But then something happened. It wasn’t an earth-shattering thing, it was just a thing. A life thing. A thing that your average person would feel bad about but not the end of the world.
Just the end of my world.
Depression is a funny thing. Not so much funny ha ha but more funny want to slit your throat. Depression makes you believe things that aren’t true. Depression makes you believe that you are lowly, that you are nothing, that you are unlovable, that you are unlikeable, and a host of other things all seemingly designed to tear you to the floor.
And it’s really unfortunate when life events work to confirm, or seemingly confirm, these false beliefs.
It’s About Me
So a little life event then, that’s unfortunate but hardly inconceivable, suddenly feels like the end of your, personal, universe (or the universe in general depending on your level of depression). Suddenly something bad happening is about you. It’s your fault. It proves that you are dysfunctional. It proves that no one loves you now or ever will in the future.
But then, we all know that Bad Things Happen to Good People. And this isn’t just the title of a book or an engaging speech. What this means is that you can be the best person in the world, the most loveable, the most worthy, and still, Bad Things Will Happen. Because bad things do. Happen. To everyone.
And that extreme overreaction of taking a small event and allowing the crazy to blow it out of proportion is the thing that’s about me, not the little life event itself. The little life event is random and not about me in the slightest.
Emotional Overreactions and Depression
And an overreaction doesn’t just ruin your whole day, it might ruin your whole week as you find yourself shedding a week’s worth of water from your eyeballs. Energy goes. Motivation goes. Self-confidence vanishes and self-doubt flourishes. In all, it just ruins a human period and it can take more than a bit of time to bounce back.
Avoiding Depression Overreaction
OK, I admit, I don’t have the answer on this one. If I did, I wouldn’t have overreacted now would I? But I do think it’s prudent to pay attention and try to nip overreaction in the bud. In my case I was aware that I was doing it, I knew that it was crazy and I still couldn’t stop it, but that’s me.
Here are some suggestions for avoiding an emotional overreaction thanks to depression:
- Remember that life events neither confirm nor deny who you are. They aren’t about you.
- Nip overreaction in the bud – it’s easier to survive a breeze than a hurricane.
- Use your self-talk. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to someone else who this happened to.
- Do a reality check. Don’t know if you’re having a reasonable reaction? Check with others.
- Do something else – pass by the event by moving on to something you want to do, maybe something that engages others who can affirm who you are.
Because you are better than depression would have you believe and you deserve to believe that.