Relearning to Love Yourself

I have a confession to make. I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every morning at 8 o’clock that says simply, “You’re awesome”. This might sound dumb but you’d be surprised how often I forget that fact.

This is just one tool in my arsenal of tricks that I use to combat the depression and paranoia that come with a mental illness.

I’ve been in some pretty dark places and I’ve thought many times about putting an end to things when I’m having a hard time but then every day at eight my phone vibrates and I’m reminded that I’m awesome.

Therapists and gurus talk about the power of positive self talk and I’ll be the first to admit that I have as hard a time talking nicely to myself as anyone else but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t work.

Loving yourself can be particularly hard at times. After things like a breakup or a rejection or a demotion at work or after some jerk says something that makes you feel like crap. I know this all to well. In fact the crux of my mental illness has me constantly paranoid that people are making fun of me or plotting against me and that feeling for me, although not based in reality, has me feeling worthless and outcast a good percentage of the time.

As a writer and a guy with a tendency of falling in love way too easily I’m no stranger to rejection. If it’s not an agent rejecting my novel, it’s a cute girl saying she sees me as more of a friend.

My point here is that I spend a fair amount under the impression that I’m no good, ugly, a bad writer or just plain unworthy of happiness and I know where you’re coming from if you tell me you’re not feeling so hot.

In times like these, I usually find myself spending a good amount of time curled up on my couch listening to sad music and I have to force myself to do the things that would come naturally to some other people like showering or eating.

The point of all this is though, that you have to force yourself to find your confidence again.

Take all the time you need to feel sad after something bad happens but at some point you have to realize that things need to change.

My go to remedy is usually a hot shower, a good talk with my mom, a nice walk and a good sleep. Usually by the morning I feel ok again. Then at eight my phone buzzes reminding me that I’m awesome and things start to look up.

Another major tool I use for loving myself is reminding myself how far I’ve come, from a confused and scared 20 year old in a mental hospital to a writer for The New York Times.

It may not seem like anything good is happening in your life but when you consider how far you’ve come in the last however many years you see that change does happen, although it happens slow and sometimes we don’t realize the extent of it.

The key is being patient and to keep working for the things that you want.

Just remind yourself that eventually, at some point down the road, you’ll get there.

In the meantime, taking time for yourself and focusing on how awesome you are can quell pretty much any major anxiety.

Loving yourself is hard I know but just remember that no matter how bad you feel there are people out there who think you are awesome, and if they have a reason to think that, than there must be something great about you, even if you don’t realize it.

Love and opportunities will come and go, the only thing that’s permanent in your life is you.

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  1. I stumbled across your blog while looking for ways to cope with schizophrenia. I’ve never related to anything this much in my life. It gives me hope when I read your articles and see that despite the mental illness, people are able to thrive. Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

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