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When It Seems Like You Aren't Trying in Depression Recovery

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The bad days in recovery do not mean I am not trying my hardest.

Recovery is a long and exhausting process; you work harder than you have for anything and yet you still feel like you have made no progress, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems as far away as ever. That gray cloud is still hung above you, marking your every move and it’s rare the sun shines through. Or so it feels. Mental illness clouds everything, even in recovery, even to your loved ones. You’ve been followed by this cloud for so long that even those around you can fall under it and question whether you are even trying at all.

Often, when the bad days strike, it can be easy for outsiders to believe we aren’t trying to recover or that we don’t want to. Yes, I may have broken down in tears and used a behavior I shouldn’t have, but does that really erase the progress I have made in the past few days/weeks/months? Yes, I have ended up taking a step backward, but what’s to say tomorrow I won’t take two steps forward? Yes, I am struggling and yes this is a bad day, but that doesn’t mean I am not trying. I am only human and I am doing my best.

The moment your support network start to doubt you is the moment you start shutting them out. Why do they not believe in me? Why can’t they see how difficult this is for me? Why are they not supporting me? Maybe they simply lack understanding, which can be fixed with communication, or maybe it’s something more, but your struggles don’t define how hard you are or are not trying and neither do the views of others.

It’s easy to presume we aren’t fighting these battles head on with swords and shields in coats of armor, and instead are sat in the park with a picnic choosing to feel this way and wanting to be like this, but just because you believe something doesn’t make it true. More often than not, these struggles take time to overcome and progress won’t always be shown overnight or even over days. It takes weeks and months to see progress. You are healing at your own pace and a slip up doesn’t define how hard you are trying. We all have bad days, so do mine reflect how “ill” I am? I’m trying to get better, isn’t that all that matters? I am learning to rest and not to quit.

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Thinkstock photo via MaleWitch

Originally published: September 2, 2017
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