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Things I've Learned from Depression

Six Things to Be Precise

By M. DavisPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Here is a list of six things I've learned from depression.

1. No matter how dark it gets, it always gets better.

I’ve been through many down-swings in my life. During those times, everything feels overwhelming. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed, or brush my hair, or eat, or do any of the everyday things which are necessary to living a healthy and happy life. I feel like a failure for not being able to look after myself, and for being depressed in the first place. I feel guilty because I have fewer reasons than others to be depressed, so I feel weak and useless. It can take all the energy I have just to get up, go to the bathroom, and crawl back into bed. These are the times when I honestly wonder if living is worth it, because being alive is painful. Somehow, I always manage to pull myself back up and out of the darkness, and when I do I realise that no matter how dark it gets, those thoughts and feelings are only temporary.

2. There are things I can do to help make it better.

I have my own rituals and hobbies, things I do when I feel myself stumbling into a depressive state, which can help me avoid falling into that deep, empty, and frankly dangerous head-space. I used to just try to ride it out, depending on medication to get me through. This wasn’t working for me, but it’s important to try different things and find what works for you. Keeping track of my moods helps me to realise again that it’s only temporary, and I always come out of it, which in turn helps me to stay a little more positive. Then I turn to music, and writing, the creative outlets which allow me to express myself and actively work through my emotions. My dog and cats help, because I’m forced to at the very least take care of them which gets me out of bed. They're also great for cuddles, which are sometimes sorely needed. I make to-do lists, adding things like “eat breakfast, shower, journal,” small tasks which I know I can complete and check off my list. I also prefer alternative Snoop Dogg-approved methods to traditionally prescribed medication, because that’s what I’ve found works for me. I’ve been avoiding alcohol altogether, because there was a time when I was teetering on the edge of becoming an alcoholic, which really made things much worse in the long run. I think anything in moderation can be okay, but it is a depressant, so I recommend just avoiding it if you suffer from depression. I also bought a whiteboard from the dollar store, and every time I think something negative, I’ll write myself some words of encouragement. There really is something to be said for the power of positive thinking. The bottom line is that everyone is different, and it’s worth it to try out different methods until you find what works for you.

3. No matter how well things are going, there will always be dark times.

I used to believe that one day, once I pulled my life together, I would just be happy and that would be the end of it. Wrong. No matter how much effort I put into doing things that make me happy, no matter how many friends I have, or how well things seem to be going, I can always slip back into a state of depression. As soon as I accepted that, I realised that the best thing to do is just take it as it comes, and take care of myself. This may seem a bit obvious to some, but it took me a while to learn that the bad stuff can’t always be avoided, and sometimes you just have to let yourself experience it. I think of it like the process of grieving, once you accept that depression is a cycle, you can move through it and begin to heal. Again, it all leads me back to the same conclusion: things will always get better.

4. Sometimes I have to put myself first, and that’s okay.

I’m not a very sociable person at the best of times, but when I’m experiencing a down-swing, it can be very difficult for me to interact with others. I just don’t have the energy to socialise. I try to get away with the bare minimum, only talking to people when I absolutely have to at work, aside from that I rarely leave my house. This can strain interpersonal relationships, but sometimes you just have to say f*ck it and ignore people. Sometimes I really don’t have the ability to listen to or care about other people’s problems because I’m busy fighting suicidal thoughts in my own head. It is okay to step back and deal with yourself first.

5. People who haven’t been through it can’t understand, and that’s okay.

It can feel like no one around you understands what you’re going through, and they may not, and that’s okay. All we can ask for is a little support, whatever that looks like to you. I need people to give me space and let me know that when I’m ready to talk they’ll be there. It gets a bit exhausting hearing “just don’t let it get to you,” or “stay positive,” like it’s as simple as that. I do my best to bring positivity back into my life, but sometimes that feels impossible. The people in your life should understand that this is who you are, and while they may not understand what it’s like, they should still support you. Conversely, you should understand that they don’t know what you’re going through, and won’t always know the right thing to say or do. I tend to snap at people when I’m depressed, but it’s important to cut people some slack from time to time.

6. There are plenty of people who go through this and do understand, I’m not alone.

Now, for every person who doesn’t know what you’re going through, there’s someone out there who does. There are what, 7.5 billion people in the world? Even if you don’t know them in person, there are people who understand what you're going through. The online community can be a great place to find advice and support. If you don’t need to or want to reach out, just remember that you’re not alone and you never will be.

Canadian Suicide Prevention

US Suicide Prevention


About the Creator

M. Davis

Just a person trying to make her way in the world while looking after a big slobbery dog and two rescue cats.

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    M. DavisWritten by M. Davis

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