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Why It's Okay to Be Depressed

Updated on July 27, 2016
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My Experience

Sometime around the age of 15, I began to experience depression. I am now sure that this was due to hormones. I didn't think at the time to get a formal diagnosis or medication. As with everything else in my life, I just learned to deal. This is NOT the solution I would recommend.

The dark days continued until my early 20's. Sleeping was hellacious and I struggled to even take a bath. I avoided friends until it was over.

It was a form of embarrassment for me as my family and friends would joke when they saw commercials for treatment centers exhibiting a woman staring at the wall, crying. "There's E!", they would exclaim. It was true, I spent a lot of time looking into space. But it still hurt to be regarded as "less than" because of what I was feeling, what I was experiencing.

I never thought to pay any mind to the positive side of depression. Surely there was nothing positive about it.

But lo and behold, there are some pros as well as cons to being depressed!

Before we continue, let's review a few types of depression:

Type of Depression
Symptoms
Occurrances and Symptom Timeframe
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Fatigue, Weight gain, Increased appetite, Greater desire to be alone, Increased sleep, Lack of energy, and Difficulty with concentration.
SAD usually starts in early adulthood and reoccurs at the same time every year. More commonly during the winter months due to lack of sunlight but also known to happen during other seasons.
Major depression
Sadness, Irritability, Difficulties with sleep and eating. Not as engaged with usual interests, hobbies or work.
Symptoms last for at least 2 weeks in a row. May occur once or several times in one's lifetime.
Dysthymia
Symptoms are less severe. Ability to function but not at full potential and not feeling good.
Symptoms of Dysthymia are generally chronic (long-term)
Bipolar disorder (manic depression)
Mood cycles that include both mania or hypomania and possibly depression. Mood swings can be quite dramatic.
Mood swings can be quick, but are most often gradual. This form of depression is treated during a lifetime.
Situational Depression
Sadness, Irritability, Difficulties with sleep and eating. Not as engaged with usual interests, hobbies or work.
Usually occurring after a stressful event in your life; a death in your family; divorce; loss of job. Also known as "stress response syndrome.
[1]

The Positive Effects of Being Depressed

We Become More In Tune With Our Emotions

When we feel so down, we have no choice but to pay attention to what we are feeling. We get to acknowledge these emotions and recognize what we might benefit from them. Some of the greatest paintings, poems and music were created by artists who were in the thick of depression. Why not celebrate these lovely souls who we identify with on a cellular level of emotion?

The reality is, sadness exists just as any other emotion. From each of these, we are able to take necessary action to express ourselves.

We Develop Empathy for Others

Have you ever noticed that the people who are first to offer help to those who are hurting are the ones who have suffered the most pain in their lives? This is called, "empathy". We know the pain of depression more than most, and we wouldn't wish it upon anyone else.

I once worked with a woman everyone regarded as the most miserable human being alive. I will tell you that in the five years I was employed at this particular organization, she just happened to always be there for me when something distressful happened in my life. Trouble raising teenagers, the death of a loved one, another death. We didn't always get along but I knew I had a shoulder to cry on when the proverbial rubber hit the road.

We are Always Thinking

Our minds never seem to stop. This can be a pro as well as a con. But on the positive side of things, thinking often brings solutions. When our minds are in a continual state of motion, we will search high and low for a solution on our pursuit to discover...sleep!

We are Continually Improving

Because we want to get better, our personal development is off the charts. Would we even be trying if our emotional state weren't so challenged? We will probably never know. Regardless, depressed people are on a perpetual mission of self-improvement. A pretty good attribute I might add.

Famous People Who Experienced Depression

Person
Career
Mike Wallace
Television Journalist
Jim Carrey
Actor
Sting
Singer
Elton John
Singer
Tammy Wynette
Singer
Ozzy Osbourne
Singer
Terry Bradshaw
Athlete
Greg Louganis
Athlete
Ty Cobb
Athlete
John Keats
Writer
Claude Monet
Artist
Princess Diana
British Royalty
Abraham Lincoln
US President
Buzz Aldrin
Astronaught

Things to Do When You are Feeling Depressed

  1. Lie on your back and do some deep breathing.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on how your depression is affecting your mind, body and spirit.
  3. Ask yourself how you are benefiting from feeling down.
  4. Write about what you came up with for numbers 2 and 3.
  5. Write a list of Pros and Cons to being depressed.
  6. Buy some fresh flowers and place them throughout your home.
  7. Binge watch some funny movies or TV shows.
  8. Take your vitamins! Especially B-12 and D.
  9. Take a bubble bath.
  10. Spend some time in nature, even if it is your own back yard.
  11. If things become serious, contact your doctor. Sometimes we need medication.

Source

It is Okay Not to be Okay

"Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”John Keats, Letters of John Keats

Our global community needs every type of person who exists upon this planet. This includes those who are depressed.

Back in the 1990's, it was a popular saying among the charismatic church that depression was a sin. This was brought on of course by misinterpretation of the Bible. Many people I knew in the church believed that the mentally ill were demon possessed.

Sometime around the new millennium, the stigma of mental illness was broken. Awareness had spread a great deal throughout the world and into the church. I consider this progress.

However you feel at this moment, know that it is okay, and it is okay not to be okay.

But Seriously...

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact The Suicide Prevention LifeLine.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please contact The Suicide Prevention LifeLine. | Source

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    • livingelysian profile image
      Author

      Elysia Valdivia 20 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Thank you Mel! Indeed, sometimes we need to stop fighting what our body is trying to communicate with us and just stop, listen and be grateful for every part that makes us who we are. I love Fort Collins!

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

      Oh, I see you are in Loveland! My mother is just up the road in Ft. Collins, off Harmony Rd. Lovely place. Anyhow, I have never read anything about the possible benefits of depression, but it certainly makes sense, and I guess Keats said it best in your quote about how it could help form a soul. I really don't suffer from bouts of depression unless I am really bored during periods of inactivity. The act of writing usually takes me away from what it bothering me. It is very therapeutic. Wonderful hub!

    • livingelysian profile image
      Author

      Elysia Valdivia 20 months ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Hello Kim! Thank you for your feedback. I would love to find the rebooting technique! It is amazing how much we didn't know about depression back then. Much love. - E

    • ocfireflies profile image

      ocfireflies 20 months ago from North Carolina

      livingelysian,

      Greetings,

      I love your avatar name. It is positive just like your message. I, too began having depressive episodes at an young age, and so wish that I or someone would have recognized my condition was not just hormones. Welcome to the HP Community.

      Blessings,

      Kim

      PS--Above my computer, I have a poster called "The Rebooting Technique" which serves to remind me of options which is helpful on those days when all feels option-less.