Depression Alliance has merged with Mind

This website is no longer being updated

We're Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to anyone with a mental health problem. We're continuing to run Friends in Need and to support Depression Alliance's self-help groups. We can offer you advice and support on depression, too.

Why depression can be a gift

Despite the fact depression is rarely spoken about, or when it is, it's brushed under the carpet, it can be a comfort to know that 1 in 5 will or have suffered from depression at some point in their life. So, if those who were suffering carried a light bulb each, the earth would look like a Christmas tree.

Having depression does not mean you're boring or so dull you're unworthy of being spoken to. Take a look at my inspiration, Ruby Wax. A comedian and now a mental health campaigner. I embrace my experience of depression and I'm grateful for it. I have developed as a person, I've battled a life-threatening challenge and won, and know more about a subject some can be so ignorant towards. I've won the battle of depression and used it like it used me. It’s only served to make me a better person, with more empathy for others and an understanding of the world through a different perspective, which I can use to help others.

Without the technical jargon, depression can be a natural reaction to stress or anxiety and can even be passed through your DNA. But has the meaning of it ever been understood on a spiritual level? This I like to consider more than the biological reasons as it makes me feel lucky, rather than cursed to have been a sufferer. Consider depression as a gift/challenge that can reap life-long rewards. Yes, you've been given a pretty lame gift at first here but after a long battle with a lot of strength (you didn't realise you had) you'll begin to appreciate the suffering.

. You'll have dealt and survived one of life's biggest (and often life-threatening) challenges that can be thrown at you (pretty impressive).

. You will have changed as a person; you will have a great depth of knowledge and understanding of a very common problem that few choose to know little or talk about.

. You will begin to appreciate the smaller things in life you never noticed before.

. You will find out who your true friends really were.

. You will have adopted skills to successfully fight the challenge if it arrives once again.

Finally and most importantly to me, you'll have the opportunity to help others suffering who yet do not know as much as you do. Don't let depression win when you can reap the opportunities it provides after the battle. You have the wonderful opportunity to help others.

So once again, let me reiterate, if you are a sufferer, you've made the biggest step of all coming here to begin your recovery. Feel proud of yourself for taking these important first steps even just by visiting the website; there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it can be wonderful.

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