Often, there is a fear that surrounds people with depression and I’ve experienced it lately. As Sad Runner has started to grow many of my friends have reached out to me. More than a few have been thrown off by this website. They know the Adam with a smile who makes jokes and they expect a website I create to be along those lines. Between these rather raw essays and the links I’ve shared on social media related to mental health, well, I think I’ve scared a few people.
This website is about depression and anxiety so if you read this website you’re gonna see that quite a bit. It’s for people with depression, their friends, and their families.
My goal is to share what it is like to go through this so people who don’t have depression can try and understand it a bit more. I also want to encourage and motivate people with depression to not sit back and let it beat them. You can still create a life of meaning, of purpose, despite this crap illness.
That all being said, I understand ‘Bummer Adam’ has made a few people concerned.
Look depression is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition. However, you must know that people with depression can still have lives that are somewhat normal.
In that spirit below are five positive things you should know about me despite my depression:
1. I still have fun
Though I try to stay home and out of the world as much as possible I still go out and have fun. I still have people I enjoy spending time with. It happens a lot less now but I still enjoy hikes with my wife and lunches with friends.
Depression has taken so much from me but I still find a way to have fun on a regular basis. I’m also blessed in that I, for the most part, enjoy my work. I love design and marketing and I’m passionate about many of the projects I’m working on. That passion still burns deep under this depression so I am able to find some joy in life and still have fun.
2. I still laugh
For over 12 years Kristen and I have laughed together every single day. Even now she can still make me smile and we still share more laughs than most couples. Humor is a blessing and while it may not run as rampant as it used to I would still say we laugh a good amount.
Laughter is one of my greatest reliefs from depression. Every day I listen to comedy podcasts and watch my favorite tv shows and movies that make me laugh. I’m also a big standup comedy geek so I’m constantly looking for new comedians who crack me up.
Even on my most suicidal day I’ve still chuckled a couple times. If you’ve been worried about me please know that. And if you’re struggling with depression please work hard to find a way to laugh. It will help save you.
3. I’m still grateful
With the heart-breaking sadness, crushing anxiety and the resulting rage pulsing through my brain I’m relieved to say that I still have a very grateful heart.
My parents modeled that for me and I’m proud that I’ve grown up thankful for what I have and for those who surround me. I’m even prouder that I haven’t let depression take it from me. Many people can become bitter and resentful as life continues to beat them down. I’m very proud (and relieved) that I’ve held those emotions off for as long as I have.
Everything I have and everyone in my life is a gift. My desire is to always remember that and to remain forever grateful.
If you’re dealing with ungrateful feelings grab a piece of paper and start listing the things in your life that don’t suck. They don’t even have to be really good things. We’re going for progress, not perfection. Just list the things that don’t suck as bad as your depression and read them out loud regularly throughout the day. That will start to foster some gratitude in your heart.
4. I still have dreams
I’ve written about the nightmares and the visions that come from being depressed and suicidal. It’s important to note that I still have dreams and aspirations. I’m still very driven. A lot of my dreams have been pushed back in order to make room for this fight with depression but the dreams have not disappeared. In some cases, they are stronger than ever.
The fact is that I continue to hustle for those dreams daily. When my depression gives me insomnia I don’t lay around and suffer more. I turn it into work time. If I’m not completely crippled by the depression and having a terrible episode then I’m hustling. I’m working toward the dreams that have been placed in my heart.
Even though the course got tough all of a sudden the finish line hasn’t moved. Depression is a huge mountain I have to get over but I’m still running toward my goals.
5. I still like myself
In almost 32 years of life I can say that the last two have been the worst. Depression has knocked me on my back more times than I can count.
It may surprise you then to know that this is my favorite version of me. Mentally I’ve never been tougher and I’m working toward the best physical shape of my life. I have more patience with people than I ever have. In the same way, I’m able to give people more grace.
Social anxiety has left me so crippled that it is hard to look people in the eyes, even my wife. Despite that, it’s interesting that I’ve never been more confident in myself and who I am.
I’ve been better in some areas in the past but overall I feel I’m growing into the man I’m supposed to be and I am encouraged by that. I like myself more than I ever have. I finally have a better grasp of who I am.
The difficulty of my depression only fuels me. Let’s not forget that I’m the runner who, when it gets tougher and it starts to hurt, runs faster and harder. Do you think I would handle my life any differently?
I really like this version of me and depression doesn’t change that. In fact, the battle I have with depression has shaped me into the man I am. Don’t get me wrong, I hate this depression and I’m not ready to say it is worth it.
I’m just saying that for me, a man who spent most of his life hating himself, to like who he’s becoming is huge. Let’s not let the depression overshadow that. Not a lot of people can say that about themselves. The fact that I can say that while having visions of suicide is nothing short of a miracle. I’m very thankful for that. It’s a little light breaking through the dark forest I’m in.
Just like it is possible to have a life despite a physical disability it is possible to live with depression. Not every diagnosis must lead to suicide. Though every day is a day I fight my depression I can still laugh and have fun. I believe many people with depression can and are living like this.
My hope is that we can continue to prove it, erase the stigma, and all live more meaningful lives.
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The more people know about Sad Runner, the more we can share our message that a depression diagnosis does not have to be the end of the story.