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
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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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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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If You Haven't Experienced Depression, Don't Act Like You Understand It

Being "just sad" is an understatement.

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"Depression means being sad all the time, right?"

"Oh my gosh, she has depression? But she's always happy!"

"Is it really that hard to just be happy?"

"Just smile! It'll all be fine!"

"Oh my gosh, why can't she just get over it?"

Anyone who has experienced depression knows these phrases all too well, myself included.

Depression isn't just feeling sad all the time. It's not just feeling "bummed out" when things don't go your way. It's a diagnosable illness and requires serious treatment.

One of the most frustrating parts about battling depression is when looking for support, those who you turn to don't understand how to help. It is unbelievably frustrating when some of the phrases above are dancing around the issue, and you can't do anything about it because other people simply don't understand.

Mental illnesses are similar to physical illnesses and disabilities in the sense that you can't truly understand how someone with that particular illness or disability feels unless you have been through it yourself.

One of the hardest parts of mental illness for other people to fathom is that someone struggling with the illness can't help it. Mental illness can completely consume your mind. Yes, depression brings those terrible thoughts into your mind, but then it takes the thought and runs with it. And it doesn't stop. Those who struggle with mental illnesses can't help it. You can't just bounce back to your normal self and everything gets better. They don't choose to act that way. In order to heal, it takes unbelievable commitment and motivation. And, in a bad mental state, that is the hardest thing to do.

With that being said, in order to help someone who is struggling with a mental illness, it is important to acknowledge that if you haven't experienced it, you won't completely understand it. And that is perfectly fine, as long as you can realize that.

The best thing you can do to help someone is to simply be there for them, even if you don't understand.

Let them know that you care.

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