Depression can manifest itself in so many different ways. Throughout my life I've observed depression attempt to swallow some of my friends and some of my family members. Honestly, I've seen depression win the battle and knock people to a place I can't even imagine. Then, somehow, by some miracle, or grace, or untested strength, or resilience, I've seen individuals climb out of holes that depression buried them into. Those people are the inspiration behind not only this post, but also my everyday life. Although I personally do not struggle with chronic depression, I think that these unsung heroes deserve a list of why I admire them so much. Hopefully after reading this, you guys will to.
Reason #1: They become incredibly compassionate individuals.
One amazing person I know struggles with chronic depression. It runs in his family, generation to generation. This man has experienced what it feels like to be overwhelmed to the point of desperation. Usually, I'd expect such hard experiences to make a person harsh. Instead this struggle with depression has made this guy one of the most empathetic and compassionate individuals I've ever known.
Reason #2: They demonstrate humility.
Apparently, once you've wrestled with something (usually your whole life) that has beaten you enough, it humbles you. Such is the case with the next human I admire so much. Although he struggles with chronic depression, I see a positive affect that this has had in his life. I never wonder if he will judge me for losing some of my own battles. So I feel safe to open up with him about my losses, however big or small they may be.
Reason #3: They become so brave.
I think most people could relate to feeling totally alone and scared. Whether that is depression or a bad relationship or circumstance, most individuals have been in that place at least once in their lives. People with depression can go there in a second once depression makes it's assault. Depression is so sly and finds just the right moment to attack. So these individuals who fight against depression learn to defend themselves in healthy ways. They learn how to take a stand in front of a tsunami of fear. Isn't that really what bravery is? It's like The Duke said, "Courage is being afraid, but saddling up anyways."
Reason #4: They seek out community.
The people I know who struggle with depression don't always deal with it in a healthy way. However, the same could be applied to me in my struggles. Can I get an amen? One consistent trait I have observed in these individuals when they are dealing with depression in a healthy way, is that they seek out community. I've learned through a dear friend of mine that depression makes you want to isolate yourself. Who feels great about admitting they need help anyways? Not me. So I really admire the fact that these depression-fighters not only open up about their struggles, but also are brave enough to find a band of friends or family to help them take a stand against the onslaught of depression.
Reason #5: They press forward.
I've met an individual who has pressed through so much pain, abandonment, loss, and falls. This person has struggled with depression ever since we met. However, I've watched this person press through waves of turmoil and hurt and become a kinder, wiser human being. This human has pressed forward and grown from their fight against depression. Simultaneously, this person has always had my back, regardless of how bad the depression was hitting. This quality is something that I admire, that I'm grateful for, and that has changed me permanently.
So here's a thank you to all those individuals out there struggling with depression. You've taught me how to be compassionate, showed me what it looks like to face my fears head on, led me by example in developing a network of healthy friendships andrelationships, and inspired me to press forward 110% no matter what.