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The Blessings I've Found in Depression

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Blessing and depression in the same sentence? Yes, you read it right. Just hear me out on this. We always hear about the negative effects of mental illness. Of course, it’s no surprise when you think about the sadness, emptiness, mood swings and other emotions that are a result of depression. Many times the dark moments completely drown out all of the light.

In fact, it took me about a week to write this article because my demons were at full strength, telling me things like I was a disappointment, useless and have no purpose in life, making me wonder what the point of being here was. Today, the demons are a little less powerful, and my little ball of light and hope is shining fairly bright, allowing me to point out the positive effects I feel my depression has had on my life.

Because I have felt such pain, I am able to share more compassion.

Many people who have experienced depression will tell you the mental pain can be so overpowering. The emotional pain is something you feel deep down inside. With depression, it is often unconnected to any cause, and the pain is so intense. It can cause every fiber within your body to ache, sometimes causing you to feel paralyzed.

It is something I’d never wish for people to experience. Experiencing this pain has made me realize how important it is to show compassion and understanding. To listen to others, to truly listen and show them someone cares. I joke around saying I am a therapist in my group of friends. Any time someone is upset, I pull them aside and allow them to open up, as much as they feel needed, and offer advice in any way I can. I want them to be able to talk, vent and know I care. Even when it is a person I am not as close with, I try to offer an open ear, a shoulder to cry on or possibly a reassuring hug because everybody is fighting some sort of battle. A little compassion can go a long way.

Because I have been lost in the dark, I can help spread the light.

As I said before, the darkness of depression completely drowns out any speck of light. I have heard many people describe depression as the feeling of a big, dark mass surrounding and wrapping itself around them. It can cause them to feel as if they are suffocating, while simultaneously sucking every ounce of happiness, leaving them feeling numb, hopeless or angry. When you are able to hold onto your ball of light, you are able to fight the darkness easier. When people lose that light, I do my best to share my own and guide them through darkness. So many struggle alone, and I feel the best thing I can do is use my experience to try and help others. I have become extremely open about my struggles for the sole fact that doing so may help others who are silently struggling to come forward and seek help.

Because depression destroys all happiness, I greatly appreciate smaller moments of joy.

When living with depression, feelings of happiness can be hard to come by. Things that once used to make you smile don’t seem to affect you anymore. Finding things that make you happy seems almost impossible. When my light is more powerful than my darkness, I am able to smile at the smallest things. A child’s joyous laughter, the warmth of the sun on my skin, witnessing the smallest act of kindness between two strangers; such small things can often go unnoticed, but they bring a smile to my face. You could say I’m seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. In these moments, I have the greatest hope, when I feel like everything can and will eventually be OK. I love wearing my rose-colored glasses because at those times I feel invincible from the darkness.

I know not everyone experiences these moments and feelings, and that is OK. Especially in the early stages of recovery, it is hard to believe there is any hope for tackling the demons in the mind. I am at the point with my illness where I openly accept my depression, knowing I may very well have to fight with it for the rest of my life. I now choose to find the good within the bad, the blessings within the struggles, the light within the dark.

I truly believe if it were not for my depression, I would not have as much compassion for others or be able to understand and sympathize as greatly as I do. I wouldn’t be able to achieve higher levels of happiness from smaller moments. Most of all, I hope to use my struggles to help educate those who do not understand mental illness. I want to inspire others struggling and help them realize there is hope, light, and they have every bit of strength needed to fight.

Please do not think you have to see things the same way as I do. We all bleed the same way, but the way we address our wounds varies. Perhaps you do not think depression has provided any positives to your life, which is totally understandable. Your fight and courage is still extremely admirable. I encourage everyone to try and find a positive in every negative situation. If you do not feel you are able to seek that, use your experience to help others. We are all in this fight together. I would love to share some light with each and every one of you.

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” ― C. JoyBell C.

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Originally published: June 30, 2016
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