It is hard to be grateful when you are severely depressed. I know that was the last concept on my mind. I was exhausted, helpless, and I did not have a purpose. How can one think of gratitude when trying to survive to the next day? Gratitude was a big burden and there was no hope or promise for the next day.
Gratitude is not something that magically appears when you are severely depressed. You are in emotional pain. You cry, feel hopeless, weak, exhausted, and have no motivation to do anything. It is a process that will come with time by looking at what you are able to do for today. Could you get out of bed? Yes! That is gratitude. Could you open your eyes and try to do your best no matter how painful? That is gratitude. Could you appreciate yourself for being vulnerable, having emotions, and a deep understanding that emotional pain can subside? That is gratitude. Can you live one more day and give yourself a chance? That is gratitude.
People are typically grateful for their job, good people in their lives, financial stability, or being able to travel or buy things. A depressed person cannot relate, whether they have these or not. Your clouded vision does not allow you to see beyond the pain. You have to relearn to appreciate life at a simplistic level.
The stigma of undergoing depression is the fault of society. It is real for many people. Life is not always fulfilling. Forcing yourself to feel good while suffering in silence is unhealthy. This is not part of healing. You have to face your pain, in order to overcome it. This is without shame or trying to project life is always happy when you know it is not. This can be through fake conversations, photos, or participating with anything or anyone against your values.
Here are five ways to create gratitude when you thought it is impossible. Depression takes a human to another state of thinking and acting. This causes suffering, but you can heal daily.
Void and emotional pain is consuming your mind. This state of mind is filled with despair and feeling suffering is permanent. Use your senses to connect with what feels good. Senses can be dull when depressed. You need to waken those senses again. Bake chocolate chip cookies and inhale the goodness of baking, smell a beautiful flower, watch the beauty of nature or your pet playing, listen to a song that was once a favorite, or the soothing sounds of the ocean waves of a recording, wear your soft robe, or wrap yourself in your comfy blanket, taste your favorite dish or take a bite of chocolate. These are several ideas on how to reconnect to your senses. This creates gratitude that you can still use your senses and feel alive. If you have lost a sense, focus on the ones that are present which can be sharper due to not relying on all five senses.
Look for one person who cares and takes the time to be there for you. If you look at the ones who do not care, it will make you more ungrateful. People can be greedy, mean, or not compassionate. The more your radar goes toward them, the more you will not be grateful for who is present. Not everyone will understand your pain. Be grateful for one person who is listening to you or helping you. If you do not have anyone, join a support group or connect with a therapist. Therapy is crucial for severe depression.
People take a lot for granted when they have it. This can be other people, belongings, jobs, or anything that they think is entitlement. You understand the world can be mean, but you have to understand the power is within you to heal. Seek gratitude which has nothing to do with anyone else. Be grateful for yourself and your presence in this world. You may be suffering right now, but emotional pain can be healed and you can find joy, new interests, values, and your way in life again.
Be grateful that you can rest. Depression is exhausting and it can take a lot of rest to get well again. Enjoy the time when you want to sleep extra hours, do nothing, or take a nap to recharge. Your time to rest is building strength so you can go back into the world. If you need time off work, take those sick days. Rest is as important as feeling the need to do something all the time.
Being severely depressed is a hard undertaking to heal alone. Seek support from a group a psychologist, or psychiatrist. This is serious. If you have health insurance, mental health is covered. If you do not, then ask for a cash discount. Find therapists who have group sessions which is less expensive. You have the courage and strength to reach out for help and this is another point you need to express gratitude.
I hope this list has helped you and perhaps it has given you ideas. Please feel free to share here or on my Instagram post.
All the best on your healing journey.