Today is a good day.
Living with depression means there are good and bad days, and today is a good one. Today I crossed off things on my to-do list that I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. It’s important that I tell you this because I have to be real and honest with you: I’m not always thankful for my depression, I’m not always hopeful. When I’m in the darkest moments of my life, it’s very rare you’ll hear me say, “I’m so glad I’m in so much pain right now, so thankful for this illness that sometimes means just getting out of bed is a victory.”
I truly believe one of the hardest parts of life is remaining hopeful when all hope seems lost. When everything has gone wrong, when your bones feel like concrete, when you’re not sure if you can make it through another day, but you do anyways. THAT is strength.
My actual diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder, which is characterized by “episodes” of depression. When I’m in an “episode” of depression, I’m in survival mode. And when you’re in survival mode, you don’t see the bigger picture. You can’t see the bigger picture. All you can mentally & physically manage is making it through today.
But once the fog clears, once the sun rises (and it always does), once I’ve gotten out of the valley and started to climb the mountain, I can look back and see the big picture. I can look back and see with clear eyes that I wouldn’t be standing on this mountain if it weren’t for those hard times.
Because if I didn’t have depression, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here, running my own business, writing this blog. There’s a reason I’m still here today. 1 in 4 people struggle with depression, yet no one talks about it, so part of my purpose in life is to be vulnerable, to talk about the things no one else talks about, to let others know they’re not alone. To encourage and inspire.
If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t be so close with my mom and sister. They helped me through so much and never gave up on me.
If I didn’t have depression, I probably wouldn’t be vegan yet. Being in so much pain myself has taught me empathy and compassion for others, whether animal or human.
If I didn’t have depression, I probably wouldn’t have found God yet. I didn’t grow up religious, but so many signs in the hardest times of my life pointed me to Him.
If I didn’t have depression, I wouldn’t have taken a gap year and then started my own business and decided to forego college. And without my business, I wouldn’t have met so many incredible, influential people that are in my life now.
Some of the most beautiful parts of my life came from such a vicious disease. So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for my depression. I’m thankful for the hard times, the valleys, because they lead to mountains.