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How Appreciating My Fingers Helped Me When Depression Made Me Feel 'Useless'

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OK, for starters, I’ll be completely honest when I say I spend a good amount of time on my phone. Maybe too much time. I know, I know, they say it’s not the healthiest activity to be indulging in when you have a mental illness, but when my anxiety and depression are running on a “good” streak, it’s one of those things I can get fixated on enough to distract myself from any pain I’m feeling. I’ll admit, I can go just a little overboard with it though.

A couple days ago, I was experiencing another one of my “I am useless” days, while binge scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I noticed something different. Something I rarely ever think about. My fingertips. Yes, I realize it might sound slightly strange, and this may come across as corny, but please hear me out. I sat there and really gave good thought to what I was noticing. I had been feeling useless for such a tremendous amount of time, but never once thought about giving myself — let alone these ten small extensions of me — any credit.

Staring at them, I thought to myself, Wow. These unique swirling prints I carry on my fingertips are the only ones of their kind that will ever be on this planet. How incredibly amazing is that? While I started to feel ashamed I was using them to roll aimlessly through social media, I thought about all the important things I have done with them.

I’ve taken these hands and created beautiful pieces of art, molding the colors together with the creative strokes of my brush — those same pieces I was always unnecessarily critical of. I have used them to whip up unique and tasty meals for my family to sit down and enjoy together. I’ve thrown them up into the air at rock concerts while I happily screamed out my favorite band’s lyrics and it made me feel so alive.

They were my tools when I learned to play guitar, hardening after many frustrating hours of practicing and adjusting to their new placement on the fretboard. But they persisted until they flowed more freely. They’ve held playing cards on late nights while my friends and I would sit around a table in a room that echoed with laughter.

My fingers have ran their way across my rescue dog’s fur countless times, comforting him and reassuring him he is forever loved and safe in our home. And most importantly for me, they have guided my daughter. They have colored with her, flipped pages in books, dried her tears and cradled her delicate little hands. They’re still doing everything they can to raise a strong, happy woman. The list is endless, and it gives me a tremendous amount of strength to know it’s only a fraction of my whole being.

So, here’s a tip. Next time you are feeling weak or useless, glance down at your fingers. Think about all the ways even this small portion of you has touched the surface of your journey in life. Imagine the possibilities still yet to come. They say sometimes happiness is right at your fingertips, and now I can see why.

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Thinkstock photo via mhatzapa.

Originally published: April 17, 2017
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