A few years back, I was struggling to stay alive. I was incredibly depressed, self-harming, and had even attempted suicide a few times. It felt to me like life was a never-ending maze intended for maximum human suffering. It sounds terribly dark and brooding to hear me talk about my past life like that, but unfortunately, that’s a nice way of putting how I felt at the time.
Also during that time, I came across this poster that was going around social media platforms and I wouldn’t go as far to say that it saved my life, but it gave me hope…and that was something. Supposedly, someone had actually seen this poster in their therapist’s office and that’s why it affected so many people just like me. It was a validation of feelings in the midst of a very merciless society.
I’d like to share the text that was on this poster with all of you:
I would ruminate on this text like it was sacred truth, hoping and praying that what it was saying was the truth, rather than what the whole world was trying to tell me about how I was feeling. As time passed, the poster lost its luster and I moved on, but then a few weeks ago it popped up on my feed somewhere and it took me back.
As I was re-reading it, now being in such a different season of my life, I took away three major things:
- People with depression desperately want to get better.
- Therapists can only hand out sticks; the change that needs to happen within all of us is something that we have to do on our own.
- All it takes is a stick to change your entire life.
People with Depression Desperately Want to Get Better
Although many people who don’t suffer from mental illness tend to take on the attitude that depressed people don’t even want to get better, I would disagree. It’s exactly like the poster says, depressed people are just beaten down from time and are left hopeless. It’s an impossible hole to climb out of on your own and basically, no one is willing to give you a hand up.
Have you ever noticed how people who suffer from mental illness often post about their feelings on social media? This is a growing trend these days and it’s because people want to raise awareness and they want to get help so they can feel better.
Sometimes people feel invisible and like no one can identify with their feelings or problems. Posting on social media about those things or constantly talking about their feelings can be the only feasible way they feel like they can talk about their feelings. On the other hand, you never know if the problems someone is facing are within their own home, so those posts may literally be the only way they can speak out.
What about all of the needy, whining, complaining, and paranoid people around you? Couldn’t they be doing the same thing just with a different execution? I think so.
I really believe that if someone is suffering, there are ways to tell because depressed people are constantly trying to get help. Even if the signs are as subtle as a sad post on Facebook, the person suffering may feel like they’re setting off a flare gun with that post, hoping someone will see it and rescue them.
Therapists Can Only Hand Out Sticks; The Change that Needs to Happen Within All of Us Is Something that We Have to Do on Our Own
I used to believe that therapists just fixed people who were broken. Now I didn’t really know how, but that’s the belief I held for a little while. I thought that if I could just get into therapy then *poof* all my problems would be gone. If only it were that simple…
What I started to realize once I actually got into therapy was that it’s a lot harder than I thought, but it didn’t really matter to me. If what people said was true, once you work through all the trauma you’ve experienced then it won’t be all bottled up inside, making you feel better.
Hence the line:
With NO hope, running on NOTHING, you’re ready to cut through a hundred miles of hostile jungle with nothing but a stick, if that’s what it takes to get to safety.
In a way, that’s what therapy is like- you trudge through all the pain and suffering of your past on a journey to acceptance and discovering your true self-identity. All the therapist can do is give you tools, an ear to listen, and a shoulder to cry on when things get really tough. The rest is up to you.
All It Takes Is A Stick to Change Your Entire Life
It’s amazing what being given hope can do to change a person’s life. Essentially, all your therapist can do is give you that hope and that encouragement, but look at how many people end up living happier lives because of going to therapy! That’s because hope holds power.
Therapists work to empower their clients. They understand how taxing the whole therapy process can be and are willing to go the whole 9 yards for you if you’re willing to go the whole 9 yards for your mental health. They will be your biggest cheerleaders and should make you feel like you can do anything, while also helping you to prioritize the things in your life that can help you get better and reach success and taking out the things in your life that are bringing you down (if those things, in fact, can be taken out).
My point is: a stick is all you need. Once you have a stick, you’re back in the game- at least you can fight and stand a chance, right? That’s how I look at it at least.
I hope you were able to find some inspiration in this and I hope you keep fighting day after day until you win…because I believe you can.
Until next time,