What If We Changed One Word?
What word am I talking about changing? Suffering.
The more I hear this word when it comes to suffering from depression and anxiety I keep asking myself the same question. What if we changed that word suffering to struggling?
The actual definition of suffering is a state of undergoing pain, distress or hardship. For me, when I hear the word suffering it feels almost like someone or something doing something to you and there is nothing that you can do about it. Something you have no control over.
However, what comes to mind when you think of struggling? Struggling is defined as having difficulty handling or coping with something. Something that you can overcome, that you can do something about.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am in no way downplaying depression or anxiety. I suffered with depression and anxiety for years, taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications and still feeling like there wasn’t anything I could do about it - I had no hope. Until, I started changing the word to something that I was struggling with.
Once the word is changed out, it’s surprising how it shifts into feeling like something that has hope of being managed and overcome. Let me be crystal clear - it is completely normal and human to struggle with things in life. That is real life. Think about it, we share some of our struggles everyday with others. We struggle with things like the our physical health, our difficult relationships and so on and so forth.
However, one thing that isn’t being shared - is that we are struggling with our mental health. You know how I can tell? Besides struggling with it myself for a long time in silence, roughly 80% of people that are struggling with depression don’t seek help. With an estimated 300 million people globally and every 1 in 5 Americans dealing with either depression and/or anxiety - that is a lot of people trying to deal with it alone.
Here’s the thing though - you aren’t alone. There are millions of people that are struggling just like you - they probably sit next to you at work. What if we changed the word from suffering from depression to instead struggling and opening up the conversation that keeps getting avoided. I know it can be scary to tell someone, anyone, that you are feeling depressed and lost, but trust me when I say it’s scarier to try to struggle with it alone.
The struggle is real, but one that can be managed and overcome. There is hope - but it starts by reaching out and starting those hard conversations. It will be worth it in the end - when you realize that you aren’t alone. We can battle this together, as the strong warriors that we are.
P.S. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety please reach out and talk to someone. If you feel that you don’t have anyone please consider the following resources:
You can reach out and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a great mobile app called Talkspace - you can actually have a chat conversation with a therapist
National Hopeline Network 1(800) 784-2433
National Suicide Prevention 1(800) 273-8255