Changing How You Feel About Things versus Accepting How You Feel About Things

I’ve noticed while writing, talking, and thinking about depression issues that the manner in which I talk about them can have a significant effect on my perspective on them. If I talk about them with more negative words, I feel more negative, and if I talk about them in more optimistic terms, I sometimes feel more optimistic. It’s a hard game to play, manipulating this phenomenon, because though it seems like the obvious solution is just to be as positive as possible about things, there’s a certain point past which I just feel like I’m bullshitting myself. That feeling, I’m sure, will not help.

So I’ve been trying to figure out how this thinking positive thing works. It could probably be an important tool to help in getting better, but it’s a hard tool to know when to use. I don’t want to feel like I’m bullshitting myself all the time. I also don’t want to feel like just feeling bad about some things is not okay. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes people make when talking to people who are depressed, actually. Or at least when talking to depressed me. I often don’t like it when people say “Feel better” or try to offer solutions to things when I’m just trying to vent. What they’re trying to do is nice, but it often makes me feel like the fact that I feel bad about things is not okay. Sometimes the most important thing for me to be able to feel is that just feeling bad about things for a while is okay. Sometimes being told that feeling bad is okay is the thing I need to be able to hear to start expressing and getting through the bad stuff.

I think this is one of the most difficult lines to navigate: the line between changing the way you react to things and being not being intolerant of yourself when you inevitably react poorly to things sometimes. I’m sure this thinking and talking about the positive side of things is a useful tool, but it’s hard to know when it’s the right tool to use. When to say to myself “Reacting this way is not good and we should change it”, and when to say “Reacting this way is okay and I love you”.

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