Kind Words For Unkind Days, By the Blurt FoundationLifelineConnect
There are some days when it feels like life is ganging up on us. Whatever can go wrong, does. Every time we try to take a breath or get back on our feet, life hands us another blow. We find ourselves feeling lonely, frustrated, angry, tearful, rejected, hurt, ‘got at’, fragile, and utterly fed up. Sometimes we begin to wonder what the point is. Depression can jump on these thoughts and feelings and amplify them. Here are some kind words to provide some balance on these unkind days.
You are allowed to struggle
Nobody has it together all of the time. We all struggle sometimes – it’s part of being human. Struggling is allowed. It doesn’t make us a bad person or mean that we’re useless or worthless. We can’t always help it if we’re feeling rubbish and finding things difficult. As much as we can do our best to keep our struggles at bay; it’s impossible to have control of every aspect of our lives. We’re allowed to struggle, and we’re allowed to find things difficult.
You are more than your struggles
Even though we struggle (and we are allowed to struggle!) that doesn’t mean that we become our struggles. Struggling doesn’t automatically erase our personality, quirks, and talents. It doesn’t make us ‘useless’. If we have depression, it doesn’t mean that we become a ‘depressed person’. We are a person with depression. A person with a whole life – a past, a future, a family, friends, hobbies, interests, and so much more. We just have a diagnosis of depression alongside all of that. Even at times when it feels as though our struggles engulf us, we are still more than them. We are so much more than them.
We matter. If right now we’re thinking ‘yes but…’, ‘but what about if…’, ‘no but…’, those pesky thoughts need to be quiet, because we still matter. Even at times when we think that we offer absolutely nothing to this world, we still matter. We are important and we matter. There are absolutely no exceptions.
You are worthy
Our worth is not defined by the size of the clothes we wear, how many social media followers we have, or how much we earn. It isn’t defined by how highly educated we are, how sociable we are, or whether or not we are in a relationship. Those of us who earn below the national average, or feel as though we don’t contribute much to society, are not worth any less than those who appear on rich lists or those who spend every spare hour they have volunteering.
Our worth is not defined by what we look like, the things we possess, or how much we feel we are able to offer the world. We are worthy, just as we are.
Depression does not tell us the truth. It tells us that we don’t matter, we’re not worth anything, we’re annoying, we’re useless, we make everyone else miserable, and that there is absolutely no hope of anything ever being different. Depression is a bully and a liar. These things that it tells us are not true. If we’re ever in any doubt, we can check them out with a trusted friend or family member and they’ll be quick to put depression in its place.
Be kind to yourself
We might be having an unkind day, but we don’t have to add to that by also being unkind to ourselves. In fact, one of the best ways that we can turn an unkind day around is to be extra kind to ourselves. To show ourselves a greater level of kindness than we would normally. That could involve all sorts of things, from giving ourselves an extra five minutes to finish our lunch and prepare for the afternoon, to buying our favourite chocolate bar when we go past a shop, asking our loved ones for an extra cuddle or three, delegating tasks if we’re feeling stressed and we’re able to, moisturising after we’ve had a shower, or something totally different. Small acts of self-care and self-kindness can have a big impact, particularly on unkind days.
You are allowed to take a break
Everything feels worse when we’re tired. Life can feel so much more bearable when we’ve had some rest. We’re allowed to stop and take a break. There are very few things in life that can’t wait five or ten minutes. Sometimes, when life is giving us a really unkind day and things are coming at us from every angle, the best thing we can do is to stop. Rather than trying to play whack-a-mole with our problems, it’s sometimes better to stop, breathe, have something to eat and drink, and then look at our problems with fresh eyes and begin to think of a way to tackle them one by one.
You are allowed to put yourself first
Many of us are in the habit of putting ourselves second… or even twenty-second, when it comes to prioritising our needs. We put everyone else’s needs above our own.
Sometimes, it can be hard to put ourselves first. There are times in life when we have to put others first for a little while, perhaps because they’re poorly or are dependent on us. But more often than not, even when others are dependent on us, there will be someone who can help us out when we need it.
We are allowed to put ourselves first. It’s not always easy – saying no can be really hard. Putting our needs above others can be incredibly difficult, particularly when we don’t value ourselves. But our needs matter, because we matter. We are allowed to put ourselves first.
You deserve support
We all need support from time to time, and we deserve the support we need to help us move forward. It doesn’t make us a burden. Absolutely everybody needs support from time to time. Sometimes, when the support we need isn’t available to us, it can leave us feeling like we don’t deserve that support. If the right support isn’t available to us, it doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve it, it usually just means that the systems designed to support us aren’t meeting our needs for one reason or another. This is absolutely not our fault at all, people aren’t designed to fit into systems – systems are designed to fit around people, and unfortunately, those systems aren’t perfect. It doesn’t make us any less deserving, though. We are deserving – whatever our situation, we do deserve support.
You are not the exception to recovery
So many of us, when hearing stories of recovery, think ‘well maybe they could but I can’t’. ‘That will never be me’. ‘That’s just not realistic because of this, that, and the other’. We read these stories of hope, recovery, and learning to live with illness, and they feel so far removed from our lives. They can almost be a bit like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow – a nice idea but something that isn’t in any way attainable.
Sometimes they can leave us feeling quite angry. We might feel frustrated because we’ve tried so many things, yet we’re still no closer to feeling better, or being where we want to be. Perhaps we’re feeling stuck. So stuck that we’re struggling to find a way forward – we feel trapped, isolated, and miserable.
But we are not the exception to recovery. It doesn’t matter long we’ve been unwell, how difficult things are, how many therapies we’ve tried, how many medications we’ve been on, how many professionals we’ve seen, how many hospital admissions we have or haven’t had, where we live, or what kind of support network we have, we are not the exception to recovery. We might not have found the thing that works for us yet. But even if we’ve tried everything we can possibly think of, there will still be new ideas we haven’t tried, because people are coming up with new ideas all the time.
Maybe we won’t reach a place where we consider ourselves ‘recovered’, or ‘free of illness’. But that does not mean that we can’t reach a point that constitutes recovery for us. Recovery can mean so many different things; it’s a really individual term. For some of us, it might mean being totally free from illness, but for others, it can mean getting to a place where we have less bad days or learn new ways of managing our illness. Whatever recovery means to us, we are not the exception to the rule. We can reach a place that’s better than the place we feel stuck in now. We are not the exception to recovery.
This isn’t forever
When we have unkind days, it can feel as though it’s never going to end. Our current situation can feel all-encompassing. It can drown us. Seeing a way forward can feel impossible when the world feels cluttered and dark. But this isn’t forever. Eventually, some light will begin to poke through. We will have moments when it feels a little bit easier to breathe or we start to notice the odd thing that makes us smile. Our current situation isn’t forever. However hard it is to believe it right now, things will get better.
Give yourself some credit
Continuing to wake up and try our best each day no matter how rough life gets deserves some credit. Everybody’s best looks different, and what counts as our best can change on an hourly basis. Our best always good enough. Coping with unkind days is really hard work. But we continue. We continue to try and live our lives in the best way we know how – and that is so brave. We need to give ourselves some credit – we’re doing so much better than we think.
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