Momentum, Goals & Mental Health

Momentum, Goals & Mental Illness

I’ll be blunt. Having goals and ambitions while living with mental illness fucking sucks. 

Every so often you get lulled into a false sense of security. You feel in control. That things are finally in place. You can do this. Depression, anxiety, and self-doubt feel like old memories.

So you make plans. Big, ambitious plans. You might announce these plans to friends or family, or even to a larger platform online.

Some time goes by and you’re busy, hustling day and night toward your Big Plan. You start building momentum. “I’m doing this,” you dare to think.

Then, it comes.

You wake up one morning with no energy. You feel off. In a funk. You aren’t alarmed at first; after all, you know everyone has bad days. You can handle it! You’ll just pick everything back up tomorrow.

Except you don’t. And one day becomes two, becomes three, becomes a week. Maybe even a month goes by.

Your routine is one of the first things to fall apart. You aren’t drinking enough water. You bring your phone to bed with you. You sleep in later each day, knowing that it will only create issues in the morning.

You have difficulty trusting yourself and your motivations. Is this what I really want? Can I believe my feelings? Or is this the depression talking? Do I really want to go to law school or is this a manic impulse?

Self-care turns into self indulgence.

You decline social invitations and are in your pajamas more. You eat out more. The TV seems to always be on.

And you haven’t touched your Big Plan in weeks. When you think about it, you experience a charge of guilt that takes three hours of Law & Order: SVU to forget about. So then you just stop thinking about it.

Mental illness looks different on everybody. And often, it can be managed. Dealt with. Endured. And other times… well, it crashes through the door and turns everything upside down, bringing your life to a screeching halt.

I’ve been dealing with this ebb and flow for as long as I can remember. But the bigger my goals get and the grander my vision becomes, the more destructive these episodes can be.

So, what does one do about it?

Frankly, I don’t know. If I had the answer, I wouldn’t be dealing with this anymore.

I do have some advice though.

It can be really fucking exhausting. And it is not fair at all. But you just have to hold on.

Take baths. Talk to someone. Hell, talk to me. Watch a Disney movie. Have a good cry. Really. Let it all out. Walk outside and get some fresh air. Do all of your laundry and then actually put all of your clothes away. Be gentle. Don’t run or hide from how you feel. Don’t try to stuff it down. Make a home-cooked meal. Write. Uninstall all social media apps. Take your time. Don’t force it. Don’t fake it. Just hold on.

Eventually, the energy will return. Your Big Plan will still be there. Or maybe this time it will be a better, New One. Either way, you’ll pick up momentum again. I promise.

I know I’m not the only one that deals with this, or something similar, so let’s start a real, frank discussion about mental health, societal expectations, and personal goals. Let me know about your struggles below in the comments, and don’t forget to share this post with others that can relate.


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Samantha Roberts is an artist and writer currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. She is a lover of foggy mornings, yin yoga, Bukowski, and The Cure.

  • rachael

    This is one of the best descriptions of depression I have ever read. You managed to make me feel as if you were inside my soul and were seeing through my eyes, because this is exactly how I feel. All of your advice..yes. Especially being gentle, even when the first impulse is to get angry with myself for not being able to control it. After many years of hating it, I can now actually say I am grateful for things it has brought me: deep sensitivity and compassion for others (and myself), and a creativity that seems to bloom when deep in it. Thank you for sharing xx

    • Samantha Roberts

      Wow, thank you so much for this comment. I am so happy to know this resonated with you. Sometime when I’m at my lowest, it really helps to know that our experiences really aren’t so different. We’re all in this together, doing the best we can. So, thank you.
      I am also so happy to hear that you’ve found blessings in the times of darkness. Empathy, compassion, creativity, self-knowledge – these are the beautiful, important gifts that hardship can bring us.


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