Depression is like a dark cloud that can strike suddenly and without warning.
It’s more than a feeling of gloom. Past accomplishments no longer have meaning, we lose interest in things we once loved, we feel that those who love us are better off without us.
If you suffer from depression, you’ve likely already sought out help. If you haven’t, it’s the most important thing of all and you should seek to see a therapist as soon as possible. Getting the right treatment for you can quite literally save your life.
However, the fight isn’t over after the depressive episode ends.
A big part of depression is feeling really lonely, even if you’re in a room full of a million people.
– Lilly Singh
Why depression makes you feel unlovable
The problem is…even after an episode is over, you know (or, at least, strongly believe) that it’s only a matter of time before another one will arrive.
And, when that happens, you know there’s a chance you’ll do something you’re not proud of, like snapping at a loved one who did nothing wrong. You know what you’ve put them through and feel ashamed because of it.
When you suffer from depression, a sense of shame that is difficult to shake extends into your life, and it can make you feel unlovable.
Why depression doesn’t make you unlovable
The truth is, millions of people all around the world experience depression just like you. And it happened to them the same way it did with you.
Depression isn’t something you choose, it simply happens. There is nothing connecting a depression diagnosis with a lack of intelligence, strength, or biological capability. Your depression doesn’t make you less than another, it just makes you different, just the same way as anything else does.
Of course, you suffer because of it, but that doesn’t mean that you’re less of a person or can’t be loved by another. We all know we have flaws and, we didn’t choose them. They are there and we have to learn how to deal with them.
Everyone goes through the process of learning to deal with personal flaws, so while your loved ones may have a hard time understanding what you go through during episodes of depression, they can understand some of the feelings you experience – shame, guilt, and feelings of unworthiness.
3 things you can do if you feel unlovable due to depression
If you experience depression, there are coping tools to help you work through these feelings of being unlovable. However, as stated above, getting professional help before anything is crucial.
1. Develop self-awareness with mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness can help those who suffer from depression for several reasons, the most notable one being the ability to develop the self-awareness needed to see an episode coming.
And, if you can see it coming, you can shift modes and prepare for when the storm hits. This one thing can make a huge difference.
In addition to this, mindfulness has been reported to lessen depressive symptoms as a whole, making it even valuable to those who experience clinical depression of any intensity.
However, most relevant to the topic at hand, mindfulness also allows you to develop the clarity neeeded to view your inner dialogue, which can help you work through feelings of being unlovable and the toxic thoughts they bring.
2. Reflect on past accomplishments…and avoid comparisons
Whether you have a mild to medium depression or a more severe case, there are therapy techniques like CBT, ECT, as well as medication, and a slew of other treatment options that can help you get better.
However, if you continue to create comparisons in your mind with others, especially those who don’t suffer from depression, you’ll just end up discouraging yourself. But, on the flip side, by dedicating yourself to learning to manage your depression, you can get far.
Take some time to reflect on your past accomplishments, and see that you’ve done quite a bit even now with your depression. Sure, maybe not as much as you’d like. However, by reflecting on the progress you have made so far and focusing on making consistent progress, you’ll be further encouraged to continue with treatment. Slowly, you will get to a stage where you have your depression under control and your mind is in a better place where you can connect with others and not only give, but receive, love.
3. Communicate with those you love openly and honestly
Opening up to loved ones about what you’re going through can be one of the most difficult things to do, however, it may be the single most important one of all.
Perhaps the most damaging behavior of depression sufferers, closing yourself off to loved ones can cause you to feel alone not just during a depressive episode, but at all times.
We don’t feel the same way outside of a depressive episode as during one, but shame and guilt often can make us unwilling to open up when it counts the most. If you can muster the courage to start communicating with loved ones about how you feel and what you’re going through, you can create a bridge that gives you strength when you need it the most.
Depression still requires real, clinical help. However, the feeling that you’re unlovable that persists outside of depressive episodes can improve considerably if you focus on those three things.