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Mental barriers are something I face every day with my depression, so I was excited to hear we were writing about crushing barriers we experience. Although they take on a slightly different flavour depending on the person, we can often relate to others’ mental barriers. These may manifest in stigmas others have of you, but also stigmas you may create for yourself.
Some of the worst mental barriers I faced were created by me.
I want to focus on three mental barriers I found the hardest to get over while I had depression. All of these came from me, and I am happy to be able to break down the walls I created in order to bring in new understanding, peace, and wholeness.
The first I want to focus on is the first barrier I faced when I was diagnosed with depression. This mental barrier often bleeds into other mental illnesses too.
1. Depressed people always look sad.
This is not the case! Depression is not a way of dressing or looking; it is a mental illness. I fooled everyone, including myself, when I had depression. My clothing styles didn’t change, I put on multiple masks in order to hide my depression, and no one knew about it until years after. I constantly hear from people who say “I didn’t look depressed, so maybe I was just sad.”
Downplaying someone else’s mental illness is not fair to the person who is suffering from it. Lessening the severity of it only makes the person feel as though they are overreacting, being dramatic, or looking for attention. It is important to treat mental illnesses for what they are: sickness.
It is not about “looking” depressed, rather “being” depressed. Although the distinction is small, it is important to think about what you are saying from the other person’s point of view. The smallest words can have the biggest impact.
2. I wasn’t worth recovery.
Absolutely everyone is worth recovery. I often thought I wasn’t worth recovery because someone else’s circumstances were bigger than mine. I actually ended up using this as a form of self-harm. I would begin to think “Maybe I should recover, maybe I am worth it,” only to find someone else’s tragic story and think “Well they are worth it, look at their story. My problems are nothing compared to their problems.” Yes, someone’s story might be more tragic or triumphant or heartbreaking than mine, but this shouldn’t discount my story and health.
Doctors don’t only treat dying people, they also treat people who are suffering from minor scrapes and bruises. It doesn’t matter if my story is “only” minor, because it is still my story and my overall health. Everyone is worth recovery whether they think they are or not. The power to decide, however, is completely in your hands.
Without a doubt, it is always better to enter into recovery than it is to stay in your current circumstances. I would rather see health, restoration, and revitalization than destruction, apathy, and harm. You are worth it not only to yourself, but your family, friends, and anyone you come into contact with.
You are unique; no one else exists on this earth who is the same as you, and without you the sphere of influence you have will be drastically changed. So choose recovery, no matter how big or small your problems may seem.
3. Once I recovered I was never depressed.
Although I wish it on no one, relapse is a possibility. I often assumed that once I was recovered I wouldn’t ever have a bad day ever again. I have days even now when I don’t want to get out of bed or socialize, when the negative thoughts and emotions begin to arise. I’m not going to beat around the bush with this: there will still be bad days.
I would often beat myself up thinking “What if I’m not recovered? What if I just thought I was?” However, I realized I needed to focus on the fact that there will be bad days, but now I have tools to fight those bad days. I have been equipped with so much knowledge and self-awareness.
The bad days will come, but I know I am able to change them into good ones.
Using my outlets and coping mechanisms, and having an accountability friend are powerful tools in order to combat the days that are a little darker, and I don’t just use one of them and then accept defeat. I use every one of them, exhausting my resources until I eventually find peace. I know it is there, I just have to dig deep to find it once again.
We don’t have to live with mental barriers.
They end up building a wall around us so we can’t see anything with perspective or precision. It’s not easy to change the way we think about these things, but if we take it one brick at a time, we will eventually be left with rubble we can clean up and throw away.
I am so glad I changed my view on these mental barriers. If I hadn’t, I know I would still be stuck in the windowless room I had built around myself. Once I broke free, I experienced a clarity I hadn’t felt in a long time.
I encourage you to reflect on some mental barriers you have in order to live a life without walls or obstacles.
Mark is currently in high school and hopes to study International Law in the future. He struggled with depression for four years until finally winning the battle. Upon first hearing about Libero, he made the decision to bring his story about depression and how he has dealt with it in hopes to spread awareness and bring support to those going through depression. With still being in high school, he will offer a teenagerʼs perspective on depression and relationships through sharing the many challenges and victories he has faced with both. Mark hopes that through his writing he can help others understand that brokenness can lead to wholeness.
SITE DISCLAIMER: The opinions and information shared in this article or any other Content on our site may not represent that of Libero Network Society. We hold no liability for any harm that may incur from reading content on our site. Please always consult your own medical professionals before making any changes to your medication, activities, or recovery process. Libero does not provide emergency support. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433 or another helpline or 911.