Depression affects more people than you think. In fact, according to the ADAA, over 40 million Americans over the age of 18 have been diagnosed with depression—that’s 18% of our population.
Depression takes many forms, and it’s different for everyone. It’s also difficult to cope sometimes—I’ve been there.
So what happens when you’ve been “cured” by the therapist, the pills, the diet, the lifestyle—but you’re still not happy?
We’re only human, after all. It’s simply human nature to always want more, to always compare yourself, and to always seek a better something.
You can love your job, love your partner, and love your life, but still not be happy.
The good news is, you’re not alone.
I always feel as if I need to be doing more, as if I’m a failure because I found myself in a career I tried to distance myself from.
I always feel like my house has to be Pinterest-perfect, because the influencers and bloggers seem perfect, they must have their life together completely, right?
And I feel as if I always need to be doing something, that lying in stillness, reading a book for fun and not work, or napping means I’m wasting my life.
But it’s not true—any of it. These are things I had to discover on my own, not from a psychiatrist, not from depression medication, and not from self-help books.
The key is to remember that it is okay not to be happy.
Living your life fighting with Clinical Depression is really, truly hard. It’s as if every day you’re struggling to keep functioning, to keep living your life when in your head you just want to stop trying.
It’s in the fight against this that I found the truth I need to live: I’m not okay, and that’s okay.
I’ve always been fine.
But I needed to be more than fine—I needed to be extraordinary.
And why was this? Who was I trying to impress at the cost of my sanity and happiness?
Sometimes, giving up isn’t a bad thing. You don’t give up the fight—you give up your insecurities.
It’s not about being happy sometimes, it’s about being okay with yourself, with who you are and the life you live.
It’s not easy to be happy, and not realistic. So you don’t need to always be happy to be okay. And it’s okay not to be okay.
But keep fighting. Keep breathing. Keep dreaming. And know that just by living your life day to day, you are doing the best you can with the situation you’ve been dealt.
There are absolutely days where I cancel plans because I’m too anxious to leave the house, or when I break down during a stressful situation.
And there are worse days—much, much worse. But we get through those too. At the core of the struggle comes the realization that you can power through, that you are in control. It may take every ounce of your strength some days, but you don’t need to be happy to live a happy life.
You just need to live. Focus on the good, fight through the bad. But don’t feel pressured to be grateful for your situation at the cost of your mental health.
Fortunately, mental health awareness is at an all-time high—which makes it easier to actually focus on creating a mentally healthy lifestyle.
There are millions of self-help tips, from creating a routine to exercising and changing your diet to just being yourself.
But if you are really struggling, or just not sure why you are feeling the way you are anymore, get help. It can be terrifying to admit you need help, and even more terrifying to open up about your depression.
But admitting your truth is the first step. Living your truth is a battle entirely of its own.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and at risk, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Find a support system in friends or family, or even in total strangers in a support group.
And if you’re open to it, try going to see a professional.
(h/t Better Change Project)