If you have a mental illness or are in recovery, you’re likely not a stranger to unsolicited advice. I know it’s something I hear a lot, so I get how overwhelming and frustrating it is, which is why before I go any further, I want to ask you a question. Why is unsolicited advice unhelpful to someone with a mental illness or a person with substance abuse challenges?
Unsolicited advice is more for the person advising the person needing support for their mental health, according to Verywell Mind.
Unsolicited advice oversimplifies complex conditions like trauma, addiction, and a mental health diagnosis.
Unsolicited advice is patronizing, invalidating, and can be traumatic, making a person feel worse and ashamed of themselves.
As you can tell from the above points, unsolicited advice is more harmful than helpful. A big reason is unless a person has lived experiences with things like a mental health diagnosis or an education in psychology, understands trauma-informed care, or has experienced adverse childhood experiences. It isn’t easy to understand how complex these challenges and similar ones are. It takes years to understand mental illness, substance abuse, or anything related to psychology or mental health, for that matter.
I’m not trying to say you shouldn’t support a person; I’m trying to say you first need to learn how to support someone, and even though supporting a person can be tricky, it is possible. A great way to start is by keeping the following questions and tips in mind when supporting someone.
Why does a person’s language and beliefs around mental health and substance abuse matter when giving advice?
The average person doesn’t realize the complexities of living with a mental health condition or substance abuse issues. Otherwise, I hope they wouldn’t be telling people things like “Why can’t you just quit?” or “Go for a walk” and other helpful statements. Like my favourite one: “Isn’t everyone a little ADHD?” Those forms of advice and microaggressions are toxic and cause a person to feel things like shame and disempower a person.
When you speak like this, you’re telling a person who is likely already nervous and hesitant about doing things like taking medications or seeing a therapist and other forms of support that those options aren’t helpful. You’re also invalidating their experiences when you downplay or mock a person. I get how everyone has an opinion, but it’s time people realize opinions aren’t facts. Those stigmatized opinions negatively impact the person on the receiving end more than you realize.
Instead of focusing on unhelpful opinions and beliefs, my best advice is to try focusing on educating yourself with the help of peer-reviewed sources and asking questions to people like doctors, pharmacists and therapists, and other professionals. Otherwise, your inaccurate beliefs and opinions can stop or scare a person from receiving much-needed medical care, dramatically decreasing their quality of life.
How can you make a person feel validated and that you care about their issues, challenges, and diagnosis?
You can start by advocating for a person who wants to see a psychiatrist or takes medications instead of making them feel bad for seeking professional help. While telling them things like there’s no shame in taking medication or seeking professional help and respecting their boundaries around getting treatment, seeing a therapist, or going to a 12-step program.
You can also own your incorrect words, attitudes, and behaviours. Yup, that’s right—owning those things and learning healthier, more medically accurate beliefs. I know admitting you’re wrong isn’t fun, but it shows you care and respect that person enough to properly educate yourself and take a better approach to support them.
When you do things like this, you’re telling someone they matter, and as a person with mental health challenges, I can tell you this simple step can mean the world to someone. Another thing you can do is advocate for them to get treatment and positively talk about seeking professional help instead of saying things like it’s a weakness or makes you a burden.
That’s why it’s important to realize what we say and even what we post, share, and like on social media can send a message to someone that you think they matter. But unfortunately, it can also indirectly send a message that you don’t think mental health challenges are valid, making a person feel even worse causing them to suffer in silence instead of getting the help they deserve.
It’s time people started focusing on building others up instead of tearing them down before they don’t understand what certain people have been through in their life. Lastly, below are a few ways advocating for seeking help for mental health professionals is beneficial to someone from Healthline and my personal experiences.
Just because you’re a parent or friend doesn’t mean you know more than a mental health professional trained in CBT, ACT, medications and medication adherence, and other helpful interventions. Professionals also have in-depth education in diagnosing mental illness, trauma, and other healthcare resources.
Don’t shove their past challenges or mistakes in their face because doing so does nothing but shame a person and make them feel worse. Also, if a person is getting annoyed at you for disrespecting their boundaries around seeking help for their mental health, that doesn’t mean you’re a snowflake or overly sensitive. It means that you’re putting your message. It means that you’re interfering in something that you have no right to interfere with, plain and simple.
Seeing a mental health professional is great for empowering us to gain a healthy understanding of our emotions and reframing our inner dialogue.
Just because a celebrity, health guru, or influencer posts something about mental health doesn’t mean that that advice should be taken over the advice of a qualified mental health professional.
It’s better to be non-judgmental and compassionate and give us a safe place to share our thoughts, feelings, and struggles instead of judging us for those things.
Your body speaks to you in a thousand ways each day, and illness is no exception.
As one of the most frustrating, draining, and in some cases, debilitating experiences you can have in life, sickness can leave you feeling helpless.
And if you continually receive negative results on tests with no clear underlying cause for what you’re going through, your illness can be even more infuriating and insufferable.
I am not a medical doctor and I’m not prescribing medical advice here, but I have experienced numerous “unsolved” illnesses before with no clear biological cause.
What I’ve learned is something that many medical professionals now agree on and studies prove: that the mind and body are intimately connected.
Not only that, but our aches, pains, and health struggles can actually be a spiritual wake-up call if we learn to observe them deeply enough. (This is spiritual psychology 101.) I’ll explain why our illness can be a wakeup call in this article – and what healing avenues might bring you some relief.
What is a Psychosomatic Illness?
A psychosomatic illness is an illness for which there are no biological causes (such as physical injuries, hormonal imbalances, viruses, etc.). In other words, a psychosomatic illness is an illness triggered by a mental state such as anxiety, stress, anger, depression, and so on.
Perhaps more simply, a psychosomatic illness – psycho meaning mind and somatic meaning body – is a mind-body ailment.
“It’s All in Your Mind”
Please note that just because a psychosomatic illness is triggered by a mental state such as grief, fear, and so on, it doesn’t mean that it’s “not real.”
As one who has suffered from psychosomatic illnesses such as intense chronic pain, fatigue, immobility I know how painfully real such experiences can be.
If you can’t seem to pinpoint the exact cause of your physical suffering, and if all the tests come back saying everything is “normal,” it doesn’t mean you’re delusional or a hypochondriac. Instead, it likely means that your illness is psychosomatic in nature.
Not only that but likely, some kind of trauma may be the underlying cause.
Trauma & Psychosomatic Illness
When we’re traumatized – whether as a child or as an adult (or both) – we often haven’t been able to recover from something known as the freeze response.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the fight, flight, and freeze response before. Such behavior has been studied by sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, zoologists, and so on for a long time.
The fight response happens when our body’s sympathetic nervous system is triggered, generating adrenaline that makes us want to attack, kick, punch, and so on. Think of a person getting into a street fight.
The flight response happens when we have the irresistible urge to flee: to run away as fast as we can. Think of a zebra that is being chased by a lion in the wild.
The freeze response, on the other hand, immobilizes us in the immediate threat of death or pain (whether physical/mental/emotional) so intolerable that we shut down.
Clinical psychologist and trauma researcher Peter Levine says that freezing helps to offer a reprieve from the pain of death (as a natural analgesic). But also, if we don’t manage to shake off that freeze response from our nervous systems, we become traumatized.
In other words, we need to be able to “complete the cycle” (or shake off the energy and return back to normal) within us to discharge the intense energy generated by the life-threatening (or chronically endangering) situation we experienced. If we don’t, if our neocortex (thinking brain) takes over and mentally spirals, we experience what I’ll crassly call the “blue ball” effect.
The blue ball effect happens when our nervous systems become frozen full of so much undischarged energy that this causes us to stay in a traumatized state. (On a side note, observe animals in nature that have experienced a traumatic brush with death. What is the first thing they do? They shake off the energy, and so must we according to Levine.)
How does this frozen trauma manifest?
Like a valve on a pressure cooker, there must be some kind of release for this pent-up inner energy. The result is – you guessed it! – the occurrence of psychosomatic illness (often accompanied by mental and emotional disorders).
Psychosomatic Illness Examples
So what types of psychosomatic illnesses are there?
It would be impossible to list them all, but I’ll give a few examples below:
Essentially, psychosomatic illnesses can impact any area of your body, whether inside or outside.
A Call to Adventure
As distressing as psychosomatic disorders are, there’s a deep calling inherent in them:
They’re a call to awaken the healer within us; to go soul searching, uncover what is distressing us, listen to our soul’s deeper needs, and find freedom again.
Of course, some people might understandably be skeptical about attributing any “higher” meaning to their illness. That is fine, at the end of the day we’ve got to take what resonates and throw away the rest.
But I’ve personally found, that unveiling the deeper meaning behind our suffering and seeing it as what mythologist Joseph Campbell calls “a call to adventure” is empowering and healing.
Holocaust survivor, neurologist, and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl refers to the transformative power of finding meaning “logotherapy.” Indeed, finding a deeper purpose behind his own horrific pain and trauma in the nazi death camps helped him to survive, and eventually, find the will to thrive.
Pain as a Spiritual Wake-Up Call
To build on top of the previous section, another reason why pain can manifest in our bodies is that it is serving as a spiritual wake-up call.
So many of us live our lives constantly dissociated from our bodies, disconnected from the present moment, and living in the world of the mind. Such an existence is what Buddhists would call “dukkha,” that is, fundamentally unsatisfying, stressful, and empty.
If along with physical pain, you regularly experience sensations of feeling empty inside, feeling alone, and feeling like you’re lost in life, your physical suffering may be serving as a loud spiritual wake-up call.
Perhaps hearing that our pain is a wake-up call may sound a little silly, crazy, or even sadistic to you. “Right. But isn’t there a better, more gentle way of having a ‘wake-up’ call?!” we might protest.
The answer is that when we’re profoundly entrenched in mental stories, emotional programming, and various forms of negative societal conditioning, sometimes the only thing that can get our attention is pain – and a lot of it!
After all, how else would you wake someone up who was deeply asleep? Would you gently whisper to them? Probably not. They wouldn’t hear you! No, you’d probably speak loudly or even shake them awake! The same is true of psychosomatic illnesses, they shake us to awake us!
How to Discover What Your Psychosomatic Illness is “Trying to Tell You”
So what is the hidden message behind your pain? What is it trying to tell or teach you?
Of course, pain can sometimes just be pain – its function may simply be to get your attention so you can alleviate it, and that’s it.
But sometimes psychosomatic pain has a lesson or message for you. It might, for instance, teach you about:
The undigested emotions associated with it
The unmetabolized trauma you need to process
A decision in your life that you need to examine
Something you need to let go of ASAP
A part of your shadow self that you need to explore
A negative habit you need to correct
An opportunity for self-love and self-care you can take
An ancestral wound you’re carrying
Keep in mind the above list isn’t exhaustive and there could be many other lessons buried in your pain.
So how do you discover what your psychosomatic illness is trying to tell you?
The best methods I’ve found are journaling, meditation, visualization, and breathwork. Here are some practices you can try:
The hand-resting technique (best for specific pain). Get into a relaxed state. Close your eyes. Place your hands over the part of your body that is causing you pain. Send some mindful, soft breaths into that area to release any tension. Then ask internally or out loud, “What are you trying to tell me?” Note any memories, flickering images, words, or sensations that bubble up on the surface of your mind. You can take this mental material and journal about it and ask further clarifying questions such as “What does that mean?”
The body journeying visualization. In this visualization, you’ll be meeting your bodily pain as personified by a garden and a gardener. Relax by lying down somewhere and listening to soft ambient music (sounds of nature are the best to add to the experience). Imagine that you’re standing in a field full of soft grass swaying in the wind. In the distance is a tall gate with a long fence stretching out either side. You can’t see what’s behind it so you move closer. As you go to open the heavy gate you notice a sign hanging off it saying “Welcome to Your Body.” You swing open the gate and peer into the garden in front of you. What does it look like? What stands out to you? Take a moment to look around and acclimatize yourself. Suddenly, in the distance, a gardener approaches you. He or she says, “Hello, welcome to this garden.” You then ask whatever questions you’d like to know the answers to. For instance, you might ask, “What do I need to know about how to take care of this garden (my body)?” “What does [x,y,z] part of the garden mean?” and so on. Once you’ve finished the conversation, thank the gardener and leave the garden, closing the gate behind you. Once you’re back in the grassy field, return to normal consciousness. Journal about what you learned.
The body dialoguing journaling technique. Dialoguing with your body can be a simple but illuminating way of uncovering the meaning and lessons behind your psychosomatic illness. Begin your journaling session by addressing the part of your body causing trouble (or whole body if it’s generalized pain). You may like to write, “Dear back, neck, chest, etc. what would you like to share with me?” Close your eyes, let go of any thoughts in your mind and let yourself write without stopping (this is also known as the stream of consciousness technique). Try not to judge yourself, correct your spelling, or stop for any reason, just let your writing flow unhindered. Once you’ve stopped, think of another question to ask your body. Keep the conversation flowing until you are satisfied. Thank your body at the end. Reflect on your discoveries.
Sometimes it takes a little practice to tune into the voice of your illness and create that mind-body connection. But choose one practice and keep at it – you might be wildly surprised by what you discover!
How to Release Psychosomatic Trauma
As I mentioned earlier, psychosomatic illnesses are often caused by unreleased/unresolved trauma in the mind and frozen in the body. Some psychologists refer to this as “somatization” which is when our inner states of anxiety, heartbreak, and anger are converted into physical distress in the body.
Releasing this frozen energy often requires professional assistance, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or Somatic Experiencing psychotherapy.
But to equip you with some resources in the meantime, I want to offer you some ways you can experience relief:
Take an inventory of what you eat (aka. what unhealthy foods can you eliminate and replace with more wholesome options?)
Exercise each day, even if that just involves gardening or housework
Try breathwork techniques that help to soothe the mind and body (e.g., pranayama or yogic breathing like Nadi Shodhana)
Practice consciously shaking your body – explore TRE or the Tension and Trauma Release Exercise
Do self-massage each day
Make sleep your priority
Practice mindfulness and meditation (progressive muscle relaxation and body scanning may be particularly helpful for you)
Do some gentle stretching or yoga each day (my favorite simple asanas for body pain are cat-cow, child’s pose, seated twist, butterfly pose, and seated forward fold)
Walk barefoot in nature (if you have grass in your backyard or live near the ocean, let the grounding energy of the earth soothe your body!)
I can’t promise that any of these practices will be a “magic solution” for you, but they have certainly helped me and those I know of who have suffered psychosomatic illnesses.
Chronic illness can make us feel debilitated, confused, and weak. And yet, for some, it can trigger a positive existential crisis – a quest for healing or a call to adventure that awakens the healer within them.
For others, psychosomatic illnesses are like wake-up calls that shake us out of our normal autopilot state and sparks the desire to go soul searching.
Whatever meaning you attribute to your illness (or not), just know that it can be transformed into a ‘sacred wound’ that enables you to grow and evolve. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote about “bells of mindfulness” that occur in our everyday lives, and pain is most certainly one of them!
Do you suffer from a psychosomatic illness? What do you think its purpose, origin, or teaching is? I’d love to hear from you below in the comments.
What is it with us and that enormous emotional baggage that we tend to carry around? For a second, imagine yourself standing in the heavy pouring rain with an empty bucket. The longer you stand there holding the bucket, the heavier it gets. It gets heavier rather quickly, doesn’t it? How long can we hold it for? There comes a moment when we need to release it before it gets too much…
Sometimes we think that what happens to us and what goes to our emotional baggage is what defines us.
We have our bag of sorrows about the past and this striving desire to go back in time and change a few things for the better. Why? Because reality looks nothing like we have imagined. We have this image in our mind of the way things should be and it’s daunting us down. Some of us have trouble accepting what happened in the past and how things turned out because of that. And our emotional baggage grows with new sorrows.
So what hides in our emotional baggage? Isn’t it all about fear? Isn’t about the fear of getting hurt again? Or making the same mistakes and going through disappointments and betrayals? And we then find ourselves trapped in that damaging and “protective” mechanism that keeps us away from living our lives free from used patterns.
How Much of Emotional Baggage Do We Carry Around?
We all have emotional baggage. Some of us have 3 suitcases of heavy things, some of us have just a tiny bag… Everyone has them. Sometimes we feel as if we were carrying a lifetime’s heaviness of sorrows, pain, and anger.
Painful emotions tend to shape us and the way we see others. Those memories and emotions influence what we seek and draw to our life and the way we interact with people. Painful memories from the past create a blueprint for the subconscious mind, which prevents us from fully taking part in new situations and relationships. Meaning that we might treat people we’ve just met as the “guilty” ones whom we feel anger towards because of the past. Or we recreate look-alike experiences to relieve and work out the past.
Memories are just thoughts that have a tendency to rise like dough when it gets hot, but they aren’t real. It just happened and your past has no effect on you in the NOW. We can release ourselves from the tight grip of worrying by focusing on being present.
We don’t have to be tortured by guilt and things that happened in the past. We couldn’t comprehend back then how to handle things better. We tried our best at that time because no one can act beyond their level of consciousness. There is nothing worse than being tremendously upset with ourselves all the time.
We can’t change the past. There is no future in the past anyway. What we can do is to define our sorrows, release the pain and clear space for better things that life has in store for us.
Spotting Emotional Baggage
1. Endless Comparing Cycle – How often do you compare yourself and your life with others? Do you worry that you are not good enough?
2. Utter Deficiency – It’s sharply experienced when we pay too much attention to our faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses feeling inadequate compared to the others. It turns into a habit and even obsession. We tend to go on a quest and dig up something new that we think is “wrong” about us. I certainly know the feeling…
3. Swinging Swords of Bad Moods – it happens when we feel contempt towards new situations, uncertainty about the future, people, and negative outlook on life as a whole.
4. Relocating Emotions and Feelings – Have you ever flipped out at someone because of something when you felt annoyed about something completely different? If we feel angry or annoyed with something or someone, we tend to transfer those emotions to someone else.
5. Terrified of Being Alone – when we are uncomfortable in the company of ourselves, we jump into relationships we don’t care about, we work till we burn out completely, we even exercise extensively, we do-do-do… whatever it takes to distract ourselves from our thoughts. We run the race against ourselves and feel busted when we learn that there is no escape from our thoughts. And we need to learn to deal with them and that emotional baggage that we carry.
How to Deal With Emotional Baggage Effectively
1. Identify The Triggers & Acknowledge Your Emotions
Now. Imagine a crochet hook. Think about the hooks that yank unpleasant emotions. Make a list of all the things you could think of that weight you down. Think about your limiting beliefs and what caused them. Look for the similarities and the patterns. Then pay attention to your emotions.
The more we pay attention to the way we react to things and why the more we control our reaction and what triggers it. Identify the reality which is a direct reflection of your thoughts. And then, think about your new behavior that would enable you to live more freely from the sorrows of the past.
Emotional baggage is often framed as a “story” we tell ourselves. The more you challenge those stories, the faster you accept that you don’t have to carry that heaviness. The more you understand that you can leave that unnecessary heaviness out there on the carousel of the baggage claim and away from you and your life.
2. Do You Have a Desire to Heal and Be Free?
Our conscious desire to heal and be free from emotional baggage is crucial. We cannot heal unless we know what healing should feel like.
Ask yourself this: What will it feel like when I let go of the heaviness and leave my emotional baggage behind? How would I act and think since I don’t have to carry it with me anymore? How would my relationships with people look like?
Take your time to think and reflect on those questions.
Have your desire to heal and to be free at all times in your mind.
3. Forgiveness is Vital
Make it your goal to release yourself from all the weight of the emotional baggage. If you refuse to let go then all you do is sniff rotten milk you should have thrown away ages ago…
Tap into your awareness and stay vigilant of your thinking process. Be aware of what exactly goes into your bucket and make sure you release it on time.
Bless your past, wish it well, forgive and let go…
When you forgive, you in no way change the past, but you sure do change the future. – Bernard Meltzer
4. What Did You Take From The Experience?
Let’s take a look at our past experiences. What did you take from them? What lessons did they bring you?
It’s up to us how we choose to see the world: through the glasses of fear and contempt towards the future… or we can choose to embrace it with all the hope and forgiveness of the past.
The process of letting go and healing takes time. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes a lot of courage and dedication to face the fears and sorrows. But it’s worth it. The moment we start shaping our decisions – our destiny changes.
Emotional baggage is all about fear. But remember that on the other side of fear your freedom is patiently waiting for you to come and claim it.
Depression isn’t the saddest person in the room. Quite contrary actually, depression sometimes is the person you would have never expected. Along with trying to convince you they’re happy, they’re trying to convince themselves.
Depression isn’t that melancholy person, you don’t want to be around. Oftentimes, it’s the person everyone loves because of the light they bring to a room is so bright but that’s only because they know darkness.
Depression isn’t the person screaming out for help. It’s the silent person dealing with battles they’re still trying to understand themselves.
Depression is doing everything you can to hide it. Because there’s nothing glorified about it. There’s nothing beautiful about a bad night as you fall to your knees, in a silent scream, that no one hears because you’re alone and you need to be until you get through it.
It’s the sleepless nights as you lay awake at 2 am staring at the ceiling.
It’s that time of year, you just get a little bit sadder for no reason.
It’s the tears you don’t tell people you cry because you don’t really know why you’re crying, you just know you need to.
It’s the want and need to be around people but at the same time, you push them away.
Depression is watching across social media, everyone’s highlight reels and you know it’s not an accurate depiction of their life yet you still compare yourself to them.
It’s the plans canceled last minute because you couldn’t muster the strength to get out of bed.
It’s your alarm going off in the morning and you just want to go back to sleep.
Depression is that cloud that doesn’t seem to go away ever. And even in those happy moments, you cling to, you know it’s still hovering over you. Depression waits. It creeps and lurks. It waits for the best day of your life and your happiest moment just so the next one can be your worst.
It’s the fear of such happiness because you know it’s bound to fade.
It’s every good day, that are few and far between and that’s what you hang onto.
It’s the struggle in explaining to people when they ask why are you depressed? You just don’t know and you don’t know how to fix it. It’s just a feeling you can’t shake but you’re learning to work through.
Depression are toxic habits or people you gravitate towards.
It’s drinking the way you do because at least for a moment your pain is numbed. You know the effects lead to being even more depressed the next day. And you know alcohol is a depressant but being numb helps sometimes.
Depression is the constant imbalance of things in your life.
It’s either overexercising and being at the gym for hours or staying in bed for weeks immobile.
It’s either sleeping too much or too little. But no matter what, you’re always tired.
It’s eating too much or just never being hungry. It’s someone asking, ‘When was the last time you ate?’ And you actually don’t know the answer.
It’s weight loss that people commend you for but you know even you couldn’t help it.
Depression is people asking if you’re okay and you don’t respond with ‘I’m sad.’ You simply say, ‘I’m tired.’
It’s the envy of looking at others and just wanting to be that happy. So you glamorize your own life so it appears that way.
Depression is the overcompensating in relationships and trying too hard. You know you’re tough to deal with but there isn’t anyone you love more than those who accept you, as you’re still trying to accept yourself.
It’s that really scary moment when you open up to someone about what it is you deal with. And that new level of friendship you reach, when they welcome you with open arms and it almost brings you to tears.
It’s loving people unbelievably hard because you’re still learning to love yourself.
It’s looking ahead and looking forward to certain days in your life and really appreciating everything.
And even though you might not say it, as often as you should, it’s the love you have for everyone in your life which gives you strength.
Depression is becoming addicted to anything that gives you purpose. Whether it’s being a perfectionist in academics or becoming a workaholic. It’s becoming the most involved in a group or organization because you need something to look forward to. It’s excelling in sports because it really helps to have that and a team to fall back on.
It’s the need to be busy because if you’re not you’ll spend too much time alone and everything will get worse.
But more than that, depression is the person who would do anything to make others happy because someone else’s happiness is their own.
Depression is being overly observant because you know what it’s like to hide things, so you look for it in others.
It’s being the first one willing to help and being the person you wish you had. Knowing well, there’s nothing you can say or do but be there for them and that’s okay. But more than that, depression is a strength in you because there’s nothing harder than overcoming demons within yourself.
It’s the trust people have in you, knowing they can turn to you without judgment.
It’s the excitement you bring to others because even though you’re sad, you do love life.
Depression is being the happiest, saddest person, people know but there’s a bit of beauty to someone who knows both emotions at such an extreme level.
Depression is an appreciation and gratitude for life. It’s knowing no matter what happens things will get better.
Depression is hope even in moments that seem hopeless.
It’s not letting this define who you are but rather learning to live through it and being the example others can follow.
Around you the sun keeps rising and setting. The traffic keeps pressing through in the most unrelenting way. The clouds roll by, the holidays happen. Everyone talks about how they can’t believe October is over and winter is almost here. And you smile as if you’re just excited as them.
But really, if you were being truly honest, you’d admit that nothing has felt different since the month of August. Rather everything feels blurry, muffled. You’ve lost track of the days and the nights because instead of being individual sunrises and sunsets, it’s just another day of you feeling like you’re walking upstream against a raging current. And instead of fighting, instead of it feeling like a challenge, you’re just getting tired.
Too many times you’ve just lain in bed avoiding any and every responsibility. You don’t know when the last time you checked your mail was. It’s probably overflowing with unanswered letters with bills and catalogs filled with girls who had enough energy to wash their hair that morning. You sit in the tub watching the now lukewarm water draining beneath you and you wish for a second that you’d go down with it into some abyss where there are no problems outside of wondering where the end of the pipe will take you.
The stereotypical depressed person is always in the dark maybe with ugly, forlorn, black, mascara streaks painting her cheeks or maybe with staring with bloodshot, red eyes from popping vessels while sobbing. And they sit alone, still in the dark, with that unnecessary war paint, contemplating how much better the world would be without them. And even though that’s a stereotype, sometimes that monster comes in rearing it’s nasty head and messes everything up.
As terrible as the extreme depression, the scary feeling of doom that exists, more often than not, it’s a different monster. And it’s a monster that doesn’t exist in the crazy highs or lows and because of that; it isn’t as easy to spot. It hangs out in the corners undetected just waiting until it can latch on and never let go.
Depression sometimes is a feeling of utter desolation, but what about when it isn’t?
It’s seeing all of the crayons laid out in front of you, the entire 120-count Crayola box you always coveted in grade school, every single color you could possibly imagine. It’s seeing them and having the ability to pick any color, but only being able to force yourself back to the same broken grey crayon day after day after day.
It’s watching people promote asinine things like “drinking more tea” and “running for the endorphins” and thinking, “Fine. I’ll give it a fucking shot.” But then your bladder is bursting from your 18th cup of chamomile and your shins are aching from running for hours, but even after heeding all of this naturopathic bullshit you still just want to sit on the kitchen floor and eventually blend into your surroundings, ceasing to be you because being you is getting exhausting.
It’s hearing about how Prozac changed someone’s life and how therapy is their everything, so you keep popping open the little orange bottle and talking about your ex-bestfriend and your fears every Thursday. You do all of the things you’re supposed to do but nothing’s different. It’s researching at 4 AM for any possible answer but still not wanting to smile at jokes on Instagram or text anyone back because you just suck. And if you know it they must know it too.
It’s feeling like the same bland, sad, murky version of yourself day after day and just wondering if this is how the rest of your life will be.
So even though you got up this morning and you felt the like nothing was different, you feel like you’ve accepted that you will never have highs again, you still feel like you’re looking through fogged up glasses, and you’re simply going through the motions, there’s one thing to keep in mind.
You did get up.
And even though your world right now is that broken grey, your vision is clouded, you homesickness has not been relieved, and your choking down more fucking tea to try and “naturally cure yourself”, one day it won’t feel that way. It might not be tomorrow, or next month, but eventually it will be one day. That day your eyes will be clear, your heart won’t be heavy, and you’ll find yourself reaching for an orange or a green while you order a coffee because why not.
It seems the deeper I journey into the healing and recovery process, the more I find that much of our cultural and conventional wisdom does not help trauma survivors. All the trite platitudes and sayings that might help someone having a garden-variety bad day can actually become giant triggers for someone living with trauma.
Let’s assume everyone wants to live a healthy, pain-free, abundant and productive life. There are hundreds of motivational books and centered on “fake it ’til you make it” principles, which encourage people to “think positive,” “let it go,” “don’t sweat the small stuff,” etc. They may have helped some people. Judging by book sales, they have probably helped many. Yet, for many trauma survivors searching for relief, these books and motivational coaches don’t help. In fact, many, like myself, feel more depressed, broken and impossibly disconnected after reading them. Here’s why.
Trauma survivors are often highly motivated people. Many are conditioned to be hyper-aware and hyper-vigilant out of survival. They are often overly critical of themselves because they were held to impossible standards by their abusers, and their attempts to please them often went sour. Some become overachievers, yet never feel like what they achieve is enough. Because nothing is ever good enough to appease an abuser, some survivors give up trying, becoming the self-fulfilling prophecy of whatever their abusers told them they were. Many survivors internalize that they are “lazy” when it’s not a lack of motivation that keeps them from their goals, it’s trauma. Trauma causes the nervous system to fight, flee or freeze, and for many survivors, their bodies are either stuck in one of these, or alternate between the three. Holding this pattern together is a web of toxic shame that is extremely difficult to break. Think of a race car stuck in first gear, with a foot on the gas and a foot on the break. That’s how many survivors get around.
To a survivor, telling them to “think positive” sounds cruel. I mean, that’s exactly the problem for anyone recovering from any type of abuse. Their thoughts were hijacked by someone else, and now they are fighting for their sanity to get their own thoughts back. And it’s not just their brain that was taken over. Emotional trauma gets hardwired into the physical body. Not only does it cause mental anguish, it creates a lot of physical pain, which can sometimes morph into serious long-term disease. Doctors and scientists are currently making great strides in connecting the dots between trauma and disease, but the general public is years behind in understanding and accepting this reality.
“Positive thinking” shields the reality that sometimes people feel shitty. In order to heal, survivors need to let down their shield and feel their feelings.
Here’s the other problem when a trauma survivor feels pressure to “think positive.” Often, for a survivor, this can sound like it’s not OK to feel whatever they are feeling, so they stuff it away, often relegating it to the subconscious. Trauma survivors are experts at burying their feelings. But burying feelings doesn’t mean the pain goes away, it means the survivor is less able to access what they need in order to heal. Many survivors experience dissociation. Dissociation is a common coping mechanism that needs to be broken by actually facing the terrible thing that caused so much terror that mentally “going away” was the only option.
Similarly, minimization plays a huge role in coping, either by the survivor or the people around them. Usually, it’s both. “It’s not that bad, ” or “It’s not as bad as X has it…” is not only a huge roadblock to recovery, it’s a road block to being aware of the trauma in the first place. So, when a survivor decides not to “sweat the small stuff,” the small stuff turns into a giant, insurmountable mountain of shutdown feelings and emotions. Getting into a pattern of not speaking up, whether to keep the peace or to avoid uncomfortable emotions means more skeletons for the pile in the subconscious mind.
Survivors need to pay attention to the small stuff.
Here’s another one. “Just let it go.” If only it were so simple. If survivors could, they would gladly be doing it. While this is actually the end goal for resolving trauma, it often gets waved in front of the trauma survivor’s face like some shiny, magical, yet unattainable talisman. Too many people are trying to let go of trauma they haven’t yet fully grasped. To let go of something means you need to be aware that you’re holding it in the first place. Trauma that is stored in the locked closets and cupboards of the subconscious mind continue to control from within, often without the survivor fully understanding what’s happening. The process of letting go can’t happen until those things are dragged into the light and fully processed. Once again, that means feeling uncomfortable feelings. It means grieving. It means giving yourself the kind care and attention that no one else did. Sometimes, it means wallowing for a little while. The harsh inner-critic of a survivor usually doesn’t allow this for very long. It means sending the critic away. It means bringing all of our subconscious thoughts into our conscious awareness to objectively take stock of what we’re working with.
So, next time you feel compelled to encourage someone to “let it go,” don’t. Instead, see if you can encourage them to lean in to whatever it is and feel it. Letting go will happen in its own time. That is, if you allow them to give their brain and body what it needs to heal.
I preach that a lot on my social media because, simply put, it’s true.
At the risk of sounding educational and writing this like a school paper, I want to inform you of just a few things.
1. Mental health is physical health. I said this already. Got it. But knowing this could help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. There are still so many people who believe depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. are all made up and that people with those illnesses are just “crazy.” And that’s another thing: stop calling people who live with mental illnesses “crazy.” It’s not appropriate nor is it even remotely accurate.
2. Mental illnesses are not only mental, they are physical as well. Ask anyone with an anxiety disorder. I’ll use myself as an example. I battle with severe anxiety. It keeps me from having a job like any other “normal” person. When I go out in public, I feel physical symptoms. It’s not just “I’m so nervous!” It’s also sweating, racing heart and dizziness. That doesn’t even include the symptoms from a panic attack I may have.
3. Depression can be fatal, just like any other physical illness. Yes, for real. Suicide is not just something people do to “get out,” “get bailed out” or do just for “attention.” I can promise you if someone dies by suicide, they struggled… bad. For some people, suicide is the final symptom of depression. Not everyone with depression dies by suicide, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t struggle too. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen on social media, even from friends on Facebook, that people still believe that suicide is selfish and that the person who passed away “took the easy way out.” Come on. That’s not fair and it’s undermining the battle that the person might have fought literally on a daily basis.
4. “You’re making it up to get out of doing (this) or (that). Just smile!” OK… first, that’s just not that easy and you know it. Second… don’t you think if we could “just smile” and everything would be fine that we would have done it a long time ago? Depression can take away your energy. You have to make yourself to do anything. So no… we’re not just “making it up” to get out of anything.
Think of it like this.
Just like you can sometimes “see” other health conditions on tests and scans, PET scans have shown you can see the difference between a “depressed brain” and a brain without depression. Just because depression is “invisible” to other people (because as we know, depression shows physical symptoms as well), does not mean you don’t deserve the help, whether it be with therapy, medication or even ecotherapy. Broken bones heal and they’re good to go after a month or two. But unfortunately, mental illness often isn’t that simple.
Please stop thinking depression or any other mental illness is not as important as physical health. It is physical health. The brain and the body should not be categorized into two totally separate types of healthcare. Mental health is physical health and physical health is healthcare. Healthcare is healthcare.
The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
There are many moments in my life when I’d just stare into space and think about how my life would be so different if I didn’t have depression or anxiety. How I’d take more chances. How I’d stand up for myself when I need to the most. How I’d be more secure, more decisive, and just happier.
I wouldn’t think about the thousands of ways I could possibly die. I wouldn’t be afraid to make drastic changes for my health, sanity, and overall well-being. I wouldn’t keep self-sabotaging. I wouldn’t let the most excruciating pain of the past drag me even further behind. I wouldn’t isolate myself from others. I wouldn’t let my irrational fear of scarcity control the way I think or force me to accept a fate that keeps me wandering off to dead end after dead end.
Instead, I would live a life that’s closer to the one I envision for myself instead of surrendering to all the constraints of a harsh reality that keeps me paralyzed and fearful of uncertainty. I would take better care of myself and do more of what’s valuable to me and cut out any thought that’s extraneous to my future, irrelevant to my true self, and toxic to my mental health.
I often wonder how my life would turn out differently if I didn’t have depression or anxiety. But what I wonder about more often is how I can start to act upon the best interests of my future self, moving and taking control as if I didn’t suffer from severe depression or crippling anxiety. These are all the things I’d do:
Network with people
I’ll be honest here – I view networking as disingenuous and sleazy. I always stop myself from reaching out to people because I somehow equate advocating myself with “using other people for my own selfish gain.” Which is why I don’t do it at all and don’t even talk about the skills I have. My insecurities keep telling me that I have none – they tell me it’s because I’m worthless, I’m irrelevant, and I don’t deserve to ask for anything better in life, since I haven’t proven myself worthy yet. But recently, I’ve gotten so fed up with keeping myself stifled, silent, and small that I can’t move on with my life to greater things because of my irrational fear of being judged as incompetent and unqualified. If I didn’t have these thoughts of the worst possible outcome or feelings of worthlessness, I’d network my butt off. I’d tell people what I can do, even when I may not be a master at anything yet, because I have to start somewhere. I have to believe in myself and stand up for myself because otherwise, I’d be stuck in the pitiful stage of paying my dues for a lifetime.
Write more, even when depression makes me abnormally exhausted
I’m tired of keeping myself stuck with writing. I’m tired of holding in the thoughts that I still have yet to share – thoughts that have the potential to turn into thousands of articles, essays, and poems if I allowed myself to be even more vulnerable, resolute, and honest with myself. But my mind is a never-ending war zone, and every time I self-sabotage, my mental exhaustion manifests itself physically, and I shut down before I have a chance to express myself and share more of what’s on my mind. If depression didn’t affect me this way, I’d definitely write more and write my way to the freedom I’ve always craved – the ultimate freedom from my treacherous enemies that keep making their home in my mind.
Create more solutions to recurring problems
If I didn’t have depression or anxiety, I’d create more solutions to problems that always recur in my life: I’m too shy. I don’t stand up for myself. I let myself be a doormat. I let people make me feel grossly inferior and wallow in self-pity because of it. I avoid confrontation, even when confrontation is the only way to solve the problem of me not advocating for myself when I need to. I’d act in spite of the overwhelming feelings of inferiority, which tells me that I’m never going to be good enough to get what I deserve. I’d be a more solution-oriented thinker instead of a problem escapee and work my way out of my problems.
Love myself as I am, regardless of how others are doing “better”
I’d be bolder and claim that I am worthy, I am healing, I am evolving, and I am capable of freeing myself from what hurts me the most – the past, the deep-rooted terrors that control me, and agonizing self-hatred. I’d love myself for who I am and not beat myself up for lagging behind others who seem to be more outwardly successful and have what society considers as “better lives.” And the truth is, my life isn’t worse than someone else’s, but if people evaluate me harshly for it, I shouldn’t give their opinions any weight because my life is mine, and I will not spend the rest of my life hating myself or contorting myself just to fit into someone else’s agenda. If I didn’t have anxiety over how poorly I’m fitting in and if I didn’t get easily depressed about how worthless I seem on the outside compared to other people, I’d love the hell out of myself first and foremost, and then I’d build a life upon this abundance of love and settle for nothing less than that.
But now, it’s no longer a matter of what I would do.
No. I’m not angry. No. I’m not hangry. I’m paingry.
A whole lot of paingry. I’m paingry because my back is spasming (again). I’m paingry because this pain flare-up seems to have no end in sight. And I’m paingry because I’m not motivated to finish this article.
There. I said it.
Yep. All caps PAINGRY.
Chronic pain SUCKS.
No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Whether you’ve suffered for three weeks, six months, 25 years, or longer, chronic pain can, and more often than not does, take a toll on your mental health.
Living with chronic pain is often stressful. Daily pain equals daily stress. Daily, or chronic, stress can change the levels of hormones and neurochemicals within your brain, affecting your mood, thinking and behaviors. Picture chronic pain and stress like a computer virus attacking and damaging your central processor.
In other words, depression, anxiety, and moodiness is the result of altered brain-biology and is not something people with chronic pain can control.
It is not something I can control. Much to my dismay.
The mind and body are connected.
When one is malfunctioning, the other is usually not too far behind. Pain can cause mental illness, and mental illness can cause pain. Vicious meet cycle. Not the merry-go-round you want to be on, my friends.
Unfortunately, sometimes diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions and associated mental health problems tests the medical community’s skills and abilities. Add in personal biases, heavy patient loads, and long wait times for referrals, and some patients may suffer for months or even years without proper physical and/or mental care.
Now add to that the general population’s lack of understanding of what people with chronic pain go through daily, and it’s no wonder we sometimes get PAINGRY.
And warning — unless you want to be on the receiving end of a paingry outburst, telling someone with chronic pain to soldier on is risking a poke at the paingry bear most of us try to keep caged. Putting one foot in front of the other does not fix this shit, especially when that first step results in severe hip pain.
Healthy living is hard work.
Yes, there are things we can do to reduce our stress and improve our pain responses. No, I’m not doing any of those things at the moment.
Exercise – nope.
Healthy eating – nope.
Meditation – nope.
Talk therapy – yes.
Medication – yes.
Listen, I know what I need to do to get where I want to be, but mentally, I’m not ready. And that’s OK. I’ve got time. I just wish I wasn’t so damn paingry with myself, because trust me, there’s no one harder on me than myself.
Yeah. The cycle is vicious, but I’m a paingry bitch, so no worries.
I’ve got this.
How about you? Seeing any increases in your paingry outbursts lately? Have any coping strategies or funny stories to share?
The known struggle of overwhelming apathy and sadness that comes with depression can disrupt someone’s life by persistently clouding them in negative thoughts. While we know this mental health issue cannot be solved solely by reading depression quotes or anxiety quotes, we know that connecting with others’ words and finding bits of positivity in your day contributes to lifting your spirit. Continue reading below to find some inspirational quotes for depression and anxiety that can hopefully incite a positive attitude or leave you feeling less alone.
Positive Quotes to Live By:
“Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.”
-Richard L. Evans
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
“In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”
“I think that little by little, I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
“Happiness comes as a result of conflict, resolution, and growth — as the result of having to work at something.”
“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.”
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”
“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.”
“In times of pain, when the future is too terrifying to contemplate and the past too painful to remember, I have learned to pay attention to right now. The precise moment I was in was always the only safe place for me.”
“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.”
“You can’t live the life you owe yourself without living it loudly, boldly, and without apology.”
“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.”
“You don’t just wake up one day and find that everything has worked itself out. You must get out of bed, morning after morning, and make a conscious effort to control the circumstances of that given day.”
“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day; that’s just the way it is!”
–Dita Von Teese
“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.”
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
“You are allowed to take your time to grow in your own beautiful way.”
Bible Quotes to Provoke Inner Tranquility:
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.”
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
“The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.”
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’”
“The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession.”
“But you, oh Lord, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.”
“I can do all things through him that strengthens me.”
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
“I will not abandon you as orphans–I will come to you.”
Inspiring Quotes that Enact Self-Love
“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”
-Roy T. Bennett
“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
“Even on your worst days, you are always worth love and respect. Don’t ever settle for anything less.”
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
“Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.”
“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you’ll tolerate.”
Hope Quotes to Soothe Your Anxiety & Inspire Positivity:
“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.”
“We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
-Alfred Lord Tennyson
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
”It’s always something, to know you’ve done the most you could. But, don’t leave off hoping, or it’s of no use doing anything. Hope, hope to the last.”
“Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.”
-Robert H. Schuller
“Hope fills the holes of my frustration in my heart.”
“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.”
-Robert Green Ingersoll
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teachings and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”
“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
-Roy T. Bennett
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’ No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful our experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
-Dalai Lama XIV
“Shoot for the moon; even if you fail, you’ll land among the stars.”
“Once you choose hope, anything is possible.”
“This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mental Health Quotes to Connect With
“Getting better from depression demands a lifelong commitment. I’ve made that commitment for my life’s sake and for the sake of those who love me.”
-Susan Polis Schutz
“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Don’t get frustrated with yourself over how long it’s taking you to heal. It might take months. It might take years. That is okay. Everyone’s timeline is different.”
“I’m tired of people telling me to ‘stop thinking negatively’ and to ‘just let it go’ and ‘stop trying to control everything’ because I can’t. People need to understand that anxiety is a mental health disorder, and it can’t just be turned off.”
“Keep yourself busy if you want to avoid depression. For me, inactivity is the enemy.”
“But emotional experience is as real and as valid as physical experience.”
“Recognize that even though you may feel like you aren’t doing anything, you are fighting an extraordinary battle, and it can be exhausting.”
“You are not your illness. You have an individual story to tell. You have a name, a history, a personality. Staying yourself is part of the battle.”
“I will accept any amount of monsters my mind wants to give to me, but I will not become a monster myself.”
“We must understand that sadness is an ocean, and sometimes we drown, while other days we are forced to swim.”
“We’re all damaged in our own way. Nobody’s perfect. I think we are all somewhat screwy, every single one of us.”
“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”
“Fear can paralyze you. Or it can fuel you. Let it do the latter, my friends. Good luck and keep at it.”
Motivational Quotes toGet You Through Hard Times:
“Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”
“Sometimes, you have to choose between planting roots or growing wings.”
“Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.”
-Leroy Satchel Paige
“Prosperity is a great teacher; adversity is greater. Possession pampers the mind; privation trains and strengthens it.”
“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”
“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
“I’ve learned that everything happens for a reason, every event has a why and all adversity teaches us a lesson… Never regret your past. Accept it as the teacher that it is.”
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”
“You’re going to be so glad that you kept going.”
“Yes, you can. End of story.”
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.”
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.”
“Sadness flies away on the wings of time.”
-Jean de La Fontaine
“Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”
“The best way to get rid of the pain is to feel the pain. And when you feel the pain and go beyond it, you’ll see there’s a very intense love that is wanting to awaken itself.”
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
“Rocks in my path, I keep them all. With them, I shall build my castle.”
“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”
“There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.”