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20 Major Accomplishments When Struggling With Depression


Being depressed is exhausting.

No, it’s not a SoulCycle class or an intense CrossFit session, but it’s a continuous round of mental gymnastics. Let me introduce you to the cycle: feeling hopeless, trying to grasp why you feel hopeless, feeling guilty for feeling hopeless, attempting to figure out ways not to feel hopeless. Rinse and repeat.

This cycle is often hard to understand for somebody who has never experienced mental illness. This sort of disconnect is why people dealing with depression and anxiety receive exasperated responses from friends and family when they decide to stay in on a Friday night instead of hitting da club. “Come on! It’ll be great once you’re there! You’re not helping yourself!” Great. Now you feel depressed and like you’re letting your people down. But honestly, being deeply sad for no reason at all is hard. You’re not choosing it. You’re not “letting anyone down” by living with an illness. And for these reasons, I think it is important to celebrate the small victories that come with mental illness.

The following are little accomplishments you should feel proud of. They may feel small, but they are so much bigger than that.

1. Getting out of bed — yay, you did it! Small steps.

2. Putting on make-up — my friends and co-workers say they know I’m going through a bad spell when I stop taking care of myself. If I have the energy to doll myself up in the morning, I know it’s going to be a good day.

3. Making yourself food — takeout is a depressed lady’s best friend. If you have the energy to cook for yourself, that is something to be proud of.

4. Talking on the phone with a friend.

5. Making plans.

6. Following through with said plans — socializing may be the best part of your friends’ or co-workers’ week. For you, it’s daunting, so this is huge.

7. Going on a walk — when you’re depressed, exercise is one of the best things for you, but it’s also impossible. If you get out and get your body moving, pat yourself on the back.

8. Going on a run.

9. Belly laughs — these can be elusive, but it really is the best medicine.

10. Planning a trip — even if it’s a hypothetical trip. Finding the motivation and mental strength to look forward to something is amazing.

11. Meeting somebody new.

12. Having a good cry — sometimes, it is assumed that crying is depression’s partner in crime. But actually, depression can make it hard to express your true emotions. If you feel a good cry coming on, let it out and feel good about it.

13. Tidying up.

14. Completing a task you’ve been procrastinating.

15. Scheduling an appointment with your therapist.

16. Keeping your appointment.

17. Finding comfort — this can be hard, but if you find something that genuinely relaxes you, that’s a major accomplishment towards managing your mental health.

18. Screaming at the top of your lungs.

19. Positive self-thinking — when your brain is insisting on living in a dungeon of doom and gloom, even a simple “I look good today,” is a major moment.

20. Singing to a song while in the car — one of the most carefree moments. If you catch yourself rapping along to Kendrick Lamar, or awkwardly “rapping” along to the new Taylor Swift, sing loud and proud.

Sometimes, we can get caught up in what we “should” be doing, and don’t cut ourselves enough slack. Depression is an illness, and these small steps are all major moments in your recovery.

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