At this point, I’ve learned so many powerful life lessons from depression. Even though it may seem like a warm fuzzy dark blanket, it’s not something you should take lightly.
I’ve suffered from depression for so long that I often let my guard down. I talk to my depression and sometimes see it as a strange little cynical friend. But I’ve learned that I should never trust these feelings of dark comfort.
Depression has teeth, and it slowly slips its jaws around your head and bites down.
The powerful lessons learned from depression
I’m sorry if I came across as dark. I make no jokes about this monster that pretends to be our friend. I’m just reminded of a coworker that once said,
“I like you better when you’re depressed than when you’re manic.”
You see, I have bipolar disorder, I say this to the people who don’t know me. I have both mania and depression. I struggle with them evenly, and it’s never a healthy state of being.
But here’s the thing.
Here’s what my coworker meant by that statement. She simply recognized that I was docile and kind when I was depressed, unlike my selfish demeanor while manic.
I’ve learned so much about these illnesses, especially depression. Here are life lessons I’ve learned from this quiet beast.
1. They won’t understand, and that’s okay
I’ve learned to stop trying so hard to make others understand how this feels. Instead, I write about it… quite a bit. People on the outside have a hard time deciphering the difference between sadness and depression, and because of this, they are handicapped to help properly.
Yes, they can offer kind words and be a friend. Honestly, these are good things to do. But as far as really understanding how depression works, they cannot seem to wrap their minds around the feeling.
So, instead of putting so much energy into explaining what’s happening, I put that energy into helping myself. And sometimes, that’s just taking a long nap.
2. You’re not alone
Having depression, or having any type of mental disorder, for that matter, can make you feel alone. I’ve learned that sharing your diagnosis with others can create this feeling of loneliness.
You see, often when you share that fact that you have depression, it’s stigmatized. You can see the judgment in the faces of the people you tell.
But I’ve also learned that if you feel the need to tell someone, it’s best to be prepared for whatever reaction you get. If you are prepared, this reaction will not affect you as badly.
Not everyone is going to act lovely and kind when you share things about yourself. Since so many people don’t understand depression, their expressions will reflect that.
3. Depression will not leave on its own
Living with depression means actively learning how to either heal or deal. You cannot wait around thinking that depression is just a phase because it’s not. Depression is an illness. It’s a bonafide sickness just like diabetes or high cholesterol.
So, if you want to get better, you must actively try. And yes, I know exactly how difficult that can be.
First, I would like to say that sleeping and resting are good ways to deal with depression. However, it’s not healthy to do this all the time. On some days, you must push yourself to do things. For instance, going outside, especially when it’s sunny, and just sitting on the porch, can help so much.
I’ve also learned that writing in a journal, talking to friends and loved ones, and being more active can also help. So basically, as horrible as depression can be, it doesn’t leave on its own.
4. This illness makes you thankful
Maybe you haven’t come to this place yet, but I found it a few years back. My depression brought me to a place of thankfulness.
Feeling this darkness helped me recognize the light around me. I learned to be thankful because something or someone you love could be here one day and gone the next.
Feeling depressed so much of the time put me in touch with those feelings and caused a desperate shift. I wanted to appreciate people more, and I wanted to make sure they were okay. Especially since depression could be lurking within anyone.
I learned to be thankful for life.
5. Forgiveness is important
This trauma may also come from domestic violence later in life. The trauma can come from many different sources, and most of the time, it’s attached to another human being. And we just won’t forgive them.
I’ve learned, however, that if you forgive people for their sins against you, light penetrates the darkness. And I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, right?
“Forgiveness is for me, not for them.”
It’s important to forgive, as it takes away our responsibility to hold others accountable for what they’ve done. Forgiving them says,
“I release you from this hate.”
And what it really says is,
“I set myself free.”
6. How to have depressed days
One truth about depression is that you’ll have super-challenging days. These will be days when you really want to give up. And it’s okay to talk about it to those who understand.
These days will come, but the good news is, so will the good days. I’ve learned how to successfully have depression days. Accept these days when they happen.
7. Thoughts aren’t tangible like me
The horrible thoughts you’re having, yes, I’ve had them too. They are tricks, but they have the potential to be dangerous. One of the most important ways of dealing with dark thoughts is to remind yourself that the negative voices are liars.
If you can silence those voices, you can get through the worst of it. Positive mantras tend to help. Keep little positive statements on notebooks close to you. Carry your notebooks with you when you go out.
Wear little bracelets with positive affirmations on them. Get creative with making it through to the other side.
The truth is: Depression sucks
I’m not here to downplay depression. It truly and officially sucks rocks. Hey, I’m trying to keep it PG-13 here. Anyway, the point is, what is life if we cannot learn from it? And part of that learning is gathering knowledge about ourselves and our circumstances.
And in that process, this learning provides us with help to make it through. Because let’s face it, everyone has their problems. And while there is quite a bit of judgment out there, there are also those who truly care.
Let’s help kill stigmas, be kind to each other, and spread the knowledge. Shall we?
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