Depression is one of the most debilitating mental illnesses, yet one of the most common that affect people in today's society. It is estimated that 1/4 people suffer from depression and it unfortunately plagues the lives of so many.
This week is Depression Awareness Week, and as a sufferer of this mental illness and how difficult it is living life with it, I wanted to share some of the few positives I have gained along the way under on why I'm partly grateful I had depression and how it makes you a lot tougher in the long run:
- I mastered the art of being resilient - Depression taught me how to take a punch and still be able to get back up. Even though it knocks you down, almost every day - you still continue to get back up. No matter how long it takes you to get back up, or get out of bed and have a shower and conduct your day, you still get up. It may feel like the toughest challenge, but you're strong because you still get up when your mind and body is telling you not to.
- I became more empathetic - A while back, someone once said an incredibly hurtful, bitter, cruel comment about my mental health issues during an argument, saying "You should've gone to a mental hospital, but oh wait you already have". Even though it really hurt, I actually felt grateful I had a mental illness because if I had to trade places with the person and be a bitter, mean person who's hurting inside instead what would be the advantage? I'd much rather suffer with a mental illness than be someone who is seemingly fine but bitter inside. Also, struggling with depression often makes you more empathetic and perceptive of those going through emotional difficulties which means you're able to lend a helping hand to those who need it.
- I had to fight to realise that I am worthy of love, and that includes from myself - I think the hardest part of suffering with depression was to realise I was worthy of love. It's still a daily, uphill battle. But, you are beyond worthy of love and that voice that tells you inside that you're not only wants to drag you with it because once you realise that you are worthy of love it no longer has a hold on you.
- It changed the way I conversed with people - I've only really noticed in the past year how different I was in the way I spoke to people when my friends started commenting how I should've become a therapist instead of a journalist. And to be honest, it was because the 2 years I spent in therapy changed the way I spoke to people. I became a lot more comfortable and found it natural to have more in-depth conversations, and realise there's a lot more to the surface with people than you see and became more understanding and perceptive of people's emotions and layers and having friends open up more about themselves and be more trusting towards me.
- It gave me my career - On my worst days, it's very likely that I see depression as the end all of all things good in my life. But, one thing remains undeniable is that I wouldn't be pursuing the career I am today if it wasn't for depression. When I was 16, I started my blog, Run Therapy that I intended to be an outlet for me with my journey of recovery which inspired me to take up journalism because I was good at writing things that helped others out who faced the same battles as me and genuinely made me feel good about myself at a time where I was feeling the worst about myself. It sounds weird, but I wouldn't be studying journalism at university and have gained the amazing career opportunities if I never started that blog in the first place.
- It made me realise what truly mattered in life - when I was properly started to recover, I used to subconsciously start crying whenever I felt the emotion of happiness. And to be honest, that was because I probably hadn't felt it in such a long time or even the feeling of really connecting with people, I was probably so grateful to just feel. When you go through a battle with depression, you really realise the stuff in life that can be ignored by so many everyday, you never stop having pure gratitude towards. Things such as waking up in the morning and not worrying how your day will end (or if you will even get through the day), looking in the mirror and feeling good about yourself, being able to have a genuine smile and laugh about something. Those moments you really do learn to appreciate more and hold onto a little tighter.
One of the things I took with me was if I looked at myself as a 6 year old child with all the mistakes I made or flaws I have would I still feel that I wasn't worthy of love and would I still mistreat myself in the same way? And when I couldn't answer that question it'd bring back home the fact I was more than worthy of love.
If I have anything to say to anyone who's currently battling with depression right now, it's you will get through this battle, you're already getting through it right now, no matter how slow you feel you are going right now, you still are. It comes at one day at a time, one step in front of the other through the dark tunnel, no matter how misguided you feel, how bleak it can feel - one day you'll reach the light, as long as you keep going, you'll soon be able to see it.