I think we’ve focused too much on the negative aspects of depressed people. I think it’s time we focused on their superpowers.

I am one of the millions of depressed people in the world. If you’ve never been depressed, then good because I don’t wish this on my worst enemy, whoever that is.

Now, we recognize many of the negative traits of these people, including me, but maybe we’ve never thought about the positive aspects of depression. I’m guessing that would be a “no”.

In the journal PLoS ONE, Paul Andrews said,

“Depression has long been seen as nothing but a problem. Depression can be a necessary and beneficial adaptation to dealing with major, complex issues that defy understanding.”

What depression brings to the table

For the most part, depression appears to be debilitating. When symptoms strike, depressed people seem to shut down, become lazy, and even careless. But looks can be deceiving. There’s quite a bit of thought going on in that head, and it’s not all morbid thoughts of suicide either. Believe it or not, there are productive things happening too. Here are a few examples:

Details, descriptions, and recaps

Depressed people get quiet sometimes, for hours, for days or in extreme cases, for weeks. It seems like they have fallen into a pit of despair. This has made sense until now. Over time, a light has been shed on the darkness of depression. Apparently, being dark and down is not all that’s happening in the depressed mind.

I’ve been there, done that, and I shall do it all again. I am confident about that fact. When I am depressed, I don’t just wallow in self-pity, I actually mull over details of what happened to me before, what it means and what I can do about it for the future. I pay attention to the descriptions of things and people, and I think about the words they’ve said to me.

After a while, I can come away with a much better understanding of life. My dark moments allow me to examine things that others ignore.

Better at complex situations and tasks

A depressed person is not just sad, far from it. Yes, they suffer from the obstacle of having a mental disorder, but they have a superpower which includes being able to understand complicated matters and finish complex tasks. Because they have seen and experienced some of the most traumatic events in their lifetime. Many situations that perplex the ordinary Joe will seem a bit easier to those who deal with depression.

For example, only a depressed person can understand how it feels to be depressed, and so when dealing with others who suffer, it’s not such a daunting task. I personally have been able to connect with depressed people when others were clueless.

Shutting down

I guess only negative things come to mind when you see someone shutting down and spending time alone. To many people, this would call for intervention or reason to go into a panic. The secret is, the process of shutting down is much like a vehicles temperature gauge warning light. To prevent the engine from suffering serious damage, an automobile will shut down.

Now, with this being said, think about it. Sometimes when automobiles shut down, they are saved and can be awakened when gauges, fluids, and other aspects of the car have been brought back to normal. It’s a survival tactic and can certainly be seen as a superpower.

A time of rest

Closely related to shutting down is the depressed person’s tendency to sleep quite a bit. To many others, all this sleeping is seen as unhealthy, but really, it’s quite the opposite. Mental illness has the ability to drain both the mind and body, making those with depression, suffer from fatigue as well. A long rest may seem like wasting time, but it’s needed to rejuvenate the body.

Creativity is astounding

There have been many articles which talked about the creative abilities of the mentally ill. Depression, although filled with many negative connotations, is also known for producing some of the most beautiful paintings, poems, stories, and songs that have ever been created.

Some of the most notable artists, authors and musicians were depressed and used this to open up areas in themselves and explore what was living there.

Heightened discernment

Being depressed means having issues with various things such as trust, love, and understanding. Since most people experience a bit of anxiety with their depression, this can make these things much harder to deal with. But, with paranoia also comes a heightened discernment about people, places, and things.

Unlike others, depressed people are able to recognize negativity because they dwell in that feeling so much. They are keen of true actions and motivations, noticing when things lack consistency. Being depressed gives you the ability to see things for the dark truth, and then being able to turn away from unhealthy situations that show their true intentions, which are less than savory.

There’s always more than meets the eye

I am depressed, and sometimes greatly misunderstood. But it’s okay. By now, I am used to it. However, that’s not what’s important, now is it. Being depressed is not all good, let me clear that up, but to sit back and not utilize the good points of depression would be silly.

Although we may spend most of the time alone, even alone in our heads in crowds of people, we are not hopeless like we seem. Although we may say negative things, this doesn’t mean we lack positive aspirations. The truth is, we are just like anyone else. We just have different superpowers.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Don

    Well written. You separated the debilitating aspect from the advantageous quite nicely. It is still surprising to me that depression is probably the most common detrimental mental condition and at the same time, probably least understood. I would also guess possibly least tolerated by others. I use probably and possibly because I’m not sure, just seems that way.

    1. Sherrie

      Mental illness is misunderstood so much. Although it is quite hard to deal with, it does give us insight into areas of the human mind that otherwise, we might be oblivious.

  2. jo

    does this mean i can fly

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