Anyway: Paradoxical Commandments for the Depressed


depressionreflections.wordpress.comThe Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent Keith in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders. Since then they have made their way to lot of refrigerator doors, speeches, and articles. Mother Teresa hung them on the wall of her children’s home in Calcutta. Here are a few:

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Be good anyway.

Honesty and frankness will make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People need help but will attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.

I also wrote some commandments that I try to live by in those moments I feel completely disabled by depression in most categories of my life.

When I collapse in tears at the computer and want to quit writing, write anyway.

When I can’t find the energy to be a loving wife because I’m not sure why he stays, love him anyway.

When I can’t attend to the kids because the noise inside my head is so loud, be there for them anyway.

When I can’t reach out to friends, because I don’t want to pull anyone down, reach out anyway.

When I want to isolate for days on end, be around people anyway.

When I feel like I have absolutely nothing to offer to the world, offer something anyway.

When I shake and tremor, cry and stare, push away food and want to die, stay alive anyway.

When my legs feel like lead, and I can’t get out of bed, get up anyway.

When I’m stuck in the past, unable to move beyond yesterday’s pain, look to tomorrow anyway.

When I feel incapable of doing anything good, believe in yourself anyway.

When I know it won’t get better and I’ll feel this way forever, hope anyway.

Posted originally on Sanity Break at


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Therese Borchard
I am a writer and chaplain trying to live a simple life in Annapolis, Maryland.

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4 Responses
  1. Theresa Hron

    So often depression is mistaken for physical ailments……especially fatigue. I know I live this life myself. I honestly feel some days I could stay in bed 24/7 but I know I would never forgive myself and I simply cannot do that to the ones I love. I’ve often wondered how some people just seem to roll with the punches and get along everyday and look forward to things when sometimes moving forward is the most painful of things to me. I was never good at change of any kind; it got me out of a comfort zone. What helps is knowing you are not alone in this affliction and also not identifying with it……not letting it control who you are.

  2. Therese – Very meaningful and insightful post. Thanks so much for sharing it. I’m a long time depression sufferer. My depression doesn’t respond all that well to meds, either. Anyhow, I’ve been doing a little bit of “opposite action” lately. For example, if I feel like staying in bed until noon because I’m depressed – I do the opposite and get up shortly after I wake up. If I don’t feel like answering the phone or the door because I’m depressed – I do it anyway. This little trick seems to work and gets me going. It’s not 100 % fool proof, of course, and nothing is, but I do find it helpful often times. Thanks again.