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21 'Little' Victories That Are Actually Huge Wins When You Have Depression

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When you live with depression, sometimes “little” tasks just feel impossible.

Maybe you struggle to get out of bed in the morning — let alone shower and brush your teeth. Maybe you feel so depressed you don’t take your meds, feeling like they won’t make a difference anyway. Or maybe you avoid calls and texts from loved ones, making you feel more isolated and alone.

Because depression can be so debilitating, accomplishing the things you need to can feel monumental. But sometimes, there are days when you can push through the darkness and accomplish a seemingly “small” task. We wanted to know what “little” things people do when they are depressed that are actually really big wins, so we asked our Mighty community to share their experiences with us.

Whatever your experience of depression is, we want you to know you aren’t alone. It’s important to remember that what seems “little” to one person may be a big deal to someone else. Let’s show each other (and ourselves) compassion and celebrate what we can do when feeling depressed, instead of focusing on things we can’t.

Here are 21 “little” victories that deserve celebration:

1. Showering

“Showering. When I’m down, showering is the hardest thing ever. Thus, it’s my only goal on the really bad days, because if I can manage that much, I clearly rock.” — Catherine S.

2. Getting Out of Bed

“Simply getting out of bed. When I have a depression day, my response is to just sleep, and cry and sleep. Getting out of bed lets me know that today, I can do this.” — Carrie L.

3. Keeping Plans With Friends

“Keeping plans. Making myself go to that movie or dinner with a friend — even just grocery shopping when I need to. Knowing that I can function for a few hours means the world. I know I can’t always do it, and I break plans more often than not, but when I can get there, it’s a huge victory for me.” — Amanda P.

4. Taking Your Meds

“Waking up and taking my meds. On the really bad days, all I want to do is sleep. It’s like I’m being pinned down by a heavy boulder, unable to lift my head, much less get out of bed.” — Christa A.

5. Texting People Back or Picking Up Phone Calls

“Texting people back. I lie in bed and ignore my phone. It’s really hard to even take my boyfriend’s call for lunch. I just lie there and do nothing. So for me to text you back or answer that call, know it took everything out of me and all the energy I have.” — Kaitlynn L.

“A phone call. Talking on the phone is really difficult. Finding the effort, right words and nerve to dial. Even loved ones.” — Jillian O.

6. Not Calling in Sick to Work

“Not calling into work when that’s all I want to do and actually getting up and dressed for the day.” — Mozzo J.

“Making myself go to work and actually having a decent day. Sometimes I just have to force myself out of the house, other days I can’t.” — Alyssa P.

7. Eating a Meal

“One of my small victories during a depressive episode is bringing myself to eat. When I’m being consumed by my thoughts, I won’t want to move and it’s hard to find the motivation to take care of myself. Eating, even a little, means I took at least one step forward that day.” — Emily W.

“Cooking a meal. If I’m in a depressed state, I eat anything as long as it takes no time to make. It’s a small victory for me to cook something, even if it’s just pasta or rice.” — Lindsey K.

8. Putting on Makeup

“A full face of makeup. I was always one of those girls who wouldn’t leave the house without at least foundation. I love makeup, it’s fun and makes people feel better about themselves, but now I’m lucky if I even put on moisturizer. So any day I put in the effort of at least putting on lip balm is a win.” — Lillian S.

9. Getting Through the Day Without a Nap

“Staying awake all day. Not taking a four to six hour nap every day…” — Rachel H.

“Getting through the day without going back to bed!” — Dani D.

10. Drinking Water

“Finishing a glass of water or juice. When I’m depressed, getting any food or fluids in me is a nightmare.” — Ally M.

11. Going Grocery Shopping

“Going grocery shopping. When I’m depressed I forget to eat so when I manage to leave the house, it’s a big deal.” — Sadie W.

12. Accomplishing One Thing on Your “To-Do” List

“Crossing off one thing on my to-do list. I could have a list a mile long, and I’d pick up my meds and then go back home — but it’ll be big for me. Often people think I don’t do anything and that these tasks aren’t victories at all, because I should have had them done weeks ago — but I did something and that’s good enough for me.” — Abby A.

13. Cleaning the House

“Having a clean floor. Sometimes I feel my bedroom floor is an accurate representation of my mind and emotions and having a clear floor makes me feel like I’m in control and free from the clutter in my head.” — Sheka J.

“Washing the plates that have been in the sink for awhile… It feels good seeing the sink clean afterwards.” — Melinda A.

14. Changing Out of Pajamas

“Changing out of my pajamas. I always feel like, even if I can’t get out of bed and face the world, at least I changed my clothes.” — Yoeli R.

15. Brushing Your Hair

“Brushing my hair. I keep my hair up in a bun as much as possible, so it’s out of my way. After I brush it, being able to run my fingers through my hair is a small victory.” — Tatauq M.

16. Going to the Bathroom

“This might sound ‘crazy,’ but just sometimes getting up to go to the bathroom… literally. Even if I have to pee really bad I still won’t get up… it takes me forever to just get up and go.” — Dara D.

17. Exercising

“Exercising. I love running, but sometimes I can’t even manage to get up in the morning. So I don’t. And that makes me feel such a fraud, and the depression gets worse and… you know…” — Alex D.

“I started working out for the first time in my life recently. I finally got the motivation to get out of bed and do it and it’s given me a healthy outlet for frustration. It provides an energy boost, endorphins and it helps me to be healthier. I’ve been trying to get to this point for nine years.” — Harper W.

18. Laundry

“Laundry. I only do it when I’m totally out of clean clothes. Actually had a friend come over, and they did it for me. Also, getting a haircut. Six months since my last.” — Bill C.

“Putting my laundry away. When I’m in a funk, my laundry just piles up in baskets on my floor that I live out of. It’s always a struggle to put it away but when I do, I feel so much better.” — Katelynn K.

19. Not “Snoozing” Your Alarm in the Morning

“Waking up with the alarm for work as opposed to snoozing for another 30+ minutes.” — Chico S.

20. Smiling

“It might sound cheesy, but genuinely smiling and laughing is a victory. It’s nice to be able to enjoy something after long periods of sadness and apathy.” — Ashley L.

21. Practicing Skills You Learned in Therapy

“Remembering what I’ve learned from my therapist such as breathing techniques and positive reminders that I will not always feel as bad as I do in the moment.” — Brandon M.

If you’re feeling stuck in a depressive cycle, you’re not alone. Here are some stories that give some practical tools that might help.

10 Tips for Getting Your Sh*t Done When You’re Depressed

The 2-Minute Rule I Use When I’m Too Depressed to Clean the Kitchen

The ‘One Hour Rule’ I Use on Days When Mental Illness Makes It Hard to Get Out of Bed

Getty Images photo via MistakeAnn

Originally published: August 20, 2018
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