The Homework Assignment That Made Me Question the Purpose of My Depression


I want to share with you some of my homework from a course I’ve been taking. The homework assignment was: “Write five successes you have had today, from the smallest to the biggest.” I wrote all five with ease, but as I looked back and read what I wrote, tears came to my eyes.

Here’s what I wrote:

1. I got out of bed and walked the dog — in the morning (not the afternoon).

2. I got through a whole day of work.

3. I didn’t cry.

4. I didn’t cut or hurt myself in any way.

5. I kept myself alive.

All five of these things can be challenges for people facing challenges with depression — or any other mental illness for that matter — but they’re things “normal” people take for granted. And it got me thinking: Why me?

Why do I have to struggle with an invisible illness that has no real cure?

Why does this silly thing exist anyway? Why can’t I just be healthy like everyone else? Why do I have to be so overly sensitive?

But then I decided to stop asking more and more questions and start answering them instead. Why me? Because I have a writing talent and can use it to spread my knowledge of the illness to other people. Not something just anyone can do.

Why does depression exist? To teach us how to make the most of every good moment of our lives. These moments rarely come along for us, but when they do, we appreciate them so much more.

Why can’t I be healthy? Because if I were, I wouldn’t be the strong, young lady I am today.

Why do I have to be so sensitive? Because if I weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to love the way I do, understand others pain like I do or even just feel the way I do.

So if you’re facing challenges with a mental illness like I am, I want you to know that although our lives may be harder than others, we have character traits many people don’t. We’re stronger than most people — even though we don’t always realize it. You can get through this, and you will get through it — I promise you — so don’t give up now.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

A hand with the words "I am stronger than depression," on the palm.

When Depression Is Your Reality – and It Sucks

I know, clinical word, right? “Sucks.” But it does. Depression sucks. I’ve seen many people in my practice who struggle with depression, and there’s nothing easy about it. One day you feel pretty OK, and another day you’re suddenly having a hard time getting out of bed again. You may feel like you’re just going [...]
golden medals

A Transcript From the 2016 Depression Olympics

Commentator 1: Welcome back to the 2016 Depression Olympics, where you’re joining us live at the Women’s “Getting Out Of Bed” Final. Commentator 2: And what a final we have for you today. We have some strong contenders from the U.S., U.K., South Korea and Hungary, all vying for that sweet Depression Gold. We heard just this [...]

Why Suicide Is Not My Greatest Fear

Editor’s note: If you struggle with thoughts of suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. On our way to an appointment out of town, my husband and I play a game to pass the time. It’s called “How Well Do You Know Your Spouse?” I [...]
The words "7 Lies Depression Tells" on a building

The Destructive Lies Depression Tells You

Depression is a beast. It’s an illness so insidious sometimes you don’t realize the scope of its life-threatening power until you’re drowning under its wave. It attacks your mind, body and soul by seizing your neurochemistry, weakening your neural pathways, distorting your thoughts, exhausting your body and leaving you emotionally vulnerable. As depression rails against [...]