As I mentioned earlier, being positive is a process.
First off, I believe you cannot be positive until you have sorted out what is stopping you.
When I was going through depression I kept receiving “positive thoughts” emails I had subscribed to before my depression. They actually started to make me so angry and more depressed. “Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I know, I need to be positive, but right now, all I feel like doing is curl up and disappear, so you can piss off with your positive thoughts”.
I attended CBT for a while at the time, and found it really unhelpful, as it was mostly focussed on understanding how your behaviour needs to change for your world to change. When you are depressed, that brings you down even more, because you realise it is your fault your life is crap
Something however did come out of those CBT sessions that was a bit of a turning point for me:
“Both affirmations and traditional positive thinking involve seeing yourself as self assured and confident. The goal is to make yourself feel good by focusing on what can be done and then doing it. Positive thinking is a mental attitude that expects success and favorable results.
If you are depressed you clearly do not yet live in a “can do” and “will do” place just yet. Therefore, positive thinking at this point isn’t going to be motivated as it’s false. Repeating “I can get through this!” when you really don’t know if you can, or reciting affirmations of “I love life!” when in reality you are thinking about quitting life are both examples of being false or lying to yourself.”
When my depression became too hard to bare and I was starting to seriously think about doing away with myself, I went to see my doctor and insisted on medication, which he had up to then refused to give me, hoping I would get through this myself. I actually saw another doctor and he agreed to give me a low dose anti-depressant. This was enough to lift the cloud and I started to be able to cope with life again.
What really helped me though was to stop drinking completely. I was then able to start thinking clearly, and face my failures: I had lost a man I loved deeply and to my best friend, who I loved deeply too and I hadn’t been able to cope with it.
Instead of feeling a victim, I started to assess what had happened and why it had happened, and eventually I realised it was all my making. That realisation was what changed my life.
To cut a long story short, I saw what I had done wrong in the relationship and why I did those things. I also understood why my husband left me, and even why he went to my best friend. I was then able to forgive him, and then, most importantly, myself.
And I started to feel so good about myself that positivity entered my world.
At first, my mind was bursting with excitement, I became really high on life, slightly manic, starting lots of projects that brought me joy, wanting to spread the word too, and felt so happy it scared me a little at times (“could this really last?”)
It wasn’t long before I realised I had to try and calm down a bit, life was still life and there were still issues to be dealing with, I think I even became overbearing to some of my friends.
Being positive brings new challenges to your life. As your state of mind changes you, it makes you re-assess your current life. And that’s not fun. Because you realise some of it has to change. Obviously as, up to then, you made do with what you had. When you become positive, you realise some part of your life brings you negativity.
And so my journey into changing my world for the better starts now….