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Struggle With, Not Victory Over

It’s tempting for anyone who writes about depression and anxiety to preach from hindsight, after he has “recovered” from his mood disorder: “This is what I did to free myself from addiction” … “Here are five steps to instant weight loss” … “These are eight techniques to cure anxiety.”

If you look at the list of New York Times bestseller advice books, such simple directives fill slots 1 through 20. Because no one wants to read the secrets of a person still struggling with her diet and exercise. After fifteen bloody weeks, she is still grossed out by sweat. Few people want to read a depression memoir that ends in a psych ward, with ECT.

Awhile back a friend sent me a great article called “Victory Over or Struggle With?” about the temptation for preachers to speak from a “victory over” perspective versus a more reflective, introspective “struggling with” point of view.

7 Comments to
Struggle With, Not Victory Over

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  1. So true. It’s easy to be pat – ‘this is how I beat depression’… but the reality is that it’s not something that (most) people get to put behind them forever after one bout.
    I may have beaten agoraphobia back with a big stick, and I’m very proud of myself for that – but the anxiety that caused it is there for life. It’s not like the flu, that you have and get over and it’s gone, more like diabetes that has to be lived with forever.

  2. I think it is quite all right to write on a particular subject when you are still in the valley. I think the key thing is how you tackle your problems. If you are tackling it positively, then despite the ongoing problems, the readers will feel your courage and strengh in overcoming your problems.

  3. Funny enough my own Blog is about my struggles with Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorder and so far what I have tried to do, is keep my story very much in the present, keep it relevant and painfully accurate and realistic.I have not run the battle, I am still fighting my demons and struggling with this illness and I hope this stands out and speaks to people more than anything else

  4. My first inspriation was from the book:
    “Making Friends with Cancer” by Dawn Nelson.

    Dawn desccribes how figthing cancer did not feel right- (better to read her words). She used the word struggle.

    When I had a cancer treatment I ordered her book and read as I recovered from surgery. Fighting my cancer would of looked like me punching myself in the face. Struggle was gaining control of the rt side of my face as the nerves recovered.

    Sucessful cancer treatment was shortly followed by a long struggle with depression.

    This struggle with depression is harder for me then my cancer treatment and surviorship.

    I did try fighting depression,denial, working harder and that took away any precious energy I may of had.

    Now after a few years of practice I am continuing to struggle with Rx’s and therapy.
    Life is struggle.

  5. When ever I read “Victory” stories it makes me feel more like a failure. I wonder what I’m missing, what I’m doing wrong that other people can succeed and I can not. So for me, it is far better to know that others are having the same struggles as I am, or at least similiar. It somehow puts a “normal” face on my experience. To know that I’m not the only one, which we all know depression is so skillful in isolating us making us feel like we are the only ones feeling this way.

  6. Hey Therese…good point…good article. There has never been articles of yours that I’ve not enjoyed, but being able to relate, and NOT relate, is what connects me to what you write. Even when I’m turning my head sideways trying to get a glimpse of what it’s like in your world or wishing that our coffee on Brown Street could happen so you can turn your head sideways at mine…it’s the “this is what sucks now” articles that are most uplifting. Strange.

  7. It out of self-consciousness, embassassment, and fear of failure. No one in my family knows that I am trying to get into Graduage School. Because, if they did know, and I was rejected, I would poorly handle them knowing and judging me.

    Imagine, though, how it could possibly change the outcome for the better if I declare my struggles, instead of hiding them under my sleeve.



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