Sometimes I get tired of dealing with depression and image issues. I mean, really? I'm not over this yet? It's been

The upside is that at least I'm familiar with the drill. It may not be easy to employ all the coping strategies to dig myself out of self destructive thinking, but at least I know what the coping strategies are.

For example: last night I was in one of those situations that I knew would trigger all of my insecurities. As we cleaned up from an otherwise enjoyable evening, the thoughts started to tumble into emotions that then threatened to avalanche into full blown depression. I took a deep breath and {much the way a public speaker imagines his audience in their underwear} ran through these mental exercises:

Imagine that every woman in the room wishes she looked like the woman next to her. While I find women of all shapes and sizes to be breathtakingly beautiful, I often berate myself if I do not fit into a very narrow definition of perfection. If I imagine that every woman is torturing herself with the same kind of self-loathing and comparison, the result is so heartbreaking that I'm often able to snap out of such ridiculous thinking.

Try to see myself the way J sees me. J has told me again and again that if I looked the way I wish I looked, he probably wouldn't give me a second glance. I always want to be taller. He likes that I'm petite. I want to be skin and bones. He likes the femininity of my curves. He says I'm already the ideal woman. My problem is that I don't appreciate it.

Tell myself, "You're an athlete". When I remember the feel of my body when I'm running, or imagine each muscle, sinew and bone working as I move across a room, my body becomes something more than just a 'display'. It becomes a marvelous machine that I love and appreciate for all that it can do.

Imagine Satan laughing. Whenever I'm overtaken with self-despise, I imagine that Satan must see it as a victory. I picture all the good things I'm not able to achieve because I'm too busy hating a body that he only wishes he could have. The thought of his glee rouses all of my faculties and ignites the fighting spirit inside of me. It gives me the strength to push away negative thoughts.

Sometimes, this is all it takes to return to a healthy mindset.

Sometimes, I'm forced to go through these mental exercises again and again, fervently praying, taking medication, working out and doing all in my power to tip the scale back to balanced brain chemistry.

And so the struggle continues.


Anonymous said...

I've got to say, those are great ways to snap back to reality. Sometimes even knowing or hearing my husband say he thinks I am beautiful doesn't drag me out of those thoughts. Agreed 100% percent about Satan laughing. He will use ANY crack as a foothold. Here's to being a strong, creative, beautiful woman!!

The Dragonfly said...

The title for this post is so perfect. I can't imagine feeling this way. But when you describe it I have a mere inkling of what it must be like to struggle with depression and I am more aware. The image you chose for this post is also perfect. I love that the woman has just her foot dipping into the shadow of what could be depressing thoughts, but is choosing to stand in the light. You are amazing.

Jenny D. said...

I just found your blog and please may I say 'Bravo' and 'Thank you.' Thank you for putting yourself out there and helping women like me (who could easily wish to have a slice of your life) see that all of us struggle, some more than others maybe, but we ALL struggle in our own ways. We could all use a lot more compassion and a lot less judgement because we are all trying to do our best. Thanks for sharing your mental exercises. With my situation, an exercise that I do often is to look at what is real -- my husband loves me, my children are happy, I am safe, I am capable, etc. etc. This helps me to not get so overwhelmed by all the things I feel are out of control and helps me get back to the present, otherwise I shut down and I am no good to anybody! Maybe I should have sent an email instead, but oh well. Again, thank you!

Yvette said...

This might sound weird from a stranger. But you are a beautiful girl and so talented! Someone directed me to your website to watch your Christmas video. I was amazed! I understand what your saying though about not feeling it yourself. I've felt that way too!I struggle with it monthly if not daily. I just wanted you to know that it's not what others see.

LisAway said...

"to tip the scale back to balanced brain chemistry." What a perfect way to put it. Tipping the scale back in the way that really matters.

You are a lovely person and a wonderful writer.

Teresa said...

I just found your blog today and I want to say this:

This post is very similar to what I struggle with. I often find it hard to find someone who understands that although I DO want to look different, more than anything in the world I want to be ok with how I already look. I try to do that thing with the other women in the room all the time and it never works.

Also, you are AMAZING. I wish I had the creativity and drive you have. I don't know where you find the time for Christmas video shoots and coming up with a Christmas table setting in the midst of raising 4 beautiful children. I can barely manage working, sleeping, and raising one child.

Your video is adorable. I wish I had 1 tenth of the creativity you do.

Hope you have a Merry Christmas. :)

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