Courage. It means something different to each of us. Some people find courage in testing themselves, running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Some people find it in looking to God for help. Others sit there trembling and unsure, wishing they had the courage to do something about their present situation.
When you’re a baby, courage might be letting go of the sofa and taking those first few shaky steps into the middle of the room. As a teenager, courage can be saying hello to that secret crush in the hallway at school. When you’re adult, courage might be taking a chance on yourself and going for that dream job.
But when you suffer from depression and anxiety, courage can take on a different and much more subtle look.
Stripped of self-confidence, feeling hopeless and withdrawn, our courage might not even be visible to someone on the outside looking in. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not there. That doesn’t mean that we’re not showing it every single day.
In the darkest depths of depression, when we’re waging an existential war within our own mind, we show courage in the smallest ways that take enormous effort.
Taking a shower, getting out of bed, or even making the conscious decision to stay in bed because we recognize we don’t have the strength to face the day are tremendous acts of courage for someone who’s suffering from depression.
Just the act of honestly facing our feelings and thoughts can be a courageous movement on the worst days. When you’re scared of yourself, scared of life, being honest with yourself is something that can intimidate any of us. It’s much easier to feel sorry for ourselves and hide in bed than it is to look ourselves in the mirror.
But when we’re doubting ourselves, we constantly assess what we can and cannot do. We regularly ask ourselves, “Am I up for this?” Perhaps it’s unintentional or unconscious, but even in our darkest times, we show incredible fortitude, searching for opportunities to show our strength in acting courageously. We question ourselves, and in doing so, we push ourselves to see what we are capable of, however small that might be.
Pushing ourselves, that’s what courage is all about. The scale of the push is really irrelevant. One person’s small step is a leap for someone else. What’s important is that we’re each making our own push. For someone with depression, pushing ourselves – even in the smallest way – is a way of showing ourselves that we are capable of more than we imagine. For someone who wonders if life is worth living, seeing that we can do more can be the thing that keeps us going for another day.
Don’t judge people who are suffering from depression and anxiety. You can’t imagine what we’re dealing with some days. It may look like we’re laying in bed all day, but we’re fighting battles within ourselves that take unbelievable courage. Just because you can’t see that courage doesn’t mean it’s not there. The courage we show in the battles we fight is just the same as the courage someone else shows when they’re doing something spectacular.
We don’t always look like we’re being courageous. We don’t always look like we’re doing anything at all. But the courage that is used by people suffering from depression and anxiety is tremendous. It’s something we should be proud of. The courage we possess can be the thing that allows tomorrow to come, and with it, another opportunity for hope.
Author Bio – Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He can be contacted on his Facebook.