You are not a failure

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 ownΒ 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.


28 Comments Add yours

  1. I absolutely LOVE this post, Matt! It might just be your best yet! So many times I feel like a failure but then I realize that as long as I keep trying my hardest and never give up, that I’m not one. We have to remember that, like you said, we are stronger than our struggles. This is an excellently written post and I appreciate you sharing your kindness and wisdom! You are doing your readers a great service!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Aww thank you so much B!! That’s so good to hear! It’s a post I’ve been trying to write for a while and today just felt like the day! πŸ™‚ That is exactly the point that I’m trying to get across. It’s not about the end result, it’s putting in 100%. Thanks B, you’ve really made my day! πŸ™‚

      1. I agree with you full heartedly!

  2. Reblogged this on Getting Through Anxiety and commented:
    Please, please, please read this amazing post by Matt. He shares with us the inspiring truth that we are not failures if we promise never to give up!

  3. Bibliophile says:

    This post is one of the best ones I have ever read yet. ☺

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you so much for that lovely comment!! I’m so pleased it has had such a positive reaction! πŸ™‚

  4. DaisyWillows says:

    I am so glad gettingthtoughanxiety re blogged this. You say everything that most of us wish we could put into words. Great words πŸ™‚

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you Daisy, yes it was very kind of her to think it worthy of a reblog! I hope that this can provide reassurance for those going through a tough day. Thanks πŸ™‚

  5. Wow, it sounds like these are words that have been just waiting for the right time to emerge. It’s really powerful! Once you can take a message that you’ve learned for yourself–that “I am not a failure”–and share that message with others, then you have really succeeded. Congrats on a great post!!

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you that means so much to me! πŸ™‚ yes I suppose I had been waiting a while for these words, so pleased when they finally came to me. I couldn’t agree more, self-taught messages are always the best. I hope you’re doing well?

      1. Thanks Matt (Matt, right? I saw BG use your name πŸ˜€ ) I am doing pretty well. Having some of my own career musings that I’m anxious to type out and share. It’s not easy to be a young person figuring out what to do with your life! I hope you’re well? You are at least making awesome breakthroughs in your thinking and writing πŸ™‚

      2. M_McKeen says:

        Ha that’s right πŸ™‚ what’s your name? I know your thoughts all too well! As a young person growing up I feel like so much is expected of me. There’s a lot of pressure, but what we don’t realise is that sometimes it’s ok to be wrong. Other than a fear of that I’m doing ok at the moment. Thank you! I could say the same about you, you’ve written some fantastic posts recently! πŸ™‚

      3. My name is Jenna πŸ™‚ Sometimes I sign my posts with my name but I don’t think it’s always obvious. Haha. It’s nice to have a name to attach the thoughts to…and I’ll work on getting a face to attach the thoughts to, as well. Haven’t uploaded a picture of myself yet but I’d like to at some point, makes it more personable πŸ™‚

      4. M_McKeen says:

        ha yeah I realised as soon as I asked, you signed it at the bottom of one of your posts! πŸ™‚ yes that’s a nice idea, I didn’t at first either, but I toyed with the idea for a while. Thought it would go well with my aims of achieving openness and honesty on my blog πŸ™‚ That’s true too, it let’s you picture the person you’re talking to rather than just a computer screen πŸ˜‰

  6. Kristina Cox says:

    This is so incredible! Thank you so much for sharing ❀

    1. M_McKeen says:

      You’re very welcome, thank you for commenting. It’s always lovely to hear what people think! Thanks for the nomination too, I’ll make a start on that tonight! πŸ™‚

      1. Kristina Cox says:

        Cool! And you deserve it my friend!

      2. M_McKeen says:

        I posted my response btw, should be my last post on my blog! Hope you’re doing alright? πŸ™‚

      3. Kristina Cox says:

        last post on your blog?

  7. Gabriela says:

    You express yourself so amazingly. I love your writing! (As you may already know hehe).

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Haha thank you Gabriela, your words mean so much to me! πŸ™‚

  8. bagofnerveslady says:

    Such a beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you Sheilagh, I’m so pleased you liked it! πŸ™‚ How’ve you been recently?

      1. bagofnerveslady says:

        It was just so eloquently put and so relevant to me right now. The past few weeks have been tough, I had a bit of a lapse. But I am doing better now. How about you? πŸ™‚

      2. M_McKeen says:

        I’m sorry to read about that on your blog, but it sounds like you have the strength to make a difference. You’ve realised that only you have the power to change things which is a big step. I hope things improve for you! I’m doing ok thanks, still just taking it day by day. If you ever feel the need to talk to someone I’m more than happy to listen, my email is I know how beneficial it can be to talk to someone who goes through similar experiences πŸ™‚

      3. bagofnerveslady says:

        Aw thanks Matt. πŸ™‚ And my email is

      4. M_McKeen says:

        Thanks Sheilagh! πŸ™‚

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