To every person out there struggling with depression right now:
I want you to know there is hope. There is hope even when the moments when you feel like the world is caving in on you. There is hope when you are lying awake at 3 in the morning, feeling like there is no one who understands or will understand you. There is hope even when the day feels like it has been nothing but masking your true nature, and the things you feel on the inside.
I want you to know you are brave. Even if no one else is saying it, you need to know, you are brave and there is always hope for you. You are stronger than anyone gives you credit for. You walk every day, with the heavy burden within you and try to not burden anyone else with it. People should be more empathetic to that, but they aren’t and I am sorry. You deserve so much better.
Here are five things no matter how hard things get, you need to remember, for your own well being:
1. Remember and remind yourself you are not useless.
We all have things that we are good at. And it doesn’t matter how depressed or broken you are, those things are going nowhere. Maybe you’re a talented artist, maybe you’re a gifted photographer. Doing something you are good at will remind you that your illness, which keeps telling you that you are useless is lying to you. Because look at the beautiful things you can create.
2. Remember you are ill and not lazy.
If you had a terrible illness which prevented your body from moving out of bed, you would not be expected to work, and you know you are not being lazy because you cannot physically make yourself work, you are much too ill. Depression is an illness of the mind and unfortunately, a lot of people stigmatize it with “Just stop being lazy and get over it.” You cannot work if you are not motivated. That is a simple fact. And depression does not allow you to motivate yourself, therefore you are not lazy. Remember that.
3. Please stop feeling guilty for those cancelled plans.
A true friend will understand that some days you are just going to be absolutely exhausted. You’re not going to want to go out. You’re just going to want to become so small that you disappear. You’re not going to want to see people or do anything. And honestly, that’s absolutely okay. You are allowed to feel that way. Even if the world tells you you cannot.
4. Self care is not selfish.
Your mind is broken, but it knows on some level what it needs to do to survive. It knows what you need to do to help, maybe not cure, but help it. Unfortunately, most people with depression are terrified of being judged and end up going through the motions, rather than looking after themselves the way they need. Listen to what you need. Stop worrying about seeming selfish, and do what you need to do to heal. Remember, no one can heal you but yourself.
5. Healing takes time, whether mind, body or soul.
You need to stop pressuring yourself so much. Your heart and your head deserve better. When you apologise for being depressed, who are you apologising to? You cannot help this. And healing in any form still means the chance that your depression will never leave you. Apologising for it is like apologising for having a serious illness. Take your time to heal. Stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Stop thinking you need to be better for anyone else but yourself. Focus on your journey rather than anyone or anything that stands in the way of it.
Focus on your healing rather than the destination you need to come to for it.