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When you read about depression, it usually teaches about the common symptoms. For example: how people tend to lose their appetite, have trouble focusing, have sleep disturbances, and often isolate themselves. However, what's not discussed as often is the loss of identity with depression people experience. This can really take over a person's life. It may make it difficult to do even the simplest things. Thus, your whole life is disrupted and creates a constant build of problems and increases the depression.
It's important to understand and recognize this type of depression to protect and help yourself and loved ones. When you are aware of the signs, you are more equipped to get help from a professional. BetterHelp assists people to recognize, understand, and overcome loss of identity with depression.
How Loss of Identity Occurs
Loss of identity with depression commonly comes along with detachment that you might experience. It is the result of how your thoughts can become distorted. You might feel unloved and like you are worthless. But, your friends and loved ones actually love and care deeply for you. This is where the loss of identity begins. Depression comes along with a loss of self confidence. Your attitude leads to some friends avoiding you.
You feel you lost your friends. You lose interest in things you used to enjoy doing. And your motivation to work on yourself is gone. What used to seem important to you: self care, taking care of your home, nurturing relationships, these all suffer. Over time, it creates a lot of identity issues. Since you now feel like you’re just a person with depression and nothing else. Empty, hopeless, useless and alone.
Lack of Pleasure and Excitement
An extremely common symptom of depression is losing interest in things and people. Hobbies or activities you once enjoy now provide nothing for you. Or, the people you used to love being around, don’t bring any joy into your life. You find it difficult to be happy and joyful, even about small things. That is not only a big sign of depression, but it can lead to loss of identity as well.
Many people find their identity and purpose in life by what they do, what they’re good at, and what they enjoy in life. This makes it hard to know who you are and why you’re here when you can’t do that. Sometimes, without the help of a therapist it is hard to see what triggered this depression. What came first the depression created problems and escalated more problems creating the loss of identity? Or did an event trigger the loss of purpose or worth and then escalated into depression and lost of self?
No matter what came first, a therapist helps recognize the dangers, wade through the turmoil, and create a plan of healing to regain one's mental health.
Memory and Focus Issues
Another way you can quickly lose your sense of identity when you have depression is when it affects your memory function. If you don’t have all the same memories you once did, you can feel instantly like a different person. People rely on their memories, good and bad, to bring them back to who they are and how they have changed. Without them, it is very difficult to really be who you truly are and learn how to overcome your past decisions and mistakes.
Very tragic events or ongoing unsafe situations can play with ones memory, creating doubt and uncertainty. Memories of events you don't remember may creep out by a conversation or another life event. You may begin to doubt your memories because it seems untrue, even though in your heart it seems very real. The fact that you are doubting your own memories may begin to mess with your identity. “If I can't remember if this is real or not, what else about me is real or fiction?” In a situation with abusive person escalates these feelings because they want you in that place of defeat and uncertainty.
How to Overcome Depression and Regain Identity
With the right depression treatment, you can reduce these negative side effects and start to feel better, both mentally and physically. It's important to surround yourself with positive support. Spend time with those who support and encourage you. Remove negative and abusive people. Learn to have safe boundaries for your own self care.
Become purposeful in your daily activities.
Take care of yourself.
Put yourself first. Be sure to get up, shower and fix your hair. Start a relaxing exercise like yoga or walking. Get some sun and fresh air daily. Eat clean, healthy foods and avoid prepackaged, processed foods.
Spend time in meditation.
For a Christian this is a time of prayer and reading the Bible. If this doesn't fit you, you could just spend a few minutes in quiet reflection. You could include journaling or reciting affirmations.
Clean your home.
A dirty and cluttered home creates negativity. It makes your feels yucky, stuck and unloved. Take control of your environment by cleaning and decluttering your house. Take a room at a time and get rid of the trash, the unneeded, and sometimes unhealthy belongings. Turn your home into a cozy, safe, sanctuary where you can enjoy life and feel good about yourself and where you live.
Spend time doing positive things.
You could volunteer to help others. Find ways to reach and help your friends or family. Find something you've always to do and do it! Create new, happy memories.
Listen to your therapist.
Your therapist is there to support you through recovery. If you truly want to overcome depression and live fully, then you must be willing to do what they suggest. Be open to sharing everything you and they feel is important to discuss. Don't be afraid to share a past event in your life, it may be the key to finding the “why” behind your feelings now in the present.