They gon’ love me for my ambition… – Wale
I’ve always had an interesting relationship with the word ambition. As long as I can remember, I’ve been told ambition is something you need. It’s hard to meet and necessary for success. Without ambition, we’re all floating around without a care in the world. I’ve always thought myself to be an ambitious person. I have dreams of what I want to do, what I want my life to look like. But some things get in the way of ambition and today, I want to share about one of those things.
On its head, ambition and depression don’t seem like they have anything in common. In fact, many people believe that if they’re depressed, that means they can’t have ambition. This negative stereotype is perpetrated not only by people who experience mental illness, but the people in their lives. I know my ambition has been questioned before, and it’s frustrating. You want to explain how much effort goes into your daily life, and that insight can be helpful to others. But at the same time, how ambitious does it sound when your goal for the day is to get out of bed?
But here’s the thing: depressed people can have ambition. Depressed people have hopes, dreams, fears, like everyone else. But we can have complicated relationships with that ambition. Instead of it becoming a journey we’ll walk, it becomes a mountain we can’t climb. But it’s in those moments that we can’t forget who we are — and rob ourselves of our ambition.
It’s not as doom and gloom as it sounds, trust me. You can be ambitious and still have depression. You can have wild and crazy dreams about what you want to do and still be racked with anxiety over it. You’re human, after all. There are many things in life that are hard to achieve, regardless of your circumstances. And depression is a challenge in the same way every one of us has challenges in life.
But the thing about depression is, it can make things more challenging. Certain goals require more effort. Some decisions will mean overcoming self-doubt and negative thoughts. Your mind might be filled with possible failures, and you might get in your way more than you think. Depression is a beast, and it can cause you to think things about yourself that aren’t true.
The work you produce for the world might not equal what you produce – or want to produce – in your head. That’s okay. Everyone, at some point or another, falls short of their expectations. All of us have hopes and dreams, and we all have challenges that could get in the way of accomplishing those dreams. For many, depression is one of those challenges. And even though it might look different than what other people deal with, the payoff is just as sweet.
I hope that anyone reading this, if you’ve struggled with depression, knows that they can keep going. They can have ambition, they can dream, they can try anything you want. And if depression gets in the way, they can dust ourselves off and try again — just like everyone else does.
How do you balance your ambitions with your mental health and wellness? Let me know in the comments below!