Sometimes depression is a message that is important to receive. The message is to pay attention to something that is not right for you. It may be that you are in a relationship, job, career, organization, church, community, identity, gender, living situation, or anything else that isn’t right for you.self-care, and more.
So if you’re depressed and you don’t know why, try taking an inventory. First take some time to think and write and maybe talk to people who will listen. Ask yourself when you started feeling depressed and what was happening around that time.
Here are some other useful questions to think, write, or talk about:
- Am I doing what is easy, fun, and brings me joy?
- Do I expect life to be about suffering?
- Am I afraid to be happier than my parents?
- Am I taking responsibility for anything that really isn’t my responsibility?
- Do I enjoy the money I have?
- What is my biggest burden?
- When have I felt light and free? How can I re-create that?
- What would I do differently if I knew I only had a year to live?
- What would I say/write to people in my life if I didn’t care what their reaction would be?
- If I had a magic wish, what would it be?
- If I were happy now, what would I lose, or what bad thing would happen?
- How am I giving too much—more than I really have to give emotionally, no matter how much I wish I could give it and not hurt myself in the process?
- How am I getting in my own way, saying mean things to myself, or holding myself back from what I really want or who I really am?
- If I had unlimited money, what would I do starting today?
- What people or animals have left a hole in my heart?
- What is my guiding principle for my life? What do I want to do while I’m alive?
- Am I doing what I’m really good at?
- If I could live anywhere in the world, where would I live?
- If someone I totally trusted and believed told me life is only about playing, having fun, and being loving and compassionate with myself and others, what would I do differently?
- What influence does shame and self-attack have on my life?
- What’s really most important to me? Would everyone around me correctly guess my answer to this question?
- What do I really, really, really want? What’s the first step I can do today to get it?
- What if I could let go of anything I want to let go of—what would it be?
When we search deeply inside for brutally honest answers, we often can dig ourselves out from the hole of depression. When we really know the truth about what we feel, want, need, dream about, value, need a boundary around—we can begin to make decisions toward emotional health and away from the direction that is weighing us down.
So what is your truth?
© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Cynthia W. Lubow, MS, MFT, therapist in El Cerrito, California
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