one way my depression manifests itself is in self-blame and self-criticism. it can start the very minute i wake up in the morning. here’s an example but disclaimer that not all of these thoughts are as conscious as they seem to be when they are written out. self-blame can be very subtle and sometimes i’m not even aware that i am doing it to myself.
my alarm goes off. did i oversleep? do i need to get up right now? what do i have to do?
and the rumination begins.
take my clothes off to get in the shower. ugh i look terrible. i have gained too much weight from the meds.
waiting for water to heat up. i am so wasteful just sitting here letting the water run and run. i am going to ruin the planet.
get in the shower. don’t squeeze out too much shampoo. did i lather up enough? don’t waste. am i moving quickly enough? i don’t feel like shaving, ugh i am so lazy. *rumination about whatever i have to do that day*
and it can just keep going, from morning to afternoon to night, from days to weeks to months to years. that little voice is in there, beating myself up and putting myself down. sometimes it is shouting and sometimes it is whispering.
i have started to listen more closely for that voice. i have begun to develop a stronger sense of awareness that i engage in this negative self-talk, which i think is the only way to choose a different way of treating myself. i have to make a conscious choice to recognize the behavior and then do something different. my mindfulness and yoga practice has helped a lot with this, because i have become much more aware of how i am feeling, both mentally and physically, in the moment.
so here is an alternate, kinder version of the above morning routine:
my alarm goes off. deep breaths in and out. allow myself to stretch and feel tired.
take my clothes off to get in the shower. awareness that i am frustrated at gaining weight but active choice not to put myself down.
waiting for water to heat up. deep breaths in and out.
get in the shower. focus on each moment of the shower. how does the hot water feel? what does my shampoo smell like? how does it feel to breathe deeply in the steamy air?
it is a small step but starting off my morning with a more mindful approach can make a difference throughout the day. it helps to ground me in the moment, connect with how my body is feeling and slow down the thoughts in my head. hopefully one day soon i will be able to get through at least one shower without feeling guilty.