Feeling grateful for depression

Yes I know you’ll all be wondering about the title of this blog post but I can honestly say that I’m grateful I have depression.

It hasn’t been easy, in fact most of it has been very, very, hard. I’m still not my old self but I think that’s a good thing. I’m a much nicer version of myself. I have a long way to go, I know that, but so far I’m doing well. My counsellor even asked me today if I’d had a lobotomy as I came in as such a different person today!

There were times this year that I felt my life was over. Now I realise it’s just beginning but in a different way. I know that I’m not alone and that there are so many people out there who have depression but perhaps aren’t able to talk about it. I’m happy to be their voice.

I’m much more tolerant of others and I’m not so quick to judge. I’ve realised that I can’t be all things to all people and I need to try to relax more. I’ve found that it’s OK to ask for help and that most people are only too happy to help.

I’ve become more assertive without losing my cool or ‘flouncing’ like a child. I’ve found that I actually have loads of friends!  I’m letting down my barriers and I’m willing to let people get to know me.

I’ve discovered I’m caring and compassionate. I want to be able to help others if I can. I loved talking to so many people on Monday, I was in my element! So the regular coffee mornings I’m hoping to have are something to look forward to. I’d also like to be some kind of ambassador for Havin’aLaugh, the poor folks don’t have a choice in this!  Their ethos  ‘making connections, creating support…..Havin’ a Laugh’ is something I can totally support.

Depression isn’t a bad word. If I had a physical illness I would talk about it so for me a mental illness is no different.

We all have things going on in our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve realised that it’s not so much what is happening it’s about how I deal with things. Worrying about things isn’t going to make them go away or help me find an answer, in fact it makes me feel worse. So I’m going to try to stop worrying – quite a challenge I know.

I need to sort my diet out again, I’ve been eating mainly ‘beige’ things which I know is not good for me but it’s been what I’ve been craving. I’ve put on a few pounds, that’s grand I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I didn’t feel better when I lost weight anyway.

The waves will still keep coming and I’ll go with the flow and stop fighting the tide. In the beginning I didn’t want to accept I had depression and I was always looking for the answer why and hoping there was some kind of miracle cure. There isn’t and that’s OK. For possibly the first time in my life I actually quite like myself.

If you are going through a mental health illness it’s not always going to be a bleak as perhaps you might feel it is now. You will get through this and there is so much help out there, don’t be afraid to ask. Above all remember that you are not alone.

The next coffee morning is on Monday October 23rd from 10am – 12 noon at The Blind Tiger, Sligo. Come and join us. Bring a friend or meet a new friend.
The Havin’ a Laugh Charity promotes Life enhancing activities for positive mental health. Enjoy this monthly social occasion for your own sense of wellbeing and every few months there will be a raffle and fundraiser for the Havin’ a Laugh Charity.

Here are some links that might be of help.

 

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3 thoughts on “Feeling grateful for depression

  1. Tony says:

    Hi Val
    Delighted to read this article.
    There are a few points I want to refer hopefully I’ll remember., that’s the downside of using phone.
    I have never liked or subscribed to the notion that the majority of depressive categories are medical illnesses. Although the medical profession tends to treat through medication and there’s nothing wrong with this approach short term, it tends to be a bit like an anaesthetic. Euphoric moments are flattened and lows are filled in, till life is experienced as a bland blended cocktail,
    I see where some professionals are now beginning to talk of our being which encompasses body.mind, soul/life force needing the equivalent of an once in a lifetime holiday . The desynchronisation allows the time and space for the system to have a lifetime holiday, even if the break is an enforced one. This is on bad thing and as you continue to get well, you might find the time to read sociologists who predicted in the early 1800s that as individualism increased, the bonds attaching members to society were becoming more feeble and fragile. This feeling was predicted to lead to increased alienation and suicide accompanied by search to find newmeanings in life etc etc.
    The swell and tidal movements of feelings that you mentioned is a very real facet of depression. I don’t know if the swells subside or ones ability to be better prepared and to have the life raft super ready increases. Probably a mix of both. So our ability to manage our emotions increase whilst our capacity to be empathetic also increases. When you think of it, it’s a very neat trick
    Out heightened sense of a desire to be helpful, to make a difference, to practice the skills of being a better listener, to allow the other to cross the desert on their terms, pointing out where the oasis’s are located and pointing to the fact that camels have crossed this expanse of nothingness for centuries should they wish to avail, but allowing the other to make their choice in their time and respect their journey are all outcomes garnered from your experience.
    We can never be all things to all people. I’d go as far as saying, and in this I’m dangerously in pearl of being labelled a Nihilist, that we can’t be anything to anyone. What others perceive is the result of the viewers lens and how the dovetail fits.. They might like what they perceive or not. Either way it makes no difference to the person being viewed, unless it’s desired to be so. And then we are back in extremely stormy seas. An inflatable buoy is not ultimately affected by the prevaling conditions.except perhaps it’s ultimate destination.
    Finally I loved to hear you genuinely like who you are and who you are becoming. The old you that you refer to not having arrived yet, in my experience will never happen. The new identity is far more exciting and liberating and joyous and filled with gratitude. These realisation are both seismic shifts and subtle movements at the same time. Isn’t it brilliant to behold a new sense of purpose, a renewed energy and focus as the final pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.
    I could not be more delighted for you. To have become reinvigorated with a passion to provide help, because of the realisation of that is who I am, and future responses will not be allowed to determine my life course. To have become simultaneously more vocal whilst becoming a better listener, to have passion which is tempered with control, to have a desire to effect change whilst realising you may well be the person who changes most, are neat tricks are they not??
    Final thoughts
    Don’t strive too hard for perfection. It’s unattainable. Strive to become more fully accepting of your limitations. All of us connect with the other through our vulnerabilities. Whenever did we look at someon, loud brash dominant and feel I like this person. We tend to shy away. Vulnerabilities are like the pins on a plug. They allow electricity to pass from wall to appliance. So worrying as you mentioned only becomes a bother when it takes control and interferes. But in and of itself it is perfectly wise to worry that a wild lion might attack if you are on safari. It’s only when you are sitting at home looking at a lion on tv and you start to worry, that it becomes a problem.
    One other phrase that I want to come back to. You mentioned I want to help if I can. Of course you can. On many levels. But first, when you awake, your first thoughts aren’t I must breathe if I’m able. It’s done automatically. Helping becomes a bit like that. A spontaneous reaction. Believe me when I say if I were to over think it, some evenings would be much easier to turn on tv and look at something. But that’s not who I am or who I want to be. Neither is it with you.
    You have identified a new passion, a new compassionate voice, a person happy in their own skin who wishes to show that trust, Gratitude, balance, harmony, faith and hope are all qualities that are out there and that we as people try to embody them without spelling it out. these qualities are needed more now that ever before as individualism is promoted by main stream media as the ultimate dream. When that dream begins to turn into a nightmare, our compassion and gratitude and trust and willingness to make time, provide the harmonizing balance. With your skill
    set Val of advocacy, tenacity, patience, active listening whilst empowering, not to mention your practical skills of photography, of blogging of fundraising, to promoting awareness, are invaluable to any cause.
    I’m thrilled that I got to witness you on the outskirts of your destination, after all the mirages false dawns and uncertainties.
    To misquote another man in another era. Three components to life. Faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is Love.
    Could not begin to tell you how happy I am right now as a consequence of your blog. Delighted for you.
    Best wishes for calm seas.
    Tony.
    Ps please don’t publish.

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