What if Depression Was a Gift?
What are the first few words that comes to your mind when you think of depression?
Pain and suffering?
A sign of weakness?
Wanting to die?
Most of our reactions towards depression are negative. We think that depression is a choice — people who have depression chose to be sad and hopeless. They chose to have suicidal thoughts. And if they kill themselves, it’s their fault. Because they don’t love themselves enough to protect themselves from harm.
I used to think this way too until I had severe depression myself at the end of last year. I realized that depressed people don’t really want to die. We just want our pain and suffering to end.
People with depression are doing the best that they can to stay alive.
You can’t fault us for being weak or foolish because most of us are doing our best to stay alive. It’s just that we couldn’t see a way out when we are in the grip of depression. We have a monetarily blindspot. We aren’t functioning like what we used to be.
If you are down with a cold and it makes you drowsy, are you going to blame yourself for not able to get up and work?
How Did I Overcome Depression
Depression is like any other illnesses. It affects your body and mind. It blocks you from having a clear vision. It prevents you from seeing hope. It’s like being trapped in a dark maze alone and the only exit you find is one that leads you to death.
I am fortunate to overcome depression without medication and see depression from another perspective. Sometimes, the best way out is not to find a door, but to raise yourself high enough to realize what the maze is all about.
What if depression was here to teach you something valuable about life?
My depression dissolved when I realized that depression wasn’t here to cause harm and suffering. It was here to teach me something valuable about my life. Something I wouldn’t have realized if it wasn’t for depression.
That’s why I wrote this memoir on my personal experience with depression — The Emotional Gift: Memoir of a Highly Sensitive Person Who Overcame Depression. I wanted to encourage others to embrace their negative emotions and see the real message that depression is trying to convey.
Being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) with Depression
This book is written in terms of my perspective, but it is also written for highly sensitive people (HSP) and empaths.
HSP is a psychology term made popular by Dr. Elaine Aron. We are people who get overwhelmed easily by stimuli such as noise, lights and violence. We tend to be empathetic and pick up on other people’s emotions naturally. And because we are so aware of subtleties, we need a lot of time alone to recharge.
I have to tell you that being a highly sensitive person with depression is tough. We feel every emotions so deeply. Those two months when I had depression, I felt so much that I couldn’t take it anymore. I had tonumb my emotions. But the more I numbed and resisted my feelings, the worse I felt.
People have this misconception that crying and feeling depressed is weak. The truth is crying helps. People who are depressed cry uncontrollably because their bodies couldn’t take it anymore. The energies in our bodies get out of balance when we kept suppressing our negative emotions. The only way that our bodies could cope with the situation is to cry.
Are highly sensitive people more prone to depression?
Some people would never feel depressed. Not because they are cold and emotionless. It is because they don’t feel as much as HSPs. They protect themselves by getting angry and pushing the blame to others. They might be stuck at being angry for a long time, but depression is not a problem to them.
Highly sensitive people have a tougher time pushing the blame to others and feeling angry. Even though we might feel angry, but we are empathetic too. So we are able to feel what the other party is feeling and understand the pain they are going through. It’s harder to be angry at someone, but that also mean we end up hurting ourselves instead. And that may easily lead to depression.
In The Emotional Gift, I share how I reconcile between my anger and empathy.
What Can You Find in This Book?
I believe I experienced depression so I could write about it and share the lessons I learned.
The main message for my memoir is to encourage people to embrace their true feelings and not deny them. Other things I had learned from depression include:
- Being a highly sensitive person
- Dealing with anger as a highly sensitive person
- The importance of loving oneself
- Learning how to trust intuition
- Understanding what depression is
- Discovering the authentic self
- Ways to cope and overcome depression
- Acknowledging shame and being vulnerable
- Letting go of wanting approval
For people who have depression, I hope you will find this book insightful and learn something about yourself. I couldn’t speak for all the people who have depression, especially those who had been struggling with it for years.
But I believe depression is here to tell us there’s something in our life we are resisting. If you are open to it, accept depression like a gift and discover the message that depression has for you.
If you find this book helpful, please share this book with your friends. Here’s the link of the book:
Yong Kang Chan, best known as Nerdy Creator, is a self-help author, teacher and introvert. He helps people see different perspectives towards life, so that they feel loved, understood and inspired.
Originally published at my website.
For the full story, read his memoir, The Emotional Gift: Memoir of a Highly Sensitive Person Who Overcame Depression.