Everyone needs something or someone to keep them going. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a mental illness or if you’re perfectly healthy. We all need something to spur us, someone to cheer us on. There’s no one right answer for what that motivation could or should be. I have a few.
Emma. That sweet little ball of silliness and fur just makes me happy. She literally makes me get up in the morning. She has to be walked and fed. She wants to love me as much as I want to love her. I cannot imagine going through this nightmare of depression without her. She has made me laugh out loud every single day for the past 11 months. She doesn’t tell me what I should do or sulk because I don’t think what she thinks. She is unconditional love and a reason to get up every day.
Friends. You don’t need a lot of them, but you need good ones. I’m blessed to have quite a few wonderful friends. I have friends who live nearby who have stepped in physically when it was needed. I have a friend whom I’ve never met in person but I can count her to always encourage and pray for me. I call her my Barnabas. I have people that I only know through the internet and while I have met some in person, even the ones I haven’t have had as big an impact on life as the ones I have. I have friends I’ve known my entire life who now live on the other side of the continent from me but I know that they love me and will help in any way I can.
My church. I truly believe that the love of Christ is best seen in action rather than spoken in words. Too many times people have claimed to be Christians while acting nothing like Christ. I have found a church family that puts hands and feet to the Word of God. They have cared for me and supported me when it was needed. They provide me with opportunites to do the same for others. Being able to reach out and help others is sometimes as healing as being ministered to yourself.
Why is it so important to have something or someone to encourage you to move through each day when you’re fighting depression? Because it will eat you alive. I have days where I truly would just stay in bed all day and accomplish nothing because I have no energy or interest in the outside world. I could completely shut myself off because I am, by nature a rather solitary person when left to my own devices. While the quiet time needed to recharge as an introvert is necessary, it can be detrimental. I need that tiny little dog of mine to make me get up and move. I need to know that I have friends and family who care and reach out through text or Facebook to make sure that I’m okay. I need to know that I have classes and studies and bell choir at church to make me get out of the house. As Birdie’s mom said in Hope Floats, I need something to blow the stink off of me.
That’s why it’s important to have a reason to keep going. The ones that keep me going are the ones that will be affected if I don’t. Every person that reaches out to you because they care will be hurt if you give up. Every animal that counts on you and furnishes you with unconditional love would be devastated if you didn’t keep going. That’s the thing about life; the very ones you need are the ones who need you as well. Don’t give up on them or yourself. Keep going.