An Optimistic Look At Depression And What It Taught Me

I am an optimist. Or at least I try to be, in most situations. I like pointing out a silver lining, or the bleakest ray of hope when the world seems to be coming to an end. Not to be confused with delusion though, I am a plain optimist.

The importance of this positive attitude, as one might say, I only came to realise when I seemed to have lost it. It was not only replaced by pessimism, but also emptiness and zero hope. There were times when I would wake up and wonder what the point of everything was, and if it was even worth getting out of bed. I’m going to go ahead and talk about my depression and what it taught me, because:

A. I am proud of the fact that I dragged myself out of it, and

B. I hope this helps someone going through the same.

Now that it is over (for now, at least), it’s time to take an optimistic look at the storm that has just passed. It taught me a thing or two and made me a stronger person. Instead of looking at the damage it did, here are some of the good changes it brought along:

I learnt how to celebrate the small victories. Being depressed makes you feel unproductive. You may have a long to-do list, but you just cannot get yourself to start, even with the simplest of tasks. Getting out of bed and brushing your teeth is a battle in itself. If you can conquer these simple tasks whilst in that state, you’re a goddamn hero. Went a day without crying? Go, you. Celebrate these small victories. The smallest tasks make you stronger.

Another important lesson depression has taught me, is that nobody can help me but myself. There’s always those people you can talk to, who can make you feel better, but there’s only so much anybody can do. The change can only come from within. There is no therapy, or pill that can help you if you don’t want to help yourself. If you don’t want to make an effort to feel better, nobody’s efforts can do it for you. Do the little things that make you happy. Get that haircut, go for a run, paint, write. Do it for yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, a little self-love goes a long way. Appreciate the strong person that you are and give yourself a little pep talk. Take this as an opportunity to give yourself some special attention. Be your own best friend. It’s high time you learn to rely on yourself.

One can compare depression with a really destructive storm. The ones that feel like they’ll last forever, the ones that do a lot of damage. All one needs to remember is that even the biggest storm is temporary and will pass. And if you’re keeping yourself strong enough, you can minimize the damage it does, too.

Not only does this leave you a stronger person than you were before but it also makes you more sensitive to others feelings. It gives you a heightened sense of empathy, to help out people around you who might be going through the same.

Lastly, depression gave me a newfound appreciation for the sunny days after the storm, the people who didn’t leave my side and also myself. It will probably come back, but every time it leaves, it leaves you better equipped for the next wave. And to anybody reading this who’s also battling it out, hang in there. It gets better. You’ll get better.