I don’t give them wrong for the caution. I often think I am too open, and too trusting of this human race.
But mostly, I am not sorry for my openness.
You see, particularly where it pertains to living with clinical depression, I’ve learnt some really invaluable lessons and had some really cool insights. Lost some relationships yes.
I’ve been judged.
Wait, scratch that.
I’ve been judged harshly. Misjudged. And scorned, among many, many other things.
But I’m still not sorry.
And here is why.
The benefits might seem few and far in between, but yes, there have been some positives to coming out about living with clinical depression and anxiety. I’ve listed some of my personal favourites below for you.
And please, if your jaw is touching the floor right now and you wish you didn’t know me, do yourself a favour and stop reading. Oh, also, you are not my friend. Thanks in advance. Bless you all the same.
● It shows up your true friends, and more importantly, the people to keep close.
This can be painful. Because no one wants to think the people they love would exclude them or turn them away because of a burden they live with. But it happens. Sometimes people don’t mean to be so shallow or ignorant. Sometimes it’s the society they live in. Maybe there’s stigma and lots of misconceptions about depression and other mental illness. Or maybe like in Trinidad, it’s not always religiously cool or people think it’s unhip with Jesus to proclaim you grapple with depression. So they ignore you and/or the problem and act like it will go away if they do.
People don’t always realise these attitudes perpetuate more negative attitudes thereby pushing the people who need help and support further on the margins of the society.
I’ve been walked out on by those who claimed to love and care for me. But love isn’t only present when the flowers are in bloom, and the butterflies are out. I know when I find that man who sees me and loves me for who I am despite what I suffer, he will be worth keeping and deserving of all I am and have to offer.
Few more words left in this section.
● You no longer have to pretend.
Spew… more weight lifted off. Can I tell you, since having the opportunity to be more open about living with depression and anxiety, I feel so much lighter, I actually feel more like myself! I smile more, I am able to share more with people, help others, including complete strangers more, and it is such a liberating thing. I think it’s because pretending takes up so much energy and emotions, that when you no longer have to, you notice the little, beautiful things around you, and you become more concerned with helping others. It makes them happy, which makes you happy, and damn, these happy little moments are priceless.
● It helps you discover what and who lifts you up or brings you down.
I don’t know why this happens but maybe it goes back to the previous point of somehow becoming more cognizant of all happening inside and around oneself. For me, a huge part of the down deal was the where. A place where too much had happened and where too many bad memories had haunted. But the up factor was also a where. A different place, far away from family and friends, but where smiles are easier to come by, friends easier to make and gladness easier to find and share. I especially like discovering what uplifts one, because then you can keep seeking it out. I’m also more aware of the lovely people who I want to be around always because I feel sooooo good, and happy and ME around them.
● It helps others
I cannot tell you how many times people have said my own openness encouraged them in some way. Or by me being open, they felt more at ease with sharing that they too lived with a similar burden, which was able to encourage me! We must be our brother’s keeper and for many others coming out is a ‘no-no’ because of stigma or fear. You never know who your story will encourage.
What other benefits do you recognise to coming out about living with depression? DO share your story and DON’T be afraid. If you need help or support, Mind is one of many organisations in the UK that you can contact.
Lots of love and gentle hugs 🙂