Depression – a deep hole that I have been constantly trying to get out of. When I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, I had no idea what it meant. I had no clue what it was.
Depression is like this giant black hole — constantly dragging me down. A giant cloud engulfing every bit of me.
The odd thing was, I didn’t even realize how deep a hole I was in until I started facing it, not until I finally had the courage to admit to myself that I have depression and there is just no sense in masking or denying it to myself.
Now, I’m not going to say that I have conquered depression because the truth is I haven’t, I may even be far from doing that but I’m learning to cope with it each and every day.
And every day I’m still constantly trying to find a life that won’t consume me.
While living with depression is my constant struggle, it this has also taught me great lessons. Lessons that helped me cope and deal with it.
And these are the lessons that I will forever carry with it me.
Here are the top 5 lessons I’ve learned from living with depression.
Forgiveness is the key
What I discovered from constant visits with my therapist was that my depression was rooted in my childhood.
You see, growing up, I was constantly being compared to other people. I was never good enough for the people that I love.
I felt the need to always prove myself and gain other’s approval and validation.
I never felt that being myself was enough.
And you know why I have never learned to let that thought go?
It was because I never learned to forgive the people that caused that — I took their words with me.
And the moment that I started to forgive them, I also started forgiving myself.
I started to see that I was enough, that I didn’t need other people’s approval. I didn’t need other’s validation to know my worth.
I started to realize that the only validation that I’ll ever need is my own.
I know that forgiveness doesn’t come easy. It even took me more than 20 years to finally do it but it is worth it.
Just remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean that we are minimizing the pain that they have caused, it simply means that we are now ready to let go of the pain, heal and to not let them control our lives anymore.
Save some for yourself
You can’t pour from an empty cup — I learned this the hard way.
Putting other people’s needs first is not bad but it’s also not healthy if you do it all the time, to the point where you start forgetting yourself.
Remember, taking care of yourself and prioritizing your needs, happiness, and peace of mind is not selfishness.
Stop saying yes when you truly mean no. This has been one of my mistakes, I forgot to take care of myself, I gave and gave until there was nothing left of me.
I then realized that I lost a big part of myself because of doing that, a part that I may not even be able to take back.
So, don’t be afraid to choose yourself!
Not everyone will understand (and that’s okay)
You can’t expect everyone to understand what you’re going through. Your close friends, family members, they may judge you or even sometimes question what you feel.
And that was definitely devastating for me!
This constant fear of being judged, questioned or even dismissed made it harder to open up and ask for help.
But I learned that the people that truly love you will choose to listen, now they may not fully understand what you’re going through but they will try and try and try until they get through you.
And when that happens don’t push them away, I know how easy it is to isolate ourselves but just remember that they are the ones that truly matter.
Not everyone has the patience to listen and try to get through us. Let them hold your hand and go through this with you.
Learning to do this can be tough at first but I tell you, it’s worth it!
Hard times will always reveal the truest gems
I never really had a big circle, I had a few close friends, a couple acquaintances but even with that small number, only a few people stayed and really listened without any judgments.
Some people may try to pretend that they understand what you’re feeling and that they are there for you but at the end of the day, you will know that they don’t really care about what you truly feel.
Difficult times will always reveal the most genuine people — so hang on to them!
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help
I had a hard time grasping what I truly felt, I didn’t understand what was going on, I was blessed to be encouraged by the people that I love to seek professional help, after a couple visits with my therapist, I discovered that opening up and talking about what I felt to her helped.
It helped me a lot. It gave me a sense of clarity towards the emotions that I felt and for me, that was comforting.
If you are also dealing with a mental illness, please know that you are not alone. There will always be hope! There will always be people who will listen, people who care and loves you unconditionally.
I know how difficult it is to believe that anything positive could happen but trust me, they do. So, don’t give up and let’s continue fighting it together!