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5 Ways Depression Can Make You a Better Person

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It’s really easy to list all the ways depression can ruin your life, so instead I’m listing some of ways depression has made me a better person. Here is my list, in no particular order.

1. Gratefulness

Depression has a way of stealing the little joys and happiness from your life, but one thing I’ve learned is to be grateful for those moments when something goes right or a friend brings some hope into my life. Moments like these can be easy to miss, so it takes some practice and self-reflection to realize what you can be grateful for, even during the roughest of times. For me, practicing gratefulness is essential when life gets heavy and I need to fight the darkness.

2. Patience

I am much more patient now than I was before. Depression has forced me to realize that I’m only in control of so much, and sometime I have to sit back and wait. This doesn’t mean I am an expert, but I have learned to accept that some things take time, and rushing only guarantees poor results. Let the process do what it may and learn to be patient with yourself and your surroundings.

3. Compassion For Others

It’s awfully hard to go through the hell that is depression and not be at least somewhat understanding and supportive of someone else’s trials and tribulations. Empathy and sympathy are often formed during the lowest of lows – at least, that’s been my experience. Being open about my mental illness has helped me make friends in the mental health community, where we encourage one another with our struggles and victories.

4. Perspective

Depression lies and tells me I’m alone, that no one would understand and no one could possibly have it worse than me. If you have spent any time in group counseling, like I have, you’ll quickly develop some perspective. Even  worst of days I can challenge those intrusive, depressive thoughts and realize that I’m not alone, that people do understand and there are people fighting battles I can’t possibly imagine. Mental illness likes to hide, but there’s some victory when you can get it out in the open and gain some perspective.

5. Forgiveness

Learning how to forgive is hard, but forgiving myself and others has been an essential part of my healing journey. Once you learn how to forgive yourself, you can also forgive others. If you have a mental illness, you will face stigma and misunderstanding. You need to expect that to some degree. I’ve learned how to get rid of the frustration and bitterness in my relationships, thus allowing me to grow and heal. Forgiving yourself and others might not change your circumstances, but it changes the way you view the world and how you interact with those around you.

Those are just a few ways depression has made me a better person. What’s your story, what things have you learned on your journey?

Originally published: August 28, 2016
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