Blog

Jul2
2015

To Those Who May Not Understand

By Kelly Stricklen

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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Comments (86)

  1. Courtney Pagleno

    This is beautiful… Thank you for this.

    Reply  |  
  2. Emily

    Thank you, Kelly, your words perfectly descibe how I feel! I really needed to hear this today and I will be sharing this with a few of my friends who do not understand my bad days. This is so beautiful!

    Reply  |  
  3. Stephanie

    I’ve read so many of these blogs and each time I finish I am immeasurably thankful that I am not alone…that somewhere out there someone else gets it. I can tell you that every time I finish reading, I feel like I have a life raft in the middle of this ferocious storm, that is life, for those of us who suffer from depression…essentially I wanted to say…Thank You.

    Reply  |  
  4. Elle

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve had quite a few bad days later, and after just hitting 6 months of being self-harm free it feels like each one of them might be the end. It’s nice to have a reminder that it doesn’t have to be, and it won’t be if we don’t let it. To the good days to come! <3 Thank you for sharing, and for putting into words something that so many of us struggle to convey.

    Reply  |  
  5. Michelle

    This is what I am trying to do today ,getting through the bad shit I know I can do it get to a better place I have so much love in my life it keeps me going xoxo

    Reply  |  
  6. WonderWoman

    Thank you for sharing your heart. Strength is gained when we are able to freely share our stories.

    Reply  |  
  7. Katrina

    Today I’m having one of those bad days … Reading this brought me to tears as I hang on to hope and try to remember the good so I may again feel the strength that has helped me survive all of my past bad days. Thank you so much for your beautiful words.

    Reply  |  
  8. Rachel

    God, I needed to hear this. I’m in recovery and every word right here is something I’ve wanted to scream out loud for the past two years. ?

    Reply  |  
    1. Tessa

      Screaming my feelings out loud helps me sometimes. Maybe you should try it. Much love and hope for you in your struggle <3

      Reply  |  
  9. Kate

    I didn’t want this to end! I was so sad when it was over because I’m so bad with words. It takes me so long to put words with a situation. You’ve done so beautifully… I have never read anything more relevant in my entire life. I hope you know how much your words help people and make them feel less alone. Thanks.

    Reply  |  
  10. Lana

    Thank you. I’ve been having some bad days lately and I needed to hear that.

    Reply  |  
  11. Alysha

    I get this. i’ve been there.

    Reply  |  
  12. TimBer

    Thank you. I needed this. I’m having a bad day too actually. Thank you

    Reply  |  
  13. mommabear

    thank you for writing this – you couldn’t have expressed how I feel any better than this. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  14. cristina

    I am touched by this blog. It has made me and others that its not about the negatives if you know you can change it and make it positive no matter how depress you are or how one little thing can take you down. My perspective of this blog is that it was amazing and how you can just share with others and let them know how you can change it, Why? Because you still have a option to live on another and another day.

    Reply  |  
  15. Sacha

    I understand and I am with you x

    Reply  |  
  16. Gabi

    Two things:

    1. Yes, I need to hear this often. Bad days happen, even way into recovery. Recovery is not the lack of depression, but the ability to manage it…or just get through the next 5 min.

    2. I am having a good day. They absolutely do happen and exist and return.

    Reply  |  
  17. Nicole

    This is what I needed to hear in my own recovery. I think it is quite difficult to forgive yourself for those bad days, because we think of recovery as a destination that can be reached, when it is a moment by moment fight. Good and bad days are states of being that change with the moment. I am learning to forgive myself and remember the many moments that are good, that are fought with strength. Thank you for your words. They have helped me and many others, I am sure.

    Reply  |  
  18. -

    thank you for this

    Reply  |  
  19. Jayne

    Yes, yes and yes! Thank you for the reminder and for writing the raw truth.

    Reply  |  
  20. Neža

    Kelly!! This is so beautiful, it made me cry. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

    Reply  |  
  21. Kristina Corey

    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….
    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….YES!!!!

    Reply  |  
  22. Erin M

    Thank you…I needed this today

    Reply  |  
  23. Alyssa

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  24. Alyssa

    This is true on so many levels. Most people don’t understand what it’s like, and how difficult it can be. Thank you for posting this.

    Reply  |  
  25. Jack

    This is so me. I just want the Earth to open up and swallow me whole.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  26. Montserrat

    I really needed read something like this, because I thought there was a big problem with me; but the reality is that it’s just a bad day and we need to find out everyday this is a big struggle and we can with this.
    Thank you so much because this maade me realize when I feel alone and hopeless it’s just a bad and tough day.

    Reply  |  
  27. Theresa Ventresca

    What a great reas! You explained it so Perfectly!
    Thank you for sharing ??

    Reply  |  
  28. Melissa

    Hi Kelly, thank you so much for sharing and putting your emotions into words. This is beautiful. It’s comforting knowing I’m not alone in this struggle, and that it will get better.

    Reply  |  
  29. lonleygirl

    TWLOHA
    it saved me, I watched it alone on a darknight in my life, I wanted to die, because it feels as the only release for my soul to fly, to no longer have to feel, but simply be bliss because no pain (physical and mental and emotional) sounds so much better than feeling, and again tonight I feel that heavy, and I find this…I’m not in recovery I have self harmed, but never deep enough to scar physically. And nobody knows, just me my therapist and my shrink. And now you.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  30. db

    Thank you for the perfectly worded description. Unfortunatly, it seems, nobody, no matter how close to you, will ever fully understand, unless having gone through this dire state themselves. But by your words and spreading them, it just might better the situation…

    Reply  |  
  31. Layla

    Thank you so much for this. It’s amazing and so helpful !

    Reply  |  
  32. Wendy

    So glad I read this, especially today. Everyone has bad days, but when everyday seems to be a bad day, it’s the worse. I’m ready to give up…on everything right now. This too shall pass I guess…would anyone miss me though? Probably not.

    Reply  |  
  33. Belinda

    I don’t feel alone. I cried reading this. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

    Reply  |  
  34. Iris

    Absolutely! “In recovery” is a lifetime thing, it doesn’t just happen overnight and people who understand that are the ones that we need around us.
    I wish more people understood this… especially family.

    Reply  |  
  35. Jen

    This is so brave and real, and I really admire you for being candid and honest. I have no doubt that many, many people, can relate and are thankful for these words. <3

    Reply  |  
  36. Frank Saxen

    Very well put. Sometimes when people ask, how you doing, let them know your walking in the
    Valley, and hope they understand. Life if full of up’s and down’s and we need to understand we can’t all be in the up’s all the time and hopefully we’re not in the down’s all the time, we’re just walking through the Valley. When I see you next, I need to give you a big Hug!! Frank

    Reply  |  
  37. Riley

    I haven’t been able to say to myself I am in recovery. But when I read this it welcomes a sense of hope and sometimes that means going into it further to see if there is a chance you might again see the good days again. Thank you for expressing yourself and know you have support thank you

    Reply  |  
  38. Yavie

    I so needed this today. This is how I’ve been feeling all week. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  39. sarah

    Thank you. This is exactly how I feel.

    Reply  |  
  40. Yasmine

    Thank you so much for these words. I needed them at this point :’)

    Reply  |  
  41. Michelle

    thank you for this. Today was one of those days and I have more down days then up days.
    It’s odd how I can be so low for so long and then in a split second I feel better and I can breath. Then it happens again.. I can’t get up, I want to die. I don’t feel like moving… But I do get up because my children need me to get up
    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  42. Scott

    Thank you…very much. Today…harder than usual. …difficult. Letting people down no matter which way you choose. Sucks…especially when it’s your most loved ones.

    I like this…it is clear and coherent. It makes sense.

    God Bless ALL of my brothers and sisters in recovery. Be healthy,…happy. Whatever it takes:)!

    Scott L. Gilmore

    Reply  |  
  43. melvonia

    I know your pain been there

    Reply  |  
  44. Kezza

    This is beautiful I’m actually lost with words it’s amazing stay strong Kelly it’s only you that chooses your passage way that may sound like a bad thing at times but it’s your life do what you want because when you look back you want to be proud of your achievements and not look back hoping to change what happened in the past live in the future and remember the good parts of the past. live… love… laugh …

    Reply  |  
  45. BlackHoleGirl

    Thank you

    Reply  |  
  46. Jada Yee

    Hi, Kelly. What you’ve written here truly resonates with me. One of the things I’ve always wanted is to be understood, especially by my family. When they say things like “Haven’t you had enough therapy?” and “We think therapy has made you worse” I feel alone. But, here I am, breathing, writing and holding on.

    Reply  |  
  47. Tami hinz

    So much of me in that statement…..when it’s really bad, getting up is next to impossible….just want to sleep and pray the hopelessness goes away…

    Reply  |  
  48. Tami hinz

    This statement says so much about me….when it’s really bad, getting out of bed is next to impossible. I just want to sleep til the hopelessness leaves me.

    Reply  |  
  49. Melinda Jenkins

    Thank u so much 4 sharin this. I needed this more than u will ever know.

    Reply  |  
  50. Hannah

    I want to be in recovery.

    Reply  |  
  51. Natalie

    Thank you I needed this tonight.
    After my husband telling me you’re not healthy, I said well this may be the healthiest I might ever get.
    I’m having a lot of bad days and it takes so much energy I’m exhausted.
    I’ve learned that people don’t understand unless they are going through it.
    I’m tired of people throwing it in my face.
    Thank you for writing this article coz
    On those days I can’t get outta bed I will read it. X

    Reply  |  
  52. George

    Thank you for writing, and sharing your wise words. I have friends at a Community Centre where I volunteer who struggle with depression. I am sharing your blog, believing others will be helped.

    Reply  |  
  53. iris

    I am here today. Sometimes that is the most courageous thing I can do.

    Reply  |  
  54. Margaret

    Thank you for sharing …. I having been have a lot of bad days lately. Reading you words…you feelings…have helped me today. Thank you

    Reply  |  
  55. Angie

    Thank you for writing this. It pertains to me 100% as I am currently crying on the bathroom floor, trying so hard to hide my pain and anger from my family. It’s difficult feeling crummy and not being able to tell anyone because if you do you’d get an awful response and have your sister dismiss you as a “diva”. Yeah, that’s why I can’t go to my family for help. But, S’okay…I belive I’m in recovery because instead of hurting myself or thinking suicidally, I came onto this website so I could read blog posts of those who know what it feels like, and gain hope. Every single time I come on here, I walk away with a lil bit more hope. So thanks for that.

    Reply  |  
    1. K

      Thank you for your openness. I felt much less alone reading your words, I felt much less like there is something terribly wrong with me that I feel such pain around my family. Thank you.

      Reply  |  
  56. jonathon

    I made the first ____ when I was 13 I never knew that would change my life forever. I struggled for about 5-6 years. I went through counseling, talking to my friends, and finding new ways. I am now 7 years free and never have any thoughts of _______. It is possible to stop.

    “Self-injury starts with one small ___, but recovery starts with one small step at a time.”

    Reply  |  
  57. K

    So deeply touching. Thank you for sharing these words. This has been tremendously helpful on this bad day of mine today.

    Reply  |  
  58. Jana

    I understand. You have great courage. Congratulations on your recovery and on having the guts to share it with the world. May your good days be many and your bad days turn in to good.

    Reply  |  
  59. Elizabeth

    Its Kindergarten 1969…the Sun is bright Everyone love me..I want to be a Airline Stewardess…..Its 2015…Ive been thru Childabuse…Domestic Violence..Three Amazing Sons…who were damaged from my poor parental choices &Drug Abuce …Im 6Yrs clean..overweight..&.NOT AN AIRLINE STEWARDESS…WTF ..happened..lol..

    Reply  |  
  60. Julia

    Today is a good day for me. I haven’t really wanted to die and it’s been better. Most days feel like bad days lately though. And I get tired of being strong. But… maybe someday people will understand or at least try to understand.

    Reply  |  
  61. Corinne Walters

    Dear Courtney
    I wish you knew how much you are loved. And I know Jesus loves you even more. I sent you an email to the other address you gave me, please read.

    Reply  |  
  62. Butool

    I think its beautiful and brave to face the darkness even when it seems hollow, for light does manage to penetrate only when we are ready for it. Thank you for writing this. You will be in my Prayers 🙂

    Reply  |  
  63. Cooper

    All I can do after reading this blog is cry. Literally, As I sit outside of this coffee shop, in public, I find myself in tears. People might think I’m “crazy” and perhaps I am. This article was SO moving to me. It REALLY spoke to me. As someone who has struggles with mental illness, hated their life and basically wanted to die everyday for so many days… This helped bring a breath of fresh air. There are so many difficult days that make up my past, and even today I feel completely worthless, BUT… I. Am. Still. Here. Fighting and inching towards the prize; gasping for breath and desperate wanting to just throw in the towel in the race as call life. BUT… Despite all this… I am still here. So, while today… Might be a difficult day… I’m still fighting, I’m still trying and… I’m still winning.

    Reply  |  
  64. RatherNot

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  65. Mieke

    Thank you – I am having a “bad day” and was in the midst of punishing myself for it. It was so helpful to read this 🙂

    Reply  |  
  66. Bonnie

    Sometimes it’s so hard to think there are better days.. But 2 years later, I’m still struggling but also I’m still here..

    Reply  |  
  67. Randy Alonso

    Powerful and important. You’re touching lives.
    Thank you 🙂

    Reply  |  
  68. Carla

    I’m in recovery. I have recovered.
    Lately, I have days that I want to escape reality, more days that not.
    Lately, I have days that I want to control my pain and how much whatever this is, whatever this brokenness is, I want to control how much I hurt.
    I needed to know that I’m not alone. I did good things today. Maybe simple things but good things.
    So thank you. You are not alone.

    Reply  |  
  69. Nicole

    Hi Kelly,
    Thank you so, so much for this. I needed those words desperately right now and probably for the weeks to follow. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  70. rami

    i do feel like that too…..

    Reply  |  
  71. Rosedizzle16

    This is simply beautiful. Thank you for this it absolutely was the sunshine in my rainy day.

    Reply  |  
  72. Jess

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  73. Kristen

    Thank you, Kelly. This was the perfect message on the perfect day 🙂

    Reply  |  
  74. S

    Today is that bad day when i wish i could feel a normal hug or be in total control of my mind…

    Reply  |  
  75. Gina Escalera

    Truth. We are choosing to be here tomorrow, even in the most minute way. sometimes i don’t even know why…is it because that frog i been kissin, may turn into a prince ? most likely , i think is that tomorrow i may see a tiny iridescent drop of hope that says, yeah…stick around for one more day…

    Reply  |  
  76. Sarah

    You are extremely brave for having a day like that and continuing to walk. You are brave and strong, and I admire you very much.

    Reply  |  
  77. Summer

    This brought me to tears tonight, because it is exactly what I needed to hear. I am not alone, and things will get better.

    Reply  |  
  78. Joanna Olsen

    These words made a huge difference for me. “It’s okay to have bad days.” Thank you for that. There is so much freedom in that.

    Reply  |  
  79. melissa

    This touched me. Thank you for sharing. It good to know am not alone on those kind of bad days.

    Reply  |  
  80. Megan

    I love this. I raise 3 young girls and a service dog. I am epileptic ptsd recovering addict. I do whisper for death sometimes. I get up and fix the kids hair in the morning sober. sometimes I’m so off I won’t leave the house. or the bed. but I keep going and learning. I keep expanding my ability to let the emotions pass instead of trying to fix them. I am the equivalent of wonder woman to others. I hear it said. often. wish I could feel it.

    Reply  |  
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