How to Find the Good in Each Day With Depression
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.
At the beginning of the new year, most people make resolutions they plan on keeping the entire year. I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that probably 9 out of 10 of those stop after January, myself included. But this year, a friend reintroduced me to an idea — something we can both do and it would be something we can hold ourselves accountable for each day: A journal of daily positivity. Seems simple, right? Each day, you write down one positive thing that happened. Well, it’s week one and I’ve already had a day where I’ve struggled to come up with one positive thing.
But before I get into my “positivity week,” let’s go over a few things about myself to understand why.
Today is February 1, 2017. As of today, I’ve been living with anxiety and depression for about five years, self-harm free for two and a half, gone to therapy for two years and on antidepressants for a year and a half. Trying to find positivity isn’t always easy for me. I’ve lived through days when I wasn’t sure if I’d see tomorrow. Now if you know me, you’re shocked by this. I seemed to be a smiley girl who had it all together. There’s no way I could be filled with that much self-hatred, right? Ha. That’s where the stereotype of mental illness comes into play. People who have mental illnesses are depicted as isolated and “weird” and “crazy.” I was on sports teams, in a sorority and active in my classes. But that’s another story.
In writing some of my notes for my journal, I have one day that stands out to me. I remember sitting in my bed, trying to come up with one single thing I did that was good that day. I couldn’t for the life of me think of one thing. Then I got a text from the same friend who made me smile and I knew exactly what to write. I wrote down, “I am loved.” No matter how low I feel, no matter how bad I get, I have people who love me no matter what. I take for granted how fortunate I am to have that. Although I haven’t always felt that, I know it’s true. You have to be able to find those people in your life who, no matter what, care about you. There is always someone who does. You will be missed — don’t ever think otherwise. I honestly know how that feels, and you don’t think anyone would care, but I promise there is always someone who does. You touch people’s lives who you didn’t even know.
I know a day is going to come along when I write that the only positive thing that happened that day is, “I am still alive.” To some, that may sound very harsh and unexpected. However, for the unfortunate few who understand, sometimes that’s all we can do. And that is OK. You’re not expected to do something amazing and world-changing every day. It’s OK that some days all you did was exist. The fact that you are still alive to see tomorrow is worth celebrating. You have a purpose that has yet to be fulfilled, and sticking around another day is important to fulfilling that purpose. I’ve had days where the fact I ate cereal was like I had won an Olympic medal. It’s OK that sometimes all you did was live and breathe. Each day is a new chance to start over, and it will all be OK. So when the day comes where all I can come up with is that I am alive, I will write that down then turn the page, because tomorrow is a fresh start.
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, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via stevanovicigor