We all know that life is about learning lessons, and growing as a person. However, you may think that the only useful thing depression can teach you is how to get out of it. Think again. Depression is a horrible experience, but it is also rich with potential.
In this article we examine:
• What is depression?
• Learning to communicate
• All emotions are good
• Help and be helped
• Be your own best friend
• There’s always another day…
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
When sadness, frustration, disappointment and bad times come upon us, it’s easy to assume this is depression. But that is not necessarily the case. True depression is a persistent feeling of deep sadness and pointlessness, usually out of all proportion to the circumstances. This can make it impossible for the sufferer to function in ordinary life, and can even lead to suicide.
Depression is quite common and it has symptoms that can drain you, physically and mentally. But people who get through this illness – for ‘illness’ it is – often agree that they have learnt valuable lessons that can make you operate better in the long run.
LEARN TO SHARE
Your natural tendency, when you’re low, will probably be to isolate yourself, but that is the very last thing you should be doing. Seeking help and support from others will make the entire experience more manageable. Just having someone lend a sympathetic ear can make everything easier. This, sadly, is just what many depressives find it almost impossible to do. Tragically this occasionally results in sufferers taking their own lives, to the great shock and surprise of friends and family.
If you have a tendency towards depression, be aware of times when this is worsening, and tell someone before you totally clam up. Depression, as an illness, is becoming more widely recognised, and even if your loved ones find it hard to put themselves in your shoes, they are sure to acknowledge how you’re struggling.
Try very hard to put your feelings into words, even if this makes no sense. Sometimes it can help to use pictures, or quotes from famous people (Winston Churchill suffered from depression, calling it his ‘black dog’), and many celebrities such as the late Robin Williams also grapple with it. If you aren’t comfortable talking to those close to you, our understanding Readers at TheCircle are ready to help at all times.
ANY EMOTION IS A GOOD EMOTION
Believe it or not, even sadness is good for us, because it is an honest experience of living. Letting those unpleasant emotions flow through you will move you onwards, and attract something beneficial. Always remember that although you have emotions you are not your emotions. There is a detached part of you that continues to function and evolve.
Many composers wrote their greatest works, or painters created masterpieces when depressed – for instance Vincent van Gogh and Beethoven. Depression can extend your experience of life and make you appreciate all the good things that are available, especially when you come out of the depression and see that life is lovely, after all.
Being depressed can make you see how many people care for you. When everything in the garden is rosy, people can be taken for granted. But when there is distress and unhappiness, those who care about you come up trumps, and depression can be a blessing in disguise.
HELP AND BE HELPED
Depression makes you realise how difficult life can be and that some of the ways we feel can be truly painful. The fact that often depression makes no sense brings home the fact that logic often has no bearing on feelings, and acceptance and understanding are essential. This can encourage you to be more helpful towards other people.
Once you extend even a little bit of kindness to others, you can start to feel better. This can gradually and gently spiral outwards, making you surprisingly encouraged. Other people are also going through similar, or worse experiences, and the horrible isolation of depression starts to dissolve.
LEARNING TO BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Coming through depression makes you see how important it is to look after yourself. You learn to spot the signs and stop the negative self-talk. You also – hopefully – come to realise the important role your physical well-being plays in fighting depression.
Developing good, self-supporting habits, getting exercise, fresh air and sound nutrition all play a part in keeping you happy. When you’re depressed these can slide. Realising their role gives you another weapon to fight depression, and can also benefit you in life, generally.
THERE’S ALWAYS ANOTHER DAY…
Depression steals your optimism making it difficult to believe in better. But although you may not feel it’s possible to be positive, mentally you know there is something happier awaiting you. Once you have come through a bout of depression, you are aware that there’s another perspective. Just like a traveller on a dark road, whose map confirms there’s civilization ahead, you know your difficulties are finite, however awful you feel.
Depression can increase your appreciation of life, for there are ‘more things in Heaven and Earth…’, so benefitting your imagination and spirituality. In the end your best friend on the route to recovering from depression is a spiritual perspective, and you can come to value that, so imbuing your life with meaning.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We’ve examined sharing, the fact that all emotions are positive, the power of helping, learning to be your best friend and having faith in another day. Yes, there are good things about depression, but when you’re in the depths, such an assertion may be at best laughable and at worst infuriating. That’s when you need help, very quickly. Don’t worry how bad this is, get in touch with one of our empathic Readers today, and take the first steps to feeling better.
PUBLISHED: 14 October 2016