An Important Reminder About Your Skills



Depression has a funny way of giving you constant reminders about your inadequacies. It whispers these lies in your ear, waiting for its moment to strike. The worst part of it is that you believe them. You believe that you are inferior to others, that you are misunderstood, that nothing good will ever happen in your life.

People are unique. Everyone has a toolkit of skills and talents that they can use any way they choose. No one’s toolkit is empty. There is always something there.

Sometimes we forget about the things that we are good at. Sometimes we ignore them because they don’t conform to the expectations of ourselves or others. Often, we downplay them so much that we forget that they are even there.

Common phrases to watch out for:

“So-and-so is better than me at painting. I can never paint like them.”

“This person is a better writer than me. I am just a hack.”

“This other person always comes up with the best ideas. It’s hard for me to find solutions.”

“So-and-so is more successful than I am. My ideas and thoughts could never be as valuable as him/her.”

And it goes on and on. We can easily sniff out the assets that others possess and yet fail to extend that same generosity to ourselves.


A Brief Story

A friend named John (name changed for privacy reasons) had been feeling off for the past couple weeks. He was exhausted and unmotivated, exhibiting the classic depression-symptoms.

I’ll keep things brief and dwindle this down to his current problem: his job. John was caught in the middle of two managers, feuding over how the company had to be run (the company in question is fairly small, relying on a few projects to keep going). John had been asked to oversee the day-to-day operations of a major project.

He felt lost in the middle of the constant child-like bickering, as if he was being overlooked. His efforts were never appreciated, and he would often receive a lot of criticism should something go wrong. All of this stress was building up. It got to the point where he began to give up.

Now, John felt like a failure. It was understandable where this came from because he was focusing on pleasing both managers and striving to keep the project afloat.

But, that wasn’t his job.

John couldn’t see that he was naturally charismatic. People flocked to him constantly! He had dismissed this as just another insignificant trait that would only be useful for making new friends.

John was also very smart. He held all of this information and bits of trivia in his brain that it would amaze anyone who witnessed it. Again, this was dismissed as nothing more than “useless information”.

Since some of his skills were not being utilized, it just meant that he was not doing that which would make him happy. Being yelled at by two bosses is never a fun environment, but it provided the perfect excuse to re-evaluate himself and figure out who he wanted to be and the types of things that would re-energize him.


What This Means for You

I like to say that a person who is depressed is just a person who has been forced to live a life of repression. It’s no one’s fault. It happened. Now, we need to learn to give ourselves permission to do what we want to do.

So today, I want you to think about the things that you are good at.

No, you can’t say “I’m not good at anything”. Push past that instinct and really try.

I’ll give you the opportunity to cheat a little because I understand how difficult this really can be. Take a quick MBTI test. There’s a good free one here:

I’m sure we all know about the Meyers-Briggs personality test. Just try to see if anything resonates with you. If there are things you disagree with, that’s fine. It isn’t 100% accurate.


If you feel like trying out a paid strengths test, you can go to:

This gives you a breakdown of your top 5 skills and tries to analyze how you think and what success means to you.


If you have another website or another way to try to discover your strengths, please feel free to use that. They give you a chance to take a glimpse into your skills toolkit.


Why This Matters

It is important to focus on the things that you are good at. It is important to nurture your skills. It takes time to develop and cultivate them into something that you can use, so don’t get frustrated.

Depression will tell you that you have nothing to offer. Sometimes, we need a reminder that we are all capable individuals, just stuck in a temporary bind. The key word is “temporary”. The little depression monster will disappear. You will feel better about who and what you are.

Utilize your strengths and turn it into something spectacular. I believe that you can do it. I know that it is there within all of us. We, as depression conquerors, have an edge over everyone else. We have the opportunity to explore who we are and make daring changes to better ourselves.

Closing Remarks:

Never apologize for the things that bring you happiness.

Never undermine the things that you are good at. It makes you who you are.

Always be open to new ideas and experiences. If you make mistakes, so be it. That’s how we learn.




The Power of the Little Things

Do you remember something specific that made you smile or made you happy five days ago? Three days ago?

If yes, fantastic! If not, there’s not need to worry. Memory can be a funny thing. We tend to focus on certain biases that we hold when reflecting back on past moments. It’s just the way we’re wired. This is one method to re-wire your brain.

The Journal

Throughout the course day – the entire 16-18 hours of it that you’re awake for – there are things that go on that may cause us to experience a mild sensation of joy. Usually, the thing that made you smile is small and easily forgotten. Keeping track of these small, fleeting moments, allows us to appreciate them for what they are – a reprieve from our troubles.

Every night (or throughout the day, depending on how much time is available to you), keep track of something that made you smile. It could be something as silly as the scent of fresh coffee brewing in the kitchen. There are endless possibilities!


A page from my own personal journal.


What if nothing made me smile today?

That’s fine. We are entitled to bad days. No one is going to blame you if a day doesn’t go your way. It happens. Just remind yourself to keep an eye out for those small moments for another day.


The Point of It All

You may be asking yourself what the point of all of this is. If you’re not asking now, you probably will at some time or another. It does get tedious after a while.

What I would like you to get out of this is a reminder that sometimes things are not so bad. Sometimes, when you feel as if you are stagnating in life and nothing good has ever happened to you, this will serve as some justification that you can be happy. Life is a balancing act of good and bad. When you are depressed, the bad seems to always outweigh the good. This is just one way to balance the scale.

Then, at the end of the month or the year, you can look back at all of those little, tiny moments. It may help you see that maybe, just maybe, the month or the year wasn’t that bad.


We can hoard these moments and use them when we feel down to pick ourselves back up again. Positivity does take some work. The effort that you put into it will only serve to help your future.

These tiny things don’t solve my depression.

That’s not the intention of this exercise. It’s not to cure the depression symptoms, just gradually lessen them. You are forced to look at the present again, not reflect on past mistakes or uncertainties about the future. You give yourself a chance to just … be. Sometimes we get so caught up in the grand scheme that we forget about the tiny details, the tiny steps, that are edging us along. It’s a tough road to recovery and you need all the tools that you can get to pull yourself back up again.



Here’s to the little things!


The Benefits of a Reward System

So, we have made it to the middle of the week. Congratulations! This is the perfect opportunity to talk about rewarding yourself.

Why am I doing this?

Now, I know that some of you may be thinking that rewarding yourself for trivial things is pointless. It’s really not. What we want to accomplish is a boost in your self-esteem. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just enough to motivate you. On days like today – the middle of the week – we need some sort of a reminder of what we have accomplished in order to continue pushing forward. After all, rewards are not just for kids.

People with depression have a tendency to focus on the negative. It’s not our fault, it’s just the way that we are programmed. This is just one tool to reprogram our mind and keep track of the positive. Be warned: reprogramming your thinking is a difficult thing to do. Give yourself time and patience. It will all work out in the end.

Your Goals

The first step is to identify simple, achievable goals. This is for you so it can be whatever you want.


  • To work out 4 times a week
  • Go out more during the month – at least two times this month
  • Leave the house at least twice a week
  • Meet new people through new activities

The Calendar


I highly recommend that you get yourself a wall calendar (if you prefer a bullet journal, that’s fine too). Again, it doesn’t have to be fancy, just something that you can see everyday. Why?

You can track your accomplishments on here and keep track of your goals. I also recommend that you get yourself some stickers or coloured markers for this.

For instance, if your goal is to work out more, you can give yourself a sticker or mark a symbol on each day that you worked out. If you managed to work out for the full four days, you can give yourself a nicer sticker. At the end of the month, you get a visual representation of what you have accomplished.

I also like to add comments for myself for each day as a motivator (you can do this on your bullet journal as well!).
Example: “Planked for 45 seconds!” or “Went to a new event!” or “Spoke to three new people!”

You have full control over what you put on there. For inspiration, feel free to search on Pinterest. There are so many examples.

What if I didn’t reach my goal?

That’s fine! This happens. All you have to do is ensure that you are working towards it. Be kind to yourself. This is all a process. You will have good days and bad days. Just keep track of all your activities. The idea is that at the end of the month, you will have a calendar full of random marks and stickers to outline your progress. At the end of the year, you can remind yourself that you are making strides in bettering yourself.


Types of Rewards

Examples include:

  • The sticker system. Give yourself a cheap sticker for each small accomplishment, then a nicer sticker for larger successes (for example: going out at least once every week for that month)
  • Buy yourself something that you want (a book, an accessory, a trip, etc.)
  • Give yourself a day off to do nothing but relax.
  • Dance or do karaoke by yourself (this may not work if you are living with other people)
  • Do something that you enjoy doing (ex: go watch a movie, go for a walk, etc.)

What this doesn’t include:

  • Alcohol – alcohol is a depressant and for our purposes, counter-intuitive
  • Junk food – you will be introducing bad habits that are harder to break
  • Smoking – this is an addictive habit that you don’t want to associate with improvements


Go forth everyone, and:


The Lies We Tell Ourselves

When you are experiencing long-term depression, there are many lies that you tell yourself day in and day out. It becomes so consistent, so persuasive, that we begin to believe them! They become our thoughts, our feelings, … our actions.

Recognizing the Lies

The common types of lies are self-deprecating. Have you ever said this to yourself?

  • “I can’t do this because I am [insert insult – stupid, dumb, fat, etc]”
  • “No one likes me because I am …”
  • “No one understands me”
  • “I am alone”

Notice that the statements are always simple. It’s nothing substantial. It’s just the same as a bully picking on you.

How do you stop this?

I like to think that the lies originate from a tiny demon or shadow that’s whispering in your ear. They can be controlled and even silenced at times. The strength of their words rely on your willingness to listen.

By personifying the negativity, you regain some control. For instance, if you believe that the person saying this to you is Sid from Toy Story, then you can easily tell him to shut the hell up or go away.


The Big Meanie – just a stupid kid

Sometimes that’s not enough

In this instance, I would suggest that you find a piece of paper and a pen (or just type it out – whatever you prefer) and begin replying to the statements.

For example: 

The lie – “I can’t go to the gym today because I am too fat and everyone will laugh at me.”

Begin replying to this. Have a full conversation if you must.”

Me: “Well, everyone starts off somewhere. Besides, usually people are more focused on their workout to see what I’m doing.”
Liar: “Nope. You probably suck at this.”
Me: “I can always try. There’s no harm in trying.”
Liar: “You’ll fail”
Me: “The point is to work out. To feel better. Not to win anything.”

You get the idea. Just keep doing this and you’ll come to realize that the original lie is beginning to look more and more ridiculous.

I highly, highly recommend looking at this website. TUT – Notes from the Universe

You’re rolling your eyes. Don’t deny it. I did the same thing. Getting an email from the universe?? Okay, but hear me out. It helps. It’s a little boost of positivity sent straight to your email inbox for you to read every morning (weekends excluded).

Example of what you may see:


It’s pretty awesome. Please check it out. Feel free to unsubscribe to it if it doesn’t help you.

So this is running a bit longer than I had intended. Until next time! As always, please feel free to send me a message if you would like me to cover something that I have not yet covered. Have an amazing weekend! You deserve some fun.