The Positive Side of Depression - Erin's Inside Job

The Positive Side of Depression

It's important to be able to look at all perspectives, which can be hard if you suffer from depression or another mental illness. Here's my take on the positive side of depression. #mentalhealth #mentalillness #depression #recovery

If you have ever struggled with depression or any mental health issue, you know it’s a difficult place to be. Emotions range from deep sadness to apathy and indifference. The easiest tasks can seem insurmountable.

Although I like to keep it real on here, I also like to spread a message of positivity. Yes, different times in life can be hard (mental illness or not), but there’s always a way through and there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to see, but keep walking and you’ll get there.

In reflecting on this past year and even many years of my life prior to that, I’m beginning to see that my struggle with depression is not something that limits me. In fact, I’ve added it as another badge of honor previously reserved for surviving my addiction. I think that with each hurdle we overcome, we become more unique, more interesting, and more valuable in our life experiences.

Here’s my take on the positive side of depression.

1. I’m more compassionate

Going through my own struggles has given me more compassion towards others. I have a tendency to keep my feelings close to my chest (aside from baring them here on the internet for the world to see), so knowing what I was going through at certain times while no one else knew makes me realize that others may be struggling as well.

I certainly don’t do it perfectly, but I’m more acutely aware of considering someone else’s life situation before passing judgement on them.

2. I realize my own strength

The fact that this has been a struggle for me for well over a decade with no medical intervention proves to me just how strong of a person I am capable of being. Continuing to show up for responsibilities when it was difficult to even get out of bed shows me my own dedication and work ethic.

3. I have more appreciation for the good times

Since I’ve been on medication for the past couple months now, I have a much greater appreciation for life. During the difficult times in my addiction and depression, it was hard to appreciate much of anything. Today I know where I’ve been and where I am now, and I appreciate the now so much more.

Related: Mental Illness Awareness Week

4. I’m motivated to exercise

For some people, regular exercise is all they need to maintain a positive outlook and mood. I think we can all agree that getting enough exercise was not a problem for me, but it didn’t quite do the trick. Even though I’m on a low-dose of antidepressants, working out is still incredibly important for me in maintaining a routine and physically taking care of myself. I’m always in a great mood on the days that I exercise.

5. I continually work on my personal development

When people don’t have anything negative going on, it’s less likely that they will take time to look internally and question whether they are living the best life they can. Are they being open-minded? Honest? Compassionate? Can they improve on any of their behaviors or mindsets?

When you are depressed, you KNOW there’s something wrong. You know you’re not living up to your potential and you are constantly ruminating on that fact. Depression is such an uncomfortable place to be that you will look for any way out. This means setting up therapy appointments, using medication, trying exercise, meditation, yoga, or any number of solutions. Depression has actually been one of the biggest catalysts in me looking for a way to life the best life I can.

Related: The Importance of Learning to Critique Your Story

27 comments on “The Positive Side of Depression

  1. I have struggled with depression off and on for years. Like you, I feel like my depression has made me more compassionate and aware of how much strength I have. If I hadn’t learned to believe in myself I wouldn’t have done many of the things I’ve done in the past few years. This is a really important post because we can always take something positive from any situation. I have learned some of my most important lessons through dark times. Thanks for sharing this!
    Erin@BeetsPerMinute recently posted…How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating DisorderMy Profile

    1. Of course! In the moment it can be hard to see anything good, buts it’s always important to reflect afterwards

  2. As much as it is a cliche, there truly is a silver lining to every cloud. This is much the same way that I understand my Crohn’s Disease: would I choose to have it? No. Would I give it up if there was a magical pill? Yes. But it is a part of my life, and it has made me who I am. I have an amazing perspective on life because of it. Who knows what choices I might have made otherwise, where I would be, where my FAMILY would be. You know that I say this often, but we can’t choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we react, so choose to react with grace and perspective and reason.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…How We Vacation Shows Who We AreMy Profile

  3. YES YES YES to all of this! I struggle with depression and anxiety, I think they go together and this is so true! It makes you so much more steadfast and trusting in your beliefs. Healing requires you to leave the BS behind.

    1. Totally. I definitely have anxiety issues as well and it’s important to try and find the silver lining in it all. Thanks for reading Katie!

    1. I’m glad you’re doing better though and writing awesome posts 🙂 it’s crazy what the tough times can teach us about ourselves!

  4. Cool. Very cool, that you’re able to articulate this stuff in this way. Someone close to me got diagnosed with bipolar disorder and when he used to be very critical of the mentally ill, now he has so much compassion that it’s almost disabling. I’m sure the pendulum will settle into the middle, which is great. Empathy and compassion stem from inner strength. It takes a strong person to express empathy, and people who have dealt with mental illness are the strongest of the strong.
    Suzy recently posted…Sub-4, No BustMy Profile

    1. Totally true. I wish people didn’t have to go through the same things to empathize w others but I guess that’s how empathy works huh?

  5. Of course, depression isn’t the same for everyone, but for me – and I’ve heard but can’t attest that this is the case with the addiction, as well – is that it’s never really over. I’ve tricked myself into thinking I’m cured so many times! I’ll feel great for months at a time and stop taking my medication…only to remember just how much that medication helps me survive every day. I completely agree with this list, and would add that the struggle I’ve gone through has shown me who I can count on to be a supportive friend even when I’m a self-hating asshole.

    1. That’s what I’m concerned about too. I’m not sure if I’ll have to be on them forever or not but I also don’t know how I would know that without risking coming off them.

  6. This post is perfectly articulated. I especially love #1 and #2. Going through something tough (depression, addiction, any kind of loss, etc.) really does enable us to empathize with others going through similar issues. I think it’s really important to destigmatize and discuss mental illness, so thank you for your honesty and willingness to share.
    Catherine @ foodiecology recently posted…5 Blogging Goals for 2016My Profile

  7. This is really amazing, Erin. I never struggled with any sort of serious depression, but I feel this way about my past eating disorder. It was hell to go through and something I never want to go back to, but it’s not something I would change about my past either… mostly because I feel like I’m a better person coming out of it than I was going in. There’s good to be found in every bad experience, as long as we mind the lesson.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…beating the SADs, my happy pills, and a WTF (ToL #165)My Profile

    1. Thanks Amanda 🙂 Any kind of addiction or eating disorder is awful but I’m so glad when people can come out on the other side and share what they’ve learned

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m less than a month into the long journey of acceptance and recovery with not only depression but anxiety as well. I’m starting to see some of these positives already so it’s really inspiring to see some of the other positives I have to look forward to. Sometimes it’s really really hard to look at the lighter side of things when everything is grey and anxious so thank you.


    1. Thanks Dannie. I’m so glad that you are coming out on the other side. I also have anxiety issues which can make things loads of fun. Feel free to shoot me an email if you need anyone to talk to!

  9. I love this post and how you highlighted the positives. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression on and off for years, but I’ve realized that it CAN be positive like you’re saying. Sometimes it’s my anxiety that pushes me to do more in my business or life. And struggling with both has definitely made me a more empathetic person. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
    Danielle recently posted…Sunday Link Love: Smoothie Hacks + Improving Your Pinterest Game {Jan v2}My Profile

    1. Thanks so much Danielle! I agree w the anxiety pushing you to do more. I can definitely relate to that. Thanks so much for reading…I’m always reading yours on the regular!

  10. Hats off to the author who has been able to turn the normal negative impressions on depression to several positive results that have turned her life around!!! Such a courageous and beautiful person!!!

  11. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety for years. Hell, it even got me an IBS problem. But, I did not let it ruin me. These tough times, it taught me to not bother what others thought of me. I even stopped getting too much into anything. I now tend to enjoy the present. My times are indulged strengthening and building a solid personality. I have learnt to be happy in small things and enjoy life to the fullest. I am really thankful that I came across your post. Thank you, Erin! Keep adding more incredible posts!
    Rachel recently posted…10 Ways To Stay Unhappy In Your LifeMy Profile

    1. Anytime Rachel! Thank YOU for commenting! I’m so glad you’ve been able to put in work to get where you are. I know it’s not easy!

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