“Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now, not if, not when, we’re worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is.” -Brené Brown
I know most people think that therapists don’t get anxious or depressed, but the truth is, many of us got into this line of work because we have had our own mental health struggles and want to use that experience to help others.
I had my first experience with depression when I was five years old.
My teachers told my parents that I was sleeping in class, and when awake seemed distracted and melancholy. My parents hoped I would grow out of it, but depression is something I have and will continue to deal with my whole life.
The good news is, over the years I’ve found many tools that help me cope with and move through my periods of depression so that it doesn’t stop my life in its tracks the way it used to. I’ve had success with medication, diet and exercise, meditation, journaling, and of course seeing a therapist regularly myself.
The funny thing about depression and the thing I really want to talk about, is how it tricks us into not doing the very things we need to do to feel better. For me, I can tell I’m depressed when I start wanting to skip the gym, I find myself avoiding my meditation practice, or I’m just generally not taking care of myself in the ways I normally do.
What I want to say to you (and to myself) is that this is okay.
It’s okay to get depressed and to fall off the horse of good habits.
The beautiful thing is that you can always get back up when you are ready. Healthy habits, the support of friends and family, or help from a professional are always there for you when you’re ready.
I think as a society we tend to shame people for not doing what they “should” to feel their best. The reality is, sometimes the nature of depression is that it prevents us from doing exactly that. Struggling to take care of ourselves can be a symptom of depression just like a fever can be a symptom of the flu.
So if you live with depression yourself or if you love someone who does, this is your gentle reminder to make space for however depression shows up. We are all valid and worthy of love, even when we are depressed or not taking care of ourselves.