Self-Love: 50 Positive Affirmations for Depression

Below you will find a list of 50 positive affirmations for depression, written by someone who has been managing depression in their life, on-and-off, for 20 years.

As with all affirmation, you do not need to say all of these. You only need to pick a few that really speak to you. You'll know which ones are going to be the most effective because as you read them you'll feel something in your brain kind of click, even if just softly. What does matter is that you read these affirmations for depression mindfully and deliberately. For some people that will mean saying them out loud. For others it will be effective enough to just say them internally. On both counts, I can guarantee it will help if you repeat the phrase a number of times, and there is only good things to be gained from writing down your favourite positive affirmations to help your depression and sticking them in places in your home where you'll see them regularly.

Please do go ahead and scroll down for the full list of affirmations if you're in place where you desperately need some kind words for yourself, but just in case you're interested you can read a bit more about my experience of depression, affirmations (and indeed using affirmations for depression), and why I'm writing this list. Weirdly, it has a lot to do with soya sauce.

Depression, Affirmations and Me

Depression is a funny old thing, isn't it?

Okay, it's not hilarious funny! I mean it's more strange funny in that it is so uniquely different for everyone, don't you think? I mean, I'm asking you because you've clicked on this post looking for some affirmations for depression, so I assume you have some sort of connection to depression, be it struggling with it yourself? Or maybe you have watched or are watching someone you know or love struggle with it.

Maybe your own experience means you agree with me, maybe it doesn't, but one thing I know is for certain, depression is real, and depression is hard, and depression is as stubborn as the most stubborn tantrum-ing toddler. When it gets a grip on you, it can very easily make all the things feel very, very difficult.

From just getting up in the morning. brushing your teeth, deciding what to eat for breakfast (or oh my God, lunch and dinner too - that's too difficult!), through to cleaning up broken glass and spilled soy sauce, it can make you feel like taking the next breath and the next step is utterly out of your ability. You feel like you're being asked to climb Everest when really you just have to mop up the mess on your kitchen floor.

I say this from direct experience as yesterday I knelt on the floor surrounded by brown liquid, its salty scent filling my nostrils and my kitchen, and I just cried and cried and cried. Halfway through this meltdown I allowed myself to acknowledge that maybe I was still a bit depressed, having thought that the summer's easing up of lockdown and good weather had carried me through... maybe not. But there was an easing of the tension in that moment of recognition. Oh, yes, here you are again, my old funny friend. And so I guess I better do what I've got to do to try quieten you down and keep you at a safe distance (how apt!). That's why I'm writing this blog post of positive affirmations for depression for me. I mean, you. Heck, no, I mean me. 

Because while right now I'm not lost in the darkness of my worst period of depression, which was post-natal depression after the birth of my first son, I feel like I have been in a high functioning depression since last summer, initially due to sleep deprivation (following the birth of my second child) and then just as I was starting to feel better again the world turned upside down and we all found ourselves in the unprecedented position of a pandemic. A pandemic that wiped out my main source of income (from the blog you're reading in fact) and also forced us all into a period of social isolation.

While the easing up of the so-called lockdown has helped me no end, I am still having moments where it feels like I can't see the wood for the trees and I just feel very overwhelmed. After yesterday, I am going to call these moments Soy Sauce Moments, I think. So yes, I needed to sit down and write down some of the positive words that I use to help my depression, and also add some more into the mix. So this one is for me...

But of course it's for you too. It's for us, all of us. This one is for all of us who have that funny old friend Depression lurking in their lives 

Positive Affirmations to Help Depression

Thinking that depression is one-size fits all is as silly as therefore thinking that depression treatment is also one-size fits all. Note that I don't say cure. I don't think there is a cure for depression like there's a cure for other illnesses. If I'm wrong, please tell me and send me the cure you have found. I'll buy three... just in case.

But I have found many things that help me. Not all the time, but often enough for me to keep going back to them. Affirmation is one of these things. I've written previously about why affirmation works, why it's great for writers specifically, and I've written many lists of positive affirmations for daily life, affirmations for anxiety and stress, and just general healing affirmations for all kinds of folx.

Now it's time for me to take on Depression; in this blog post and in real life. These are the most helpful positive affirmations I've been using on days when Depression (and soy sauce) are overwhelming me. These are the things I say to myself to calm me down. 

General Positive Affirmations for Depression

Getting comfortable with depression is not easy. Nobody wants it, nobody likes it, and very few people are comfortable discussing it. But acknowledging depression is often the first step to managing it better. What this first batch of positive affirmations for depression do is both acknowledge the depression but they also sort of put it in its place. It's like saying, "Hi, I see you. But you can go take a seat over there."

Even though these affirmations are written for depression, they are not about making depression and whatever joy-leeching, fun-sucking ugly experiences it may bring, the priority. You are still your priority. 

Essentially that is what affirmation is about. It's about making you the focus, not whatever is happening to you be it depression or anything else. In this way positive affirmation can help you re-connect with yourself when you feel external influences are overwhelming you, and as you may already know, depression can often be very overwhelming.

These general affirmations for depression are ideal when you feel low in general. When you've been battling depression for a while and you may not see an end in sight, or maybe you do and you just want to keep focused on that. They are for all days, any time of day. They are your reminder that YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE than the depression you experience.

When I am experiencing depression, I actively love myself more.

I am not my depression. Never have been, never will be.

Depression is just a tiny part of who I am and what is happening in my life.

I am bigger, brighter and stronger than depression.

I show myself kindness and forgiveness when I am feeling depressed.

I am not to blame for my depression. There is nothing to be gained from fixing blame on someone or something.

I forgive myself for experiencing the pain and shame that comes with depression.

No feeling lasts forever. I wait with patience and self-love for hard feelings to fade.

Depression does not mean I am not loved or loving.

I navigate my depression with strength, self-love and patience.

Positive Affirmations for Darkest Days

Dark days. Man, they're dark, aren't they? It's almost like they're literally making everything duller - colours, foods, sounds... I am sure there's a medical explanation for it all, but I know for me when I have my darkest days during periods of depression there is sometimes nothing, NOTHING that makes me feel better.

And you know what? That's okay. It has to be okay, because telling myself (again and again) that it isn't okay only feeds my depression and makes things all the more darker. I hate to use the word surrender, and you'll notice I haven't used it in any of the below affirmations, but that is the sense of what I feel sometimes has to happen. You're not letting depression win, you're just also not setting yourself up to lose by only seeing "not being depressed" as your measure of success.

It's okay to feel depressed (that's an extra bonus depression affirmation!). It's not okay to feel like your life is over or something is wrong with you because you feel depressed. As with all these affirmations, make a note of the ones that speak to you the best - you'll hopefully feel a gut reaction to one or two - and ideally write them down, and keep them somewhere safe that you can actively read them when you are feeling unwell with depression.

I place no demands or expectations on myself on hard days.

I love myself unconditionally, especially on the days I find that hard.

I deserve rest when I need it. Rest is the first step to recovery.

My thoughts and feelings, no matter how repetitive, are never facts.

I give myself permission to feel low. And I give myself permission to do what I need to do to survive.

On bad days, I remind myself that I already have the capacity to feel good again.

Every breath I take brings me closer to feeling better.

When I can't make sense of what is happening to me, I give myself the gift of time, space and rest to help me find my focus again.

On hard days, I save all my energy for myself. I am the one who needs it most.

Doing what I need to do to feel better is not selfish. It is an act of self-love.

Positive Affirmations for Brighter Days

Spoiler alert: It is very possible to experience bright days when 100% clinically depressed. You can feel utterly lost for weeks, but then out of nowhere, a good day rolls around. Maybe even two of them. How wonderful! Well, yes, but also these brighter days can also be unnerving. They can lull you into a potentially false sense of security or happiness, or they can leave you completely confounded and exhausted as you try to analyse what it is that suddenly made the difference.

My advice for brighter days? Use them very wisely. Both in terms of helping you continue to feel better but also in terms of not setting yourself up for a fall should they all of a sudden be followed by a dark day. (I know I talk about days, but I hope it's assumed among us all that we could also be talking about good and bad hours as much as days, maybe even minutes sometimes!).

These positive affirmations for depression on the better days are designed to help you enjoy and treasure feeling better, but also not waste that positive energy running around doing things that may then leave you exhausted or more vulnerable to feeling low again.

I am grateful for my strength and resilience which has gifted me a new day.

I am proud of all the bad days I have survived, and those I will survive in the future.

I love that I have loved myself through hard times. I continue to show myself love by seeking joy today.

I celebrate the person I am, who I will always be, with or without depression.

Even if I have energy and motivation to do things, it's still important that I rest.

The present moment is always the most important moment so I treasure it with love and gratitude.

I let go of the things I cannot control, especially those that happened in the past.

It's important that I look after my body and mind today so that they can carry me forward into tomorrow.

When I enjoy my life unapologetically and in abundance I am putting a finger up at depression. It does not have control over me.

There is no limit to how much joy could and should fill my life.

Positive Affirmations for Dealing with Depression

How you treat or deal with your depression, to some extent, is entirely up to you. It's also true that everyone's access to funds, treatment options, and healthcare will vary. It's also not up to me or anyone to decide what you should do to help you navigate depression. 

What I do want to say is that when it comes time to consider treatment, it opens a new door to much needed hope, but it also can open a door to many other less wanted inputs like judgment (by yourself and others), shame, confusion and vulnerability. It's not easy explaining how you feel to somebody when you maybe don't understand it yourself.

These affirmations are written for this specific phase in depression when you are trying to get help and/or are in the process of opening up to a medical professional or even a friend or loved one about your depression. It can be a very difficult time and can easily make you feel like you're actually going backwards when really you are just lacking the much needed confidence, focus and energy that you need to advocate best for yourself, because... yep, you guessed it, DEPRESSION!

I do not need to justify, rationalise or explain my depression to anybody, including myself.

I advocate for my needs confidently and without shame.

It is okay to feel fragile, sensitive and sad when discussing my experience of depression.

While there may be similarities with others, my overall experience of depression is unique, because I am unique.

I am patient with myself as I explore and try out different treatment options.

Treating and recovering from depression is never linear. I am kind to myself when it gets hard.

Asking for help with depression is a huge and important act of love.

I am worthy of getting help and support. 

I stop looking for reasons why I am depressed and instead focus on ways I can help myself get better.

There are many different ways I can help myself with depression. I stay open and curious about ones that give me hope.

I work hard to feel better because I deserve it, but I never judge or punish myself when it gets hard.

Positive Affirmations for Depression and Anxiety

As I discovered after the birth of my first son, depression and anxiety are often bundled up as the worst Buy One Get One Free deal in history, and while they are related, they are definitely not the same beast. If you are experiencing anxiety alongside depression you may find it helpful to sometimes differentiate between the two and talk to anxiety in a slightly different way, partly to calm down your brain (depression often needs no help with that!) but to also make the distinction between depression and anxiety should you find you're making progress with one but not the other (which was very much the case for me as anxiety stuck around a lot longer than depression did).

These affirmations for anxiety are taken from a longer list of positive affirmations for anxiety so if you 'd like to read more, head over there.

I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.

I stay curious about my anxiety. I never judge myself for experiencing it.

I am stronger than anxiety.

Acknowledging my anxiety to myself and others is a bold, brave thing to do.

Whenever I feel anxious, I remember to mindfully love myself without conditions or restrictions.

Slowing down and making time for self-care is not the same thing as giving into anxiety; in fact, it's the opposite.

Anxiety is not just in my head; it's in my body, and so I rest both body and mind when I feel anxious.

It is not my fault that I experience anxiety.

My anxiety will slow down if I do too by breathing deeply, resting and showering myself with self-love.

I am not my anxiety and my anxiety is not me.

And there you have my list of fifty affirmations for depression. Again I want to stress that these are not going to make depression magically disappear, but I do think when used regularly and with an open mind and full heart, they can help sometimes just a little, and sometimes, wonderfully, quite a lot.

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Frances M. Thompson

Londoner turned wanderer, Frankie is an author, freelance writer and blogger. Currently based in Amsterdam, Frankie was nomadic for two years before starting a family with her Australian partner. Frankie is the author of three short story collections, and is a freelance writer for travel and creative brands. In 2017, she launched WriteNOW Cards, affirmation cards for writers that help build a productive and positive writing practice. When not writing contemporary fiction, Frankie shops for vintage clothes, dances to 70s disco music and chases her two young sons around Amsterdam.
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.

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