Happy Fourth of July!

Overall, I look at the depression that comes along with Bipolar Disorder II as a huge, scary PITA. Its a kick in the pants from a really powerful boot. Even though having a mental illness is very difficult, I have learned some valuable lessons and gained some positive traits from depression. And I bet you’ve got these skills too.

Am I saying that depression is useful? Its all in how you look at it.

I, by no means, however, am implying that depression is easy or good. Its a low-down spirit taker. But, when I take a closer look at depression I find it has given me some important things.

Strength

Strength—If you’ve fought depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, or any other mental illness, than you are a warrior. You survived. And that is something to be proud of because it was really hard. You fought/fight it day after day and you didn’t give up. Recognize the strength it took for you to get through your last episode. You are amazing.

Bravery

Bravery—behind the strength lies bravery. We are all bravely fighting a battle that we ultimately cannot win. But we fight on despite this. It takes a great deal of courage, for example, to continue your life. To keep doing things that scare us. Whether that be leaving the house or going to a job. You are brave.

Resilience

Resilience—The ability to bounce back, to stay tough and strong. Never. Giving. Up. Take your strength and bravery, add in resilience, and you’ve got a comeback from a bad mental health episode. You have risen many times, episode after episode. This definitely applies to other parts of your life, whether its bouncing back after a bad relationship or having the courage to do something you’ve never done.

Empathy

Empathy—having dealt with hard times can make you a more empathetic person. You can feel the pain that others feel and provide comfort, which is a great gift. You understand when someone is anxious or down and you can reassure them that things will get better.

Hanging in There

Hanging in There-You have learned how to weather the storm and come out the other side. You cling to the knowledge that your episode will end and you can get back to your life.

You Are Your Own Advocate

How to advocate for yourself. You have learned about your illness and can better participate in your own treatment. You are knowledgeable about your treatment and work with your doctor for the best outcome.

Getting Control Over Your Thoughts

Getting Control Over Your Thoughts. One of the first things you can do is shut down the negative thinking. We all have that little negative chatterer in our brains that tells us we’re no good, we’re just a burden, nothing will ever change and on and on. You are capable of challenging those negative with positive thoughts.

Depression has given you strength, bravery, resilience, empathy, hope, and taught you how to be your own advocate and gain control over your thoughts. These are hard won “benefits” of depression and other mental illnesses. Next time an episode hits, remember these things you’ve gained and put them into practice.

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