Hey Guys! I hope you’re all well. Originally I thought I might take this week off because I came down with the stomach flu on Sunday and just wasn’t feeling myself. However, last week I read a post from a fellow blogger Casey of Casestreetx and I got really inspired. In Casey’s post, she spoke about ten things she learned from having a mental illness. What I really loved about her post was how appreciative and honestly positive the lessons were. Her post really made me think that, while having a mental illness is awful and can very easily be debilitating it can also give us an opportunity to have a change in mindset. There is just this negative energy around mental illness (which I understand) but it’s also looked as something to be ashamed of, which I don’t understand. The change in outlook that comes from having a mental illness is one of the biggest positives of suffering. Today, I’m going to explain why I’m thankful for my depression.
Appreciate the Good Times More
When you’re in a season of depression, it’s very easy to feel that happiness is never going to find you again. That you’re doomed forever to always feel sad, and alone. Your first experience with a good day after what feels like a lifetime of sad ones is going to be hard and almost scary to appreciate and that’s okay, but once good days aren’t so foreign you’ll find that they become easier to enjoy. Having gone through multiple seasons of depression myself, I’ve learned that I won’t be down forever and when I am down I know how to get back up. Before my depression, I would take good days for granted thinking I’d have an endless supply of them. I never thought my early 20s would be filled with depression which has made it important to me that I appreciate when I am feeling up. I make sure to go out of my way to make the most of it, push myself out of my comfort zone, explore my creativity, and reflect on new ways to pull myself out of the darkness for when it inevitably returns. Depression has taught me that everyday is a fresh start. Maybe yesterday and many days before that have been dark days, that’s alright. Allow yourself to have those days but remember, if today is a good day do at least one thing to make the most of it. Whether that be, going for a walk in fresh air, having lunch with a friend or just playing with you dog, make it something that allows you to be mindful of the smile on your face. It makes the dark days easier knowing you have the ability to experience good days.
Became Closer to God & Friends
For as long as I can remember, I have been one who stuffs my problems down. I’ve always wanted to come off as the bubbly happy friend who had no problems, so I could be strong enough to take on my friends problems and give them my best. Of course that got me nowhere because your friends are suppose to be there just as much as you are for them, and they can’t do that if you don’t allow them. When I started to come to terms with my depression and that it wasn’t going away any time soon, I started to open up to my friends. I started to tell them what was going on in my head and why I felt certain things were happening to me. Removing this wall of being “happy go lucky Michelle” gave me the strength to realize I needed help, more than what they could give me. I truly believe, if I didn’t experience my depression I’d still be putting up this wall like everything was okay so that no one had to worry about me. That wall affects the type of friend I am, and the type of friend they are to me. Being 24 I’ve realized I don’t have the time or energy for friends who don’t give me just as much effort as I give them and I’m really glad I got to see which friends are really there through thick or thin, good or bad times. Having people you can call when your doubled over in tears is something I wouldn’t have allowed myself to find if I didn’t have depression.
My depression also allowed me to also get closer to God, which is something I’ll be thankful for everyday for the rest of my life. During my darkest times I felt so low that I needed something to turn too and the one place I always knew I could turn was God. I needed to feel unconditional love, which is something humans just don’t always have the ability to do. However, for me God can always provide that unconditional love. Through all my shortcomings as a Christian and I have many, that unconditional love never wavered and I could feel that. I believe God put depression into my life for me to turn it into a way to help others, who also struggle. So that, I can show them how God has turned bad into good for me and how He can do the same for them. I’ve mentioned before that I’m not one to push religion on anyone. I believe it’s more rewarding when you search for God out of your own want but, my struggles with mental illness have 100% shown me how real the Grace of God is.
Started Giving a Sh*t About Myself
One of the side effects of stuffing all your emotions down like I use to, is that you don’t take care of yourself. Understandably, you can’t say you’re taking care of yourself if your emotions aren’t being dealt with. Depression changed that for me, which may sound weird when you say it out loud. Normally depression makes you care less about yourself, and yes when I was in the depths of it that’s exactly what happened. I cared so little about myself that it didn’t matter to me if I was alive or dead. However, to come full circle with my other two points when I had good days and would remember who I am in God’s eyes I’d realize the disservice I was doing to myself. If I didn’t have those difficult times where I wasn’t showing myself any type of care, I wouldn’t have realized that was what my mind and body needed. If I didn’t feel so helpless, or like I needed something to help me breathe regularly I wouldn’t have found yoga. If I didn’t have the times where I felt so disgusted with myself, I wouldn’t have been able to realize how awfully I spoke to myself. While I’ve wasted a lot of my life hating myself, which breaks my heart I’m thankful for my depression because it’s what put me on a much needed journey of self love.
I know saying I’m thankful for my mental illness can sound strange, but can you see now why I am? Depression and mental illness have helped me discover things about myself and the world around me that have drastically changed how I view the world. I’m thankful that depression has allowed me to look at the world with a kinder set of eyes, and understanding that while someone may look like they have it all together they could really be falling apart. I remember in the deepest part of my depression, I had someone tell me that I’m very level headed and un-phased by anything…little did they know I would cry myself to sleep at least twice a week. Mental illness doesn’t care who you are, or what your plans are if it wants to sink it’s teeth into you it’s going to. If I didn’t experience that myself I wouldn’t be as empathetic to that idea. I want to reiterate that mental illness sucks, and it’s a shitty thing to deal with (pardon my french) but the lessons it teaches us can shape us into a better person. What lesson has mental health taught you? Can you say your thankful for any of those lessons? Let me know in the comments, I love chatting with you all! Thanks for stopping by, until next time…
Be Nice. Be Good.