If you are medically depressed, you may need professional help. You can try to help yourself first, but you should get professional help. It doesn't hurt to talk to an expert. When you feel very down, it is hard to think objectively. It is easy to see only negatives.
How can you help yourself?
- Think about how we make decisions - when we feel like doing something, we look for MORE reasons to do it. We don't objectively seek reasons NOT to do what we want. This is self-serving but we do it for all sorts of decisions, like buying a new car or changing jobs.
- So, if you feel like committing suicide, you may be backing yourself into a corner by not letting yourself see any good reasons to live.
- Can you make a list of all the good reasons you can think of to go on living? Writing things down, forcing yourself to make a LONG list can help.
- Bear in mind that statements like: "Life is awful" are not statements of fact but expressions of an attitude. Try to cultivate the opposite attitude that life is beautiful.
- How can you help others feel better about themselves? Much of the world is unhappy for many of the same reasons.
- Don't forget the best reason to go on. Being born at all rather than not is like winning the world's biggest lottery. You are one of the lucky ones.
- If you don't agree with this, you should realize that there is no right and wrong answer here. It is a CHOICE we make how to look at the accident of our birth. You can convince yourself that you are incredibly lucky to be alive, but only if you make a list of all the great opportunities that life brings, little things like seeing birds sing or feeling the sun on your face, not to mention doing things for others or trying to make the world a better place in some small way.
- You may have some objective aspects of your life that you don't like and can't change, like having a disability, but you can change how you view yourself and your life. You can find something to be happy about if you make up your mind to do it and look for something you can enjoy doing.
- Realize that whenever you start thinking about how bad things are for you that this is your choice. It is not easy to simply talk yourself into feeling good. This is only the first step. The more important step is to get out of yourself and focus on doing good things in the world, like helping people, for instance. We acquire good feelings about ourselves by being busy doing things we like doing and seeing the gratitude in others when we help them.
- Read this article if you do nothing else: Being born: The Greatest Lottery Prize Ever.
- See the Self Esteem menu above for more on this topic or try our self esteem quiz.
Read the self esteem stories of other people here.