There are lessons to be learned in everything life throws your way and as brutal a teacher as depression may be, it is a powerful one.
Never in the history of this planet have rates of depression been so high.
Whether we are talking about clinical depression or situational depression it doesn’t matter. The number of people depressed today is simply staggering.
If you are dealing with mental health issues it is critical to remain aware that you are not “broken” or “alone”.
You are not a mistake or a failure and you certainly aren’t useless.
Depression comes with a huge learning curve. If you are new to this experience it may feel like you are running around in circles.
I personally struggled with depression for many years and I am finally standing where many of you wish to be.
Hindsight has provided me with some massive life lessons which I wish I knew in the midst of my turmoil. Hopefully by sharing them with you, you will find some peace of mind.
Perhaps you can learn a thing or two yourself.
Lessons To Be Learned From Depression:
Depression Is Addicting
Admit it…Sometimes it feels good to feel sorry for yourself.
When we are depressed self pity is the easiest way out and likely the path we most often walk.
It is much easier to throw in the towel than it is to create a game plan to overcome our issues.
Depression does more than steal our happiness, it steals our motivation along with it.
With our lack of motivation and our accumulation of self pity, many times we wouldn’t act on a game plan even if we had taken the time to make one.
It took many years and hardships to come to the conclusion my self pity was only perpetuating my struggles.
Self pity overwhelmed me with the question “why me” which dramatically overshadowed the better question “what can I do about it”.
Entertaining the question “why me” leads to further detrimental behaviors such as unhealthy eating, excessive alcohol or narcotic consumption, or in more extreme cases suicide.
Poor lifestyle choices make for poor mental health and now we find ourselves in a continuous cycle which we find extremely hard to break.
The only way we can break this cycle is by beginning to swim upstream.
It is going to take a whole lot of effort to get the ball rolling, but when it does, you will never look back.
Always remember the effort it takes to live life while depressed isn’t easier than the effort it takes to get better.
Without The Dark There Is No Light
It is always darkest before the dawn – Batman
You can never really appreciate something until you know what it is like to live without it.
Most people live their entire life feeling ‘normal’ and yet most people will never take the time to appreciate just how great feeling normal really is.
For those of us that have been through the grips of depression or anxiety, ‘normal’ is a pretty awesome feeling.
When we are stable a simple rainy day can be enjoyable.
I have learned to appreciate everyday normal life far more than I ever could have if I hadn’t faced my uncomfortable past.
To me the little things are great now and the great things are phenomenal!
Furthermore, I have come to learn that uncomfortable can be a good thing in the long term. It is discomfort that brings personal growth and immediate comfort that leads to complacency.
Years of depression have matured me as a man far beyond what I would have achieved without it.
When you emerge from your own struggles you will realize the same to be true. Your perceived weaknesses are strengthening you far beyond your current awareness.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. – James 1:2-4
Finding Support Is Crucial
The people who raise you up when you are down and out are more valuable than anything else in the world.
When I was depressed and anxious I took every possible measure to make sure nobody knew about my situation.
I was embarrassed and reserved and I feared if I told my friends about my issues that they would view me as weird or damaged.
Keeping my problems to myself never allowed me to experience the positive power of support and instead filled me with loneliness.
For many, feeling this way can lead to further depression or even addiction.
When you finally begin to open up about your situation some amazing things happen. A few people may judge you but you will find out who your real friends are.
Your real friends will be there to support you through thick and thin. All of a sudden you will have support you never knew existed.
The very few people who may judge you will likely do so without you even knowing. Besides, living your life for the approval of others is depressing in its own right.
Simply getting these issues off of your chest is an enormous relief and moving forward you will have many more people to speak too if you are ever struggling.
You can’t be helped if you can’t be heard.
Somebody Is Always Worse Off Than You Are
When I was at one of my lowest points I joined a forum in the hopes that I could find some support or answers.
Upon joining this forum and reading other peoples threads I realized my situation wasn’t all that bad and some people were in much deeper than I was.
This didn’t make my problems any less real, it simply provided perspective.
Perspective is critical for overcoming depression, especially any depression of situational nature.
Would You Care To Trade?
In order to rid yourself of your issues would you trade your eyesight, your hearing, or your capability to walk?
What about your family or those closest to you?
It is so easy to take the little things for granted which really aren’t all that little.
We are least aware of the things that are most constant so it can be hard to imagine a life without them.
Every single person on the planet has something that someone else would kill to have.
Try to remember the great things that your life still blesses you with.
Tough Times Don’t Last But Tough People Do
You are tougher than you know. Through all of the hardships you have faced you are still here reading this.
Harness your strength and start fighting back.
Tough times are like bullies. They pick on the people who are defenseless and do not know how to protect themselves.
I remember when I was 14 years old and totaled 110 lbs. Everyday after school I would be approached by the same bully. He was naturally muscular for his age and due to my frail frame I was his chosen target.
He would push me around always looking for a reason to fight me and assert his “dominance”.
When I was 15 years old I bought a gym pass and started training my heart off. Within a year I was bigger and stronger than the kid who so willingly bullied me before.
Needless to say I never had to worry about being bullied anymore.
You may feel like these issues of yours will never end but that is only because, at this moment in time, you are weaker than they are.
Train, practice and learn how to defend yourself from depression. Utilize the toughness you never knew you had and one day you may find depression isn’t as big as you are anymore.
P.S. If you like this article check out 10 Things I’ve Learned From Living With Anxiety. There are many overlapping lessons to be learned and some great additions to this list!
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