Being Proud Of Yourself On Bad Mental Health Days

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Yesterday hit me hard. I woke up and I was feeling my normal depression symptoms: overly tired, dread for the day and severe lack of motivation. I had a couple of events leading up to that morning, so I had expected a bad depression day to make an appearance sooner or later. But when it hit, I immediately felt like I had failed. I have been doing so well with my mental health recovery, so why was I having a bad depression day? I was upset with myself. I felt weak. I felt like my depression had won.

This is a common response for me when I am having a bad metal health day — I feel like I have failed. I feel like it is my fault that I have an illness. If I were physically sick, I wouldn’t feel at fault. Since my illness is mental, I feel like I should have some sort of control over it. It’s like I expect my brain to be strong, but it decides to be weak. It takes several steps back for me to realize that this isn’t something I should be expecting of myself. Just because my illness cannot be seen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

So, how do we handle the days when our depression makes us feel weak? How do we move forward when we feel stuck? How can bad days feel like wins?

These questions are hard to answer. I don’t have a set answer for every person’s unique mental health journey. For me, getting out of bed and going downstairs to watch tv instead of sleeping all day is considered a win on some of my worst days. I feel stronger when I get in my car and drive to get coffee. I know my depression doesn’t have as much of a hold on my relationships if I send a text when I’m feeling like a burden. These are some things that are true for me. These are some ways I can be proud of myself on my bad mental health days.

We will have bad days. All of us — even those who don’t struggle with mental illness. Life doesn’t hand you what you think you need all the time. Most days, we have to choose to be kind. That kindness can be to others, but it also has to be to ourselves. It’s okay to celebrate small accomplishments when life feels extra hard. Sometimes, it is even necessary to celebrate them.

These past several days, I have been feeling really down. But, I have chosen to keep moving forward. At the end of the night, I write down some ways that I conquered my day. Those are the things that I am proud of, even if they are small.