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

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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

Originally published: August 19, 2016
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