If you’re depressed or you once were depressed, it’s important to recognize these 3 steps that lead to depression. If you recognize these steps and deal with each one of them appropriately, you’ll be able to prevent becoming depressed.
Step 1: You’ve identified yourself first with your parents and later transferred that identification to something outside of yourself
This process starts in early childhood. First, little children identify themselves with their parents. They receive unconditional love, develop self-worth and self-esteem. Puff! When you snap your fingers, they’re happy grownups.
Well, with the majority of us, things weren’t that simple. Since your parents are, after all, only humans, chances are, the love you’ve received wasn’t unconditional. You’ve probably continued to identify yourself with both or just one of your parents. In what way? Well, you’ve started putting conditions on your self-worth and even life.
For example, maybe your inner dialog is similar to this: “If I achieve this goal, get all As in school, graduate from that University, get that promotion, I’ll be worth something and I’ll get that love I so desperately needed.” Does this sound familiar to you?
Now, your identification is transferred from your parents to your important goals, achievements, children, spouse. You name it; things and people. You expect that you’ll get the love you deserve from outside sources.
Some people have the tendency to condition their very existence with outside things and people. That’s why they become suicidal, when depressed.
This type of thinking can make you feel depressed. However, this is your chance to stop becoming depressed; even if there isn’t any sign of depression, yet.
How to prevent becoming depressed?
Answer the following questions honestly. Be kind to yourself.
- With what or whom are you conditioning yourself now?
- Am I a valuable person without any conditions? Why? (write down at least 5 reasons)
- Was I conditioned by someone in early childhood? By whom?
- What are my core values in life?
Answering these questions can make you temporarily feel sad or you may even cry a little bit. This is a perfectly normal reaction. Still, becoming aware of this will help you change your patterns of behavior and take better control of your life. What’s more, acknowledging this will prevent you from becoming depressed.
Step 2: You’re doing everything to achieve self-imposed conditions
For a while, you’re doing everything to achieve those very important goals, to gain that love from the outside. You’re trying very hard to achieve every goal that you have set for yourself. Thinking that if you succeed, you’ll be worthy of love and everybody around you will love you.
Have you noticed that many depressed black women are high achievers?
That is the wrong childhood pattern of thinking and reasoning, haunting you through adulthood, triggering the same mistakes over and over again. This is the point where you have the chance to put an end to all this and to free yourself from this vicious circle. To prevent depression!
How to prevent becoming depressed?
First, you must realize that all the love you need is already inside of you. Nothing and nobody from outside can bring this love to you. It’s your job to start loving yourself and then everybody else will follow your lead.
Secondly, you should actively re-examine your motivation. Think about your important goals, things that you do and strive for. Ask yourself:
- Why do I want to do this, why do I work so hard to achieve these goals?
- What do I expect afterwards? After I achieve these goals, what do I expect they’ll bring me?
- Would I be more fulfilled, more complete, more lovable?
- Would I be worthy after I attain important goals in my life?
No matter what you discover, be kind to yourself! It is really important for you to know what motivates you. Once you’ve realized your motives were wrong, you should set your goals the right way. And expect realistic things after attaining them. By doing so, you won’t become depressed along the way.
Step 3: You’ve lost hope that you will attain self-imposed conditions
You’re depressed the moment you realize that you won’t attain the self-imposed conditions and gain love. So you’re depressed when you become hopeless.
The importance of hope in human lives was best described by Viktor Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy. He observed people in German concentration camps and noticed:
“The prisoner who had lost his faith in the future — his future — was doomed. With his loss of belief in the future, he also lost his spiritual hold; he let himself decline and became subject to mental and physical decay. Usually this happened quite suddenly, in the form of a crisis, the symptoms of which were familiar to the experienced camp inmate. We all feared this moment — not for ourselves, which would have been pointless, but for our friends. Usually it began with the prisoners refusing one morning to get dressed and wash or to go out on the parade grounds. No entreaties, no blows, no threats had any effect. He just lay there, hardly moving. If this crisis was brought about by an illness, he refused to be taken to the sickbay or to do anything to help himself. He simply gave up. There he remained, lying in his own excreta, and nothing bothered him any more.”
After hopelessness the desperation comes to scene.
If you notice you’re at the third step towards depression, don’t despair! Reach for help. Approach a psychotherapist or a counselor and deal with your depression. Taking the first step is always difficult, but it’s necessary if you want to be free!
Recognizing these 3 steps that lead to depression should empower you. If you act immediately, you’ll feel more in control. Action will prevent you from becoming depressed.
Share in the comments your thoughts about these steps. Do you find them useful in dealing with depression?