But Your Life Isn’t That Bad

By Sara Kellar

“But your life isn’t that bad.”

When I was depressed, that was the whisper that followed me. It was something people I loved and respected told me when I admitted how I was feeling. I think they were probably trying to figure out where things went weird and why. I think it was partly because they didn’t know how to fix it. Regardless of their intentions, this statement echoed in my own head as I tried to make sense of what was happening to me. It haunted me.


My high school years were an anomaly, I feel, because they were some of the best years of my life. I was involved in activities and clubs, had a healthy social life, got the opportunities to exercise and utilize my skills and my gifts, and had a family and friends and a church that loved me. I didn’t necessarily have all of the answers, but I was safe, and I was comfortable, and I was healthy.

My life wasn’t that bad.

My depression first hit at the end of grade nine, I think, when a friend of mine died and my great uncle died eleven days later. It wasn’t anything long or intense, just a heavy sadness that weighed down on me. It dissipated quickly, and it was a relief when it was gone.

It came back in grade ten, rolling over me. It left me struggling to get back on my feet, struggling for air, struggling for hope. I spent a couple of months where I didn’t care about this life that wasn’t that bad, where I questioned everything I did. I wondered why I was numb. I was desperate not only for it to go away, but also to figure out why it had come in the first place. But how can you make sense of something if there’s no “logical” reason for it?

Depression visited me again in grades eleven and twelve. It hit me at different times of the year for no discernible reason at all. It interrupted this life that wasn’t that bad—that was actually pretty good—and threw me into a tailspin. It left me twisting and turning and not knowing up from down, and I frantically tried to diagnose the problem and figure out the solution as the numbness and the lack of hope plagued me.

All the while, the whisper told me, “But your life isn’t that bad.”

It made it all the worse, I think. The whisper isolated me further, making me think that I was broken, that there was something even more wrong with me than just this depression. I rarely spoke about it because I was afraid of what would happen in the ensuing conversation. How on earth could I tell somebody about it when I couldn’t even make sense of it myself? Anybody I told would surely ask me questions, right? They would want to know why I felt the way I did, what might’ve happened to make everything go lopsided in order to have a better chance at helping to make everything better. But I didn’t have any answers. I felt like nothing I could say would be enough. How could I give people answers when I was still searching for them myself?

The whisper was right. My life really wasn’t that bad. It took me some time to come to terms with it, to realize that it’s OK, and maybe that’s the point. Depression has the ability to come and go for no rhyme or reason, or so it feels. It doesn’t go after any one particular demographic—it appears in them all. Regardless of your race, your nationality, your religion, your sexual orientation, your culture, your family’s income, or any other social factor, depression can appear and worm its way into your life. It doesn’t always have conditions or requirements. Sometimes it just…happens.

Even if your life isn’t that bad.

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Comments (15)

  1. Kim

    Sara – Thank you so much for sharing this. That’s one of the most frustrating things about depression for me–it doesn’t necessarily have any direct connection to your life. An event might trigger it, but it might not. Then I find myself unable to get out of bed and not caring about anything and not knowing why.

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  2. Alicia

    Thank you for sharing. This is beautiful, and I remember feeling so much the same way.

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  3. Lena

    Thanks for putting all this in words. When I was struggling with my depression two years ago, I would always ask myself “What’s the matter with me, my life isn’t that bad”. Time helped me understand that I didn’t need any reason to be depressed.

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  4. Christine

    Ah thank you for sharing. I don’t know how many times I wanted to flip the wall whenever someone asked me “there’s gotta be a root reason” and the frustrating tears that followed after when I didn’t have an answer. Sometimes, there really is no answer. And that’s okay. But that took me a long time to come to this conclusion.

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  5. Dragon

    Thank you for expressing this. I’ve been trying to come to terms with it myself

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  6. Abbey

    Thank you for this! People sometimes didn’t always understand when I told them I didn’t know why I was depressed. My parents always wanted a reason and I couldn’t give them one. It’s so true that sometimes it doesn’t need a reason to come in the first place. Mine was sort of triggered – I got a concussion and in the midst of all the pain I had a thought that said, “I want to die instead of feel this.” As soon as that thought hit everything changed. I can still feel, remember that moment clear as day. After the concussion healed and I had no pain, my depression, that thought of wanting to die, never left. It didn’t really subside for 4 years. So I sorta had a trigger, but no real reason to sti have it after my concussion healed. I loved this post.

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  7. Kim mckelvie

    I so understand. My life isn’t that bad

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  8. Courtney broussard

    This is always how I feel. Well most the time. I sometimes can’t deal with myself and do question most the things I do. Even if it’s going to sleep. Why do I do it? But I’m trying to realize everything has a purpose and something are worth something. The day can actually be good if you make it good.

    Sometimes it won’t be good and thats perfectly fine because nothing is perfect. You will never be perfect and not being perfect is…. perfect. You should always enjoy what you have and if you need get help. Don’t start _____ because it’s the only pain you can control instead of depression. Like the story says,
    “your life isn’t that bad.” -Sara Kellar.

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  9. Maggs

    Thanks, needed to hear this today.

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  10. Mona

    I tell myself that “it’s not that bad” more and more every time….. Then, am I just crazy? (´・_・`). I’ll keep fighting, I’ll keep trying, even if it’s not for me. TY

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  11. Bri White

    Basically the story of my life. I’m still in HS but it does come up often, it sucks….but thank you, I needed this

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  12. Bri White

    Basically the story of my life.. I’m still in HS and its true, it can sneak up on you…but thanks for this…I needed to read something like this.

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  13. Kelsey

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I’ve struggled with depression for 10 years now and the biggest part of my struggle has been trying to find a reason for this depression. Because my life too, isn’t that bad. It’s actually pretty good and pretty blessed. The amount of guilt that comes with this is overwhelming. I’m working on trying to accept that having depression even though I have a good life does not make me ungrateful or dramatic. It is just life. Thank you for your words.

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  14. Russell

    Thank you for sharing. Your correct I remember my family and friends telling my to get over it my life isn’t that bad and some ppl go through worse. They were right it wasn’t that bad. But it still over took me. Still made me feel useless and at the bottom. Made me feel like if I past away know one would even bat an eye. And after a year they would forget besides a simple spark in their mind when they see a picture of me or a song that reminded them of me. But that’s what I felt like already. My life wasn’t that bad. I had a good childhood and hard working parents. But I still couldn’t bring myself up and open the dark coffin that held me away. And even now that I’m older I still feel it creeping back onto me for no reason I’m happy with my life but yet I still feel that dark coffin trying to pull me in and as I step closer to it it get harder to run away from it. Thank you again for sharing

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  15. Kimberly

    Thank you. It’s true, my life is rough but I am blessed. And there it is anyway.
    Keep speaking the truth of hope, and the hope of truth, into the people around you. That way we will all become free.

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