Try Harder, Push Through, Fake It

tryharderStumbling through the day. Depression’s darkness bleeding into daylight. Try harder.

A monster project for work. The weariness seeps to the bone. Push through.

A genuine smile is miles away. But it’s time for church. Fake it till you make it.

[Insert your choice of expletive communicating disdain and scorn.]

Sometimes you have to dig in and fight forward, teeth gritted. But not always. There’s a place for retreat, for saying “I just can’t,” for letting the darkness show on the outside.

At heart, I have always been a coper, I’ve mostly been able to walk around with my wounds safely hidden, and I’ve always stored up my deep depressive episodes for the weeks off when there was time to have an abbreviated version of a complete breakdown.  ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

It’s not a cop out. It’s living in reality. It’s acknowledging that what’s invisible has value. Because sometimes you can’t make progress until you sit down and catch your breath.

Pretending to feel good may be necessary for a minute or an hour, but avoidance long term. Pushing forward may set you back. And we all know that the harder we try to fall asleep the more impossible rest becomes (as I write this at 3:30 am).

When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost…and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore. ― Elizabeth Gilbert

There are no nice answers. But please don’t fake it too much. Don’t push too much. There’s a difference between wallowing in depression and acknowledging to yourself and others that now is not a good time.

So you don’t feel ready to conquer the world like you did last week. It’s okay. World conquering takes time; it’s a fine art. So those first signs of depression are returning. You see them. That’s good. Draw in your support system.

So you feel like you’ll always be the broken one, the one who everyone tolerates because she never gets well.

Whether they realize it or not, just by staying alive you prove them wrong. Fight when it’s wise, retreat when it’s best to, and when you can’t say “thank you” to your supporter, squeeze their hand.


2 thoughts on “Try Harder, Push Through, Fake It

  1. I’m glad to have found your writing again, Natalie. This post reminds me of all the post-partum struggles. Showing up at church where at least 50% of the women have gone through it but not shed a tear in public, so you think you’re the only one to have hysterical crying fits as a new mother. One day another new mother said quietly “do you cry?” and I said “YES! very hard.” It is so comforting but tragic at the same time to think of us all suffering privately.


    • Elizabeth,
      Sorry for not responding sooner–I’d blame the amnesia but I must have just somehow thought I replied and didn’t realize otherwise until today when I was sorting. What you said about “so comforting but tragic” is true to my experience. It’s not that we want others to suffer, but just the knowledge that others do will somehow mysteriously make our own pain a bit easier to tolerate.


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