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

Much of our depression comes from past trauma. We grab hold of those negative events, and this cloud grows within us. This past trauma comes from being abused or neglected as children.

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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the power of misfits

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Eddie

    A wise man once taught that life is a desperate search for god! This was discovered by the Alcoholic Anonymous as well. Their program is based on realizing that only taking refuge in god can help them climb out of their misery, let god and let go!
    Dale Carnegie quotes that its almost impossible to be afflicted by mental illness for a person with deep religious beliefs.
    It is not as simple as he writes though. Knowing, believing and trusting in the creator, is hard work. It takes years of study and practice and sacrifice.
    Here is what is involved mentioned in Proverbs:
    “If you truly call out to insight
    and lift your voice to understanding,
    If you seek it like silver
    and search it out like hidden treasure,
    then you will discern the fear of the lord
    and discover the knowledge of God.”
    Doesn’t sound easy does it?! I know because I have been wrestling with it all my life!
    For the rest of us, who have a life and are too busy to be “Silver Mining” there are still basic benefits in trusting in and asking for help from your higher power while we go about chasing our human goals and aspirations. Good hunting!

  2. Suji

    Thank you so much Sherrie Hurd. I love this post and it has helped me understand certain things about myself. Please continue posting your awesome posts. Thank you!

  3. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Suji,
    Thank you for reading. I am glad this helped you get to know more about yourself. Be well.

  4. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

    Eddie,

    Nothing is easy, Eddie. I saw a quote today about how most of our lives are actually Plan Bs instead of what we meant to achieve. Life was never promised to be fair, nor was it promised to be easy. Yes, I will keep searching and mostly, just for a little peace of mind. Thank you for reading. I hope you are well.

  5. Eddie

    Thank you Sherrie. Sadly you are right, we tend to put off living by saying I will when… while life flies by…
    I learned that when I was a teenager but sadly never internalized it and basically ignored it!
    Lets hope for the best!

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Yes, let’s hope and never lose hope.

  6. Felix Bathke

    Hello Everyone,
    if you are suffering from major depression it is absolutely crucial that you change your diet. Cut carbs drastically – especially everything made with flour and eat vegetable salad, nuts and seeds only for a few months. Or at least declare this as goal. And try eating only once or twice a day. It will feel very good. It will change things very quickly. If you can, take ice baths and do breathing exercises every other day. Start meditating rigorously after you changed your diet, then it will actually work.
    my two cents. Suffered from depression for 20 years and had PTSD. A major part of the terror stems from the energy you put and have in your body even -just in case- if you cant grasp it and think it is mainly psychological or for traumatic reasons.
    greets
    nice homepage btw
    Felix

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      You can credit Anna, for that homepage. It is hers. She’s a gifted and creative person.

      Yes, nutrition is directly related to mood. It’s just difficult sometimes for many people to get the foods and various vitamins that they need. Carbs are cheaper, and it angers me that this affects both the body and mind. Oh, I love my carbs, but I eat veggies too, and so, I am working on it.

      thank you for reading, Felix.

  7. Ibraheem

    You said in your article ” I talk to my depression “. That means its a voice in your head, correct? That’s exactly what happens to me!! Its like my worst enemy snuck up into my mind and is now trying to do all he can to make my life miserable, by suggesting such obscene and evil things that its a constant battle everyday just to get to get him to shut up for 2 minutes.

    1. Sherrie Hurd, A.A.

      Yep, but we are stronger than something that tries to live in our heads. We have the power to overcome that. Oh, it gets hard, but I keep pushing through. I keep telling that negative voice that it’s a liar. Because it is a liar. You are worthy, beautiful, and precious. As we all are.

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