Depression can be a debilitating feeling. It can steal your hope, your joy, and your ambition. It can make daily tasks feel like burdensome chores. These truths would make it impossible for anyone to look at depression as a blessing, but I do. This may seem shocking, but I want to share with you why I am thankful for depression.
If you have read my depression story you know that depression convinced me that I wasn’t good enough, that no one cared about me and that things would always go wrong. It also stole my desire to live, stole my energy and made me physically sick. However, on the other side of all of this, I found myself and I found an unshakeable joy. This is why I am thankful for depression, and I want to share how I reached this point in the hopes that it would help even one person.
The 5 Reasons I am Thankful for Depression
- It has shown me that I’m a survivor: The onset of depression can vary from person to person. For me, I struggled with feelings of unexplainable sadness growing up, but trauma and abandonment as a teen are what left a lasting scar. Going through those dark times, and the healing process after was difficult. Even so, being on the other side of those experiences has shown me my strength. I now know that I can live through much more than I ever thought possible.
- It has forced me to truly know myself: Depression use to control my mood and my actions, causing me to isolate, binge drink, people please and so much more. Once I couldn’t handle the emotional chaos and self-destructive behaviors anymore, I was forced to truly know myself when. Learning myself helped me to identify the root of my behaviors and actions. Once I knew the root, I learned to avoid things that triggered depressive episodes and anxiety. I also developed positive coping skills that worked for me.
- I gained unshakable joy: As I mentioned depression use to control my mood. That means my happiness was being controlled by an erratic monster called depression and anything that triggered it. With this mentality, every day was an emotional roller coaster or worse an emotional flatline. This taught me that feelings cannot and should not dictate my joy. So I learned to choose my perspective by cultivating gratitude and joy out of sadness and pessimism.
- I developed unshakeable faith: When I was at my lowest point my outlet became prayer and talking to God through journaling. Prayer and journaling to God helped me to let all of my thoughts and emotions flood out without judgment or shame. I also began to use scripture to remind myself how much God loved me and that he had a purpose for me (even though I felt purposeless and destined to fail at life). Those intimate moments at my lowest of lows created a lasting relationship and bond with God. Now looking back, I see the ways that God has answered my prayers for healing and have developed unshakeable faith.
- Depression made me an advocate: The most precious reason why I am thankful for depression is that it has made me an advocate. Living through depression has given me an immense understanding of invisible struggles, which has made me more compassionate. Since I am no longer controlled by my depression, I have the strength to share my story and encourage others through the darkness. If I had never lived through it I don’t believe I could be as effective in this role.
The 3 Resources that Helped me Become Thankful for Depression
- Therapy: In my depression story I mentioned that my first experience with therapy was not that great, but I preserved. For this I am grateful. Therapy helped me retroactively heal old wounds. I also got validation about my feelings in therapy. I learned coping skills in therapy. Most of all I learned about myself through therapy.
- God: I am a Christian, but did not truly grow in my faith until after I hit rock bottom with my depression. During this time God was my confidant. I felt like I could not talk to anyone without potentially being Baker Acted (placed on psych watch) or judged, so I turned to God. I was able to be my raw real self and let my brokenness out freely in God’s presence. In those quiet one-on-one moments, I gained wisdom and encouragement, and an unshakeable peace.
- Journaling: Many of my prayers were done through journaling, which was an outlet in itself. I was able to gain clarity and emotional renewal by simply writing out my emotions. However, it has helped me most now. Although I am not even close to where I use to be, some days I still feel as though I am so broken and unchanged. So looking back at my journals help me to remember how far I’ve come, the importance of avoiding triggers and the importance of pushing forward.
Please comment below if any of these resources have helped you, or any other resources that have helped. Your comment could be exactly what someone else needs.
As always, everyone’s experience with mental illness is different. But I truly believe there is hope for every unique situation. If you suffer from severe mental illness or thoughts of suicide I want to encourage you to seek help today. Find a local therapist, Find an affordable online therapist or contact the National Suicide Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting “START” to 741-741.
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