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10 Positive Mental Health Affirmations That Help Me Deal With Depressive Episodes

Posted: June 30, 2020

Reading and writing positive affirmations during a major depressive episode helped me cope with it. Here are ten of them that might help you too.

Trigger warning: This post contains details of depression and some suicidal tendencies that may be triggering to survivors.

It’s a given: life is hard. And when you have a mental illness or two, it’s infinitely harder. How can I say this with so much conviction?

Well, that’s because I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, generalised anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traits of borderline personality disorder. I am pretty sure I am borderline agoraphobic as well, but that’s a story for another day.

Of all these mental illnesses, if there’s one that I could choose to get rid of, it would be my clinical or major depression.

Depression and its impact on me

Just as its name suggests, this kind of depression has a major impact on every aspect of my life. I wake up most mornings tired and depressed, waiting for the day to be over so that I can go back to one of my safe spaces: my bed. It doesn’t just end here – thanks to depression, I also experience suicidal ideation on a frequent basis.

There are two kinds of suicidal ideation: passive and active. Passive suicidal ideation is when you don’t want to live anymore, but you keep breathing anyway. Active suicidal ideation is when you don’t want to live anymore and you actively think of ways, even make plans to take your own life. I can handle passive suicidal ideation, but active suicidal ideation takes a huge toll on me every time it strikes.

Naturally, active suicidal ideation is a terrible place to be in, and because life can be cruel, I find myself in that headspace pretty frequently.

Unlike its other half aka passive suicidal ideation, active suicidal ideation cannot be ignored. When it shows up, it demands your full attention. Can you imagine how hard it is to function when a voice in your head persistently tells you to not only kill yourself but also how to do it? Take my word for it: it is soul-crushing and I wouldn’t wish it upon anybody.

Do positive affirmations really work?

Thankfully, if you look hard and long enough, life provides solutions to many of its problems. For me, it appeared in the form of positive affirmations. Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.

I understand your skepticism, I used to look down on people who believed in positive affirmations too. How could repeating a set of statements over and over again change one’s life?

I guess I felt this way because I didn’t like the kind of people who believed in positive affirmations. My disdain for them made me forget the fact that hey, words are powerful and words do become actions. Eventually, I did come to believe in them last month, and in a way, I did not see coming.

It was past midnight – everyone was asleep and there I was, severely depressed and unable to sleep. Instead of distracting myself with Netflix, the voice inside my head told me to pick up a pen and start writing.

The affirmations worked for me

It is incredibly difficult to listen to a voice of reason during a major depressive episode. So I don’t know what drove me to get out of bed, sit at my desk, pick up a pen, and open my notebook. But that’s exactly what I did – and that’s how I ended up writing 30 affirmations. Even as I wrote them, I was not quite convinced they would help me and I wrote them without much faith in them.

But the next day, right after waking up, I was drawn to my journal. I read each affirmation out loud and to my great surprise, immediately felt a little better about myself and about being alive.

Since then, I have been reading them daily and they always made me feel better, even if only a little. True, they did not stop my active suicidal ideation, but they were powerful enough to stop me from acting on it. And now, I want to share these positive affirmations with you so that you too can benefit from them, irrespective of whether you have mental illness or not:

These are the affirmations

  1. I am good enough as I am.
  2. And I deserve to be loved, cared for, and respected.
  3. Yes, I am my mental illness, but I am also so much more than it.
  4. What others think of me has nothing to do with who I am as a person.
  5. I accept and love myself for who I am.
  6. Living in spite of my mental illness makes me brave, not weak.
  7. There is nothing wrong in saying NO.
  8. Mental illness is not a choice, a character flaw, or a personal failure.
  9. I respect and listen to my gut instinct.
  10. And I deal with whatever my illness throws my way because I am a survivor.

To read the remaining twenty affirmations, here is my free book ‘30 Powerful Affirmations To Boost Your Mental Health.’

If this article helped you in any way, do share it with the people in your life – especially those whose lives seem perfect. Because let’s be honest, everybody has problems and nobody has a perfect life.

A version of this was earlier published here.

Picture credits: Still from the short film ‘What’s Wrong?’ on YouTube

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Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture,

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