Living every single day with depression is exhausting. I have battled with it for what feels like my entire life even though I was diagnosed with major depression in 2015.

Living with depression is unexplainably hard. Every day when I wake up, I never know if this is going to be a day that I find the burst of serotonin and energy to get out of bed, or if it's going to be a day I that I become one with my bedsheets. And even on the days that I do manage to pry myself out from under the covers, I'm never able to control how for how long it will be or for how long I will be feeling as if I have a desire to live.

Living with depression has so many bad qualities, but like in all darkness, there will once again be light. And I work very hard every single day to remember these eleven things to be thankful for all year round.

1. Therapy

I have been loving the burst of therapy encouragement across the media these last few years and it honestly needs to keep it up. Therapy has countless benefits for every single person, whether you struggle with mental health or not. Being able to talk freely to a neutral third-party is one of the most comforting things you can ever experience.

I am so thankful for every minute I have ever been able to spend in a therapist's office.

2. Medication

I was wary about adding this one, as I have a love-hate relationship with my medicine, but living depression isn't my fault. I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and body and if it wasn't for taking my medication every day, depression would have pulled the plug on me a long time ago.

3. Self-improvement

I have found a new found love for self-improvement these past few years because before now, I didn't really understand it. I mean I understood the idea of attempting to improve your self but I never knew the potential steps, benefits, and clarity that comes with it. I am constantly thankful for how much I have worked and how far I have been able to come.

4. Time with friends

When you struggle with depression you also have the tendency to self-sabotage yourself and can come to believe that you don't have any real friends, your friends aren't really your friends, your friends don't care about you, and even that if something happened to you, none of your friends would notice.

I am here to assure you none of these are true. Every single person on this planet has people that love and care about them more than anyone will ever know. Even now sometimes I can get caught up in my own head and believe that my existence doesn't matter, but as soon as spend any amount of time with my close friends I am so quickly reminded that I really do have people that care about me and people that I care about too.

5. Time by myself 

Additionally to time with friends, I also love time by myself. I used to be scared of spending too much time alone in fear of getting lost in my own mind, but now I really know that being comfortable with being alone with your own thoughts doesn't have to be a bad thing. I am thankful for the time I spend by myself because it allows me to be comfortable with my own thoughts and with my own feelings. I have spent so much time recently taking the necessary time alone to meditate, journal, be productive, and process and feel emotions. There is so much that can be done when you stop to spend a mindful moment with yourself.

6. Motivational quotes

Anyone who knows me knows that I have at least 10 motivational quotes spread throughout my room and walls. Anyone who also knows me knows that I change my phone screensaver every single day to a new motivational quote to just capture how I'm feeling that day and to help get me through it. Like I said before, there are some days when even muscle in my body can't pry me out of bed, but then I roll over, read one of the many quotes that have meaning to me and then suddenly I am able to find my purpose again to get through my day.

7. Meditation and breathing excercises

I used to think meditation was a bunch of nothing that people made up just to make themselves zen. But then one day I actually tried and realized that, for me, it actually does help me to become mindful of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Meditation is different for every single person that does it. Some people are able to find a quiet space within themselves to clear their minds and find tranquility. Others aren't always able to find silence within themselves and find more comfort in experiencing a mindful journey to find their tranquility. It's different for every single person, but I am thankful for being able to make time for myself to meditate.

8. Perseverance

Depression is suffocating. It takes an unmeasurable amount of strength to fight against yourself with your own dark thoughts to try to get better. It's hard and there are many days when I feel like giving in and giving up. But once you have pulled yourself out of the darkest pits of your own mind and find a will to live again, it truly reminds me that there is nothing that you can't do. Sure, I may have my struggling days and I will always have those, but I know that I have looked depression filled death directly in the face and been able to get back up.

9. Journaling

I started journaling this past year and didn't really appreciate all of its benefits until now. I started as another way of self-improvement but then it really opened my eyes to so many more benefits of doing it every day. When you take the right time for yourself each day to actually write down and process all of what happened throughout your day, all the emotions you felt, things you found to be grateful for, it helps you to appreciate the life you have. Journaling is also a good way to remind yourself that not every day is a bad day. On the days when I am feeling as if I am drowning in dark thoughts, I try to pull out the journal and reread some of my past entries and relive those emotions and happy moments.

10.  True friends

When you struggle with depression you know that days can really be a spectrum on having good days and having dark days. During your depressive episodes, it really becomes clear to you who is your real true friends and who aren't. True friends reach out and check on you and try to be there for you however they can, while fake friends will distance themselves or can even take offense to how you are feeling.

11.  Stronger connections with people who also struggle

The thing I am most thankful for is the connections that I have been able to make with those you also struggle with depression. Just like how I am writing this, I know that there is someone out there who is able to relate and then not feel so alone in their battles. I know what it is like to feel as if you have no one that truly cares about you in your life, so I try to find ways to be able to open up about my struggles so that no one has to feel that same dark feeling.