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Depression: How to Be Okay With Yourself

How to Be Okay With Yourself Even When You’re Depressed

Most of the important people in my life have struggled with severe mental illness at some point.

I have too.

It’s a lot more common than people let on.

Let me put it very plainly for those of you who have never experienced severe depression or other forms of mental illness: it sucks.

It’s also very different for everyone, and there are a wide variety of symptoms that you may or may not experience.

If you’re depressed, you might experience:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tons of other shitty things

For me personally, depression mostly just makes me really not like anything about myself. It makes me dislike my body, and feel badly about my intelligence. It magnifies embarrassing moments and makes me feel like other people don’t like me too.
woman sitting on a table
But even if you struggle with depression, there are ways to cope with not liking yourself.

If I had a friend tell me that they were depressed and did not like themselves, this is what I would tell them:

Get help for depression before you need it

It can be hard to determine when you actually need to get help for depression.

If you think you need help for depression, you definitely need help for depression.

If you are starting to think that depression might be negatively impacting your life or your relationships, you need help for depression.

You can get IMMEDIATE or EMERGENCY help by:

  • Calling a suicide hotline:
    • In the US: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Calling 9-1-1
  • Calling your psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor
  • Go to a local emergency room

You can get non-emergency help by:

  • Asking you doctor for a mental health referral
  • Finding a local mental health professional

If you can’t afford mental health care:

  • Try to find low income services
    • Google “Low income counseling [my city]”
  • Your local university may provide free or discounted counseling for the community
  • If you are a student, some colleges offer free crisis counseling services for students
  • Look for group therapy sessions in the area – they are often much cheaper
  • See if your church or community center has a relevant support group
  • Find a support group through NAMI
  • At a minimum, talk to your friends and family about it

Make sure your basic needs are met first

If you can’t afford enough food or are living somewhere unsafe, you’re probably not going to get un-depressed or un-self-hating no matter what else you do.

Take care of your basic needs.

Do everything you can to be physically healthy and injury free.

Make sure you are eating and drinking properly. If you can’t afford proper nutrition, apply for government assistance or visit a local food bank. If you are having temporary financial hardship and can’t afford groceries for a few weeks, ask a friend or family member for help.

Feeling safe in your own home is huge to your overall wellbeing too. If you don’t feel safe for any reason, finding a new place to live should be your top priority.

High quality housing can be expensive, but having a safe place to live is vital.

If you are living somewhere unsafe but can’t afford a nice place to live:

  • Consider moving in with family and paying a small rent to them
  • Share an apartment with friends
  • Rent a room in someone’s house – if you find them through Craiglist or classified ads, make sure you meet them and are comfortable with them before considering moving in. In the state of Idaho, you can see the public criminal record of any resident through the Idaho Repository by searching their first and last name. If your state does not have a repository, even searching their name on Google may reveal past crimes, arrests, or other undesirable behavior.

Beyond the basic needs of food, water, and a safe place to live, strengthening your relationships can help you be a little more okay with yourself.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to make amends with people who treat you poorly, but if you don’t have a healthy relationship with your family, significant other, or friends, consider finding other ways to connect with people.

Understand Different Aspects of Your Value

Sometimes I feel like crap about my body, no matter how hard I try not to.

Realistically I know that I’m not ugly or fat. But some days what I know and what I feel are not the same things.

When my mind is stuck on hating one particular part of myself, I try to focus on my other parts.

What makes me valuable?

  • I have wonderful friends and family who love and support me
  • I’m really freakin’ strong
  • I am good at writing
  • I’m pretty dang smart
  • I’m good at handling difficult situations
  • I’m a good dog mom
  • I’m a really nice person
  • Lots of other things

Other days I feel fine about my body, but I feel bad because my challenges processing new information make me feel “stupid”. Well all “stupid” aside, I can still reflect on all of my positive traits.

It can take a little practice to be able to step back and look at yourself from a more objective view, but forcing your attention to your positive traits can make you feel just a little bit less terrible when you’re depressed.

Celebrate small accomplishments – and find people who will celebrate with you

Small accomplishments are a huge deal when you’re depressed, and you should celebrate the hell out of them.

These are the things that I sometimes struggle with:

  • Showering
  • Changing my clothes
  • Putting laundry away
  • Picking up dog poop
  • Eating

If your best friend won’t give you a high five for changing out of your pajamas for the first time in a week, consider finding a better friend.

My brother and I often talk about the stupid little things that start sliding when we are depressed. We support and encourage each other to complete whatever it is that seems impossible at the time, and then we share our pride as we conquer the great big burdensome task.

 

What makes you feel better about yourself when you’re depressed?

Save 10K in 2016

How I Plan on Saving $10k in 2016

There’s this thing that has been floating around the internet for several years, something along the lines of “The 52 Week Money Challenge”.

The idea is that in week 1 you save one dollar, week two you save two dollars, week three you save three dollars et cetera et cetera until the end of the year when you are saving a whopping $52 per week.

Voiila!

You have a magical Disney World vacation fund all ready to go.

Flying away on vacation

Sounds like a great idea.

Except.

How many of you would be financially capable of saving $52 a week without increasing your income or adapting to a different standard of living?

Saving money as a habit is important, but you also have to learn how to have that extra money in the first place.

It all comes down to two things: making more money and spending less.

My goal in 2016 is to save $10k. Weekly that’s about $192.
Whew! Here’s how:

I’ll break my strategy down into three categories: making more, spending less, and saving skills.

Making More Money by…

Arm wrestling for money

…Working More

For the majority of last year I worked part time in my career job and part time as a subcontractor. For 2016 I plan on working close to 40 hours per week, and do additional contract work up to 15 hours a week.

If you do not have specific career skills that you feel you can charge for, here are a few ideas of odd-jobs you can do to make extra cash:

  • Work security at events (some companies do not require any experience at all)
  • Babysit, dog sit, or house sit
  • Do yard work for neighbors (seriously, I would pay a friend $15 to mow my lawn)
  • Work temporary weekend gigs like fair booths

…Charging More

I currently charge clients 5x what I was charging a year ago, and my rates are going up again. The biggest thing I have struggled to learn as a freelancer is my own value.

I have a valuable skillset that people are looking for. I have never had to seek out clients and sell my services.

If you work for yourself and you have a heavy workload and aren’t making as much as you think you deserve, inform your clients that you will be increasing your rates or pitch a higher rate to your next client.

There is risk in upping your rates – you may lose a client or you may lose a prospect if you are asking for an unreasonable amount. If you’re like me you’ve been undercharging all along, and they will gladly agree to your new rate.

Spending Less Money by…

…Exercising Moderation

Cheetos not in moderation

I am the queen of go big or go home. Moderation is barely in my vocabulary.

I love to lift heavy weights as many days a week as my body will allow. I love to work 12 hour days and 7 day weeks.

I love to drink coffee out (in fact, I’m in a coffee shop now). I love to eat out at restaurants. I love to buy trendy dog print clothing that I will never ever wear.

Here are a few things I plan on moderating to save some money:

  • Only go to coffee shops 3x per week
  • Only buy coffee at work 2x per week (I can brew coffee at the office, I don’t need to pay to buy it at the cafe)
  • Only buy lunch/snacks at work one day per week
  • Only eat in a restaurant one day per week
  • Switch from a 3 gig data plan to a 1 gig data plan and use wifi more

…Thinking More About Large Purchases

When I want to make a big purchase, I usually want to do it NOW.

If I decide I want a new computer, I make the purchase within 5 hours. If I decide I want a new phone, I make the purchase within 5 hours. If I have an idea for a new tattoo, I book the next available appointment.

My goal is to have a two-week buffer period from the time I decide until the time I purchase. That way I’m really certain that the big purchase is much needed, and I’m really certain that I’ve found the best product and price.

Saving Money by…

…Putting Money Where I Can’t See It

Saving pennies

My bank account is set so that with every debit purchase I make, a dollar is trasferred from my checking account to my savings account. Then, in a few weeks’ time I have accumulated multiple dollars of savings.

Like the 52 Week Money Challenge, it’s great in theory.
Except I do all of my banking online, and when I look at my checking account balance, I look at my savings account balance. And usually I transfer all of those saved dollars back to where I can spend it.

This year I plan on putting more money where I can’t see it – or at least where I won’t regularly see it.

This week I set up my retirement contributions to the maximum that my company matches so that every paycheck a portion of my income is tucked away to where I will only see it when I get a quarterly report.

I also downloaded an app called Acorns, which is linked to my bank account. With every debit purchase that I make, Acorns rounds up the price to the nearest dollar and tucks away the change in an investment account.

 

Will I actually save $10,000 in 2016? Who knows. But I will work hard to save as much money as possible.

What’s your biggest roadblock when it comes to saving money and how do you plan to overcome it this year?

Vegas 2015

2016 Goals and Resolutions

Eyy, it’s January 1, what a perfect time to start yet another blog.The purpose of this blog will be to share a little bit more about what I do professionally and personally, and to share some of the information and resources I pick up along the way.

There has been a lot of talk around the web about how badly 2015 sucked, but frankly 2015 was my best year. Ever.

I had two main (and substantial) accomplishments in 2015:

  • I pulled myself above the poverty income level for the first time in 5 years (poverty sucks, just BTW)
  • I graduated from college with a bachelor of science in psychology (I never graduated from high school, so cool!)

And now that I have a reasonable income, safe place to live, and relative mental stability, I’m ready to smash 2016.

I’m not huge on “resolutions”, but I am big on goal setting, so…

Here are a few things I am hoping to accomplish in 2016:

  • Double the income I made in 2015
  • Save money
  • Start graduate school
  • Compete at the 2016 USAPL nationals

What are your goals for 2016? Did you make a New Years resolution?