By not taking his behaviors personally, by being able to look at them realistically instead of emotionally, I was able to reduce their power. I was able to shut them down before they brought me down into depression.
#4 – I practice positive self-talk.
Another part of managing my depression around my ex with CBT was by using positive self- talk.
I would remind myself how good I was at juggling multiple balls at once, something my ex really struggled with. I would remember that while my ex-husband, who walked out on me for someone else, might no longer respect me, I respected myself and knew that I had the respect of many other people. I reminded myself that I made a difference in the life of many people every day. I was an awesome person, whether my ex got back to me or not.
It is truly amazing how telling myself positive things about myself instead of ruminating about all the negative things that I, inaccurately, had associated with my ex’s absence of communication helped keep me from sinking into depression.
I was able to move past what happened fairly quickly and get on with my day. How great is that?
#5 – I develop personal coping mechanisms.
The final part of using CBT when I was feeling depressed was to create and practice personal coping mechanisms.
A few years back, when I was feeling really good, I made a list of things that I knew helped me when depression was settling in. Now, when I feel it coming, I refer to that list to help shut the depression down or carry me through it.
What kind of coping skills? Walking, eating pad thai, having sex, hanging out with friends, watching The Walking Dead, hanging with my kids.
All of these things are coping mechanisms, practical things that I can do for myself, to help me feel better when I am struggling in the world. They have made a huge difference for me, helping me get through the bad days.
Using CBT when I am feeling depressed has saved my life.
I also use CBT in many other areas of my life.
I use it when emotions with my siblings get high. I remember that each of us carry with us baggage from our childhood that rears it’s ugly head when we are together, that we all have our issues, both individually and with each other, that I can’t take their behaviors personally and that we will all love each other forever, in spite of what might be occurring.
If someone is rude to me in line at Starbucks I understand that that probably says more about what is happening with that person, like they just had a fight with their wife or are running late to work because of bad traffic, then it does about me. Not taking that rudeness personally but recognizing that it has nothing to do with me, allows me to let it go quickly and not let it bring me down.
Talk to your therapist about bringing the principles of CBT into your life. You will be glad you did!
Are you struggling with depression and in search of tools to help you manage it?
Let me help you learn those tools, NOW, before your depression gets the best of you.
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