There’s no getting around it, depression absolutely sucks. Feeling helpless and hopeless all the time is a downward spiral and leads to self loathing. Let’s be honest, nobody wants that.
For me the worst thing was my change in activity, my lack of desire to do things. Before I would do all sorts of stuff and always try new things. It lead me to a cycle of having the most boring routine and lack of activity, a self perpetuating run of feeling horrible.
But, there are 12 awesome lessons I have learned from this time in my life. I reckon these are 12 lessons everyone can benefit from.
1) It is OK to feel exactly how you feel
Emotion is part of what it is to be human. We will feel bad and we will feel good.
Feeling how you do is fine, you shouldn’t feel guilty about your emotions but if they do affect your happiness know there are plenty of things that can be done to deal with them.
2) Asking for help is the first step
I spent ages not asking for the help I needed until for no reason I pretty much lost it. I felt stupid after this because it was obvious that for 4 years I needed help.
As soon as I asked for help things started turning around.
3) Talking about your feelings is great
A problem shared is a problem halved. I always thought this was BS. You know what, it isn’t!
Saying how you feel out loud to another person lets you hear the thoughts from a different point of view.
Whether this is with a therapist or your friends, talking about your problems, whether you are depressed or not is a massive help.
A lot of people are willing to listen and you can find the help you need.
I saw a quote once – “What you resist persists and what you look at disappears”
I was really resisting my circumstances and the depression, this resistance led me to hate the depression which only made me feel more negatively about myself.
Taking a step back from it and accepting how I felt helped me to stop the downward spiral of self loathing that this was perpetuating.
5) I am not alone
This ties in a little with some of the other points but realising that there were people that could help me and also that there are many, many people that share similar experiences to what I had and that some of these people had beaten their melancholy gave me a goal which was to beat mine.
I also found that plenty of people I know had gone through similar things and lots of them were happy to talk about it.
6) My own individuality
All the things I talked with my therapist about made me realise that I really am 1 in 7 billion. I may share some thoughts, interests and other stuff with people but there is only 1 me having the journey I am having. It’s a really cool journey to take this thing we call life and I wouldn’t want to do it any other way than my way.
7) Self compassion
For years I beat myself up mentally for how I was feeling. Once I started on the road to where I am now I realised, I’m a pretty good person and should really look after and love myself more.
This was a big one. During my younger years before depression I looked outside to find what I wanted. Depression only increased this as when looking within I saw nothing but despair, hate and basically nothing I wanted to know about.
Learning to look inside and not out has helped me to find the genuine me.
Motivations is a funny thing. You can feel like you know what you want but don’t really do anything about it, you get in your own way which is something I covered in this article http://becomingaperson.com/2014/07/10/get-out-of-your-way-2/#more-31
Once you take some steps in the direction you want to go things can snowball and you find the drive to go after what you want . Depression made this difficult for me for so long but eventually I realised what better motivation do I need than to end my feelings of hopelessness?
10) I can’t control my thoughts but I can stop them controlling me
I used to think that my thoughts were controlled by this illness I had and there was nothing I could do about it. Then I found meditation and this really helped me to learn through being mindful that I can’t stop my thoughts but I can control how attached to them I get and how much I believe them. Learning not to get attached to the thoughts of “I’m not good enough” and all that bullshit I used to tell myself was probably one of the biggest revelations I’ve had in my life.
(Here’s last week’s article called Control is not an Illusion it is a Choice – http://becomingaperson.com/2014/08/03/control-is-not-an-illusion-it-is-a-choice/
11) I am responsible for me
If I need something in my life or want to achieve something it is down to me to start moving in that direction. I wish someone told me this, although I probably wouldn’t have listened! You are responsible for you. If you want something take that responsibility.
12) Do not be quick to judge others because you just don’t know what is going on for them
I’m sure when I was anxious or morose others judged me and I hated that. My journey through this gave me a new perspective, less of the judgement and more of the kindness and understanding.
“Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.” ~ Edgar Alan Poe
As horrible as these 7 or 8 years of my life were I wouldn’t change the experience for the world. I learned, albeit it the hard way, some really important lessons in life that have changed my whole outlook on pretty much everything.
I was lucky that I managed to beat this and I know some people aren’t that lucky. Those who are going through this sort of thing need to know that how they feel is OK and most importantly there are ways they can get help.
The first step is accepting the problem and sharing with people.
Have you had or do you have depression or anxiety?
What has it taught you?
Have you learned these lessons through any other means in your life?