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The Value of My Depression and Anxiety

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Lessons are learned in many ways, experiences are given to us every day.

Depression and anxiety often come with connotations of negativity and remains extremely stigmatized. However, what I have come across through my journey so far, is that the negatives of depression and anxiety often have hidden gems of positivity. Sure, the days of having next to no motivation or energy to do anything other than to lie in bed and cry are lonely and painful. But reflecting back on the thoughts and feelings in a therapeutic setting make me realize that going through this experience of what I can only describe as “utter devastation,” was actually beneficial in helping me focus and really get to know me — my likes, my dislikes, what I want in a friend, what I want in a partner and ultimately what I want to achieve for myself.

One of the main issues I focused on in therapy was reducing my insecurities in my relationship with my partner and becoming more comfortable within myself. In one instance, I was determined to succeed, motivated by the thought that if I did not accomplish my goals, I would lose my relationship, which I felt would ultimately spiral me into realms of destruction too fearful to set my mind upon. However, here’s a key lesson I personally discovered in retrospect and now believe – therapy is beneficial only with the sole intention and commitment to help yourself. That way, you can use the skills you learn to cope with all aspects of your life whether it be your relationships, career or leisure.

Another life lesson my anxiety and depression taught me was that it is important to rely on yourself to move forward in your life, rather than relying solely on external influences, such as people and materialistic things that may work short-term, but fizzle out after a while. Therapy was a useful stepping stone to gaining the skills to cope, but ultimately it’s you who has to put them into practice. Like my dad used to say when I could not get out of bed – “Take the first step.”

I truly believe having a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, can be debilitating, but can also open you up towards understanding and strengthening yourself, provided you have both the internal motivation and external encouragement you need to persevere. And it really does not happen overnight — it is a slow process that probably will take a lifetime but will result in rich and fulfilling experiences.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee

Originally published: October 20, 2017
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