It isn’t what happens to us that makes us feel a certain way, it is what we think about what happened that determines how we feel. We all have a belief about things and we interpret everything that happens to us through our brief systems. If we believe we are unworthy of love, then no matter how much someone loves us we will interpret their actions as unloving. We will sabotage our relationships.
If we want to change our beliefs about our world, then we have to challenge those beliefs and ask ourselves “Are the beliefs that we have rational or irrational beliefs”? If we are depressed and do not want to take an antidepressant, because we do not want to take medications even if it helps us feel better, it is important to identify the real beliefs about taking the medication. If the belief is “We do not want a substance to control how we feel, because we will become dependent on it”, Is that a rational belief? Do we take vitamins? If we are diabetic and need insulin, don’t we take that? It all helps us feel better and live longer, hopefully. Why is taking an antidepressant different? We are lacking something in our brain that is stopping us from thinking rationally and we feel bad. Antidepressants help balance the chemicals in our brain so we can see our world more objectively and realistically. It gives us hope that we can work through difficult things.
Research shows that if we are depressed we do not live as long. Being depressed affects our health. So what is our real belief about taking the antidepressant? Maybe it is because we do not believe we deserve to be happy or we do not want to give up control. Something inside of our brain is telling us an irrational thought that we should not enjoy life. Antidepressants alone do not help us feel less depressed. It is important to examine our thoughts and change our beliefs about our true identity and give ourselves permission to be happy. As we change our core beliefs about ourselves and learn to love ourselves that will help us feel better. Being able to connect with others builds confidence and can help our depression, and sometimes we need help to think more clearly and give ourselves permission to reach out and trust people close to us.
If our belief is that we do not deserve to be loved and be significant, then whenever we have those feelings we are going to feel guilty about being happy. We will quickly sabotage anything good that is happening to us and taking an antidepressant can help us process through our thoughts and change our beliefs. By changing the way we feel about ourselves we have choices to not believe the irrational thoughts and lies that we are not worthy to be happy and loved. It also frees us up to love others because if we value ourselves it is easier to value and love others. If we learn to trust ourselves and not live in fear, we are able to reach out to others for what we need.
Vickie Parker, LMFT