40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression

40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression

14. Because telling my story might give others like me the strength to keep fighting

A few months back I wrote a tribute to the radio show host known as Delilah Renee, who's station has offered love and kindness to many loyal listeners for over 30 years. About a week ago, Delilah shared a post across her social media pages regarding the loss of her son to depression and how she would be taking a leave from the station while grieving. Many people reached out to me to see if I had seen her post, and most of their texts went unanswered.

Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. In honor of Delilah's son and all the other people out there who are have dealt with depression on a daily basis, I have decided to share my own struggle with depression. This piece was written for a class, but I feel that its relevance is too significant to lock away in my computer or notebook. It shares a title with the headline of this article, which is "40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression."

1. Because I’ve spent my entire life battling severe asthma and am not ready to lose this war

2. Because I’m afraid the people I rely on and believe in rely on and believe in me just as much

3. Because I haven’t seen the widespread arms of the Milky Way in the sky yet

4. Because I want to see the song “Seasons of Love” performed live and sing along

5. Because I know every song from “Wicked” by heart and still haven’t seen it

6. Because I don’t want my gravestone to read “Would sooner die than take Intro to Shakespeare”

7. Because I’ve only lost 88 pounds so far this year and I know there’s a diamond within me waiting to shine

8. Because no matter how unlovable I feel, I have to believe there’s someone out there for me

9. Because giving up means hurting others, something I can’t bring myself to do

10. Because if I die, my father would have been right in telling me my health was a risky investment

11. Because I want to find someone to sing “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain to

12. Because my suitemates would never again hear me singing love songs at 2 in the morning

13. Because I still believe I can make a difference, and I can’t squander that chance

14. Because telling my story might give others like me the strength to keep fighting

15. Because Juan Felipe Herrera challenged me to turn my pain into a force of change in the world

16. Because I can still prove to the world that not all American men are heartless bastards

17. Because I’d love to take a show choir to compete with a set list of Journey songs

18. Because Enrique Iglesias’ song “Hero” taught me I was gay at the age of 8 and that’s too funny not to share

19. Because a pen pal from New Zealand went out of his way to teach me to love myself after 23 years of hate.

20. Because I can contribute to the legacy of the “Rogue Writers” at the University of Cincinnati

21. Because so many successful authors have entered my life and told me they believe in me

22. Because I still haven’t gotten said successful authors to sign my copies of their books

23. Because if I give up now, no one will have known who the real “Danny Rader” was

24. Because I’m falling for my pen pal from New Zealand and believe he’s worth fighting for

25. Because my writers at Odyssey are beautiful people, and I could never damage their passion

26. Because I’ve helped four people through dealing with suicidal thoughts and can’t do that to them

27. Because my baby half-sister looks up to me and I want to be there for her until she’s sick of me

28. Because I’m the healthiest physically I’ve been in 8 years and it was really fucking hard

29. Because my father randomly bought me a grave plot already and I never want to fill it

30. Because my stepfather told me he’s looking forward to the opportunity of skipping my funeral

31. Because if I could survive over 2 years of constant verbal abuse, I can survive my self hatred

32. Because I haven’t told Cameron Dewald, a childhood friend, how sorry I am for abandoning him

33. Because I am living a life for two and cannot disappoint the first real friend I had growing up

34. Because I still have yet to finish my great American novel and get it critiqued by Stephen King

35. Because Delilah’s station has been there for me every step of the way, and she believes in me

36. Because my therapist has been incredible and I want to keep bringing her poems

37. Because emotional poetry is just as real as everything else and I think it gets a bad rap

38. Because maybe I can become the man I once envisioned myself becoming

39. Because I’ve surprisingly made it to 39 points and have a lot more to live for than I ever thought

40. Because even today when I couldn’t find the strength to function, I reached for my pen and paper

Depression and anxiety can strike when you least expect it, and those struggling with it on a daily basis have to constantly learn new ways of managing their responsibilities, and from what I've learned from experience, it can be incredibly overwhelming.

This list poem is almost a week in the making. I say this because it took me that long to really consider what I had that was worth living for. Some of the items are things I've yet to do, some are things that have happened to me that I feel the need to prove wrong or overcome, but ultimately all of them together align like an old jigsaw puzzle and reveal who I am. I'm tired of hiding, and I'm tired of feeling like I'm always at the mercy of what happens to me.

If you're struggling, know that you are not alone. If you're ready to rise above what's holding you back, then drop a comment and share a few things that you have to live for. Help those at the end of their rope by showing them just how real your problems are and how you think you can beat them.

If you need someone to talk to, then shoot an email my way at rader.editing@gmail.com or message me on Facebook (Danny Rader) and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.


"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Living Life As A Chronic Overthinker

Overthinking everything has broken me down but has also helped me build myself up.


John Green's novel "Turtles All the Way Down" depicts what it's like to suffer within your own thoughts fairly well. In the novel, the main character, Aza, lives with extreme OCD and anxiety revolving around her fear of bacteria. Aza described her anxious state as being stuck in a spiral, driving herself mad via the same circular path, round and round, and being less and less able to escape as the spiral coils tighter. The main reason why I love this book so much is because of how relatable Aza is. No, I don't have severe OCD, but I do understand the feeling of driving myself mad through overthinking. I've labeled myself as a chronic overthinker, and over the years, I've realized how much overthinking has really affected me.

turtles all the way down Instagram: @thevikingsbookshelf

It wasn't so bad when I was younger. Throughout elementary school, my unstoppable thoughts kept me from sleeping an uncountable number of nights, which frustrated me and, at worst, made me tired during the day. As I matured, my thoughts became more serious in middle school. One of the biggest things that I couldn't stop thinking about was my simple inability to imagine myself graduating from high school. I cried about it often and took it as an omen, thinking it meant that I would either be unsuccessful or wouldn't live to experience my own graduation.

High school was the worst period of all regarding my overthinking. It seems petty, but drama throughout high school sent me to unimaginable lows concerning self esteem and belief in myself. I'm saving individual anecdotes for the future, so in short, I lost myself. I thought too much about pleasing others and, at some point, I just felt like a thin net of swirling thoughts that was ready to snap. I overanalyzed every word I said and every move I made. It was like everything about me was heavily calculated and premeditated, like I had a file cabinet of options in my brain that I frantically flipped through whenever I was faced with choices. Sometimes, I couldn't even spontaneously be me because I was stuck trying to figure out whether I would like who I really was or if I even truly knew myself.

Despite being blessed with supportive family and friends, I felt like I was facing my thoughts alone. People I reached out to told me that talking would help, but I hesitated to speak my mind openly from fear of scrutiny, so I actually ended up bottling a lot of things in, which helped no one. Of course, conquering this thing that's been going on my entire life has proven extremely difficult, but the load's lightened a little after experimenting with different forms of coping.

my ways of coping Jana Gabrielle

I read books either to escape to a place that isn't my own head or to explore places that I cannot stop thinking about. I draw and journal in an attempt to take whatever's in my head and physically transfer it elsewhere. I also go on downloading sprees for music to see if any artists out there have verbalized and sang about things that I can't seem to find the words to explain on my own.

Above all this, I've been focusing a lot on reclaiming myself. I've gained a lot more confidence in determining how I live without allowing unnecessary thoughts to dictate my life. It became apparent how much I measured life by consequences, options, and possible futures. It's kind of different now, though. What is a little extra sugar today going to do? So what if I'd rather take this class later than now? Who cares if I wear too much floral and too less stripes? What could go wrong if I do this or that, say this or that, choose this over that, etc.?

me drinking a macchiato Jana Gabrielle

I guess the bottom line is that there are probably infinite ways to live life, so instead of just thinking about all those ways, why not try as many of the possibilities as you can? I used to think that it was so repetitive and cheesy when people said, "Life is too short," but I realize now how right they are. No, I'm not advocating total impulsivity, but to just live life as it is. Consequences come when they must be given, and only time will be able to answer our questions of when, why, and how things should happen. For now, all we should do is give, live, and love for as long and as much as we can. It's taken time for me, but already, things seem a lot simpler.

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Instagram: @teenagefevah

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