“I believe that words are strong, that they can overwhelm what we fear when fear seems more awful than life is good.” ~ Andrew Solomon
Depression is not the end
This sounds insane, right? Depression makes you stronger! How in the world does this make any sense? I must be out of my mind.
I know how it feels when someone says “everything happens for good”. It sucks.
If I had read this title 3 years ago, I’d have felt the same way. But if you could hold up your head for the next ten minutes and even if one person feels better after reading this, no one would be happier than me.
So let’s break it down.
What happens when you’re depressed?
When you’re depressed, people sympathize with you at first. Believe me, that makes you feel really bad and weak. It gets worse when the sympathies turn into distress and disgust in no time. Your own parents walk on eggshells when you’re around and you can sense the fear and their constant worry about things that would set you off.
The worst part for me was being alone because let’s accept it, you start losing people when you’re depressed. Even the best of friends try to avoid having a conversation with you. Nobody likes to listen to someone’s constantly talking negatively about their life, about how much it sucks having to go through it.
I felt their behavior changing towards me and suddenly, they became the busiest people in the world whenever I wanted to meet them or tried calling. I presumed that they said “Oh no! Not this guy! He’ll start cribbing all over again!” every time they saw my name flash on their phones or when we did bump into each other on unplanned occasions.
Sounds familiar? Wait, there’s more. If being alone was not hard enough, I started having these mind numbing thoughts about how the world would be better if I wasn’t around. I kept losing interest in things I loved doing and felt lazy to do even basic chores like brushing my teeth or taking a shower.
I couldn’t sleep at night, lost my appetite, and all negative thoughts kept flashing in my head, making me feel claustrophobic. I was having weird mood swings that confused me further about my condition. It was easily the worst time in my life.
How Depression Makes You Stronger
One good thing about depression is that it’s a psychological illness and no serious harm happens to your body unless you bring it on yourself. This thought was my starting point to recovery after hitting rock bottom.
Remember, at this point, I was completely spent and the only way to end all this was to literally, end it all. But since I am a teacher, I’m responsible for setting an example for my 13-year-old students and I didn’t want to set a bad one. (Motivation 1)
I didn’t sink into taking drastic measures like drinking, drugs, or self-harm, and neither should anyone else. I resisted these thoughts and started reading about my condition. Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one suffering. Some alarming numbers caught my attention. Almost 50% of all suicidal deaths that happened were due to depression, and I definitely didn’t want to be a part of that statistic and NEITHER SHOULD YOU. (Motivation 2)
My three stages of depression
First of all, it feels good to know that you’re not alone. I’m saying this because I’m no different and I can totally relate to you. I wouldn’t have summarized my experience in 274 words above (yes, I counted!) if I didn’t care.
When I was going through a rough patch, I didn’t believe at first that it was depression. The symptoms seemed like a phase that I’d sleep and get over in one night. But it was impossible. Every morning, I literally had to drag myself out of bed searching for that tiny positive thought that would motivate me to get on with the day.
Once I accepted depression, it became easier to understand what pushed me into it. I finally had a name for the horrific experience that I was enduring. Things became a lot clearer now and I could stop sulking and do something about it. It was EXTREMELY HARD, but it was my only choice. I had to do it for the sake of my students.
My reason for depression was my own shortcomings and some people I thought I cared about (of course, I’m not elaborating on that). I accepted my faults with grace and started working on making myself better for the future.
This was a slow process that took one long year before I could feel better.
The happy days
There is no better feeling in the world once you know that you’re no more haunted by depression. I felt like I was reborn, and looking at myself in the mirror today, I feel stupid for all that time I wasted sulking.
Nothing scares me anymore because the worst is over. It’s a battle you fight alone and I feel very positive having experienced the old saying (cliche alert!) “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Depression feels like the worst thing that could happen to you. It is and it’s not. It’s okay to be depressed. Everyone goes through it at some point in their life. Famous celebrities like Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, John Hamm, J.K Rowling, Kristen Bell, Dwayne Johnson (The Rock! No!) and many more have suffered from depression. So find the reason and start working. It’s very hard but not impossible. Do it for you and the people you love.
Read and read more about helping yourself because no one cares more about you than yourself. There’s a lot of research on depression and its types that you can find online. Once you’re through with this situation, you’ll experience a new found confidence because you’ve seen what you’ve endured so far and still can in the future.
You’re stronger, more focused, and know that you have a much bigger purpose in life. Depression kills your old self to make way for a better and more mature person. Quoting the words of the Ironborn, “What is dead may never die (repeats in the chorus).”
“Depression may take away a chapter from your life, but it also adds a new one to it. Write it well.”
What about you? Do you believe that depression is not the end that it actually makes you stronger once you come out of it? You can share your comment in the comment section below.