Winston Churchill was a remarkable man. He stood stubbornly, almost irrationally firm and resolute when it looked like all was lost and the enemy would be triumphant. He refused to consider surrender.
During some very dark days he said: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory – victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”
Churchill was speaking in the grim days of 1940, referring to the struggle against Nazi Germany, but his words could equally well refer to the battle with depression, another battle that he was intimately familiar with. He fought it throughout his life, referring to it as his “black dog”. It is to the great benefit of the world in general that he didn’t submit to it, but fought it as stubbornly as he fought against fascism.
Fighting depression is a struggle. It is painful. It is protracted. And it is necessary. It is necessary because, as Churchill said, if there is no victory, there is no survival. Depression will kill if it is allowed to.
It may seem trite to compare any one person’s personal struggle for mental wellbeing with the global fight against fascism. But anyone who has experienced the depths of despair, pain, and hopelessness that depression brings will be aware just how formidable a foe depression can be. There are times it seems hopeless, when the depression seems just too strong, times when it seems like it would be so much easier to just give in.
But don’t. Stand firm. Set your jaw. Look depression square in the face. And give it the two-finger salute just like old Winston did.