Survivors of sexual abuse or any trauma often deal with depression.

I have dealt with my own depression.

One time I was so depressed,

I contemplated suicide.

At that point I found medication helped me deal with my thoughts and my depression.

Another time I was able to deal with my depression and my thoughts without medication.

There is no right or wrong about using or not using medication.

Sometimes medication allows us to do the work that we need to do to overcome depression.

Other times, medication isn’t needed.

I also don’t find getting a clinical diagnosis to be helpful.

It isn’t like they can take an X-ray or draw blood to give you a definitive diagnosis.

Sometimes a diagnosis causes more shame and thus stops people from getting help.

What is more important is to understand what depression is and isn’t.

It is important to understand that there isn’t anything wrong with you.

You did not cause your depression.

You are not your depression.

Depression is something going on in your brain.

You are not your brain or your thoughts.

Your brain could be at the effect of:

  • Genetics
  • How you were raised
  • Past trauma
  • A chemical imbalance

That is completely separate from the essence of who you are.

You are and have always been:

  • Whole
  • Perfect
  • Complete
  • Worthy

It is important that you separate what is happening in your brain from who you are.

This removes the self-shame and self-blame.

This stops making the depression worse.

There are things that make depression worse and better.

You can make depression worse by:

  • Having a victim mentality
  • Beating yourself up with self-loathing and self-hate
  • Indulging in regret about what you should or shouldn’t have done
  • Body shame – constantly beating yourself up for how your body looks
  • Blaming yourself for being depressed
  • Complaining – looking for the negative in everything
  • Buffering – eating, drinking, drugging, spending, binging on TV and social media to not feel

You can make depression better by:

  • Using the right medication to allow you to work on your depression
  • Doing thought work
  • Remembering you are not your depression, you are not your thoughts
  • Focus on the possibility of the future you want to create
  • Creating plans for the future
  • Setting and accomplishing small goals (get out of bed, step outside, walk for 5 minutes)
  • Exercise which releases the happy hormones
  • Listen to positive podcasts
  • Reading positive self-help books
  • Make small decisions – don’t say “I don’t care.” Instead make a decision.
  • Create an Accomplishment Log, add to it and read it every day.
  • Create a Gratitude Log, add to it and read it every day.
  • Look for positive things every day.
  • Take a shower and get dressed every day

You can deal with and overcome depression!

Cindy Esch
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