An Honest Letter on the Inspiration to Keep Living

By Nik Wiles

With the new year approaching, we wanted to spend the month of December looking back on the top 8 blogs of 2017. This post was originally published on April 17, 2017.

Dear friend,

When my depression hits hardest, here is a list of the things I’m told should inspire me to keep living:

  • My daughter, Skylar Astrid (she’s OK, I guess)
  • My fiancée, Caitlin (also OK, I might marry her)
  • My friends and family (I’ll keep them, I suppose)
  • My talents, like writing (I can write a sentence, sometimes)
  • My cats (no, seriously, my cats)
  • My ability to help other people (well, yeah, there was that one dude once)
  • My access to higher education (job opportunities and all that)
  • My job at the university (I can’t seem to pry myself away from a university)
  • The food in my belly (mostly coffee)
  • The shirt on my back (usually TWLOHA, I’ll be real)
  • The ceiling over my head (it’s popcorn style; can’t we all agree that’s weird?)

When my depression hits its hardest, here’s a list of the things that actually inspire me to keep living:

Yep. That’s real life with depression.

I need you to know that I do get it. I totally get that, on a good day, you can logically and emotionally understand that yes, your son or daughter is awesome. I understand that, on a good day, you know your significant other/friends/family/cat (or twenty cats, I’m not judging) loves you and doesn’t want to lose you. I know that you generally know, on a good day, that you are lucky to have food and a shirt (or blouse or toga) and a roof over your head.

However, when depression hits hardest, it’s not your best day. It’s not even a good day. It’s a dark day. Or days. Or weeks. And I want you to know that it’s OK if nothing inspires you to keep living during those days. Don’t let others who don’t understand, aren’t willing to try to understand, don’t want to understand…don’t let those people make you feel guilty for suffering from depression despite your kid, your talent, your education, your job, etc. You don’t have to justify your mental illness to the world. You just have to try to see the next day the best you can.

You just have to try to see the next day the best you can. You just have to make it there.

Even though you may not believe it right now, you feel inspired to keep living again. It may be your daughter or relationship or a TWLOHA shirt or the popcorn ceiling (that last one may not happen, let’s be honest) — you will see the reasons to keep living, and you will finally believe them.

And when you do wake up one day and see all the reasons to keep living, don’t look back on the dark days with guilt. Don’t punish yourself for having depression despite all you may or may not have in your life. Don’t require a justification from yourself for something you can’t control. Don’t let others require a justification from you either.

Just live and breathe and seek healing the best you can.

Enjoy the reasons to keep living when you see them. And when you don’t, just believe that you will see them again.


A friend

P.S. – There will never, ever be a universe in which popcorn ceilings aren’t weird. Can we all agree on that?

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Comments (4)

  1. Ariana Rivera

    This blog post was inspiring. It discussed how a person with depression doesn’t have to justify their mental illness, that speaks volumes. In the beginning, there list seemed as if it was to bring sarcasm which gave me confusion since it was discussing depression. After this he discusses what really inspires him. As a person who understands depression, it was lovely reading this on my mother’s b-day. At the end of the blog he puts out the thought that ”Just live and breathe and seek healing the best you can.” It was an inspirational blog that moved me personally…thank you.

    Reply  |  
  2. Ashley Ziegler

    This is amazing. Thank you SO much for sharing!!!

    Reply  |  
  3. BThomas

    Thank you. We must all fight through those days, as hard as it can be. There is always something to be grateful for if we look hard enough.

    Reply  |  
  4. Kunal Jangam

    I’m crying right now thank you so much

    Reply  |  
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