I really am so sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling this week. I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of something I haven’t said in a while. I’ll keep it short, just a pure and simple truth.
You are not a failure.
I know you might not always believe this. There are times when I don’t believe it myself. But it’s true. I promise! You are not a failure. And yes, I will keep on saying it!
We all have our own internal struggles that we try to hide from the outside world. To pretend that they’re not real and that we are strong enough to combat them ourselves, but we can all get weighed down by them. To some extent, we can never know the depths of these struggles unless we open up and confide in someone. I live with stress, anxiety and depression. I’m much better at coping now than I used to be, but some days are still much tougher than others.
Living with any illness is hard. Illness not only afflicts your physical health, but it drains you of your mental fortitude. On our darkest days, we lack the motivation to guide our life in any direction. In the morning we wake up with no desire to do anything that day, and in the evening we hate ourselves for not having accomplished anything. The emotional strain of the day leaves us shattered. Keeping an emotional lie takes an incredible amount of energy. It’s understandable that we don’t feel a great deal better when we wake up the next morning because we know what is facing us.
But this is the point where we need to appreciate the qualities that we do possess: The determination to keep getting back up off the canvas after we’ve repeatedly been knocked to the floor.
I used to consider myself a failure. After all, for a time, that’s how I felt people thought about me after I failed my exams and didn’t go to university. But what I’ve since learnt is that my definition of success was wrong. Success cannot only be used to describe high achievement; it is also a measure of effort. Failure, to me, now, is putting in a lack of effort; it is not the end result.
Because I don’t say it often enough, I’ll write it here. You are all incredibly courageous for having the strength to speak out about your illnesses with such honesty and for trying to make a difference. I encourage you to continue to show bravery in the face of adversity. You are stronger than you could ever imagine.
My experiences with anxiety and depression have taught me that illness can make us all feel so incredibly alone, when in fact we’re not. Millions of people all around the world suffer from the same debilitating invisible illnesses, but we can’t always see that. We have not failed.
Let me know if any of you ever need anything, I’d be more than happy to lend an ear. As ever, please remember In Silence We Suffer.