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5 Reminders That Get Me Through the Day as Someone With Depression

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1. I’m not crazy.

No matter what anyone says to me, I am not crazy. A lot of people who encounter me and know I have depression and anxiety will think I’m just mentally weak or my brain is tweaked. It’s close mindedness like that that keeps others from coming forth with their problems sooner, if they ever do. All I am trying to say is that I can’t possibly expect people to understand where my mind is with depression and anxiety, because no one else in this entire world is me. Everybody’s depression is unique because no one person is the same. It’s beautiful, but can be lonely, too. Just remember this; no one will ever be able to fully comprehend my illness because it’s unique to each person diagnosed. I am unique. You are unique. Not alone. We can still relate to each other’s symptoms and feelings.

You. Are. Not. Crazy.

2. I am still valuable.

When I was first actually diagnosed with depression and anxiety years ago, I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of uselessness. I could not shake the feeling. For so long I was the one a lot of people I care about relied on. They needed me. I felt like with this illness, those days were over. Who wants to open up to the guy with depression? Who could take any advice they got from me seriously? Suddenly, I am the one who is constantly being checked on. Text messages saying, “You OK?” or “How has your day been?” or “Got anything you need to talk about? I’m worried about you.” I’m appreciative for the people who check in on me, don’t get me wrong, but it seems like, to me, I am no longer the one people could come talk to.

It devastated me. I need to be the rock. I need to be the strong one. If I can be strong for everyone else, then I can be strong for me too, right? The answer is obviously no. Happiness starts with you. Nobody can give it to you long-term. Sure, someone can crack a joke and make you laugh, but I am not talking about that fleeting laughing joy. No, I mean actual Joy. The joy that shines through the darkness of your inner self. The light that burns through the shroud that consumes your soul. The light that allows you to be who you always wanted to be. You still have value to this earth. I could sit here all day and list people with depression who led very successful lives. Ellen DeGeneres and Abraham Lincoln, just to name a few, were all people who had or still have depression. Nobody can determine your worth except yourself. The sky is the limit for you as long as you fight for it.

I. Am. Valuable.

3. I must keep fighting.

This is one of the hardest points to remember every day. I have to keep fighting, no matter what. This is not something I can just lay down to and obey. It gets scary as hell sometimes to fight the thoughts that come into my head, but it’s so worth it at the end of the day when I can finally put my head on my pillow, promptly after taking my sleeping medication, and know I won the war for my life today. Some days it will not be so bad. Some days it feels like your fighting for your life to make it through the lunch hour break at work. The thing about depression and anxiety is that it all works together. I’m not just fighting the depression alone. It’s me versus both the major depression and anxiety disorder. All it takes is for one or the other to get the upper hand, then both of them start a tag team match against you. It can become overwhelming, especially because we never know what weapons to bring to battle or what armor to wear. We have to adapt on the fly with this illness. Always keeping us on our toes. I know though that if I slip into a losing streak, very soon it will all become too much and I will begin to spiral into my deep dark pit. So no matter what…

I. Must. Keep. Fighting.

4. I am stronger than I think I am.

This point is crucial to keeping me sane. It is easy, fighting major depression and anxiety, to feel totally and completely weak and helpless to this illness. To those of you who do not fight this illness, I honestly can not describe into words the hurricane that swirls in our head destroying all signs of happiness in its path, devouring any spec of light it can find in your soul. That is my best attempt as I do not want to dwell too long on the feeling it causes me. In all honesty, I do not want you to ever have to understand what goes on in my head, because it is just unbearable to fight at times, just surviving the days. But that is where my inner strength is called in. I can say with the utmost confidence my inner strength has grown in the last few years, actually last few months. That is the thing some people not diagnosed with depression and anxiety don’t understand. We are strong. For us to survive some of the days we endure? I want to remind everyone we all have a superhuman strength within us. We must not give up. We never know who we are inspiring or helping keep alive as we fight our battles.

I. Am. Stronger. Than. I. Think.

5. I have to find something to fight for.

Many times, fighting just for ourselves is hardly ever enough to motivate you to keep battling and hanging on. Let’s face it, when depression and anxiety really take a hold, our self-worth goes out the 48th story window. Gone forever. No. No. We have to find something or someone else to keep fighting for. For me, it is my wife, family and friends. My loved ones are who I fight for. It would be so easy to become engulfed in the self-destructive flames. I, despite my past decisions, ultimately keep fighting. Fighting for my family. Fighting for you. Yes, you! I fight for you! If you can make it through your day to day, then why can’t I? I can not and will not give up on you! I believe in you! You have to find something to fight for, if not yourself. You are so much stronger than you think you are. You must keep fighting, if not for you, for the people who look up to you or need you in their lives. You do matter. And most importantly… You. Are. Not. Crazy.

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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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: February 8, 2017
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