A Year with Clinical Depression has Made Me a Better Man

lessons-learned-from-my-year-of-clinical-depression

What have you learned about mental illness that you would like to share with others?

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This has been one of the most trying years of my life. But I’m not sure I would trade it for anything. Not that I enjoyed feeling the darkness cloud over me, the gloom, the isolation, and wanting the pain to end.

I was depressed, but I’m not depressed right now. My doctor tells me that my depression is in remission. It’s a weird feeling. I feel happy, but not blissful. I feel all of the nuance of emotions that you can feel. And I can still get caught up with my emotions to the point where sometimes my head is spinning.

How you speak to yourself, and about yourself, IS your recovery

In short, I feel pretty normal. Mental illness is like that: periods of normal interspersed with periods of madness.

Just like you, I have days where I feel down, but I can pick myself back up again. I still feel anxious, but it is not crippling. I know that the dark moods are not gone forever. They will return, but I have learned a great deal that will serve to insulate me against the depths.

One of my greatest therapies is writing. Over the past year, I have shared about my struggles, my thoughts and my experience with mental illness. I have written while raw, while tired, while gloomy and while anxious. Most of all, I have written myself well. Writing is one of my most important therapists and all that it costs is time, reflection and the willingness to risk.

Your experience is one of the greatest teachers that you have. Your experience with mental illness can teach you, and all of us about what life has to offer.

Experience can change you. Facing your fear can open you up to whatever life has for you.

I would like to share with you some of the lessons that I have learned over the past year. I have included a number of links to articles that have changed how I think about myself, my relationships, and my recovery.

Below is a list of some of the articles I have written. They are by no means an exhaustive list. I welcome you to read a few of the articles below that interest you. Or you can use the tags at the bottom of this article to guide you in your reading. I suggest that you bookmark this article so that you can return to it and read when you have an opportunity.

You have a voice that we need to hear. Your experience may be an inspiration to other people.

What I would like in return is to hear from you. You have a voice that we need to hear. Drop me a comment about what has helped you with your mental illness over the past year. Or, you can consider being a guest writer for my blog and sharing your experience. If you are interested, email me at smswaby@icloud.com. Your experience may be an inspiration to other people.

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Boredom is a gift to your recovery. It can give you the motivation to reflect on your life, and that can change you.

Depression can be like a personal terrorist. I wrote about male depression, but this article will relate to anyone.

Depression can sometimes feel like a weapon. I have learned that talking helps, so does exercise, honoring your need to just feel sad, and so does mindfulness. Many things have helped me. You may have other things that support you. It is important that you discover what supports you to move closer to your values, and to improved mental health.

Depression will make you a better human being. It will teach you many good things about yourself and about other people. It will take you to the depths and that will try your very soul. But you will learn from it.

Faith and Mental Health can be allies. For me, my spirituality is a key part of my recovery.

Healing has a manifesto, a declaration. I have given it a voice, here it is.

Leaders experience mental illness too. Being a leader with a mental illness is a strength, not a deficit.

Mental Health and How to Stop Recycling Your Mistakes. Rumination can magnify moods like depression and anxiety. Learning other ways of thinking has been a huge support to my recovery.

Men heal differently than women. Men are just as emotional as anyone can be. Men express our moods differently and we need different things than women need.

Orlando, LGBTQ and Mental Illness. The real story about mental illness is recovery, not violence. Most people with a mental illness are peaceful and only hurt themselves, not other people. And we recover.

The value of music to your recovery. Music saved me. It gave me hope and gave me a language when I had a hard time speaking for myself. I created a playlist that I call my “Movelist;” that I listen to when I need to feel moved.

Having a therapist is vital to your recovery. But there are many kinds of therapists to choose from. You are in control of the therapist that you choose. This article is by Joseph Rauch and it will help you to choose your therapist.

Words can be one of your most powerful allies. How you speak to yourself, and about yourself, IS your recovery.

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I write articles about wellness, leadership, relationships, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain. Sign up for my blog if you want to receive the latest and best of my writing. If you like what I have to say, please share my work with your friends.

Lastly, if you like my writing, you can click here to vote for my page on Psych Central’s list of mental health blogs.

Keep it Real

Previously published by smswaby on the Good Men Project

Photo by Michael Dolan

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