I Am Still Getting Better

By Maddie SuvakApril 28, 2020

I often wonder if the concept of “being better” exists. What does it mean to be better?

When it comes to my mental health, I am constantly getting better. But will I ever actually be better?

Does being better mean that I no longer have episodes of depression? Does it mean that I will never have another suicidal thought or an urge to self-harm?

If so, then I don’t think I will ever be better, because I think the concept of “being better” is subjective.

For me, putting an end value on my mental healing is destructive. To say I am working towards “being better” is giving myself an unattainable goal. It is setting myself up for failure because the reality of my life is this: I am alive and I am happy, yet I still have days and moments in time where I am once again swallowed up by depression. By this standard, I may never be better.

My depression lingers, like a fly on the wall inside of my head. It hasn’t completely gone away, perhaps a part of it will live within me forever—and that is OK.

I used to think there would be a moment during my recovery where euphoric relief would just hit me. And all of a sudden, I would be healed. Therapy and medication would prove useful and helpful, and I would no longer need to say I was recovering. I would simply be better…

If I were to continue following this thought process then I wouldn’t be getting better right now, six years later. But the truth of the matter is that I was getting better and still am—because recovery exists on a continuum.

By allowing myself to accept that there is no end goal of being fixed, I am able to keep living. I can accept the days when I have a depressive episode and know that it does not hinder my progress.

I am able to understand that relapse may happen, but that it doesn’t make me less nor does it diminish the days, months, or years of hard work that I have already put toward healing.

There is a difference between getting better and being better.

With everything that is happening in the world right now, I feel my depression starting to resurface—it’s waking up with a vengeance as I physically isolate. Troubling feelings and panic bubbling up inside of me with nowhere to go.

And yet, I try to remember that I am still getting better. That, even after months of happiness I am allowed to feel this way. I am allowed to accept the reality of uncertainty laid out before me. More importantly, I am allowed to acknowledge that I am feeling depressed again. Because that’s what happens when you are getting better, you give yourself permission to acknowledge all that you are feeling without criticism—the good and the bad.

Leave a Reply

Comments (9)

  1. Angela Serola

    Spot on. This is me right now….
    I hear strength in your voice. I am getting better & reading your words lifted me up ~ and you are getting better 😊

    Reply  |  
  2. Aubrey

    I have felt my depression resurfacing recently as well. Thank you for sharing; your words really resonated with me. ♡

    Reply  |  
  3. Emma

    Thank you. I do not think I can say, I have been happy… I have let go of that ideal a couple of years ago.
    Yes, self isolation has almost given me permission to be aware of depression and to be at home, without the shame and guilt it is because of my depression, I am not working. My work needed consistency and gratefully my work, gave me time to work on myself. Yet, I spiralled down…
    Feeling defeated, and hating the questions of, “ how’s work? You look fine…what are you doing now? “ or having my last friend, impatient when I have the courage to answer the phone, and tell her the truth,” I am tired, I just finished cleaning the kitchen and cooking “ impatiently, she asks about the recipe. I messed it up and she nailed it. Competitive by her own nature and not understanding that it took my whole effort to get up and achieve this effort…
    My mother has never quite understood it or fully accepted it. No, you don’t need medication. Just have more faith and spirituality.
    Thank you for the reminder, I need to trumpet over the Automatic Negative Thoughts, and be ok with who I am and accept my brain may not produce naturally enough serotonin…or whatever it is…
    Today is a bit better, I had the courage to feel, journal, be ok with affirmations, read a helpful blog…
    and feel content, safe to leave a comment, knowing that there’s an understanding…
    I must send you a smile 🙂 and share a sense of gratitude ❤️🙏

    Reply  |  
  4. Lynette

    Your words hit home today. I am fortunate enough to still be working but it’s at a stressful job as a nurse. I work 4 on 4 off. And lately in my 4 off, I seldom get out of bed. I can feel the depression pulling me back down on those days.
    Thank you for telling me there is a difference between getting better and doing better. I needed that truth

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Lynette,

      First, know how grateful we are for the work you’re doing always, but especially during this trying time. Second, we’re so sorry to hear that you’re experiencing the challenges of depression in the midst of all of this. We hope that you have people you can lean on and reach out to, but know that you can always email us at [email protected] if you are ever in need of encouragement, a listening ear, or resources for professional help. We are here and we would be honored to show up for you as best we can.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  5. Lys

    I love this perspective. I struggle not to tell myself that I will “be better” when I no longer….. Sometimes I forget that I am “getting better”. That the goal is to keep going and never give up. That is success. The only time we fail is when we give up.

    Reply  |  
  6. Laura Hendry

    Learn to needle point, play ping pong, or teach yourself a new language. There is so much that we have at our fingertips, oftentimes it’s funny how we forget. Please, if you feel up to it…email me. You are an inspiration darling!

    Reply  |  
  7. Laura Hendry

    Your last post was April. Will you post again?
    I look forward to hearing from you!
    Ms. Laura Hendry

    Reply  |  
  8. Alex gouin

    Kinda needed to something like this today.

    The good and the bad.

    Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.