When we talk to family, read the papers, and scroll through social media; we often find ourselves feeling inadequate. The entire world seems to be achieving in one way or another. Whether it be a new job or promotion. Tiny babies, or photos of grandchildren’s graduations. Smiling faces sharing travels, or photos of certificates. It could be something else entirely. Whatever it is, it can be really hard to not let all of this carefully curated ‘success’ affect how we feel about ourselves.
Because, for some of us, none of these things are true; those things feel so far away from where we are in life.
We’re in survival mode
It hurts because our every waking thought and every ounce of energy is consumed with getting through the day. Some of us are trying our best to stay alive, to survive.
We might have dropped out of university degrees. Lots of us have had to put our studies (at whatever level) on hold. Some of us are unable to drive until our medication settles and/or our health improves. Lots of us aren’t able to hold down a job, or if we can, we’re on reduced hours. If we do have a job, it might be miles away from our dream job – we’re just not well enough to even apply for those sorts of roles. Many of us struggle to maintain friendships. Some of us can’t travel further than the end of our garden without a panic attack.
We are the people trying our hardest to live our lives alongside depression (and/or other illnesses).
Our success looks a little different
We might not have the aforementioned highlights and hustle to post on social media but that doesn’t mean that we’re not achieving and succeeding.
Sometimes success is taking our medication, despite the side effects we’d rather not have. Sometimes it’s getting to bed by 8pm each night. Sometimes it’s getting out of bed. Sometimes success is learning how to say ‘no’ to things that aren’t right for us. Sometimes, success is allowing ourselves to take a social media break. Sometimes success is dragging ourselves down to the GP even if we feel we don’t deserve it, or we’re wasting their time. Sometimes success is making it into town alone. Sometimes success is letting our family members, friends, or carers help us. Sometimes success is navigating the benefits system with its onerous forms. Sometimes success is just showing up – whether it be to school, to work, to a class, or somewhere else. Sometimes, success is allowing ourselves to do the things that we enjoy.
Sometimes success is simply doing what’s best for us. It’s taking care of ourselves. It’s continuing to stay alive, whatever is thrown our way.
Try not to compare where you are, with where others are
It’s worth remembering, that people carefully curate the things they tell people and put online. They might be grinning next to a driving test pass. But won’t post the five times they failed. They might show a grinning family portrait. But won’t share the six arguments they had that morning. People pick and choose what they post online, and what they share with others. People don’t tend to share the not-so-nice bits of their life. They only share the things they’re proud to share.
It’s not a level playing field when we compare where we are, with the lives of others as portrayed on social media. We never truly know what’s going on for them behind the scenes, only how hard it is for us. We never know the difficulties that other people face, just as others may not truly understand the difficulties we face.
If you feel stuck, adrift, alone… we want to remind you how wonderful you are. Continuing to try our darnedest every day despite all the setbacks we encounter is so brave. It’s so admirable. It’s so incredibly strong. We are succeeding by waking up every day, by showing up, by never ever giving up <3
Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.