It’s 2015. I see society as pretty progressive when it comes to recognising that not everyone is the same, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not even talking about something as simple as gender or sexuality here, or what our favourites foods are, or what kind mode of transport we use. I’m talking about disabilities. I’m talking about illness. I’m talking physical impairments. I’m talking about our perspectives on life. Not one person has the same experiences as another, and it makes me happy that there are so many resources out there for people to reach out to if they feel they’re not getting enough help.
But as much progression as we’ve made as a society, sometimes it isn’t enough for people. 1 in 4 people will suffer from depression at some point in their lives, a figure which is quite frightening when you think about it. Depression can be a devastating and debilitating illness, stopping your ability to work, socialise and continue with your life as normal. Although it may not be a recurrent form of mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for example, it can still have a major impact on your life.
So what steps can you take to accept yourself, whatever your circumstances may be?
Firstly, don’t let yourself be changed by negative outlooks. The world, especially the media, has a way of telling us that we’re not good enough as we are. Advertisements are pushed in our faces, telling us that are bodies aren’t good enough, that if we want to look perfect we have to buy this particular anti-wrinkle cream, that we should have the best hair, the best skin, the best of everything, and we don’t. Sometimes, what we have is enough. Don’t let someone else tell you that you’re not good enough, because you are.
Always be open to suggestion. You’re probably thinking, ‘But wait, didn’t you just tell me not to let myself be changed?’ Yes, I did. But I said don’t be changed by negative outlooks. There is always room to let in other people’s opinions, and other people’s views on life, as long as they accept your opinions and don’t disrespect your views. The fact is, we all change as we get older. We see life from different perspectives, we meet new people and realise that there is a larger world beyond the one that we knew. Don’t be afraid of change if it’s going to broaden your horizons.
Accept the circumstances that you’re in. Granted, this isn’t always a viable solution. If you have suffer from chronic pain, there’s not a lot I can say that won’t sound like something you’ve heard before, something patronising like ‘do more exercise’ or ‘stop being in pain now, please’. It’s as infuriating as asking someone who’s depressed why they’re sad when they’ve got so much in life to be happy about. But, but, but, hear me out. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t feel like they have literally no one to turn to. With the rise of Facebook, Tumblr and other social networking sites, as well as helplines for pretty much every form of illness or condition, we are surrounded by people who are there for us if we need them.
Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Much like my first point, the media is always banging on about ‘working hard’, and how it’s important to have ‘ambition’ to ‘get ahead in life’. These people have clearly never met someone who suffers every day from pain that is so excrutiating, even walking up a flight of stairs leaves them crushed. Or someone who has no means of family support and is working 12 hours a day to keep themselves fed and clothed. Some people just want to live without pushing themselves to the point where they break, and that’s OK. Not everyone wants to be in a position of power or prestige. It’s enough just to be.
So, there we have it. Just call me the fountain of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. I didn’t even charge.
I’ve probably not made everyone happy reading this, and there are probably things that I missed, or things that I didn’t touch upon enough, and for that I sincerely apologise. But my intent on doing this was to include everyone I could. That acceptance is for everyone, and that no one should feel bad for doing their best to get through