Count your blessings?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Ardo85, Feb 9, 2011.

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  1. Ardo85

    Ardo85 Active Member

    I've noticed when people are depressed they are often told to "count their blessings". They are reminded how good they have it and how many other people have it worse off.

    But, is this really helpful?

    In some ways it makes me feel even worse. I supposedly have everything, yet I'm still depressed. Being reminded how it could be even worse just brings me down further.

    You have a home, you have internet access, you aren't suffering from some horrible disease, but you are still depressed. Then, you see someone who would do anything to be in your position. It just makes me feel ungrateful and worthless.

    Your thoughts on this?
  2. may71

    may71 Well-Known Member

    I sometimes suggest that people count their blessings, but more as a technique for improving mood rather than a statement that how someone feels is illegitimate.

    I understand how someone might feel worse hearing something like this, if they take it to mean that how they feel is not legitimate. Someone could have loads of money, for example, but if they have had a lifetime of abuse, they are probably a lot worse off than many people living in third world countries.

    So not only is someone like this feeling horrible, but maybe also people aren't sympathetic to how they feel.

    The need to feel understood and legitimate is a very deep need, and to be deprived of it is very painful.

    When I suggest to people that they think of things for which they are grateful, it's a technique to get them into a positive frame of mind. There's actually evidence that this can improve mood.
  3. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    I think I know what you mean. Some people expect someone's depression to be alleviated by the person knowing the good things in his or her life. Maybe those people don't understand that depression doesn't go away like a regular bad/sad mood just because there are things to be grateful about. Depression tends to color everything we see, think and feel in dark shades of gray and black.

    I expect you're quite grateful. It may be that most of the blessings are the same things that everyone else around you takes for granted and so, like everyone else, you don't always see those things as something special.

    Ardo, please don't beat yourself up over the comments people might make and don't question yourself relentlessly about whether or not you are grateful. Depression clouds our view, and while we may have things to be thankful for, in the throes of depression it's not surprising to sometimes lose sight of those things.
  4. A professional counsellor or social worker who has been trained should not say this.. Comparing a depressed individual with another fella is unprofessional.

    You are depressed because you are stressed up with something in your life.. It can be anything.. It need not be a disease, homeless or no internet access.. Comparing yourself to a third world country person will not make you feel any better.. It's just like reprimanding you for being depressed.. It will make you feel worse.. You need to find someone who is willing to listen to you and will not compare you to other depressed individuals.. Every depressed or suicidal individuals are different.. Everyone is a winner in their own race.. (don't compare yourself to others and stress up yourself).. Take care and more :hug: from me..
  5. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    I absolutely hate being told to 'count my blessings'. I know that I'm lucky and don't have anything to be depressed about - that fact eats at me every waking second, I don't need someone else pointing it out as well.

    I work hard to stay positive and focus on what is good in my life, and am still depressed, so how is it going to help me to make a list of why I shouldn't be depressed? They might as well lecture me about the starving children in Africa while they're at it.

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