I often had to tell myself that my battle with depression was often in my own head. As simple as that seems I remember coming to that realization as though I had stumbled upon gold! It was a revelation, something that had never dawned on me before: now everything was going to be perfect.
However, realizing these things is only the beginning of the recovery journey, working to overcome them is the other part.
There were three major areas that served as barriers to my recovery, three major lies I told myself:
- I will never get better.
- I am alone in this.
- No one will understand what I am going through.
These plagued my recovery day after day; it took a long time to get past these mental barriers I had put up.
So let’s talk about each of these…
The first was you will never get better.
If you are in the process of working through your recovery I want to tell you right now this is a lie and this is not true. Things get better, they may never be ‘perfect’ but they do get better.
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In my story, I remember waking up in the morning thinking today would be the day I would get active again, go out with some friends, complete a few errands, and get back to ‘normal life’. But what would happen is I would sink into my depression and end up doing nothing.
Then the worst part would happen: I would tell myself that lie, “you will never get better.”
This was the first mental barrier I needed to get over. To quote a great movie, “The night is always darkest before the dawn.”
In my darkest moments, my mind would tell me you will always be like this, it only gets worse. But then things started to get better, slowly but they did.
The second lie I would tell myself was that I needed to battle this alone.
There was always this constant struggle I faced, the belief that I was alone. That I was the only person in the world going through depression, like the only one.
I constantly was looking around at all the people in my life seeing how happy they were, how much joy they had, and how great their lives must be. Yet I felt like crap inside, and I would tell myself no one else is feeling this way, everyone else is great you are screwed up.
I am here to tell you, you are not alone; there are other people struggling just like you.
The third lie that took me the longest to work through was my belief that no one would understand.
I thought no one would get me; they would look at me differently and treat me differently. I struggled so long to get past this mental barrier. I wanted desperately to hold onto this image I had created – I had all the answers, I was always happy, and was “all good.”
Yet I was dying inside. I was depressed.
There are three things I want to tell you about depression: it will get better, you are not alone, and people surprisingly understand.
In my story it got better, it was a battle, a struggle but I eventually got help, worked through my difficulties, and things improved.
I learned I was not alone once I finally told my family and friends I was shocked to learn about the people who were battling depression or who battled it throughout their life, too. Then I learned that most people understand; my friends helped me out, my teachers helped me out and having a healthy community made a big difference.
There are a few simple steps that I took that helped in these areas. It took all my strength to be open and to share my story, to allow people to know that I was struggling.
It also took me the courage to put people in my life to check up on me who understood what I was going through.
Maybe those are your steps today, or maybe you’ve done other ones that have worked – please share them! The more people that know they are not alone the better.
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