Your words and depression. What is the link?

I have yet to meet the depressed person whose self-talk is healthy. If it were, they wouldn’t be depressed.

Depression so messes with our self-esteem that we talk to ourselves more severely and more destructively than we ever would to anyone else.

I once had a conversation with someone who was feeling very “down”. I knew she often struggled with periods of depression. I just let her talk while I kept some mental notes.

When she was done, I repeated back to her some of the words she had been using, all of which would make anyone feel bad. She was amazed as she had not realized what she had said. When I told her (we are very good friends) that she often sounded like this, it was like a light went on.

She has done much better with her choice of words since then and consequently her depressive episodes have been not as severe or lasted as long.

I seldom put myself down out loud. But I certainly have been known to berate myself.

A personal example.

My mother died of Alzheimer’s two years ago and it was a very difficult period. I told myself I would never have any regrets and I worked hard to make sure I didn’t.

You know where this is heading, don’t you?

I find myself thinking back to certain days when I was impatient with her. I address myself with harsh words. My mother never would have. It’s me doing a case on myself.

Listen to the words you speak to yourself, whether aloud or silently. Are they building you up or tearing you down?  We almost never listen to ourselves so this will feel strange in the beginning. It might even feel of narcissistic.

Don’t worry about being too easy on yourself. Instead, be kinder to yourself. We can see our faults; we can address our faults. But we can do it with words that help and don’t hinder.

If we ask God to help, He will open our ears and hearts to understand how harmful our self-talk can be.

We might pray a prayer like this:

This is hard, Lord, this battle with depression. Protect me from condemning myself. When I use words that are making it worse, would you just give me a heads up? Remind me these are words of my own choosing not the words YOU use to describe me. I so want to be healed from depression.

Rebecca Platt

God’s esteem of us is so much higher than our own.

(Some might suggest that there are those who think too highly of themselves. And that’s certainly true. But I’ve never known a depressed person who does. Those who think too highly of themselves seldom get depressed. Go figure.)

You can do this.

Make this the week you decide to take another step to move out of darkness and into the Sonshine. Listen attentively to your self-talk and ask God to remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

God bless and have a good day.

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