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How I Turned My Depression From a 'Weakness' Into a Strength

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Coming to terms with the fact I was depressed was the most difficult part of improving my mental health. Although I had known some friends and family members who struggled with depression, I didn’t want to use the label on myself. It’s seen as a weakness. Unfortunately, sometimes if you are open with your struggles, you can be viewed as less than. What I’ve found is that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There comes a point when you can’t hide anymore. I like to be the person who has a smile on my face when I walk into a room. I like to be the person who is full of energy. I like to be the person who can get hit and get back up again. I like when people see me as energetic, stable and strong.

There came a point where I couldn’t be that person anymore. It was eating me alive trying to be that person. It felt like I was flexing my muscles, with a big smile on my face, while simultaneously sinking into quicksand, terrified and hoping no one would notice.

A turning point in my mental health recovery came when I stopped caring so much about how people perceived me. Whether or not they saw me as a pillar of strength didn’t matter if on the inside I was rubble. Acknowledging my weakness was the first step in turning my depression into a strength. By being open about the loneliness, sadness and lack of purpose I was experiencing, I was not so scared of them.

I decided to wear the label of depression, to let the world see my struggles and to let the world see me overcome them. Depression is a part of me, but it does not define my character. I will not let the stigma overcome me and I will not play the part of the victim.

Being beaten down by depression also let the strength I needed to get better shine through. It’s a strength I found within myself and I know everyone has. It’s not always easy to find the strength and it may be something I’ll need to call upon many more times throughout my life. But I know it’s in there.

Originally published: August 17, 2016
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