Days like today make it very hard to remember the good days. When I come across days like these, it can be nearly impossible to remember that there ever were good days to begin with. When I try to explain this to people who haven’t struggled with depression, it can be difficult to get them to understand what I mean. I often get the reaction of, “Oh you’re having a bad day? I thought you were in recovery? I thought things were getting better?” When that happens, I usually walk away or change the subject because I’m unsure of what my reaction should be.
To those of you who may not understand, I’ll try to explain:
Yes, I’m having a bad day.
Today I feel like there is no hope left for me – like it has been sucked out of the air – and that at any minute I might suffocate from the overwhelming absence of something so vital.
Today I can’t stop repeating these words in my head: “I want to die.”
I wish, more than anything, that I could stay in my bed and cover my face and not speak to anyone.
I feel heavy, like I’m carrying bricks in all of my pockets, and the weight is too much for my muscles to carry.
I feel ugly, and I feel scared.
But yes, I am in recovery.
Because despite the way that I feel today,
I got out of bed this morning.
I went to breakfast with a friend.
I sat on the floor, colored a picture with my niece, kissed her cheeks, and put a bow in her hair.
And even though every bone and fiber in my body wanted to,
I didn’t tear apart my house searching for something to help express my pain,
and I didn’t succumb to the temptations that filled my every thought.
Yes, I am in recovery. Because even though today was hard,
I’m still choosing to be here tomorrow.
I used to think that it was prideful to think of myself as strong.
But I’ve come to realize that my strength is not only something to be proud of; it’s also something that is achieved in a million little ways every single day.
Every tiny victory or decision that leads to a healthier life points to the strength that was placed inside of me from the moment I was created.
So to those who may not always understand,
please remember that, even on the bad days,
we’re still fighting the good fight,
we’re still running the distance –
no matter how slow we may seem to those on the outside.
And to those who are in recovery or to those who maybe haven’t quite figured out what that means,
please remember that it is quite OK to have bad days.
It’s what we do with those days,
how we let them change us,
that matters in the end.
Please remember that you have the strength to overcome this,
even when it doesn’t feel like it,
even when you have to blindly search for it in the darkness.
Sometimes our strength is found alongside our weaknesses.
Please do not forget that, even at your darkest,
you are immeasurably loved,
your story will always be important,
and the days will once again be good.
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