Recently, I had a bad day (that’s what I call going through any spells of depression and anxiety). A bad few days, even, since the residual effects of dealing with depression can linger in a uniquely difficult way. You can also call them bad mental health days if you want to be more specific. Either way, this was happening, and I felt powerless to stop it. But there was a calm after the storm, and during that time I try to collect my thoughts, process what happened and try to gain insight into that particular episode. It happened a few months ago, and I got through that moment differently. But in this moment, I needed a different reminder, and I got it (hint: it’s the title of the post!)
I was reminded that this moment, this breakdown, whatever you want to label it, didn’t wreck my years of progress. I needed to hear it at the time, and I think all of us do at a certain point when we’re in a mentally vulnerable state. It’s just like anything else in life, right? If we don’t achieve what we set out to, does that mean all that work was wasted, that it means nothing? To use a sports analogy: I’ve lost a few championship games in my time (some more meaningful than others), but did that undo the progress I’d made as a player, and the progress we’d made as a team? Absolutely not.
But this idea, even though it sounds plain as day, seems impossible to remember in those tough moments. When intrusive thoughts take over, it feels like they control every aspect of our brain, and we have to fight like hell to fight against them. Continuously reminding ourselves of ideas like this one – that a bad mental health day does not undo the progress we’ve made – is important to maintain a healthy mindset .
So I urge you folks – re-read the title of this post. See it. Understand it. Process it however you need it. But know that even in your worst moments, you have made progress, you’ve grown, you’ve put in the effort and worked your butt off to become the mentally healthiest human possible.
I’ll be honest – it’s not my instinct to think this way. I’m naturally inclined to be optimistic about everything in this world except myself, and I’ve needed people to help convince me about ideas like this one. I say that to tell you that when I’m asking you to think or approach things differently, I’m talking to myself too. I’m walking this road with you, and there’s more than enough room to share the space. So we’ll give it a shot, and see what we can do. Because one bad mental health day doesn’t undo the progress I’ve made in my mental health journey, and I’ll continue to say it until it sticks.