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When the depression comes in waves.



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Because, likely, it will. 

There may be one day when you are standing tall and feeling invincible only to be met with a wave of sadness the next day, tempting to knock you down and start you back at the beginning of this mental health road you’re walking on.

But here’s the thing: even a small setback does not place you at the beginning. These waves of depression don’t discount what you’ve already learned along the way. They might seem big and they might feel like they’re taking over and pulling you under but thats all they really are: a feeling that you are completely capable of overcoming. 

On the day Depression knocks once and then twice on the door, accept its presence and just repeat to yourself, this is temporary. This is a slight patch of roadwork on a road that’s leading somewhere good. 

What do you do when you encounter roadwork on the highway? 

You move around it. 

You follow the detour.

You slow down until you pass through it.

Roadwork is never an indicator that you must give up, or turn off the car, or pull off the road and reroute the map. You are still going to keep moving forward even if a patch of roadwork shows up in your story. 

Now here is where I will warn you: the lies will be loud. Oh, they’ll be merciless. They will do everything in their power to stop you from moving forward.

You’re not strong enough.

You’re not good enough.

Oh, look. You’re back where you started.

You’re in this pit again.

The lies are only loud because they know that’s the only chance they have to stop you in your tracks. They know they cannot literally stop you if you find the will to keep moving, all they can do is taunt you from the sidelines. All they can do is hope to make you believe them. But one day soon, you and I are going to see those lies for the pathetic pieces of folklore they really are. If you can move past them, and you can decide to not stop and listen to them, you will become unstoppable. This much I can promise you. 

I was talking with a friend today who has encountered a patch of roadwork. At a time where she thought she was going to be standing on the mountaintop, all the cones and orange signs started sprouting up on the roadside. 

Her first question was “why?”

But “why” isn’t a question you can always answer when it comes to depression. Sometimes you will be doing all the right things— exercising, staying surrounded, getting the right foods in, taking your medication— and still this wave of depression will show up out of nowhere. 

The better question is “how?”

How do we move through this? 

How do we slow down and give more grace? 

How do we count the victories when the feelings are gone? 

How do we remain and endure when hope feels like it ran out the back door? 

Simple but hard: we recalculate. 

We accept that today or this week might be a slower week. Less hustle, more “do what feels right.” 

We accept that these days happen. These spots of roadwork show up. Less “how the heck did I get here,” more “Okay, I’m here… now what?” 

We accept we cannot navigate these lonely roads alone so we invite others in. Through text. Through voice memos. Through getting out of the house. Less isolation, more community. 

We accept the care we must give to ourselves in the forms of naps and cups of tea and good books and warm blankets. Less self-condemnation, more comfort for the rocky road we walk.

We accept the roadwork as something unplanned but temporary and we decide to move on through it. Less doubt, more resilience. 

I cannot tell you how and when and why the depression will come in waves. I can only say that if you know how depression feels— if you’ve walked the road before— then don’t be surprised if it comes knocking a few times without bothering to call in advance.

Sometimes there are no warning signs, it just happens.

On those days, don’t pull off to the side of the road or give up on yourself. Be kind. Be more delicate. Put your flashers on and slow the pace. Take it inch by inch, mile by mile. 

Roadwork happens. It’s to be expected. But when the signs are packed up and the cones are put away and the work is done, all that will be left is a road with less potholes, paved with precision. It will be a smoother road that others will travel down because you took the time to navigate through it while it was still under construction. 



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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!


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