Yesterday I was talking to a friend. He confided in me that he has been struggling with depression. It’s gotten worse over the past several months. It’s gotten to the point where it’s becoming unbearable. As we talked, it became apparent that one of the things that contributes to and confirms the feelings of depression is the way lives are portrayed on social media. People post the happy moments. The proud moments. The fun moments. But no one posts about the really shitty times. Like struggling with depression for months or years on end, like feeling hopeless and alone, like having crippling anxiety, like feeling that life isn’t worth it. Well those are all things I have felt. And I don’t want to hide it because it’s real life. And I want you and others to know that if you’re struggling you’re not the only one. You aren’t the only one who is crippled from anxiety, stuck in a deep rut, struggling with the challenges of life. I’ve been there too. And so have many others. You aren’t alone.
So, with that said, what does one do when they encounter these challenges? Well I can only speak for myself, but I’m going to share what helped me through the unbearable pain of mental illness and continues to help me through the everyday struggles of life.
1. Get help. You are not weak if you seek help. You are strong for knowing you need help and helping yourself. There’s a chance you’re having a hard time getting help. Finding a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, etc. is overwhelming. My advice is, if you’re comfortable with it, to confide in a trusted friend or adult. Don’t have anyone? Fear not. Break it down into baby steps. Do one baby step a day. Look people up one day; make a list of people the next day; call one person per day, etc. whatever works for you.
2. Don’t worry about being “labeled.” The only real label that applies is “strong.” Dealing with this stuff is hard. Getting help is hard. And I know for me it was embarrassing to get help and I was worried about being labeled. I had a hard time telling my parents, let alone a complete stranger. But as it turns out it takes a lot of strength and courage to seek out help.
3. Go little by little. When I was in the thick of my struggles I would go minute by minute and hour by hour. It’s all I could do. And I didn’t always feel like I could make it. But I would focus on putting one foot in front of the other (literally). Sometimes I would tell myself to just keep breathing. Sometimes you have to make small, simple, seemingly stupid tasks to just keep going. As Dory says, “just keep swimming.”
That’s all I’ve got for today. Share your story and help others know they aren’t alone. If you have a story you want to share, comment on this post or message me on Facebook. I’d love to hear from you.