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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I Refuse To Apologize For Putting My Mental Health Before My Education

It's OK to not be OK.

I’ve been in college for a long time now. By the time I receive my undergraduate degree I will be 24 going on 25. Some days I think about this and I feel defeated, like I’m far behind where I wanted to be in my life. Then I remember why I’m so far behind and I feel a little bit better about it.

I’ve struggled with various mental illnesses for a large portion of my life. Over the past 10 years at least. It’s been a daily struggle and somedays I can get out of bed and face the day and be perfectly fine, but there are days when I can’t function. AND THAT’S OKAY.

I used to beat myself up for missing a class or having to call into work because I just couldn’t do life that day. As I’ve gotten older I’ve let myself realize that you have to take care of yourself in whatever way works for you. If that means that you have to stay in bed for three days and sleep, then do that and when you feel more yourself face the world and get your life together.

Mental health days have proven to be so important to my life and successfully functioning as a part of society. Yes, maybe it’s taken me a bit longer to get through certain parts of my life, but I’ve moved at a pace that works for me and when I’m finally finished with this chapter of my life I’ll be able to say that I came out happy and healthy and functional.

College is hard. It’s hard for healthy people and it’s definitely hard for those who struggle with any sort of illness, mental or physical.

Over the past 10 years I have come to terms with what my illnesses mean. I can’t be like everyone else all the time and I can’t just pretend everything is fine. The more I tried to ignore my problems, the larger my problems became. In this case ignorance IS NOT bliss, it’s a death sentence.

Everyone in this world will struggle with something at some point in their life and if you’re anything like me you’ll put on a brave face and say that you’re fine…for a while. But there is no shame in not being okay. You can’t be okay all that time. To quote my favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy, “Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health; that’s crap!”

Take that day off. Stay in bed. Eat that junk food that you never let yourself have. Cry. Scream. Drive until you don’t remember why you weren’t okay in the first place. Do whatever it is you need to do to feel okay (within reason. Please don’t do anything unhealthy). Accept that it is okay not to be okay and show the world that, yeah maybe you’re a hot mess, but you’re handling it and you’ll come out better than ever because you took the time to sort out your crap and maintain your mental health instead of rushing through it to please society.

So maybe I’ll be in my 30’s before I finish school, but that’s okay because I’m healthy-ish, I’m happy-sorta, and I did what I needed to do to succeed in my own life and I refuse to apologize for that.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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When you start feeling depressed, you kind of go into a downward spiral.

I stare at the wall

It will never move

But I stare intently

As if it might

I can’t breathe

I feel like I’m drowning

But I can’t even save myself

I’m swimming in an ocean

With all my strength

But it’ll never be enough

I’m going to drown

Now it’s a matter of when

Cover Image Credit: Pexels.com

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