Today was a bad day for me. I woke up anxious, sad, depressed - for no reason. It happens. Some days my brain just says fuck it and throws me down the rabbit hole.
I stayed in bed most of the day, didn’t really do anything beyond poking around on the internet. I napped. I wallowed. Late in the afternoon I finally decided enough was enough.
I got out of bed, put on my favorite comfy clothes and left the house. Put on Jason Manns in the car because his music always makes me happy. Took care of some errands that needed to be done and bought myself a little something nice.
And now? I feel better. Not 100%, but certainly not where I was when I woke up.
This is how I keep fighting.
I’ve been a supporter of Jared Padalecki’s Always Keep Fighting campaign since it started. It helped me a tremendous amount, launching with perfect timing, when I was in a very dark place. It’s continued to help me since, sometimes just seeing the words are enough to push me forward. I know it’s helped innumerable other people, too. I’ve seen countless times people asking “How do you keep fighting?” This is why I’m sharing this.
There’s no one right answer to the question of how to fight. It’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s music, maybe it’s going out with friends, maybe it’s a long hot bath - the actions you take to push yourself forward will be individual, what works for me may not work for you. But the common denominator is to just dig deep, take a deep breath and do something. Anything. Whatever it is that will break that cycle, force your brain to take a different path.
I’ve been fighting depression and anxiety for thirty years. I’ve spent weeks in bed, unable to drag myself up. I’ve been suicidal. I’ve woken up in the morning trembling so bad with anxiety that the bed was shaking. I’ve been in therapy, I’ve been on drugs, I’ve meditated, I’ve exercised, I’ve counted breaths to a million. I’ve been kind to myself. I’ve forced myself to keep going. I’ve fought.
I’m still here. I’m still fighting. After three decades, you’d think I would have had enough, that I’d give up because after so long - yeah, I’m tired. But I’m too stubborn to give up. I’m too proud of myself for making it this far, this long, to stop fighting now. And what really keeps me going is days like today, when everything seems like it’s all been for naught, but I’m able to find it in myself to push through, to get out, to drive around in the sunshine with my favorite music blasting. What really keeps me going is that those little moments are so much greater than the seemingly endless moments of darkness.
And the real kicker? I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. All these years of struggling - yeah, it sucks, it really does - but when I have moments - hours, days, weeks, months - of sunshine they are so much brighter for having lived in darkness. And I can say to others with complete honesty “I know what it’s like,” I can be a presence in someone else’s life that lets them know they are not alone. I have within me a strength that seems impossible, improbable - how can one seemingly insignificant person do this? The thing is - I’m not insignificant, I do matter, I am strong. I am a fighter. And I want you to fight, too.