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Why I Hated Hearing 'Everything Happens for a Reason' in Depression Recovery

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There are a lot of phrases that are beneficial for someone going through a dark time and then there are also harmful phrases you can tell someone. Or there are also sayings that you know are beneficial, but your depression and anxiety are trying to hide it from you. It notices that it’s in fact true, but also convinces you it’s not true for you. The phrase that was like this for me was: “Everything happens for a reason…”

I hated hearing this saying. You could tell me anything else and it wouldn’t have made me as angry as hearing this. I had a hard time believing I was going through this painful time for a reason. What could the reason possibly be? To tear me apart? To make me into a helpless and dependent person?

During the darkness, I couldn’t see the light. In fact, I didn’t believe in the light. My thoughts had convinced me that life would never be the same. I would never be “happy” again. So anytime someone told me this saying, I thought they were lying to me. I felt like they didn’t understand how miserable I truly was. This was my anxiety and depression trying to hush the brightness away.

Here I am, more than a year after I was hospitalized, and this saying has come back to haunt me! But in the greatest way possible! It’s doing that whole “I told you so” voice that your parents use when they prove you wrong. Or as my mom likes to say, “That’s another tally mark for me!”

Here I am, more than a year after I was hospitalized, truly thankful that I was hospitalized. I am thankful I hit rock bottom. I am thankful I asked for help. This is kind of a silly thing to say because this was such a scary and dark experience for me and my loved ones. However, the other day I thought about how much different my life would be if I didn’t go through this. I started listing things I most likely wouldn’t have if I hadn’t gone through this. They actually all build off of one another too which is pretty neat!

1. I wouldn’t have volunteered at the animal shelter.

2. I wouldn’t have met Eevee (my dog) and rescued her.

3. I wouldn’t have an emotional support animal (Eevee).

4. I wouldn’t have started my blog. In fact, I probably wouldn’t know I have anxiety and depression.

5. I wouldn’t have connected with the people I have because of my blog

6. I wouldn’t have joined a church.

7. I wouldn’t have joined a life group in my church.

8. I wouldn’t be making so many friends in my life group (shout out to my life group for being amazing!)

9. I wouldn’t have become a part of my church’s children’s ministry. 

The list can honestly go on and on, but I just wanted to show you all the things I have gained because of my darkest time. This post isn’t meant to brag to you what I have now because my life is nowhere near perfect, but I am able to recognize the light. If you have gone through a dark season, try thinking about all the positives it brought to your life afterwards.

If you are currently going through a dark season, I’m not going to tell you, “everything happens for a reason” because I know how that may make you feel. Just know that I cannot even imagine the pain you are feeling right now. I know how lonely and scared that may be making you. I want to acknowledge your darkness because that’s what struggling with mental illness often looks like. However, I want you to fight and either see or predict the light that lies ahead. It’s there. It may be right around the corner or hundreds of miles away, but it’s there. It’s there and I want you to keep fighting because I want you here.

P.S. You get another tally mark, Mom…

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.

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Unsplash photo via Autumn Goodman

Originally published: December 14, 2017
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