Is there a bright side to depression?

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning, as much as a try, I cannot “choose happiness.” When depression rears it’s ugly head, happiness has slipped away somewhere out of sight.

Because I’ve lived with it for a long time now, I have learned to choose positivity even on days that I’m depressed.

Depression and positivity can happen at the same time.

If a loved one has been in a terrible accident, one would undoubtedly be very sad but can still be optimistically hopeful. That’s what I’ve learned to do while having depression. It sucks that I get sad and have no energy but I’m not to the point of complete hopelessness because my depression is controlled.

Just because I get depression doesn’t mean I feel negativity towards the world. Despite my pain and sadness, I still know there are good people in the world doing good things. I know that babies are being born and couples are getting married and little kids are riding bikes for the first time. Sunrises and sunsets are still beautiful.

Even when I’m depressed, I don’t have to wallow in it. I may have to stay in bed or feel very sad and lonely for a time but deep inside I know it’s temporary. I’ve learned to live with this chronic illness like anyone learns to live with any other chronic illness. It’s during that time I have to rest and take care of myself. It is what it is.

In my heart, I truly believe that we can find a lesson or something positive in any situation if we look for it. I’m still a positive person despite depression, as paradoxical as that may seem.

Here are some “benefits” of depression that I’ve found. Knowing these things has helped me through some really tough times.

1. Depression forces you to look inward. You learn something about yourself every time you stop and look within. You learn how strong you can be when you have to be.

2. Depression makes you more empathetic to others. You know exactly what it feels like to be down and out. I think this is why I always root for the underdogs in life.

3. I believe the deeper we experience sadness, the deeper we can feel happiness when it comes. I am so appreciative of every day that I’m not depressed. It’s like Christmas.

4. While seeking relief from depression you discover a lot of wonderful self care such as meditation, journaling, aromatherapy, mindfulness and so much more.

5. You have a deeper sense of spirituality. I’m certain that if I didn’t have depression I would have never found people like Eckhart Tolle, Ram Das, Ajahn Brahm, Jack Kornfield or connected with the writings of Rumi or Khalil Gibran, just to name a few. These people have taught me so much from their talks and writings which has strengthened my spirituality and gave me hope.

6. Depression brings you closer to people. My husband and I share a deep bond because he has seen me at my worst and helped me out of that place. When you have depression, you’re going to need someone. You can’t go through it alone. It forces you to open up and truly connect with someone, admit that you need help and accept it. That can be a really beautiful thing.

These may not seem like much but to me they are everything. I couldn’t always think like this. When I’ve had uncontrolled depression in the past, I couldn’t see anything positive. It was only by getting through each depressive episode that I gradually learned, over the years, that I could do it. Getting through one episode at a time has helped me to have some inner confidence of knowing that no matter how bad I may feel on any given day, it isn’t going to last forever. In addition to taking medication, I’ve had to do a lot of work to get here. Taking a pill isn’t a quick and easy answer to anything. It helps, but you have to figure out ways to change your lifestyle and work with whatever chronic illness you may have.

If you, or someone you love, has depression they may not yet be able to see anything positive about it. We each have to walk our own path and learn lessons on our own time. Being able to transcend depression has been a process. I hope that this post somehow helps someone else to be able to get through theirs too.

Thank you for reading.

Wishing you peace, love and hope.

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