I won’t promise things get easier, but they will get better.
If you want you are struggling right now, or have struggled with hopelessness or depression at any point, hold onto that. We’ll be revisiting that struggle a lot on this page.
Putting this page up is something that I’ve debated for a while now, and I supposed from the “make everything online professional” or “never let any personal information out” that it isn’t a good idea for me to have this page up, but it’s something that’s extremely important to me, and I felt like with all the e-mails I’ve had over the years, all the conversations I’ve had with friends, all the times this topic has affected every corner of my own life, it’s way too important to me to leave this unspoken.
Depression, true depression, sucks. There’s no way around it.
Anyone who hasn’t experienced the pain of deep debilitating depression is going to have a hard time understanding it, and anyone who wants more insight into that experience read this blog post on depression, which is one of the best I’ve ever read as far as really capturing an accurate description for how that experience all feels. I also attempt my own large reflection on 13 lessons I learned from a 5 year depression back in 2014, and that’s another good page I poured a lot of work into hoping it would help someone, anyone.
In fact, most of my challenges from the last near decade can be traced back surprisingly directly to a devastating multi-year bout of depression (the economic crash of 2008 didn’t help, but it still wasn’t the main cause).
But remember: things might not get easier, but they will get better.
This goes well beyond feeling sad or not feeling well. I’ve dealt with severe depression for a good portion of my life, and from 2008-2013/2014 I went through an especially severe depression that was like a black hole. I felt hopelessness or I felt nothing, or some weird combination of the two intertwined together.
There’s something incredibly defeating about having to use literally 95% of your energy to make the decision not to hurt yourself, and then to get up and just start moving, shuffling into another gray day that your mind tells you is like the last 1,000 before and the next 10,000 to come, with absolutely no chance of change.
Don’t give up: things will eventually get better!
You learn to try and hide it the best you can, and sometimes you get rare bouts of relief through hanging with good friends, having an unexpected surprise, or even a few drinks with buddies but eventually it creeps back in overwhelming force – pulling away all the bits of joy (or the closest you can feel to it), all the hope, all the positive feelings that were there – or simply fills the gap that is created when everything “not hopeless” quickly slips away.
The most impossible truth to grasp when you’re struggling in that level of despair (bog, pit, marsh, abyss – call it what you will) is that anything will ever get better.
That’s why I spoke this morning, noon, and night as my own personal mantra, hundreds of times, even though in my heart while depressed I never believed it:
Things might not get easier, but eventually they will get better.
These words aren’t just an empty pick-me-up, they’re not just a feel good mantra, but they are important. They’re a truth that you need to understand if you’re struggling through depression whether you’re struggling in and out of it on a daily or weekly basis or if you’re in a deep pit of despair that spans months or even years.
I’ve struggled with both, overcome both, and god-willing I’ll be more or less in a permanent remission of depression (I hope). And those words are never far from me when I’m feeling down again. Even when everything in me doubts them, I keep speaking it because I know that someday they will be true again.
Over the years I’ve been surprised how often I’ve received encouraging notes from people who used my advice to pay their way through college, make desperately needed extra income for their families, or even overcome chronic unemployment and hopelessness. Several e-mails even mentioned getting the hope needed to overcome thoughts of suicide. That is also a place I know far too well.
Knowing I’ve made a difference – often far bigger than I ever intended, has made a huge difference in my life, too, and is a major part of the reason I knew eventually I’d be back rebuilding Master Dayton into, well something.
So if you find yourself struggling, fighting, deeply mired in depression or wanting to work your way out of it, I want you to remember these words because they are true. I won’t bullshit you and say things get easier (sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t), but things do get better. Remember:
KEEP GOING! Things might not get easier, but they WILL someday get better!
You’re not alone. Keep fighting that awesomely awful battle – this world needs your beauty.
And when things are better, when that depression does suddenly break, you’ll be so thankful you kept up the good fight!
So keep going – things will get better!