To Those Who Are Depressed

If you are depressed,

Every day that you are alive is a victory. Every day that you make the choice to keep living is a miracle. 

i'm proud of you.

i don't know if anyone tells you that these days, but those words are truth. i'm proud of you, friend. i'm proud that you are breathing, even if every breath feels like it weighs a thousand pounds. i am proud of you for eating today, if you remembered to. i am proud of you for pushing yourself out of bed, even if it was just to go to the bathroom. 

Know that you are not alone.

Know that you are not alone.

Know that you are not alone.

You are not alone.

Know that you are not your depression, even if you feel that it has absorbed every part of your being. You are more than this mental illness. You are not defined by the darkness that haunts your every move. You are not only the numb feeling that has swallowed your heart. You are so much more than that.

You are you. You are the only human that is you. Though you may feel lost, you are still the one who laughs that one laugh. You are still the one whose eyes light up at the sight of a puppy and who loves singing Taylor Swift in the car.  You are still the one who sits at the coffee shop for too long and who stays up too late. Your depression may mask those things, but you are still you. Don't let your illness steal your identity. Hold onto that, friend. 

i know that every day is different. 

i understand that some mornings your bedsheets weigh as much as an elephant. i understand that there are mornings where your first thought is of how your anxiety has hold of your heart and mind. i know that some days, the simple act of putting on pants seems too far fetched, and that's okay. i know that life is hard. i know that. 

You have so many feelings and words inside of you. You feel like you have no where to put them, no one to hear them, no one to care. Your body hurts and your mind is overwhelmed. You make plans but then cancel them. You should study but you don't. You're supposed to work but you can't. Your friends miss you. You feel guilty. You tell yourself that you have to live life normally, when nothing about your life feels normal. Your eyes become dim, your laugh seems distance, and the idea of being joyful seems foreign. You live under the title "depressed" and you aren't sure how to crawl out from it.

You have good days, or good moments at least. You'll hear yourself laugh and it sounds and feels genuine and the surprise of happiness is enough to fuel you to stay out of bed. You'll surround yourself with life giving people and you can feel yourself recharging and you feel like you're coming back to yourself. Depression allows you glimpses of normality and joy-- it allows you moments of clarity in the midst of the fog. You're thankful for these moments. You long for them. Yet they are few and far between. They leave more quickly than they come. The joy you felt slips away faster than the sun sets. It slips away for no reason at all and leaves you sitting in the middle of nothing. 

Joy begins to feel like nothing but a memory and you find yourself swimming in the gray that is your right now.

But friends, there is hope.

There is always hope.

We have a been given Light and with Light, darkness cannot win. 

Whether it is a sliver of light through the door or the sun coming up for dawn, there is always Light. Depression makes you gray, but it does not turn your life black. You are not a slave to your depression, even if you feel like that on some days. You are a child of the God who breathed the stars, the One who has beaten death-- He will beat your depression for you. You feel like you have to fight, when the reality is that He has already won. 

You must reach for sober thoughts that are not clouded by your illness. You must reach for the thoughts of your Creator, for thoughts of who He has made you to be. You must remember who you are. God loves you just as much right now as He did before this season. His love is not conditional. His love for us does not change in light of mental illness.

i'm not saying that things are going to get better right now. We all heal in different ways. But friend, do not lose heart. The gray will not linger forever. You will breathe deeply one day. You will truly live again. You will be okay. 

You are brave for living. You are brave for hoping. 

You are not a child of depression, you are a child of God.

He has overcome. It will be okay. You are not alone.

Keep praying. Keep reaching. Keep living. 

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

"The lord is close to the brokenhearted & He saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Soundtract to my writing-- Ben Howard