When Depression Feels Like 'One Step Forward, a Hundred Steps Back'


For me, depression is not, “one step forward, two steps back.” It feels so much more like “one step forward, a hundred steps back.” It feels like I’m going nowhere. It feels like any accomplishment at all is followed by a hundred setbacks. It feels like for every one breath of air I’m able to come up for, I’m sucked back down into the depths of the ocean missing a hundred more. It feels like I’m going nowhere.

I have been battling depression for almost five and a half years now. And so often I am plagued with idea it will never get better and I have made zero progress. It sure feels like that sometimes. It is so difficult to see any progress at all when you’re living with depression. Relapses outshine successful days in recovery. The nights are darker than the days. One bad grade makes all the good ones vanish. A sad song is on repeat instead of a happy one. It seems like one moment of happiness that makes it all worth it is followed by a a hundred moments that make me question why I do this every day.

When these thoughts plague my mind, it seems impossible to come back into the light, but one conversation in particular stands out to me when I start to think like this. I texted a girl one night who has been there for me through so much and just always seems to know what to say.

I texted her: “I don’t think I can do this.”

She responded, “Do what love?”

And I said, “keep going. Like idk, I just cannot stand that I’ve been fighting this for so long and I just can’t win. I’ve tried everything. I just don’t get it. I just wish the pain would go away. My heart just literally feels like it’s being dragged across the floor everything is so heavy and I just can’t do it.”

This was her response: “Remember when you didn’t think you’d make it through high school? But you did. And you’ve made it to college. You’re doing so much better than you think and I’m so proud of you. But I know it’s so hard and I’m so sorry you have to continually go through this pain. But you’ll get through. You’re strong love.”

It brought tears to my eyes to read that. Because she was exactly right. Even if I couldn’t see any progress being made, she was right. I had probably sent that same text to her four years ago, when I didn’t think I’d be able to get through high school. But, I did. It doesn’t seem huge, but when I cannot see one bit of progress being made and I’m just stuck, that kind of accomplishment is everything to me. And the reminder of it means the world to me.

I know it’s hard when you feel like you’re going nowhere, when you feel like you just can’t catch a break and you’re being kicked left and right when you’re already down. But, you’re living. You’re breathing. You’re making it through. You’re doing great. Keep on keeping on my friends.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.


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


Related to Depression

The Greatest Gift Depression Has Given Me, a Former 'Happy Girl'

I have an embarrassing admission to make. For most of my life, I didn’t believe depression was a real, legitimate thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have always known it exists, but as someone who, for the most part, always found it easy to be happy, I believed other people could always also do the same. [...]
cloud woman rain

When Depression Makes Joy Hard to Come By

I’m young, married, have a steady career, and am a dog rescuer. From all accounts, I am happy, healthy, vibrant and loving. I also struggle with depression and anxiety every single day. On the outside, it is easy for me to post dog pictures and Bible verses, both of which mean a great deal to [...]
Gothic girl with black lips and piercing portrait.

Why I Hide the Girl Struggling With Depression

I don’t want to be defined by my mental illness yet time and again, I see myself finding my identity in it. I’m depressed. I have anxiety. Words commonly misused and misinterpreted by others to mean “I’m sad,” “I had a bad day,” “I’m nervous” or “I’m stressed out.” That is not what it means. [...]

20 Things I Want Others to Know About Me and My Mental Illness

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. My name is Lynn. I have depression. I have anxiety. I have an eating disorder. My name is Lynn and I struggle with mental illness. I’ve known since an [...]