I wholeheartedly believe that cognitive distortions serve a purpose beyond defense mechanisms and maladaptive behavioral correlations. The purpose is to find out what is underneath that layer of defense, and what was behind the originating traumas.
You can take steps every day to do things that make you genuinely feel good and see yourself as the wonderful person you are, but it is a journey.
I have hope. I am educated with my disorders and things I can do to offset the symptoms. And being educated on your disorder(s) is seriously half the battle.
I am open with my mental health because I have seen what happens when I am silent. I want to know what happens when I open my mouth.
When I'm writing, I feel at peace. To be honest, it's one of the few things I can actually motivate myself to do when my depression flares up, when my anxiety is at its worst, when the metaphorical Black Dog is snapping at my ankles and leaping at my throat.