Monday, 8 February 2016

The Benefits of Depression


For many, the very concept of depression having benefits is absurd, however, I'm a firm believer that not everything about depression needs to be depressing.
As with any challenges life throws at you, you learn. Having depression is no different. At work I manage a peer support project for young people with depression, we often talk about the benefits. We often laugh. Often, we don't talk about depression at all. When we do, here are the most common benefits to come up:

Strengthened relationships

Talking to people about your depression can be particularly difficult and nobody will have "the answer" for you, but, love, understanding and compassion from those that are important to you can be the key to recovery. People who are there for you when you don't even want to be there for yourself are special, hold on to them.

Strengthened values

Although for many, there is no one cause of depression, this doesn't stop you from obsessing over the different reasons why you might be going through it. In this sense, depression forces you to analyse the different aspects of your life and whether they're contributing positively or negatively to your wellbeing, This is not to say that you'll always be right, getting a new job for example might not affect your mindset in the way you thought it would. The benefit here is not knowing the key to happiness, but rather, it's the time that depression gives you to work out your values and what really is important to you.

Increased self awareness

Techniques learnt through CBT, counselling or simply being locked inside your own mind improve your analytical skills (well, at least I think so...) Again, depression offers you the time to/forces you to focus on your thoughts, as a result you might start to recognise patterns you' never noticed before - for example you might notice that every time you don't exercise for more than 3 days, or don't socialise with anyone for a while, your depression is heightened and your thoughts more self critical. This insight it really powerful and can be used to aid recovery and maintain a strong wellbeing afterwards.

Regularly pushing your comfort zone

There's no "one size fits all" cure for depression and as a result, you'll probably need to try lots of different things to find what works for you. For me, it's always seemed like the cruelest part of depression is that in order to work your way out of it, you could really do with all those things that depression takes from you: confidence, self esteem, motivation, focus. That said, it doesn't mean you can't get out of it without those things, but, let's be honest, joining that self help group, going for a run and even seeing your GP would be a whole lot easier with them. As a result, every time you do something that depression tells you you can't, you're actually stretching your comfort zone and slowly claiming back those traits that were stolen from you. Give yourself credit for this, it's massive.

Empathy

We learn from negative life experiences, maybe even more so than positive ones. Experiencing depression deepen your ability to empathise with others who are in similar situations. Like we said earlier, people who understand can be the key to recovery. Your ability to "get it"  is perhaps the greatest benefit of depression, and is definitely the one that can have the greatest impact on others.

Strength

As with any illness, living with and recovering from depression takes an enormous amount of strength. Strength in quantities you didn't know you had. I feel like this quote perfectly sums it up:

"on particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through rough days is 100% and that's pretty good". (found on Pintrest, so obviously no idea where this comes from..)

So, there we have it, the not so depressing side of depression, You're doing great.

4 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this blog. Very inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is on my reading list
    Intrigued to see if my opinions mirror yours

    BLEURGH - www.bleurghnow.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahh it's such a good read!! The book is here more as a blog prop though hahah and this post if more just my own opinion as opposed to anything taken from the book :) xxxx

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