Quick Tip: Kickin’ But

“Forget what we became, focus on what we’re capable of becoming.” – Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

“How are you doing?”

Some days that’s a question no depressed person wants to face. “Pretty fine” or “I’m living” are safe enough answers to satisfy the inquirer while avoiding the cloud above your head. But next time someone asks you that dauntingly open-ended question, I have an answer you can borrow. I think you should respond, “I’m kickin’ but.”

Years ago a good friend called me out. We had many conversations in which I seemed to circle endlessly in my own despair like a blind dog making his bed. He and I would discuss my depression and anxiety, make progress, then, starting to glimpse some positivity and light, I’d retreat and say that dark and useless word. But. We’d swing a U-turn back to where we started and end up accomplishing nothing but frustration.

Habitually using such a word in conversation is like running on a treadmill; even though you’re moving, you’re not going anywhere. My friend pointed this out to me and, by challenging me to kick the habit, helped me to start making positive, forward-moving progress.

I often used but to avoid difficult yet important steps towards healthier living. A typical conversation between me and my friend might have looked like this:

“How are you doing?”

“Not good. Pretty awful actually…blah, blah, blah.”

“What can you do to change your circumstances or your approach to them?”

“I could go for a run, meditate, challenge my perspective, read or write but I don’t feel like doing any of that…but those things are difficult…but I can’t do them for whatever reason because, honestly, I’m not good. Pretty awful actually…blah, blah, blah.”

If you go back and read the dialogue again omitting the word on trial and everything that comes after, you’ll get the sense the conversation can move forward healthily. Seriously, go back and read. Using the word kept me stuck in the same spot I started in.

You should kick but in the butt and let progress begin. It’s okay to be okay. Don’t get stuck in negativity by circling around that stupid word. You don’t need to say it. You don’t need to turn back. Focus on moving forward. Dad joke alert: What’s the only thing that comes after a “but”? Poop. And nobody wants that stink. So next time someone asks you how you’re doing, look at them so fiercely they want to apologize and say, “I’m kickin’ but!”

Have a Quick Tip idea? What’s something simple that has helped you in battling mental illness? Tweet me @DaddingDepressd or leave a comment below!


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