How depression is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me

A year ago, and even the years before that, my blog consisted of my many break downs. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better at not breaking down on my blog. I did many embarrassing things I can never undo, but that’s okay.

I’ve been depressed for years; I was only diagnosed with MDD and PTSD 19 March 2012. So many people surrounding me treated me like I was sick and needed to hide the fact that I had it. Still, some do, but as I researched it this past year, I’ve come to realization that those who shun me and treat me like I have leprosy simply haven’t learned about what either of the aforementioned disorders are.

Depression. When I would hear that word, I’d instantly feel saddened. I still do, but I have a better understanding of it. I know that not everyone who is depressed has thoughts of killing themselves all of the time. I know that having depression does not automatically label me as suicidal. I know that having depression means I may be happy sometimes, but it doesn’t label me as Bipolar contrary to what others may believe. It’s an atrocious thing, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be embarrassed by it.

Depressed: It’s a term used by many people widely and often even out of context. Some who say they are depressed will often say they have depression, but having depression and being depressed are two different things.

I haven’t truly found myself yet, but I have found a self of mine that I am okay with — and being okay with a self of mine is better than having hate towards it. I used to myself because I have depression. I was so ashamed that I didn’t want to see anyone or even talk much about it; I was so ashamed that I’d spend the majority of my time curled up in bed crying or just hating myself. I wasn’t dwelling or moping; I was literally hating myself for having this horrendous thing that the rest of the world talked down upon, especially for people my age. For people my age, depression is referred to as “lazy”. Or people want proof that I have it — they want to see the paper. I didn’t want anyone to see the paper, because I didn’t even want to see the paper. It was as if a stupid piece of paper was what was needed for proof that I hated myself — as if knowing that I had actually attempted suicide wasn’t enough. But not many people knew I had attempted it. I mean, how can one accurately explain that they were unintentionally about to commit suicide without others hearing only that you were attempting it, and then going ballistic over merely that?

You can’t.

I remember sitting in the passenger seat with my dad on the way to his house to visit he and that side of the family and trying to explain to him things that happened. When he told me that I needed to “get it out of the front of [my] mind”, I immediately shut down. I wanted to cry right in his Escalade. I wanted to scream out — to snap at him — all that I had been through and that it was PTSD and NOT my fault that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Most of all, I just wanted to cry. I had tried to get him to read my blog, but he wouldn’t; that hurt, too, but not as much as when he shut me down.

I don’t remember a lot of things in my life I have seen or heard or been told or even lived. A psychiatrist told me that that’s my brain emptying itself of the things that destruct me and trying to heal me, but with the PTSD and MDD that it was a slow process. The psychiatrist also told me that it was disposing the embarrassing moments and difficult times to make new ones, but the PTSD kept moving the memories showing up in the flashbacks and that that is why I can’t get them out of my head, thus other memories are being deleted in their place.

A lot of my high school classmates are graduating from university, or they already have degrees. Some have great jobs already. I’m so glad that Grandmama doesn’t find college to be the most important thing in life, because it puts a lot less stress on me. I told her about something that I’d like to do as a career, and she was very accepting of it and thought it was a great idea. It’s something I’m already great at and I love to do. I’ll just take a few classes in it when I have the money and mental ability to learn some more skills and techniques. If all goes well, I’ll talk about it later on.

I used to want to change myself because many people didn’t accept me for me. Now, I have an attitude that I use and live by, even if I lose friends over it. It sucks, but it’s the attitude I’ve developed and grown into that allows me to actually be okay with a self of mine — and I can’t afford to change it and stray away from being okay with that self of mine right now.

This entire post is basically a thought cluster, but all in all, depression is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in terms of it completely screwing up my life, yet it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me in terms of it helping me to discover who I want to be and what I want to do in the world. It has also pushed me to start Abuse Aloud and Hope Fades, two websites I doubt I would have even thought of without it.

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Comments on this post

Tiffany’s gravatar

Oh no, I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of that. Society has made people that have a mental illness something so atrocious but really, they’re just kind of broken. You shouldn’t let depression define you. You are you! There are still many aspects to you that makes you a wonderful person and I think that you’re so strong for getting through that horrible experience with your dad right there – let alone everybody. You is smart, You is kind, You is important. <33333

Hiro’s gravatar

I feel similarly. While I don’t know if I’ll be able to consider my anxiety and depression and bipolar as best things to have happened in my life, the whole AVM and brain surgery fiasco have been both the best and worst things to have happened to me. I found new directions in life, learned to appreciate things differently, and life became more tangible.
There are of course shitty days that I want to jump off my apartnment roof, but other days, I have a sense of direction, which I really need in my daily functioning.
Apparently 1 in 4 stroke victims have PTSD. I see a lot of people in my support groups talking about their struggles. 🙁

Michelle’s gravatar

That’s kind of how I feel except it’s Bipolar Disorder(in my case) instead of depression. Bipolar Disorder did screw up my life but like you, I too, realized after a long time what I was capable of and to be the person I wanted to be. It has helped me in that regard. I couldn’t be more thankful.

Amanda’s gravatar

I’m a new reader, so I’m not overly familiar with your story or your situation, but I find it incredibly brave and encouraging to read about your struggles. (But I of course wish no one had to go through this!) I too am dealing with depression and I’m often too ashamed to admit it to myself, let alone blog about it. Maybe it’s time I fess up.

“Having depression and being depressed are two different things” – this quote is so powerful to me. I often forget it myself.

Thank you,

Krysten’s gravatar

I can’t say I’ve ever truly had DEPRESSION before but I’ve dealt with high anxiety for a long time and those types of things can really mess with you. It causes you to be a different person and can really hurt your life. But I think if you recognize what’s going on and work on it that you can become a stronger person too.

April’s gravatar

Many many people will never understand the true effects of Depression, or how it works. Their ignorance will lead them to missing out on great friendships with a lot of people all because of their lack of interest in finding out about an illness they find easier to make assumptions about.

The person that you are today, is the person that they shaped and that you also shaped via your life experiences. In a way, those people that you have lost, have made you the great person you are today – and that is definitely the biggest positive you can find in any negative.

Your story is the reason I can smile when bad things happen in the world. You may have experienced a negative, but you are bright enough and optimistic enough to have also discovered the positive that has emerged from it. You are a great person in my eyes, Liz, and you have here a friend that you won’t lose 🙂

Alice’s gravatar

*hugs* Honestly, the way more conservative adults treat mental illnesses is so bothersome and frustrating. I’m glad you’ve found yourself and can accept parts of you, though; it’s a sign of growth 🙂 People have such skewed views of depression–like you said, being capable of being happy/smiling/etc. while having it–and not that I’m saying self-diagnosis is incredibly legitimate because it is best to get a professional opinion, like you have; but I feel like some people might be afraid of themselves and having a mental illness because how it’s treated by certain people, like you’ve said.

I think it’s great that your Grandmama supports you in the things you want to do! *hugs again* And I hope, in the future, that you find more and more people who support you and love you for who you are 🙂 🙂

Christy Garrett’s gravatar

I always hated it when my mother would tell me to just get over it or snap out of it. She always felt that depression can be controlled without medications. If it was only that easy, I wouldn’t be in the situation I am in. Depression is real and it can be caused by a variety of things, including chemical changes in the brain, chronic pain, change in hormones, or life changes.

Medication is a sensitive subject to most people and many people will disagree with the use of medication; however, you have to do what you to do to improve the quality of your life. It isn’t fun to live your entire life depressed because you are so against therapy, medication, or a combination of things. Sometimes you just need a medication to help balance out things for a short period of time, you never know until you try.

Amanda’s gravatar

Depression really needs to be taught about more widely. It takes all shapes and forms and can happen to people who seemingly have “nothing wrong with their life”. A lot of people don’t understand how many people may not have a particular reason which caused it, or at least, they don’t have one which they’re aware of. I don’t like to open up to people unless I feel that they can understand that the reason I talk about it all in such a detached manner as if I’m talking about someone else, doesn’t mean that I’m making things up or it wasn’t that bad — it just means that I have to compartmentalise and detach things in order to deal with certain time periods and talk about them.

It’s good that your grandma isn’t pressuring you to go to college and I think it’s amazing that you are able to see the good things to have come out of your situation. Whatever happens, you will have been through tougher things with sheltered people that are ignorant of the darker things in life, and ultimately this all will make you much stronger than merely having been on the “right track” in life at the “right time”.

Stephanie’s gravatar

I’m sure that you’d be just fine, although a bit different, if you weren’t depressed.

Friends coming and going is a part of life that I’ve painfully accepted. I hope that you don’t lose any more friends. But honestly, better lose friends than your mind. Also, college is definitely not the most important thing in life. Too many people think that they need to go to college, when that’s not the case at all.