how shoddy my memory becomes.

As I explained my frustration with my memory to my therapist, she had another way of looking at it. Yes, my memory wasn’t great, but my mind wasn’t spiraling downward as much. I wasn’t experiencing as many negative thoughts, and I wasn’t ruminating on them.

The medication seemed to slow my mind down. While that ruined my memory, my mind was more peaceful. I could only see the negative aspects of the med increase, but she showed me another perspective. Eventually, the memory issues outweighed the benefit of the slowed mind. I’m working on a better solution.

5. I’m where I need to be in life right now.

I have a bad habit of comparing myself to my previous selves. I’m not able to handle a job in my preferred career path right now. I don’t feel like I’m going somewhere. I was a determined kid who always thought ahead. When I had to take a break from journalism, I felt like I was somehow failing.

I’m not used to living without striving for something greater. I know this is common among my generation. A lot of us aren’t taught to work 9–5 and leave work at work. We’re always striving to move up or do better. There’s nothing wrong with this, but a lot of us have trouble with not working ourselves into the ground.

I’m meeting myself where I am instead of fighting for something more. I can handle my current responsibilities, and my mental health is improving. This doesn’t mean I’ll never push myself to do more. It simply means I’m listening to my mind and body.

If we’re constantly striving for the next thing, we’re never going to enjoy what we have.


5 Signs You’re Resilient Even When You Feel Weak

Resilience isn’t something I typically associate with having a mental illness. Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from stressors. It’s how well you handle difficult situations with your thoughts and behaviors, according to the American Psychological Association.

While some people may have a natural high resilience, many of us have to work at it. There’s no shame in that.

I certainly didn’t feel resilient when my mental health took a deep dive into depression. A year and a half was spent just surviving. I felt weak and hopeless. I certainly wasn’t “bouncing back” from anything.

It’s taken three years for me to call myself resilient. The funny thing is, I was resilient in my deepest depression.

If you’re struggling with your mental health or are feeling vulnerable against what’s happening in your life, here are 5 signs you’re still resilient.

1. You’re surviving.

When your mental and emotional pain is unbearable but you choose to keep living, you’re resilient as hell. It’s easy to feel like you’re weak when you seem like you’re only hanging on by a thread. But the opposite is true. You are strong. Living despite your mind telling you to die is arguably the strongest thing someone can do.

This isn’t to say those who attempt suicide or die by suicide are weak. I attempted suicide in 2016, and I occasionally still deal with suicidal thoughts. My past experience has made me more resilient in the face of those thoughts.

Surviving can be exhausting, and sometimes we reach our breaking point. If we can hold on for just a little longer, we may surprise ourselves with what we can handle.

Breathing is resilience.

2. You’re looking for ways to feel better.

Searching for ways to handle your depression or other mental health issue shows an effort to move forward.

This could mean medication, therapy, meditation, exercise — anything you’re using to manage your mental health or illness. They don’t have to be traditional ways of coping or recovering. It’s about the motivation to keep going.

Bonus resilient points for looking for ways when you’d really rather curl up in a ball.

3. You’re reaching out for support.

This may include therapy but could also include confiding in a friend or family member.

You don’t have to handle depression on your own, even when you feel isolated. If you have someone in your life who is supportive, try to let them in. If you don’t have anyone you feel close enough to, you could look into a support group.

Resilience may be individualized, but that doesn’t mean it’s cultivated without others.

4. You’re accepting where you’re at in life.

If there’s one thing I have fought, it’s accepting how I’m feeling instead of desperately and impulsively trying to change it.

This is different from looking for ways to feel better. When I refuse to accept my current situation or mood, I’m prone to turning to unhealthy and impulsive coping skills. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to accept changes in my mood and use healthier coping skills instead of running away from myself.

Change is going to happen, and if we can accept that and work through it instead of against it, we’re practicing resilience.

5. You’re handling hardships better than you have in the past.

This is the primary reason I believe I’m resilient now. I don’t turn to unhealthy coping skills as much as I used to. I utilize therapy, meds, support group, and the people in my life to work through the rough patches. This isn’t a fool-proof system, of course. But I’ve come a long way in the last three years.

I’ve realized that my lows aren’t more shallow than they’ve been in the past. I’m the one who has changed. While there are moments I want to abandon all I’ve worked for because it’s so damn hard sometimes, I don’t.

Think about what you’ve experienced or felt in the past. You made it passed that, albeit probably with some scrapes and bruises. With time and practice, you might realize you’re doing better than you think. One thing that seemed insurmountable before, isn’t anymore.

I used to believe I wasn’t resilient because I still experienced depression. I thought a mood episode meant I lost what little strength I had. I was wrong. My mental illness doesn’t negate my resiliency. If anything bipolar disorder has made me more resilient.

While I may not have had much resilience innately, I’ve cultivated it. And I’m damn proud of that.

What They Don’t Tell You About Surviving a Suicide Attempt

Content Warning: If you need support, you can reach out to the lifeline at 1–800–273–8255.

A few months prior to my attempt, my therapist told me that people who attempt suicide typically have tunnel vision. Suicide seems like the only viable option at the moment.

She said that most people who attempt suicide regret their decision. This is true. There are a number of suicide attempt survivors who have shared their regret, most notedly Kevin Hines, who survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Hines has said he felt instant regret as soon as he left the bridge.

What no one actually tells you about surviving a suicide attempt is that you can experience regret at not dying.

It’s irresponsible to push a narrative about surviving suicide without addressing the fact that many who do attempt still struggle. They may even attempt again. Forty percent of those who do die by suicide had a previous attempt.

While there were (and are) days I’m appreciative to still be here, there are days I regret being alive. Many times we hear survivor stories about gratitude. They share how they’ve since gotten better and no longer find themselves in that dark place.

This may be true for some, but it isn’t true for me or many others who attempt suicide. A previous suicide attempt is the “single most important risk factor for suicide,” according to the World Health Organization.

My attempt was three years ago today. May 16, 2016, was supposed to be the first day of summer break. Instead, I was finally giving into my thoughts and overwhelming emotions I couldn’t fight anymore.

The last five months of my junior year in college were hell as I juggled school and crippling depression. I thought things would get better as soon as I finished the semester. It was the reason I held out all semester, holding onto the last sliver of hope that I could get better.

When I didn’t feel better, I became completely hopeless. My friend/neighbor came over that day and found me distraught on the bathroom floor. (I will not detail the method I used because it’s proven to be dangerous to people at risk for suicide.)

Days after the initial numbness and shock of my attempt, I had moments where I realized the magnitude of the situation. I found myself grateful for dogs and mundane parts of life. This appreciation for life has come and gone over the last three years. I’ve cried thinking of how grateful I am.

But that’s half of the story, and the other half is just as important.

I’m not always appreciative. I think about all the pain I could have avoided had I died. My disorder is cyclical, so depressive episodes will be a part of my life forever. I still have suicidal thoughts, though not presently and not nearly as intense as they used to be.

This anniversary is both a blessing and a curse. I am stronger now than I was then, partly because of my experience. I can see how far I’ve come. It is a reminder, though, of emotions and worries I’d rather forget most days.

Thoughts of regret are just another version of suicidal thoughts, which I’ve learned to handle over the years. They come and go, which is why I know I can beat it. While one day may be tough, the next day might be better. The better days are worth it, and they will come. I hope you stick around to experience them.

18 Lessons About Bipolar I’ve Learned So Far

World Bipolar Day is March 30. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 disorder in March 2017 at the age of 21. It’s only been two years since my diagnosis, but my symptoms began in childhood and became overwhelming in college.

Bipolar 2 means I experience depression and hypomania. Hypomania — or “under” mania — means I don’t experience full-blown mania.

Hypomania for me includes insomnia for a few days, racing thoughts, jumping from one project to the next or spending hours fixated on one thing. I don’t sit still and everything irritates me, especially sound.

My impulse control diminishes. I’ll shop. A lot. As in maxed out two credits cards in a short time. Hypomania can be both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I get a lot done. I feel incredibly alive, which can be a relief when you spend a lot of time depressed. But it can also cause a lot of damage — on my wallet and in my life.

Most of my mood episodes are depression-related, though. It can be the lowest of the lows. Other times, it’s just lurking in the background of my mind, reminding me what it can do.

In honor of World Bipolar Day, which aims to raise awareness about the disorder, I’ve decided to share lessons, realizations and other tidbits I’ve gained along the way.

Disclaimer: No two people are the same. My experiences with bipolar will not be the same as another’s. These are my experiences and takeaways.

1. I feel emotions more intensely.

People with bipolar disorder feel emotions more intensely. Our lows feel lower and our highs feel higher. I can be overwhelmed with emotion.

Experiencing intense emotions has its upsides and downsides. While the negatives are unspeakably bad, I feel love, excitement, and happiness in their purest forms.

I know what it’s like to feel emotions that are almost tangible. On the flip side, I’ve learned how to mask my emotions (namely the negative ones). My emotional wall is made of concrete, steel, and poisonous thorns that is a bitch to break down.

2. Not every upbeat mood is (hypo)mania; not every bad mood is depression.

Everyone has a spectrum of emotions. No one feels content or happy all the time. I will have bad days but not every bad day is because of bipolar. Sometimes it means I need more sleep, or I’m a bit stressed with work.

Hypomania is a bit trickier to identify. Frankly, I don’t even worry about identifying hypomania unless it’s clearly going to be a problem. Who doesn’t want a few days of amazing productivity and euphoria?

Sometimes I’m just excited or motivated. I think happiness and motivation feel more intense for me because I spend so much time depressed and without either. This doesn’t necessarily make it hypomania.

3. My moods may be unreliable, but I’m not.

As a person, I make lists and fill out planners. I deliver on my work and am always trying to improve. I care immensely for my writing and work. I’d never let something intentionally slip.

As a person with bipolar disorder, I sometimes don’t care to get out of bed, let alone do something. I can’t rely on my memory because my brain is mush, and I can’t keep track of time.

When I’m hypomanic, I might get a lot done and then people expect that level of work from me all the time, which is an impossible level to keep myself at. Hypomania might also cause me to hyper-fixate on a research paper I’m reading. Hours will go by and it’ll feel like five minutes. There’s also the other side when I can’t focus on one thing, but everything is exciting and I spew multiple ideas that I can’t possibly follow through with all at once.

4. I don’t have to believe every thought I have.

It took a while for me to understand that our thoughts are not us. Sounds impossible, right? What we think, believe, say and do are the basis of who we are.

The thing is, the brain is really effing weird. Most of us experience intrusive thoughts — those thoughts that have you thinking, “Why did I just think that? That’s so weird/messed up/etc.”

Thoughts can also be irrational. Do I really believe if I don’t tap four times on the outside of the plane door before I board that we’ll all plummet to our deaths? No. Am I going to skip tapping on the door on my next flight? Also no.

I’m not a horrible person. I’m not worthless. Not everyone hates me or thinks I’m annoying. These are things my depression tell me.

I’m not being monitored (more than any other American). People can’t read my thoughts. These are thoughts my hypomania tell me.

5. Misdiagnosis is incredibly common.

I was first diagnosed with major depression. Misdiagnosis can happen to anyone, but it’s especially common for people with bipolar to first be diagnosed with depression. In my case, the hypomania wasn’t nearly as noticeable as the depression at first. It first seemed like good motivation and random happiness. It wasn’t until the other more troubling symptoms appeared that I was diagnosed.

6. Meds can make things worse.

The first medication I took did not help whatsoever. In fact, it was the worse thing for me. My doctor kept me on this antidepressant for a year, despite me telling her I felt worse and thought I needed to try something else. Her response each time was, “It’ll get better,” and “Give it time.”

I can’t say if the medication led to my suicide attempt, but I believe it was a factor. Antidepressants can ironically increase suicidal thoughts in people, especially young people.

Each time I told my doctor I didn’t feel any better, she’d increase my dosage. Eventually, the increase led to a hypomanic episode and my diagnosis changed from major depression to bipolar 2. I had experienced hypomania before but didn’t have a name for it. It only became extreme when the medication was increased.

7. Meds can make things so much better.

Though my first exposure to psychiatric medications was not a pleasant one, I have finally found a couple of meds that keep my highs a little less high and my lows a little less low.

I’ve gone through an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, an antipsychotic, and a few meds for sleep and anxiety.

Sure, I’ve had to tweak my doses because of my latest depressive episode and physical side effects, but I currently feel like my medications are truly helping. I’m taking an antidepressant and mood stabilizer now. I also have an as-needed sleep medication.

When I finally got my meds figured out, everything got brighter. Literally. I could see vibrancy in life again. I was happy and content. My thoughts were not dark or suicidal. I felt like myself again after a year and a half.

8. I have to advocate for myself, especially with doctors.

Like mentioned in number 6, I had a doctor who did not listen to me. She made things worse, and I felt completely ignored. I lost more of myself each day while she just scheduled me for monthly appointments.

Through that experience, I’ve learned to take a stand. Doctors are authority figures, but it’s my body. I ask questions. I say no if I don’t agree with a medication change. If I feel like I’m not being heard, I let my doctor know. If I have to, I find a new doctor. They see me for 15 minutes. I live with myself 24/7.

9. Moving between episodes is extremely exhausting.

Depression is exhausting. Coming down from hypomania is exhausting. Honestly, exhaustion and fatigue are kind of my thing.

Brain fog is both hilarious and awful. I mean, when you circle gas pumps for a solid five minutes because you can’t figure out how to get your car to face the right way to pump gas, you have to laugh.

When you forget your phone number or PIN you have to make light of it in front of the cashier. I had to have my friend buy my groceries once because I couldn’t remember my PIN.

Fatigue is a part of depression, but when you shift between having all the energy in the world to no energy at all, there’s a whole other level to exhaustion.

10. Bipolar is more than highs and lows.

Depression and mania are the hallmarks of bipolar disorder, but there are hypomania and mixed episodes, too. Each mood state comes with its symptoms.

One of the symptoms people don’t usually connect to bipolar is paranoia. I’ve had paranoid thoughts, but I wouldn’t say it’s led to delusions. Bipolar disorder can also include psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. These symptoms are typically associated with bipolar type 1 because they’re more common in full-blown mania than hypomania.

11. Mixed episodes are a special kind of hell.

Mixed episodes are what they sound like: you’re given a mix of depressive symptoms with hypomanic or manic symptoms. It’s like the Vodka Redbull of mental illness. You get both the downer and the upper.

You experience the various symptoms all at once or in very rapid succession. It’s hard to explain what a mixed state feels like. For me, it feels like my skin is crawling. All I want to do is scream. It’s a lot of energy and no energy.

One night I texted my friend multiple times telling her I was coming to visit her in Kansas City. KC was two and a half hours from Columbia, Missouri, where I went to school.

It was already after 8, but I asked if I could visit. She said yes, and I became ecstatic and began packing for the weekend. Two minutes later I laid on my bed, feeling as if someone punched me in the stomach. I was too depressed to move. I texted her that I wasn’t coming after all. Two minutes later I was packing again and asking my roommate if he’d watch my dog. This went on for hours. I couldn’t get comfortable in my mind or body.

12. There’s intense fear about having an episode.

Bipolar is technically a chronic illness. This means that, for the rest of my life, I will fluctuate between depression, euthymia (stable mood), and hypomania. Medications can help. Therapy can help.

The first time I felt sad for a couple of days after spending over a year depressed, I freaked out. I feared those couple of days were the start of another lengthy depression. Turns out it wasn’t, but I will always harbor the fear of an episode.

Once you live through the worst of depression, it’s hard not to fear that again. It’s easy to think you couldn’t handle going through that again.

13. It’s possible to go months without an episode.

Before my last depressive episode, I had seven months without any issues. I felt like my true self again. I made strides in my professional and personal life. It seemed like the worst was behind me, but that’s the thing about bipolar, it comes and goes.

I was “unstable” for about a year and a half, shifting between depression and hypomania. Everything was a battle — getting to class or even getting out of bed, working, eating, breathing. Then one day, my mind became quieter, and I felt like myself again.

14. It’s possible to lessen the intensity of mood swings.

This ain’t easy, believe me. Many things help prevent mood swings for me. I talk to friends. I go to therapy. I journal and track my moods. I workout (kind of) and take my medications. Routines are important because predictability in my life is important when my moods aren’t.

Therapy and tracking my moods can help me notice when an episode may be coming. Then, I can be proactive with self-care and coping skills to lessen the impact.

I could be better at doing these things, but adulting on its own is hard enough without the added responsibility of mental illness.

15. Not every mood swing can be lessened.

While it is possible to smooth out the highs and lows at some points, it isn’t always going to work. Sometimes your brain and its chemicals are going to do what they want, no matter what you do or what meds you take. Maybe it means you have to change a medication or dosage, which I’ve done countless times.

Coping skills may help lessen the intensity, but sometimes coping skills become survival skills. It may take all my energy to keep my head above the water during an episode.

16. I don’t always feel like “myself.”

Depression takes me away from me. At my core, I am curious, determined, and passionate. Depression steals these away from me. I become a shell of who I am, and it’s like I’m living as two different people. I go from living and making strides in my life and career to treading water to survive.

17. People don’t understand bipolar.

It wouldn’t be a mental illness if it didn’t come with a heaping pile of stigma. People think you “snap” and become angry or depressed in a moment’s notice. In reality, most mood episodes last days, weeks or even months.

People try to understand, and it’s important that they do. But unless you’ve felt this, it’s impossible to get it completely.

18. I am not “bipolar.”

I have bipolar disorder. It is a part of me, but it isn’t me. Like anything we experience, bipolar has had its influence on who I am.

There are many negatives about living with bipolar disorder, but there are also lessons I’ve learned by having it. Without it, I probably wouldn’t have become passionate about mental health and advocacy. I’m also more compassionate and understanding because of it.

5 Hard Lessons Therapy Taught Me

I spent the first two and a half years of college working up the courage to start therapy. At the beginning of my second semester as a junior, I finally bit the bullet and made an appointment with my university’s counseling center.

Fast forward three years later to now, I’ve gone through my fair share of therapists and only recently found one who I felt was truly helping. I have bipolar disorder type 2 and generalized anxiety with a few other things thrown into the mix. My main and most debilitating issue is depression, but this isn’t a post about my issues. Rather, it’s a post about what I’ve learned throughout these last few years sitting on couches, trying to make it one day at a time.

1. Drop that emotional wall you’ve spent years building.

OK, I haven’t quite figured this one out, but that’s why it’s a hard lesson. I learned at a young age to “swallow” my emotions and put on a neutral face. When something traumatic or negative happens, my first instinct is to go numb and survive it. I take on the role of being the brick wall who’s “unaffected” so others can be emotional. This lifelong practice has made it nearly impossible for me to express sadness or any negative emotions to others.

While I’m in therapy, I have to let that wall down, and I’d like to be able to let it down outside of therapy, too. The problem is I don’t know how. I’ve spent so much time guarding myself that I now have to learn how to express emotions. I spent a solid month in therapy just building up to talking about a particularly trying and traumatic time in my life. When my therapist and I finally began talking about it, I had no reaction to talking about it because I became an expert in compartmentalizing and removing myself from my emotions.

Compartmentalizing became my coping mechanism, but the problem is I can’t do it forever. Eventually, all that emotion I’ve buried has to come to the surface. I haven’t fully gotten there, but I’ve slowly taken down bricks in my emotional wall. I feel a little less claustrophobic as the wall comes down.

2. It’s OK to cry in session (and in places other than the shower).

This really goes along with the first lesson. I am 100 percent a shower crier. It’s only there that I feel like I can release my emotions by crying. Like I’ve said, I’ve been in therapy off-and-on for the last three years. You want to know how many times I’ve cried in session? Zero.

There’s been the occasional watery eye, but I’ve been good at keeping the real crying to the shower. I want to be able to cry in therapy. I know it’ll help me feel better, but I’ll refer you to lesson 1 about why that’s hard for me.

My therapist has told me it’s OK to cry before, and I wholeheartedly believe her. One day it’ll happen, and I’ll actually be happy that it happened. I just hope it’s not like the “don’t break the seal” rule when you’ve drunk too much.

3. You’ll only get what you put into therapy.

Talking about your week or ranting to a therapist can be helpful but in my experience, that’s not enough to see real change or feel better long term.

I prefer therapy that comes with homework. One of the things I do is fill out weekly mood charts I’ve customized to my experiences and coping skills. This helps me remember how I felt the week since my last appointment and can help identify triggers or an oncoming depressive or hypomanic episode.

There’s also less concrete homework such as challenging your thoughts. I struggle with self-doubt and negative self-talk. If I come into therapy each week and explain the same thoughts but don’t question them or challenge them, I’m not going to quiet those thoughts.

Therapy is not a passive activity, and you’re most likely paying for it. Get your money’s worth by being active in your progress.

4. You’ll learn new things about yourself, and you’re not going to like all of it.

I’m a writer. I like writing. The first time a therapist pointed out that I have a restricted emotional vocabulary, I was mad. As time went on, I realized she was right. I struggle to name my emotions past the superficial sad, happy, angry, etc.

Once I realized this, I slowly began building out my vocabulary. It’s still not where I’d like it to be, but I’ve noticed that specifying an emotion helps lessen the power it has over me. Labeling my emotions more aptly gives me the power instead of them having power over me.

Our first instinct when we learn something about ourselves we don’t like is to deny it. You’ll learn more if you consider it.

5. You have to accept and process how you feel before you try to change it.

Being patient is not my strong suit, especially if I feel miserable. There is nothing about depression that would make me want to say, “hm, I need to sit with this.” My initial reaction is to fight like hell to make it go away. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t include assessing why I’m feeling depressed (if there is a reason). I can’t just run over the depression by keeping busy 24/7 or burning up all my coping skills (healthy and non-healthy). I need to recognize how I’m feeling and work through it.

It’s a bit like telling someone who is drowning to take a moment and reflect on drowning. It seems counterintuitive, but I’ll run myself into the ground trying to get out of the depression if I don’t first accept that I’m depressed.