When I Realized Fighting Depression Wasn't About a Single Battle


I’ve struggled with depression for more than half my life. It’s always been there, sometimes bad and sometimes not so bad, but always lingering. For most of that time, there’s been a stigma attached to it. Recently, that stigma has lessened somewhat, but still, it is not enough.

Something I’ve dealt with, as part of this stigma, is the sense that it isn’t OK to struggle with depression. I think to myself, “Most other folks don’t struggle with it, so I definitely shouldn’t.” It’s easy to feel bad about feeling bad, which makes it so much worse.

Of course, there’s pressure to get better. People have pushed me to find a “cure,” to feel better and to stop feeling depressed. With each passing year, I feel worse that I’m not better. I tell myself, “I should be better by now. Surely, I’ve struggled long and hard. It should be over.” But it’s not.

I’ve come to a realization recently. It’s made it easier to cop, and it’s made me feel better. I realized I will probably struggle with depression for the rest of my life. Maybe that sounds hopeless, but it’s not. It isn’t a resignation, but it’s an acceptance.

I now know there isn’t a cure and that takes the pressure off me to find one. Depression is an enemy, make no mistake about that. I’m not fighting a battle though. I’m fighting a war made up of thousands of little battles. I will not win a single battle and be finished with it, but I can push it back with little victories.

Each time I get out of bed and take a shower, I win a battle. Each time I manage a smile, even a fake one, I win a battle. Each time I laugh, do something I enjoy, work hard at my job or go for a walk, I win. I can take comfort in these victories, even though I’m still struggling.

I still lose sometimes. I still have days when I can’t get myself out of bed and days when it’s impossible to fake a smile. It’s OK because the war isn’t over. I may have lost a battle, but it’s just one battle. Tomorrow is a new battle, and a new chance at victory.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

Stacy LeFevre's 'Strange But Beautiful' Comics Highlight the Challenges of Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety play such a prevalent role in illustrator Stacy LeFevre’s life that she decided to make them characters in her autobiographical comic series, “Strange But Beautiful.” LeFevre’s comics focus on her experience living with depression and anxiety and the challenges she faces in trying to manage both conditions. “I have a fascination for [...]
close up of sad eyes

Depression Is Not Romantic

Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. It slowly creeps up on you. Insidious little beast that it is, it speaks its venom to you when your mind is wandering. Waiting in line at the supermarket, or… browsing [...]
a drawing of a man looking at a sunset

A Description of Depression for People Who Think I Can Just 'Get Over It'

I think people have problems relating to depression because they don’t understand it. They don’t realize clinical depression is an order of magnitude worse than the blues everyone has felt at one time or another. They don’t understand how it feels, so it’s easy for them to say things like: Just get over it. Change [...]
Woman on window sill holding a cup of tea

14 Quotes That Help Me Get Through Depression

I’ve always been a huge fan of quotes. Every time I see a quote, I like to save it on my computer for a rainy day. In my old house, my bedroom walls were covered from the floor to the ceiling in quotes, but there were always a few I liked more than others. They, [...]