I tell myself, ‘I must go on.’ But why?


Doesn’t matter what’s cookin’ – anorexia, borderline personality disorder, PTSD, depression. When we’re feeling our worst, life often comes down to declaring “I must go on.” Seriously, though – why “must we go on?” Let’s do some diggin’ here. Even tossed-in one of my poems to lend a hand.

I mean, do we make the declaration because that’s just what folks do when they sense no other option ‘amid the rain?’ Or maybe we turn to ‘I must go on.’ to veil our hopelessness…

Take a look at the image. Study it for a moment. Notice the tension in the hand, fingers, and wrist. Look at the worn fingernails. It’s an all-out clenching for survival, don’t you think?

Is that how “life” is for you?

Perhaps when you awaken each and every morning – and the reality of another day in paradise sinks in – you gather enough breath and verbally remind yourself – “I must go on.”

And maybe that’s becoming more and more difficult to do.

That Poem I Promised

I was in the midst of such “paradise” some years ago. And as I was considering my misery I came up with this poem. I wonder if it’s a fit for you…

I’ll Try Again

Whenever life is hurt and pain
Vision’s blurred by bitter rain
It seems all hope is surely gone
I tell myself
I must go on

At times I feel such deep despair
The burden more than I can bear
I can’t see past another day
But still I must prepare the way

In times of doubt and fainting heart
When from this world I’d choose to part
I know not what the answers are
I must believe they’re not too far

Whenever life is bitter bleak
Before I take the grand defeat
I’ll rise once more amid the rain
And swear to all
I’ll try

So what do you think? Did it ring true?

“But Why?”

Okay, in the face of the ultimate struggle we manage to come up with the infamous (cliché?) “I must go on.” But why (must we go on)?

I mean, do we make the declaration because that’s just what folks do when they sense no other option “amid the rain?” Or maybe we turn to “I must go on” to veil our hopelessness, that which we can’t bring ourselves to face. I mean, I hear it all the time…

  • “I’d go ahead and end it, Bill, but I can’t do that to my children.”
  • “I really want to die, but I don’t want to go to hell.”

Tough statements to read – and write. Real-world, nonetheless.

Making It Count

So think about it. What’s really behind “I must go on?” And if we’re unable to come up with an answer, perhaps it’s time to roll-up our sleeves and do what it takes to make the declaration count.

If we don’t (won’t), the words are nothing more than a shallow alternative to the grand adios.

For those who choose to make the declaration count, there are all sorts of options. However, for my money the best place to start is finding and nurturing a life purpose – mission.

What better time to accomplish the necessary than when life is “bitter bleak?”

To get the ball rolling, I’m recommending your read a piece I wrote several years ago – What Is the Meaning of Life? I’m Living with Depression and Anxiety! Take your time with it, and take it to heart, okay?

Know what, though? You don’t have to follow my recommendation. I mean, maybe something else will do it for you. All I’m saying is, if you’re going to declare “I must go on,” make it count by backing it with forward-motion substance. You can do it!

That’ll Be That

Once more, it doesn’t matter what misery is at play in your life – PTSD, anorexia, borderline personality disorder, a bipolar spectrum disorder, schizophrenia. Many of us get to the point where our only response to our tired circumstances is “I must go on.”

But before making the declaration, let’s pause and ask ourselves why, and back it with substance – guts. See, it’s about personal responsibility and accountability. Things that come in handy when circumstances run lean.

And that’s the name of that tune.

Having trouble coming up with reasons to go on? You may want to consider a consultation or a coaching/mentoring relationship.

Not ready yet? Plenty of helpful Chipur articles to get you through.

  • Cathy | Treatment Talk January 14, 2015, 3:21 pm

    Hey Bill, This is an awesome piece. The idea of just going on is never enough. Learning, growing through the process can make the difference of continuing the cycle that doesn’t work or making lasting change. For me small steps, one at a time helped me go on when I was at my lowest. There can be light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for pointing us in the right direction!

    • Chipur January 14, 2015, 7:10 pm

      Appreciate your visit, participation, and kind words. Always good to see you, Cathy.

      Yeah, the declaration isn’t good enough. Certainly it’s necessary when times get tough; however, we have to make sure we can make it count – back it. Otherwise, it’s a shallow statement. And, absolutely, taking those “small steps” is so important. Always a light at the end of the tunnel – I’d say.

      Peace, Cathy – and come on back…

  • npeden January 14, 2015, 8:38 pm

    Sweet post, Bill, as dark as it is. As a Buddhist I might say that True Nature motivates me. The trees, the grass and all of nature know their true nature and do whatever it is their bodies tell them. What gives me meaning also is getting well and unlike my violent family, embracing compassion. The preciousness of humans and their suff7ering motivates me. I took care of my mom. I guess the habit of caring has stuck with me. My heart goes out to those who suffer.

    • Chipur January 14, 2015, 9:57 pm

      Is a bit “black” (as in “dog”), isn’t it, Nancy?! Well, ain’t always sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows on our side of the fence, right? You definitely have the idea. You’re using all you mentioned to back your declaration, “I must go on.” You’re making it count beyond just expression. And that’s where I’m going here. My heart goes out to those who suffer, as well. We sure as heck know how it feels.

      Your contributions are always so valuable, Nancy. And appreciated…

  • Lisa Frederiksen | BreakingThe January 16, 2015, 2:20 pm

    SUCH a powerful poem, Bill – this whole piece, actually, as well as the one you linked, “What Is the Meaning of LIfe…”. A lot of food for thought and two that I’m going to sit with for awhile, as well as share. To your point of finding, nurturing a life’s purpose, a mission – it’s so important we not judge ours by someone else’s standards.

    • Chipur January 16, 2015, 3:26 pm

      Hey, thanks, Lisa. And thank you for your visit and contribution. Glad you took the time to check-out the linked article. It has so much important info for those in search of life’s meaning/purpose. I feel very strongly about making sure our expressions of angst contain substance. Because it’s the substance that will drive us to relief, not the mere statement itself.
      Appreciate your loyal readership, Lisa…

  • BarbCat February 12, 2015, 8:10 pm

    Love the poem! I truly believe that, for me, what keeps me going on is hope. And much of the time I don’t have it. I’m learning to force myself to have hope, take the leap into faith and to trust that even if I fake it till I make it, the faking is better than walking down the path of despair. I believe that the coherent power and vibration (the Force) that uplifts us and creates life is stronger than the scattered power of fear and death. I think of the coherent power that entrains chaotic pendulums to beat as one. I have to believe that the smooth sine waves of health and wellbeing are more powerful than the spikey scattered sine waves of fear and will overcome my fear and entrain my brain towards love.

    • Chipur February 13, 2015, 10:59 am

      “Fake it till I make it.” There’s a lot to that, BC – ’cause it sure as heck beats falling by the wayside. I remember the days when blind faith was all I had to hold on to. And I say “blind” because I truly had zippo to base it on. But, then, I guess that’s the essence of faith – believing sans seeing – understanding.

      Really glad you came upon Chipur, BarbCat. Even more pleased that you contribute. Please know that even though they may not comment, many will read and be helped by your input. Thank you for that…


      • BarbCat February 13, 2015, 5:36 pm

        This board has been very inspiring and when I feel lonely and totally misunderstood, I know I can come here and feel uplifted and be given new and valuable tools and insights. BTW, the piece you had on S.A.I.L. has helped me oh so much.

        Where can I read about your story, Bill? Seems you’ve done a walkabout in Hell but came out shining. Where can I read about that?

      • Chipur February 13, 2015, 6:48 pm

        Tell ya’ what, BC. I’ve included a case history in an ebook I’m dusting-up for a spring availability thing. I’ll copy and paste it into a doc and email it to you. Won’t be ’til next week, though. Cool?

      • BarbCat February 13, 2015, 7:24 pm

        Cool. I devour books about people who have had it bad and somehow rose above it to live a productive enjoyable life, as it seems you have.