Can I be thankful that I have depression? Thankful for the lowest of the lows that I have experienced? The frightening ideations of suicide, loneliness, and isolation that it brings? Well, no. I would be very hard pressed to find any sort of appreciation about anything directly linked with this disease, but there is one byproduct that I have become very aware of, and indeed, thankful for.
The people in my life.
Over last year or so, I have become more and more accustomed to speaking out about my disease and reaching out to others to share my story. The reason being of course, is simple. I want to use myself as an example of someone who has experienced the real-deal, full-blown impact of depression, and by depression, I mean DEPRESSION. Moreover, I want to show that if I can benefit and succeed with treatment, so can others, and if I can feel better, so can they. This is a treatable disease like any other, and stigma and fear should not be impediments to getting help. If I sound like and advocate for the mentally ill, then I guess I am.
With the revelation I have made to my friends, family, and coworkers, the possible worst case scenario, fear and rejection, has as of yet, not raised its head. Instead, the experience has been quite the opposite. Not only have I felt support, others that I know, love, and respect have told me their own stories, asked for my input, or sometimes, even asked for help. This experience has been humbling beyond measure, and it has also helped me develop a deeper and fuller appreciation for the people I am close to.
It's one thing to know what someone likes, enjoys, or has an interest or opinion on, but when someone opens up a vulnerability, real trust comes into play. Trust is the foundation upon which solid and long lasting relationships are built. My experience is that I have seen more people offer me their trust than ever before. For that, my life has become much more enriched, and for that, I am truly thankful.
Depression still sucks though.