When recovering from mental illness and depression, self praise cannot be emphasized enough. Nary a day goes by where the program that I am in does not mention (at least three times per day) the importance of being kind, gentle, and praising of ourselves. For the first time ever, the reasons actually completely clicked for me this morning while shopping at the neighborhood Walmart for two cases of water and a medication refill. But I digress, there are lots of merits to using praise to help raise oneself from the doldrums that major depression is.
I know I was caught in the throes of depression for so long that I never saw any tangible benefit to praising myself. In fact, I found that it seemed saccharine and disingenuous and was I ever wrong and how. While shopping in Walmart, it dawned on me that I can add tasks to my to-do list and check them off even though I thought about these tasks without needing the list. The operative theory is that I create the task and immediately check it off and praise myself for my ability (in the moment) to care for myself. Then when I go back at the end of the day to glance at my list, I realize that I have accomplished a lot. This helps rationalize a mind that wants to be self critical out of that mode.
Even though as I write this blog entry only about half of the day has gone by, I have accomplished more than I had originally intended and even thought of. This is where self praise takes over from where the medication leaves off. Medication helps to get one to a baseline level and I have often complained in the past that I ceased to feel anything, good, bad, or otherwise. Self praise is where the good feeling takes over and it is the belief in oneself that makes this possible.